Carrot, Cali and Chi: Novel names in the news this week

August 15, 2018 katinka

By Katinka

This week’s name news includes the influences behind our baby name choices, celebrity babies from Chi to Cali, and a *very* unusual name list courtesy of Lena Dunham.

 All Change!

Would you ever consider changing your child’s name? How about your own?

New statistics from the Netherlands show that the number of people applying for a legal name change is increasing year-on-year, with almost 600 requests in 2017. It’s not a decision that can be taken lightly, either — Dutch courts require a formal application to be submitted by a lawyer, which must include compelling reasons for making the change.

Of course, if that all sounds like too much effort, there’s always the unofficial option: just use the name you prefer. Kim Kardashian is apparently employing this tactic with her daughter Chicago’s name, referring to her as Chi or Chi Noel (Kim’s own middle name), even though Kanye’s against an official change.

And here’s an interesting study about “misnaming” — you know, when you go through the whole family’s names, including the dog’s, before finally landing on the one you wanted. Turns out there’s a very valid reason why we do this, as well as a very simple solution: just rename everyone Trevor!

 Cool Celebrity Births

 It’s been another stellar week for stylish celebrity baby names, and nary an Apple or Zuma in sight! Instead, these polished picks all seem to strike that elusive “sweet spot” in terms of popularity, style and current trends.

Chef Dean Sheremet and his fiancée Vanessa Black welcomed new son Atlas Wilding, Welsh rugby star Mike Phillips became a first-time dad to baby Elias, and New Zealand TV presenter Toni Street and husband Matt France announced the safe arrival of their third child Lachlan Stephen via surrogate.

And on the girls’ side: Chanel Iman and Sterling Shepard introduced their legions of Instagram followers to new daughter Cali Clay, England football captain Harry Kane welcomed little Vivienne Jane, Australian singer Missy Higgins and her husband added a daughter, Luna, to their brood (big brother is Samuel Arrow!), and actress Erika Christensen got a happy surprise when new baby Polly arrived unexpectedly at home on Friday.

Congratulations all round!

We were also treated this week to perhaps the greatest list of celebrity baby names that never was: Carrot, Rah, Shogo, Oz, Loretta… any takers?

The Power of Pop Culture

 Who knows how Lena and Jack came up with that lot, but there is one source of inspiration that clearly has a big part to play in which names make it onto prospective parents’ lists: pop culture.

Just take a look at this roundup of the 17 baby names which are currently popular in the US for the first time — from Dax to Demi, almost all of them have pop culture connections of some sort. And I’m not immune myself. Though not named directly after the indie film or Game of Thrones (incidentally: check out our ultimate guide to GOT baby names, if you haven’t already!), would my Juno and Kit have those names if pop culture hadn’t put them on my radar? I doubt it.

Still, the power of pop culture does work both ways, as this article about how Kylie Minogue killed the name Kylie in Victoria, Australia, shows. For every Bella and Brandon (which both vaulted into the Victoria Top 50 thanks, at least in part, to pop culture exposure), there’s also a Kylie or Brittany (which plummeted out of the Top 100 just as Britney Spears came to prominence). Have a play around with the new interactive name graph — there’s also a NSW version — how has your name fared?

Age: The Great Equalizer?

Turns out that the old cliché doesn’t really hold true — at least when it comes to baby names.

We’ve long known that baby names are an invaluable indicator of social trends and values, but this fascinating article argues that the single greatest factor influencing the types of baby names that new parents are choosing is maternal age. And, since the age at which women become mothers is closely linked to a whole host of other cultural factors — like politics, religion, education, ethnic background, and socio-economic group — baby names really can tell us a huge amount about the state of the nation today.

And the picture they paint is of a nation increasingly divided, despite the rise of nationalistic politics and of supposedly unifying movements like MeToo:

“The baby name data reveal no points of unity at all. Even within in-groups, everyone is shaking off traditions and trying to stand out as unique.”

So there you go: something to show the next person who tells you that baby names aren’t a “serious” subject!