Category: International Baby Names
By Eleanor Nickerson
Though we share many many names in common thanks to our common language and celebrity/media influences, it’s the names that divide us that offer the most fascinating insight.
By Eleanor Nickerson
The top baby names for England and Wales in 2016 have been released by the Office of National Statistics, with the big news Olivia’s rise to claim the Number 1 spot for girls.
If you’d like to know what’s hot in Britain, it’s an exciting week: the baby name data for England and Wales in 2016 has just been released! There’s so much to delve into – they include every name given to 3 or more children, which is a pretty big pool – but here are the headlines.
The top names are the nicely-matched Oliver and Olivia. Oliver is number one for the fourth year running, while Olivia returns to the top spot after five years coming second to Amelia. There’s been very little change in the top 10, just Lily replacing Poppy on the girls’ side and Muhammad replacing William for boys. Big risers in the Top 100 include Luna, Aria and Harper for girls, and Arlo, Reggie and Ezra for boys.
It looks like parents haven’t been put off by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s baby name picks: both Charlotte and George rose last year, Charlotte by a whopping 13 places after years of gradually falling. Tune in two years from now to find out if their third child’s name gains in popularity too.
What, exactly, are English names? Names most often found in England? (Short answer: No.) Names commonly used in English-speaking countries? (Kind of.) Or names rooted in the English language? (Definitely).
Many of the names most popular in countries where the official language is English — usually defined as the US, UK, Canada, and Australia, along with Ireland and New Zealand — are in fact rooted in other languages and cultures. Emma‘s origins are German, for instance, while Sophia is Greek. Noah is Hebrew, and Liam is Irish.
Many of these names are used widely around the world, far beyond English-speaking cultures. Emma, for example, is a Top 10 girls’ name in Norway, Italy, Finland, and Hungary, while Noah is in the Top 10 in Germany, Sweden, and Belgium.
Some names commonly considered English names are in fact English versions of names from other cultures. William is an English version of an originally-German name, for example, while Jane is the English feminization of John, itself originating in Hebrew.
Still there are many names that can be considered authentic English names. These include classics such as, along with English surnames used as first names, English word names, and place names from English-speaking countries.
Our roundup of the most well-known and best English names:
This week’s news includes names damaged by hurricanes, baby names fit for a prince or princess, matchy first and middle names, and how to handle reactions to your child’s name.
Hurricane names: The fall of Harvey, Katrina, and Irma
Hurricanes are so destructive on lives and property that it may seem silly to be concerned their negative effect on baby names, but perhaps not to people with the name Katrina, Sandy, and now Harvey and Irma. Use of the name Katrina fell by 85 percent after the terrible hurricane that struck New Orleans in 2005. Now the baby name Harvey, which was just coming back into style in the US after a nearly 70-year downturn, is likely to face the same negative fate. And the name Irma is not even going to get her shot, if she ever had one. Sandy was popular enough for long enough that it may escape over-identification with the storm of that name. But anyone named Katrina, Harvey, and Irma will be plagued by hurricane jokes for many years to come.
You’ve probably heard that William and Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, are expecting their third child. The world is already placing bets on what George and Charlotte’s little brother or sister will be called.
The best analysis I’ve read is Elea’s predictions – the top contenders include Alice and Arthur. From everything we know about the royal couple, we wouldn’t expect anything outrageous, so the odds of them calling their baby Brexit or Daenerys are roughly zero.