By Clare Green
This week’s news includes announcements from 90s pop icons, girls’ names honoring men, and spelling and pronunciation quandaries.
Celebrity baby names: a bumper crop!
Even though it’s October, it’s Valentine season in the celebrity world! Last week we met Dan Reynolds’ son Valentine, and this week Natalie Imbruglia joins the club with her baby boy, Max Valentine. It’s a lovely combination: one name short and punchy, the other long and flowing, and strong meanings throughout.
On the girls’ side, Valentina StellaMaris is a new daughter for TV host Rachel Campos-Duffy and her politician husband Sean Duffy. Her portmanteau middle name is a Marian name meaning “star of the sea”, which has only appeared on the US charts in the last two years. If you love that Spanish/Catholic name style, her eight older siblings are a treat: they are Patrick Miguel, Margarita, Maria–Victoria Margarita, Paloma Pilar, John–Paul, Lucia–Belén, Xavier Jack and Evita Pilar.
The Campos-Duffy family aren’t the only ones to use the same middle name for siblings. Backstreet Boy Nick Carter (shown) just announced his baby daughter’s name is Saoirse Reign. She joins big brother Odin Reign, so Nick and his wife have gone from Nordic to Irish, with that middle name tying them together.
Speaking of Irish, Cecelia Ahern (the author of PS, I Love You) has welcomed a baby girl named Blossom. PS, we love her bright, chirpy word name style: she also has an older daughter and son, Robin and Sonny.
There are more well-matched siblings in Ellie Kemper (aka Kimmy Schmidt)’s family. She just announced the birth of her son Matthew, a brother for James. It’s no surprise that she’s used another classic boy name: she’s said before that her style is traditional.
Finally in the celebrity baby names world, Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds’ third daughter has arrived! With older girls called James and Inez, we’re on tenterhooks to find out which name they’ll choose for sister #3. Any last-minute guesses? Read our best predictions here.
You may know that James has become an edgy middle name for girls in recent years. (Case in point, there’s a Rosalind Phoebe James in our latest batch of beautiful Babyberry announcements.) But how about other traditionally masculine names? A girl born in a car in Florida last week was named Leila Robert – Robert was the police officer who helped with the birth.
Other parents prefer to feminize names before using them for girls. These football-loving parents have done it twice: their first daughter is Andi, after a coach named Andy on their favorite team, and their second daughter is Patsy, after a player called Patrick.
Spelling struggles, pronunciation problems
Do people struggle with spelling your name, or your children’s? This week I’ve seen several people sharing the “spell my name” meme. It started last year, but for those of us who often get our name misspelled, it never gets old.
In more recent news, a reader wonders how they can politely tell co-workers that they’ve been spelling their name wrong.
Pronouncing names correctly is just as important as spelling – especially as it’s something that especially affects people in minorities, whether that’s a Sikh politician in Canada, or an Irish Mairead in Australia.
And from another advice column: is it ok to ask your future sister-in-law if she’d use a nickname to avoid confusion? I’ve got to admit my instinct is a big “no”… but every family is different. Do you have any people with the same name in your family, and if so, how do you deal with it?
Musical baby names
Finally, if you think it’s a challenge choosing a few words to be your offspring’s name, how would you like to live in this Indian village, where children get a song as their name? Parents can sing the name quietly as a lullaby, or loudly to call them home. If you could choose, what tune would you pick for your (or your child’s) name?
Clare Green writes Nameberry’s weekly round-up of the latest baby name news, including celebrity announcements, unusual naming stories, and new statistics from around the world. Clare, who has been writing for Nameberry since 2015, lives in England, where she has worked in libraries and studies linguistics. You can follow her personally on Instagram and Twitter.