This week’s name news includes a bumper crop of beautiful birth announcements, some great names inspired by not-so-great circumstances, and the thorny issue of baby names and social class.
Brilliant Birth Announcements
It’s been a week of wild and wonderful birth announcements, from the beautifully named Babyberries of July to Elea’s ever-enthralling roundup of British baby names announced this week — highlights include a boy called Tarka, a girl named Xenia, and triplets William, James and… wait for it… Maximus!)
Not to be outshone, celebrity parents have also given us a whole host of stylishly named new arrivals this week — and some superb sibsets, too.
Comedian Kenan Thompson’s new daughter Gianna Michelle joined big sister Georgia Marie; TV personality Erica Rose also welcomed a second daughter, Aspen (her first is named Holland); and actress Alex Murrel chose the “strong” name Kase Robert for her second son, brother to Levi William. And the very newest arrival is the daughter of singer-songwriter Joy Williams, Poppy Louise, who joins big brother Miles Alexander.
Meanwhile, two famous families welcomed their first babies this week — and they’ve clearly been spending some time on Nameberry! Fitness coach Joe Wicks and his girlfriend Rosie named their newborn daughter Indie, and British socialite Tamara Beckwith became a first-time grandmother to little Luna Mae (her own children are the rather fabulous Anouska, Violet and Vero).
Congratulations all round!
Another announcement that caught my eye this week was this fun story of a baby boy who arrived unexpectedly in a minivan on the way to the hospital in Dixon, IL. His parents had already carefully chosen a nice, unusual family name for him, after a paternal relative. The name in question? Vann.
On a much more serious note, amidst all the death and destruction caused by the devastating quakes in Indonesia last week, the Indonesian Red Cross tweeted a glimmer of good news. Volunteer medics on the badly hit island of Lombok helped to deliver a healthy baby boy, who was named Muhammad Gempa Rizki — gempa meaning “earthquake”, and rizki meaning “good fortune”. It doesn’t get much more meaningful than that!
Fascinating Faroese Names
Over to the other side of the world, and lovers of obscure Nordic names will be pleased to hear that the latest baby name stats for the Faroe Islands have just been released.
With a population of just over 50,000, the naming pool on these remote islands (situated about halfway between Norway and Iceland, but belonging to the Kingdom of Denmark) is small, with not even enough births to round out a Top 100. No names were given to more than 9 babies in 2017!
Pet or Preschooler?
Once upon a time, it was easy to tell whether the admonitions being yelled across the park were directed at the dog or the child. Not so in 2018.
Gone are the days of countless canines called Rex and Fido, Spot and Lucky. The latest list of the most popular pet names in Britain reads like any preschool class list around the country: Poppy, Bella and Daisy; Alfie, Charlie and Teddy.
So, are we naming our pets more like children, or our children more like pets? And just for fun: what’s the single best pet name you’ve ever heard?
Pride and Prejudice
It’s just about the most contentious issue in baby naming, guaranteed to get hackles raised — and for good reason. The connection that is all-too-often made (whether consciously or subconsciously) between names and social standing remains a perennial problem, even in today’s inclusivity-focused society.
This week has seen a French parenting site publish a list of “BCBG” (bon chic, bon genre = “good style, good attitude”) baby names “for the most refined of babies” (found via the wonderful Appellation Mountain), and a recent Australian study has shown that name judgement is commonplace in the country, with certain baby names branded “bogan”, “checkout operator” or “DHS client” choices. With racist, sexist and other types of offensive language so taboo in today’s society, why is it that this is still OK?
And it’s not just a class issue; it’s a color issue too. In an open letter to school staff everywhere, a mom has this week urged teachers to learn the correct pronunciation of their non-white students’ names:
“Basically, the names of people of color often make white people uncomfortable, so it’s easier for white people to default to judgement rather than take a few moments to say and spell the name correctly.
To all school professionals and staff: if you can wrap your head around differentiating the three Aidens and two Olivias in every single classroom, than you can get my child’s name correct. Trust me, she’s the only one in her class, school, and district with that beautiful name. My child shouldn’t feel dehumanized, problematic, humiliated, or othered. Her job isn’t to teach you something so simple as her name.”