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Unique Baby Names in the News

Lenia, Laurin and Men

By Clare Green

This week’s news includes unique baby names, the hottest names in Switzerland, celebrity baby names that make a statement, and parents who changed their baby names to keep their families happy…would you?

Top Swiss baby names: Liam and Lenia

Switzerland is a small country with a diverse range of languages and names. If you need proof, just look at the top baby names of 2018. The Top 20 names include names from different languages including Louis, Nino, Elias, Giulia and Lena.

Did you notice anything about that girls’ list? Every girl name in the Top 20 ends in -a, apart from Elin. For all their different languages, Swiss parents have a lot in common when it comes to name style.

And the top names? In the whole country, and for French speakers, they were international superstars Liam and Emma. German-speaking parents liked Noah and Mia best, Italian speakers’ favorites were Leonardo and Sofia, and for the tiny number of Romansh-speaking parents it was a multi-way tie. For boys, a name only had to be used three times to make the top spot, which Alessia, Laurin, Liam and Men (yes, Men) all did. For girls, there was even less competition: 12 names were the most popular because they were all used twice! They include Chiara, Gianna, Lenia and Mara.

Statement names: Gigi and Emanuel

Speaking of international baby names, we had high expectations of Daphne Oz and John Jovanovic’s fourth baby name, as they are already parents to Philomena Bijou, Jovan Jr., and Domenica Celine. They didn’t disappoint: baby #4 is Giovanna Ines! It’s a bold choice with the family’s surname, but actually, the more I say “Giovanna Jovanovic” the more it grows on me – and she’ll be known for short as Gigi.

Another striking birth announcement this week was Emanuel Daniel. It’s not just the rhyme. It’s the fact that his big brothers’ names are Gabriel Daniel and Daniel Emanuel. This tells us a) that his parents love those biblical boy names, b) that they’re really keen to honor dad – that’s American Idol singer Danny Gokey – and c) that they’re not afraid to reuse sibling names not once, but twice. I’ve seen some discussion about this recently, with some saying “why not?” and others preferring to give each child a name that’s all theirs. Where do you stand?

Ten years ago, Apollo would have been a statement name. Now in the States, it’s pushing the Top 500 – how times have changed! But this mythological name isn’t so popular across the Pond yet, so it’s newsworthy that British singer and presenter Myleene Klass used it for her son. He’s a little brother to Ava and Hero

When Grandma hates the name

Would you let your family have a say in your children’s names? Two sets of parents in the news did just that.

Australian footballer Trent Cotchin and his wife told the family they were going to name their son Becker. But when that didn’t go down too well, they put it to a vote and named him Parker Foxx instead.

Meanwhile, these parents in Canada thought of the perfect name for their daughter – Piper – moments after she was born. Except…the family soon divided into pro-Pipers and anti-Pipers. To keep the peace, they moved it to the middle name spot.

Parents are often advised to “use the name you love”, but perhaps there’s also a case for using a name your family doesn’t hate. Then again, there’s a difference between really hating a name, and having a knee-jerk reaction because you’ve never heard of anyone called Piper before. Ultimately, both these children got names that their parents were happy with – partly because their wider families were happy with them too.

Spelling sagas

What do you see when you look at this classroom board? I see an interesting mix of on-trend names. More than half of them are in the Top 1000, and the rest – Bryar, Dylann, Trapper, Eilee, Kaylea, Elexia, Reagyn and Zerachiel – are mostly spelling variants on more popular names, or else easy to understand and pronounce. Oh, and I see that the kids with these names are all welcome in the classroom. So adults of the internet, why you gotta be so mean?

Then along comes an example of why you can’t judge a name by its cover. At first glance, MyCole – as in footballer MyCole Pruitt of the Tennessee Titans – looks like a respelling of Michael. But there’s more to it than that. It’s an honor name for his mother – yes, a boy named after his mom! – using the first part of her name, Collette, plus an extra “My”. Cole and Collette ultimately come from Nicholas, which means “people’s victory”, and for mother and son, that’s what is means to them. Which is appropriate now that he’s a sportsman. Every name tells a story!

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.

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Anthiese Says:

August 22nd, 2019 at 9:38 am

Dylann in that spelling makes me think of mass shooter Roof.

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