flea: (Default)
[personal profile] flea
These are all my personal opinions, of course; yours may vary.

1. Names should have some dignity. This does not mean they should be traditional (though my personal inclination is for traditional). Apple, for instance, has a certain dignity, or Sparrow. Khloe does not.

2. The more unusual, complex, and/or difficult to pronounce the last name, the more traditional, simple, and straightforward the first name should be. My kids have a short but nearly unique last name (their great-grandfather made it up) that is not easy to pronounce when you read it, or to spell when you hear it. Their names are both traditional and nearly everyone can spell them. Conversely, if the child's last name is White, or Smith, you should strive for a less common name, lest your child one day receive bizarre misdirected emails continually. When in doubt, Google your name combination and see how many hits come up.

3. Meaning is great in a name, but "I liked the sound of it" is fine as well. Deep personal meaning can excuse some oddities in naming choices. You do not get a pass, however, if you argue that you named your child Mercedes because you adore the automobiles. A Mercedes named after a beloved grandmother, a fascinating ancestor, or a saint all are fine. You child will, one, day, ask why you named her that (often as a result of a school assignment) and you need an answer that is not embarrassing.

4. Obviously foreign names should not be used unless the child has a close connection to the culture of origin of the name; the exception is in number 3 above, meaning. WASPy parents should not name their kid Dimitri unless Dimitri was the father's college roommate and best man. On the other hand, if the parents are a Chinese-American man and a woman from Florence, I think Francesca Chang is an awesome name.

5. Be aware of how your chosen name ranks in the Social Security statistics, and also in your local community. You may choose to name your daughter Emma and your son Jacob, but you are not allowed to be surprised that these are very common names. (This is especially a problem with firstborns; before having children oneself, one tends to not know much about what people are naming babies these days. In some circles, a name ranking quite low on the Social Security charts turns out to be very common; this is especially true if you are a hipster.)

6. If there is a standard spelling for a name, do choose it. You may choose a well-documented alternative (Clare for Claire), but you must not be surprised when people spell the child's name wrong. "Creative" spelling is Right Out (see number 1, dignity).

Date: 2011-08-14 02:02 pm (UTC)
holli: (Default)
From: [personal profile] holli
Yeah, sometimes I wish my parents had followed these rules when naming my sisters (Jeri and Lori) and me. We have a hard-to-spell, hard-to-pronounce last name, and while getting creative with the first names does mean we're unique, it has sometimes been a hassle.

Date: 2011-08-14 02:20 pm (UTC)
ste_noni: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ste_noni
"Dignity" is the word I've been looking for. I can never explain this concept except in a few sentences, but I think all baby names should have dignity.

#4 was my whole issue with Francisco. I mean, I just happened to like a book character with the name, as did Joe. And it didn't hurt that we were living in PR at the time so no one there blinked. (There were 3 on our street alone.) I keep waiting, though, for someone here to ask me how we chose that name. It hasn't happened, but I think Joe's Honduran background is enough to not have it be totally borrowed from someone else's culture. (I mean, I think it was an unusual choice *for me* but not overall.)

Date: 2011-08-14 02:51 pm (UTC)
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
From: [personal profile] kate_nepveu
We went with:

No rhyming. (Chad's last name is pronounced or-ZELL which ruled out a whole lot of girl names.)

No names shared with family within, um, first cousins once removed, I believe is the term (our cousins' kids).

Nothing that lends itself to unfortunate nicknames, as much as possible.

Nothing difficult to spell or gender-ambiguous, in order to save the kid hassle.

Nothing either of us had bad associations with for any reason.

No equivalent of "Jennifer" for my generation; somewhat-common okay, but not overwhelmingly so. (Which is good that we didn't want _unique_, because if you ask SteelyKid her name, she will say "firstname O.," because she shares a name with a classmate. And there's another in a class below them. It's been 53rd on the SSA list for the last two years, but it has been on an upward trend overall.)

And then a lot of inchoate class and feeling-of-suitability stuff, which includes much of #3 & #4.

Date: 2011-08-14 05:44 pm (UTC)
minim_calibre: (Default)
From: [personal profile] minim_calibre
We also went with no rhyming, and Paul's last name ends with -tell.

Pity, as I really liked the name Isobel.

No names starting with P or M (too many names with P in the family, including mine and Paul's, and both our last names start with M).

Nothing that isn't an actual, proper name (my name is Pleiades, and I am still bitter).

We tried to go for a middle-of-the-road in popularity name that we both could stand, and chose Lillian, but of course, that's hit or miss and EVERYONE'S doing it, and Lillian wound up having a big spike that year. Oops?

Then for middle names, we went for family names (great-grandmothers), one common and one obscure. Sadly, the obscure one was also used in Twilight, so I'm feeling somewhat defensive about Esme.

Date: 2011-08-14 05:45 pm (UTC)
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
From: [personal profile] kate_nepveu
Tell people it was after Weatherwax instead.

Date: 2011-08-14 06:13 pm (UTC)
minim_calibre: (Default)
From: [personal profile] minim_calibre
Considering I spent my bedrest on Pratchett marathoning, that's totally plausible. (Actually, I've been asked if it's after Weatherwax. I don't think anyone in my social circle acknowledges that Twilight exists.)

Date: 2011-08-14 06:20 pm (UTC)
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
From: [personal profile] kate_nepveu
I've read the summaries but doubt I could have told you unprompted what the kid's name was.

(Also, eek, bedrest, that's my biggest non-irreversible fear. Belated sympathies.)

Date: 2011-08-15 02:11 am (UTC)
cass404: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cass404
And we call her Ticky. To her face.

Date: 2011-08-14 05:57 pm (UTC)
sara: S (Default)
From: [personal profile] sara
Yes, the children's surname ends with -ies, so rhyming was a real problem for us.

The boy's given name can be abbreviated to something that rhymes, but he's always had a very strong preference for the other common nickname for his given name, which doesn't rhyme.

On the other hand, both ours have family names. We have never really had problems with confusion. I am quite attached to the idea of family names, which eliminate a lot of nomenclature problems (indeed, I very much wish I'd been a Florence or an Anna Mary or a Maude or a Nell Miranda, which is what I'd've gotten had my mother named me after a grandmother, as I did for my daughter, rather than picking something out of the zeitgeist....)

Date: 2011-08-14 06:16 pm (UTC)
sedge: A drawing of the head of a sedge wren. (Default)
From: [personal profile] sedge
Dignity is good. The way my mother framed it was: if your child has some highly-respected profession, will the name fit? That is, what if your child is a judge?

My family also has a rule that if the first name is somewhat unusual, the middle name should be boringly ordinary so that the child will have a fallback name. Which is why all the women in my family have the middle name "Ann".

Being careful that the initials don't spell something unfortunate is also something to pay attention to.

Date: 2011-08-14 09:36 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] cassandre
After reading all your name-list posts (which I find v. interesting), it's intriguing to find out what you *really* think about names!

I agree with all your points. Creative naming (especially strangely spelled versions of common names) irks me so much that I went to the other extreme and opted for Charles and Edward (Charlie and Teddy). Also, the kids' surname is complicated, so we went for the simple first name rule. We liked some names from other ethnic traditions but didn't go for them precisely because we didn't have any connection to the cultures in question.

Lots of the most "creative" names I have come across in the US, however, are from African-American families, so I feel uncomfortable expressing disdain for that tendency, however much I dislike it personally. It seems it has become virtually a cultural tradition in its own right, if you see what I mean.

I love your kids' names but wouldn't have considered them traditional, simply because they are so unusual. But it's true that they are classic/classy and easy to spell, so if that's what you mean by traditional, then yeah.

Date: 2011-08-15 02:20 am (UTC)
veejane: Pleiades (Default)
From: [personal profile] veejane
TyQuavious is still my favorite too.

Date: 2011-08-15 09:40 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] cassandre
Somehow the capital Q makes all the difference!

Date: 2011-08-15 09:44 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] cassandre
OMG I can't stomach the apostrophe either!

I am fine! Teddy is fabulous - he sleeps through the night and everything. Am not sure what I did to be so lucky. I still can't seem to get my act together enough to update my lj though - I am a sad human being.

Incidentally, light has just dawned as to why you called your children's names traditional. Ha. I am a bit thick sometimes. I was thinking, "Casper? I've never heard of a girl named Casper!"

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