I think that people are looking for more and different names for a lot of reasons. First of all, there is no longer the pressure to give the children the same name as the parents or grandparents. Then there is the fact that even a villager's world is a much bigger place than it used to be with children going to much bigger schools where they don't all want to have the same name. And then naturally there is the media factor -- people like to name their children after movie, TV and singing stars. Of course, as we have seen, the stars themselves are wracking their brains for weirder and weirder names for their own children. One only need to look at the Pitt-Jolie or Beckham families.
I also read a factoid the other day about why so many people have first names as their last name: Martin, Vincent, Robert, Stewart, Thomas, etc. It has to do with the huge number of orphans there used to be -- either the parents dropping like flies from the plague or cholera or whatever or else the babies being dropped like bags of shit in front of churches or hospitals. Most of them were given the last name of the saint of the day or the nearest church or any other such place. For the first name, it was pretty much a roll of the dice based on simple criteria like "oh we don't have a Joseph anymore since the last one died of dysentery two months ago -- let's use that one again."
Something I just read on the subject and that I found interesting is that the 'most used first names' socre much less than before Philippe for instance in the 60's in Belgium would score about 13% of the boys of that year, whilst the first on the list now is given to only 2,5 or something babies.
We have way more many names than before and being nr one is no longer a lot in absolute figures.
Which is the explanation why Mohammad is the number one boy's name in the UK. Non-Muslims choose from a much wider range.
Besides London, I saw that Mohamed (+ variations) is #1 in Oslo and Marseille. It has been #1 in the UK since 2007 and only just lost the #1 status in Brussels this year. But it is #14 in Paris and #29 in France which is the Occidental country with the highest percentage of population of Muslim origin -- 7.5% compared to Belgium with 6% or the UK with 4.6%. So the names given quite certainly also have a relation to the amount of religious practice in the various countries. I know that in the most recent survey France came in #2 in the world with having the least religious practice, just behind the Czech Republic.
Nevertheless, both Mohamed and Aaron are skyrocketing in recent statistics, which implies that we are not yet finished with wars of religion.
Italian most frequent names for girls, 2013: 1 Sofia 2 Giulia 3 Giorgia 4 Martina 5 Emma 6 Aurora 7 Sara 8 Chiara 9 Gaia 10 Alice 11 Anna 12 Alessia 13 Viola 14 Noemi 15 Greta 16 Francesca 17 Ginevra 18 Matilde 19 Elisa 20 Vittoria 21 Giada 22 Beatrice 23 Elena 24 Rebecca 25 Nicole 26 Arianna 27 Melissa 28 Ludovica 29 Marta 30 Angelica
1 Francesco 2 Alessandro 3 Andrea 4 Lorenzo 5 Matteo 6 Mattia 7 Gabriele 8 Leonardo 9 Riccardo 10 Davide 11 Tommaso 12 Giuseppe 13 Marco 14 Luca 15 Federico 16 Antonio 17 Simone 18 Samuele 19 Pietro 20 Giovanni 21 Filippo 22 Alessio 23 Edoardo 24 Diego 25 Christian 26 Nicolo' 27 Gabriel 28 Emanuele 29 Cristian 30 Michele
Most of the names are rather traditional ones. My own name is in the list, but when I was a child it was a very uncommon name. I live in a part of Italy that's rather multiethnic, and work in a primary school. Yes, I have two Rayans from Morocco, and a Ryan from Poland. Fatima is the top choice for girls from the Arab world, Mohamed/Muhammad/Mohammed for the boys. But also, an increasing number of children from foreign parents bears an Italian name.
Interesting list, Chiaram. I was surprised by how traditional it is. Even Fatima and the variations of Mohammed can be considered traditional by now, I suppose. Do you think it's because of a resurgence of popularity by the old names, as seems to be the case in English-speaking countries, or rather that the same names continue popular year after year?
My name does not appear at all in the top 100 names for the year I was born and yet there were 2 other girls in my 1st grade class of only 25 with the same name. Also, there are 2 other women within a half block of where I currently live with the same. Strange odds.
I'm familiar with that kind of naming tradition, but never stopped to think about how it was handled with twins of the same sex. Is your mother-in-law's name something that her parents simply liked, or is it a different family name?
I just had a quick look at the BBC website and saw that Mark Zuckerberg and his wife had a girl they have named Max. Now why would they do this? Do they want her to grow up confused about what gender she is? It's a boy's name.
I find it bad enough that children are given names like Madison or Harper and you have no idea whether they are male or female, but to give a girl a boy's name is beyond stupid.
Within living memory, someone called Hilary or Evelyn could be either a boy or a girl, and I was always taught in the 50s that Leslie was for boys and Leslie for girls, but that's gone by the board. I'm sure this child will survive. Families and friends being what they are, there'll be nickname variants like Maxie, or she may just decide she wants to be called Ermintrude or Zaphod Beeblebrox. Why does gender need to be so firmly signalled?
Well, in French (and in many other languages) gender definitely needs to be firmly signalled, so it really struck me. Mind you, I just read the headline, maybe her name is indeed Maxine or Maximiliana.
Call me old-fashioned but Ermintrude sounds female and Zaphod Beeblebrox sounds male.
in germany it is required by law that at least one of the child's names (though not necessarily the one used for calling the child) needs to indicate the gender. i am not sure i like that rule - and i bet with some foreign names the authorities won't be able to tell, anyway, and there have been cases of names being refused even though they are only used for one gender in germany, but they are used for another in other countries (like, if parents were not allowed to name a girl "Andrea" without a second name, because it is a boy's name in italy) ... though i suppose a name that invites teasing is not so good ... but somehow with "max" that does not feel as much like that, if a girl was named kevin or arnold that would be stranger, somehow - max is not uncommon as a nickname, as there are female names that start with it ...
There have been times when a job has gone to Sam Smith or Ted Jones who on reporting for work have turned out to be Samantha or Theodora. Would they have got the position if their gender had been obvious at the time? (here it is illegal to advertise for males or females specifically)
Travel! Set out and head for pastures new[br] Life tastes the richer when you’ve road worn feet.[br]Ibn Battuta[br]
I know a man named "June" who comes from a long line of similarity named male family members.
Which leads me to wonder whether none of his previous Junes thought it wasn't a good idea to change the name. Did they never have problems at school? Or maybe they thought, "If I had to suffer through it, so will my son -- it will build character!".
He was the fourth in the line. I can't remember if the tradition was carried on. I haven't seen him in thirty years or so, but he went on to be quite famous in college and professional athletics, not due to his name.
I was not very excited when my son & ex-daughter-in-law named my first grandson Tanen - mother forgetting that it had to have 2 'n's to prevent it being pronounced 'Taynin'. Too late we all woke up after she submitted the documents. My neice has a son who was named Tanner. All his young life he was referred to as Tan-Tan, or Tan ...same as our boy. The next choice for the second grandchild was Weston. He has been called everything from Wessie, to Westy and now has a pet name Shoogs which is short for Sugar. I'm wondering which name will stick with him for life. To justify the uncommon names they each got a very common second name -Michael & Mathew.
PS. A few holidays ago the elder one asked to be called Tan-Dog...his new name to all the mates at the beach.
A little known fact is that Tod and I share the same (quite beautiful) first name, although it wasn't terribly popular by the time we were born, having fallen from the high popularity it had in the 1910s & 20s.
I got those statistics from the US Social Security site, so they may not be accurate for South Africa.
Last Edit: Aug 13, 2019 16:57:37 GMT by bixaorellana: replace smiley
Gabriel is somewhat popular here for boys - the well-known student leader Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois. Raphaël a bit less so but not unusual - also popular among speakers of other Latin languages here (Italian, Spanish, Portuguese). I'm surprised about Louise in France - most Louises I know here are my vintage (boomer) or early generation X. Obviously some kids will be named for beloved mamies, and these are mamies who were feminist pioneers. Jade not at all - I think of Jade Jagger; I have a colleague whose little car is named Jade, but I don't know any humans with that name.
"Mon Jules" est mon copain, but didn't it also have seamier meanings, as in my pimp?
Emma is very popular, here as elsewhere. It is a name I might have given to a daughter, because it is very "portable" known and pnonounceable in several languages.