The Name of the Future
New names are submitted to Namipedia every day. I'm used to all kinds, from medieval martyrs to video-game villains. But one name just about bowled me over. It's a glimpse ahead to a brave new world of naming:
Pronounce it like Riley minus the R. It may look unassuming at first glance, but read the submitter's description...
Her mother is very young and first had the idea for the name when a friend ended a text or email with the acronym ILY, meaning I Love You. This acronym is extremely popular with teens, and most of them sign off of chat or end an email with it.
A name that's an acronym! And not just any acronym, but an emblem of the modern communication age. What could be more natural for the the text and Twitter generation, the generation that talks with its thumbs, then an "acroname"?
The point of textspeak -- sorry, txtspk -- is to economize on typing. A cumbersome stock phrase like "for what it's worth" turns into a brisk FWIW, letting you respond to a text or insert your opinion in a chat much more quickly. But as these forms of communication have become ubiquitous, the abbreviations have taken on lives of their own. Schoolyards now ring out with cries of "OMG!!", even though "Oh-my-God!!" is just as easy to say.
Realistically, an immediate flood of txtspk baby names isn't likely. ("Meet my daughter L8r and my son Roflmao.") Some names may actually suffer from the connection. The Hebrew name Orly, for instance, has started to get responses of "oh really?" Yet if Ily takes off, it could open a new realm of possibilities in many parents' minds. It's one more step away from the idea of names as a predetermined set, and toward names as a creative reflection of personal reality.
Name traditionalists will doubtless cringe. To which the kre8ives reply, NOYB.
I think Ily has a real chance. Beyond its sweet sentiment and easy spelling, Ily has the sound of the moment. It's a mashup of two of the fastest rising names in America, Miley and Isla. If nothing else, Ily finally gives us the perfect answer to the question, what's a good sister name for Nevaeh? It's the same kind of loving secret message, wrapped up in a contemporary girlish name. Or, if you prefer, the same kind of craziness.
Ily. You heard it here first.