Any insights on this trend?

I work at a New York summer camp where about 95% of the kids are from the NYC metropolitan area and Jewish.  There's all sorts of fun name trends in that microcosm, but one has me completely stumped.  Girls side is practically overflowing with Alana, except no one spells it that way.  There is one Alanna, lots of Elana and Elanna, and a few Ilana.  All pronounced the same way.  All of these girls are ages 10-16.  The A spellings are moderately popular in America and in the top 100 in Ireland, but the E and I spellings don't crack anyone's top 1000 list.  I think if I saw one Elana or Ilana, I might take it to be the result of creative parenting, but with the name being way overrepresented in such a small sample, there has to be a better explanation.  I thought at first that it was a way to incorporate El into the name, since that means God in Hebrew (I know two Elyssa pronounced like Alyssa), but that leaves the I spelling.  If anyone knows about this trend, I would love to hear your explanation!  This one definitely has me stumped!


February 18, 2013 12:14 PM

This looks to me like variant transliterations of popular modern Israeli names, usually transliterated as Alona and Ilana, influenced by the more common Alana/Alanna and Elena.  Just my guess....

By EVie
February 18, 2013 4:27 PM

I've known a few girls named Ilana and Elana in my own generation, and yup, they were Jewish. I think Miriam's explanation is probably right. It makes sense that this family of names would take off among this generation of Jewish girls, as it fits so well into the overall style (see the blog post that Laura wrote some time back about "liquid" names). 

February 18, 2013 11:48 PM

Yup, I'd say that it's the Hebrew influence, too. I've known several Elanas and Ilanas over the years. There was also a Hebrew teacher named Ilana at my elementary school who was Israeli and so her name was said in Hebrew, ee-la-na. Doesn't surprise me at all :)