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A friend of my daughters is an Israeli named Daphna. This is an alternative to Daphne. Still has the "Daffy" connotation, but the -a ending softens it up a little.
I am thinking that, if you are not fond of Godson, that you should consider a similar -son name. How about Dawson, Jackson, Bryson, Grayson, Judson, or Coleson?
Taking the cowboys'/saints' names challenge:
Zack or Zach / various saints - Zackary, Zacharias, Zacchaeus
Zeb / Zebinus
Ike / Isaac
Silas / Silas
Hank / Henry
Cy / Cyrus, Cyprian
Mo or Mose / Moses
Cash / Cassius, Cassian
Jem / Jeremy, Jerome
Lou / Louis
Sly / Sylvester
Amos / Amos
Jake / Jacob
Clem / Clement
Abe / Abraham, Abel, actually a lot of saints begin with Ab-
Bryce / Brice
Linus / Linus
Zeke / Ezekiel
Ace / Asaph
Bo / Boadin, Benno
OK, OK, back to work!
"I know that personally, I'm going to stay clear of one-syllable and very short first names because with a four letter, one-syllable last name, it simply sounds too clipped and looks too short. I like a name to have *some* flow. "
We have the problem of too much flow. We gave our kids four names: Given first name, given middle name, spouse last name, spouse last name. My last name is three syllables and my husband's two. So that's quite a mouthful all on its own. Then, the kids have both a Hebrew and a Yiddish name on top of that, not on their birth certificate, but they're still their additional names. So my eldest is Rose Sarah Shoshana Bluma [two-syllable] [three syllable]. You can see why we went with the "clipped" Rose, rather than, say, Tatiana.
Funny how many think that Louise ia a no-go because of the "wheeze" sound.
I used to think that sort of thing about the name Violet, which either sounded like Violent or Violate to me. Plus, the expression, "Shrinking Violet" isn't positive, either. But look where Violet is today - 128th most popular, or something?
Heck, I used to think that Madelyn, or anything related, would never return to popularity because it had the word "Mad" in it. Yes, go ahead and laugh at me now.
So, is the wheeze of Louise this enormous insuperable barrier to popularity? I don't think so.
"Yuppie"? I think all those who used to be termed "yuppies" are long past their child-bearing years. Their kids are now in their teens and twenties.
Why certain ethnic groups pick certain names...my thoughts:
It is plausibly a name in both languages? Clearly, it's easier to pick a language that works in both Spanish and English than more linguistically different languages. But it's not impossible. "Naomi" is an acceptable name in Japanese, just pronounced more like Now-mee than Nay-oh-mee. A Japanese name like Kenta might be truncated into "Ken" and work in both cultures.
Similarly, if the name doesn't map directly to the other language, is it close enough? If the characters for "Jen-Lei-Fa" work well in Cantonese and have a positive meaning, it might make the English name "Jennifer" more appealing. I could easily see how a name like Henry could be slightly modified and work well in a Chinese dialect.
Immigrants may not quite as aware of naming styles in the country of emigration - we may feel like Tiffany or Jennifer sound a little dated for a baby name. If you're from another country, they may simply sound "American".
British-y sounding names may be more popular among those coming from Hong Kong, as it was a British colony for 99 years. If you have met native English-speaking people with the name of Oliver, you are more likely to pick Oliver for your kid. My daughter dated a guy named "Simon Lee" - yes, he could have been from nearly anywhere, but my first guess was Hong Kong Chinese - and I was right.
Our previous cat had a "preppy surname" name that ended in N - Newton. He was named for Sir Isaac Newton. Originally we were going to name him Einstein, as he was not the brightest feline on the planet, but we ended up feeling like that was too sarcastic. Newton was the fall-back. Yeah, he wasn't that sharp, but he was affable and liked everybody.
As a kid, I named a chicken Hercules and another Atlas. They were both hens, but I was on a Greek mythology kick. Atlas was eaten by a coyote, so she wasn't as gnarly as her name suggests.
A "holler name" not mentioned: Khan.
I'm a star trek fan, and I live in a multi-ethnic neighborhood where I meet people named Khan. It takes every fiber of my being not to yell, "Khan!" (like this: http://youtu.be/nrG-uoVJHwk)
As a Claire myself, I must say that I'm very partial to the ClairE spelling.
My middle name is Edith, which might be too much of a truly old fashioned name for consideration.
No, people don't name their kids after political notables any more. They name them after actors and the characters they play instead. It's hard for me to imagine that Khloe Kardashian is a hero to anyone, but she's apparently a hero to those who name their girls Khloe. They're still names "in honor of".
"Sad to see that people are still giving their girls masculine boy names"
I'm someone who definitely has a "no-frills girl's names for girls" naming style. This is reflected in my extended family: Ruth, Charlotte, my daughter Rose, my name of Claire...
Having said that, a friend of mine has a name that is a girl's name in her family's native tongue but greatly resembles a boy's name in English. She got a PhD in physics, and felt it was a huge advantage to her to have a name that most people on the face of it thought belonged to a man. As a result, she named her two girls with names that also resemble boys' names.
Many who choose ambisexual or out-and-out boy's names for their girls are doing so consciously because they want their girls to have a leg up in a sexist society. They're not naming hamsters, they are deliberately doing what they think is best for their girls' future.
What are the top women's names in sales?
Probably too late to comment at this point...
OK, so Gertrude is universally loathed, but what about Trudy or Trudi? Are these too close to words like "intrude" or "rude" for Trudy/Trudi to ever be acceptable?
I never thought that much about it, but I guess I'm in the human-name-for-animal camp:
Oliver, Joey, Crispin, Jasmine, Newton, Luna. Even as a kid I named our parakeet Hercules, because I liked the cartoon Hercules and Brutus.
I don't know if I'd use any of those names on my kids, though. Newton was named for Sir Isaac Newton - if I were to name a kid after that personage, I'd probably go with Isaac instead.
Hannah? Anna? For boys? I think the wrong checkbox got checked on some of these forms.