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I love Laurel. Longtime favorite name.
I got 1 & 2, but blew it on the rest. I still like Jasper for number 3, works well with his earthy sisters in the list but has a western, rugged, pioneer flair. Wyatt definitely works, but I'm partial to Jasper because of the girls list.
Boy alternative to Carson...I see Emanuel, Julian, henry, Noah as possibilities. And I like the arguments for Sebastian, too.
Wow! This one was hard, but I couldn't resist playing. Can't wait to see responses for #5, because I have no idea.
Atticus is a strong contender for number 3.
Another guess, Harper?
Ooo Just saw your reply. We agree on 1 & 3. What a surprise to see a match so soon. I wonder if we're on to something?
Great post, Laura. All of these names are pure chicken soup. Nothing intriguing, but comforting and familiar. I have been doing a stint for the past month as a youth sports photographer. It's pop warner football season and being a little name obsessed, I have been fascinated at the number of Isaacs and Isaiahs I encounter at each shoot. I expected non-stop Aidens, but they are far less common than these Old Testament faves amongst this crowd (I'm in Southern California). So, finding both of them listed on your list makes me think that Isaac and Isaiah may just be as American as Monday Night Football.
I'm actually a big fan of the Fan-Boy names, and will admit to Kraven being a long time favorite of mine. We also liked Tauren and Rogue. All of these were met with blank stares from our families.
Based on the nominations and well-argued cases for the name, this felt inevitable. But man, I so wish a strong case could be made for something, anything, else. It just says so much about who we are now. And I don’t like what it says. But I cannot deny it’s stingy accuracy. Awesome analysis as always, Laura.
One more nominee: Greyson Chance.
I pick this name, name combo specifically, because it speaks to multiple trends. First, both of these names rank in the top 250 and are therefore hot baby boy names. It strikes a great balance of sounding both like a fictional character from a Victorian novel, yet modern and masculine.
But the person who the name belongs to skyrocketed to fame this summer by (a) covering a Lady Gaga song at a 6th grade talent show and (b) posting a video of that performance to Facebook. Within a week he was on the talk show Ellen and is currently the #2 “Most Liked” video of all time on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/charts/videos_top_rated?t=a). Second only to We Are the World: Haiti. What is more 2010 than gaining internet and real “fame” by sharing a video with your friends on Facebook?
Somehow, through the virus that is socially-shared video, Greyson managed to break through by stripping down an over-produced pop song to a whaling ballad and earnestly pounded piano keys. Not to mention that he used a song about fame and adoration to acquire exactly that: fame and adoration. In an age where 43% of teens would choose being "the personal assistant to a very famous singer or movie star” as the career they’d most want to have [source: http://www.jakehalpern.com/famesurvey.php ], a story of preteen internet fame is very now.
Finally, Greyson bares a striking resemblance to another teen star who we couldn’t escape from this year: Justin Beiber. A pop singer whose singing was discovered on, yeah you’ve heard it before: YouTube.
Very true. But I don’t think we have to think of the NoTY as the Baby Name of the Year It has been symbolic in the past (i.e. Joe or Renesmee).
However, if we look at Laura’s criteria in deciding the top three last year, "their timeliness, resonance, and ‘naminess' -- how essential the name itself was to the cultural story”, then I’m not sure BP would make the cut for its lack of “naminess.” If it were a more common initial name, such as JR, I think it might be easier to argue the case.
I’m going to nominate BP as the name of the year. Like Exxon, in ten years, when we hear the name BP we will have immediate images and words to associate the name with, whether or not the company still exists. No other name dominated headlines and conversations for weeks. And unlike some of the pop culture nominations, this name was already widespread and known worldwide before 2010. However, in 2010 all associations with this name changed.
What an amazingly well-researched and well-argued post. Thank you Laura for continuing to allow us to ponder and answer the wider sociological implications of name choice.
I’m from California. I definitely say Eeng-lish. To my ear it seems like that is standard pronunciation. The idea that other people around me and on TV may actually be saying IN-glish is kind of blowing my mind. My ears will definitely be on alert the next time someone else says it.
The pronunciation of Sawyer as SOY-yer would be standard in my circle, as well. SAW-yer sounds distinctly Southern to my ear. I’s pronounce lawyer the same way, usually. As LOY-yer or LOY-ur and not LAW-yer.
I absolute LOVE these etymological posts. If there’s a book idea nested in collecting them, I’d love to cuddle up and thumb through it. Understanding the layered history of a name like Sawyer is endlessly fascinating to me.
I have a long-running internet crush on Jason Kottke. How amusing to find his name mentioned here. Two very interesting things (to me, at least) about his post: (1) He’s a man, who actually knew all the names in contention. In my experience the majority (certainly not all) men seem to only hold veto power, but very little bay naming passion. (2) His list of boy names was much longer than his list of girls. Most people seem to struggle with boy names, but have no trouble rattling off dozens of girl names that they like and can’t decide between.
(BTW, love his title reference to Hemingway and Laura’s to Frost. The geek shall inherit the earth.)
I'm a keeper. Absolutely. I wouldn't even reveal the names on our short list. To me, the only people who have to love and identify with the name are the parents and the child. Not only did I not want anyone else in my circle to usurp name before my child was born, I didn't want any raised eyebrows, snide remarks, or giggles to talk me out of a name I was absolutely in love with. We opted for a delivery surprise, so we did not have definitive name picked out ahead of time. For me it was fun to get to know our newborn for a few days and feel out the name that best fit. And although no one in our family had ever heard the name Lyra before, they voiced no protest.