Re: Children's names

From: Robin Faichney (
Date: Mon Jun 04 2001 - 12:43:20 BST

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    Date: Mon, 4 Jun 2001 12:43:20 +0100
    Subject: Re: Children's names
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    From: Robin Faichney <>
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    On Mon, Jun 04, 2001 at 11:06:04AM +0100, Vincent Campbell wrote:
    > Interesting stuff,
    > Here's a good example, I expect, of the weird ways the media do have an
    > impact. In the UK, celebrities with unusual names, or popular soap
    > characters have an impact on names. A good example would be 'Courtney', the
    > name given to the baby of Grant and Tiffany Mitchell- characters in
    > 'Eastenders'. I don't remember where it came in the lists, but I remember
    > newspaper reports saying it had moved up significantly.

    And where did the Mitchells get the name from? Courtney Cox seems a
    likely candidate. Another UK soap, The Archers, had a mildly amusing
    theme around 10 years ago when a working class baby was named Kylie,
    after the soap actor turned singer. The Archers covers a cross-section,
    class-wise, and the reaction of the middle classes was basically "oh
    my god!" I think that's an accurate reflection of social reality in
    the UK.

    > Religion, ethnicity and nationalism have a role in name choice also, I
    > expect. Very interesting to hear that Danes often give their kids English
    > names. Of course, there's been a trend in the US for African-Americans to
    > develop variations, and new names to avoid their slave names. In Scotland,
    > some like to make a point of spelling their names the gaelic way (even when
    > it's not a gaelic name in the first place), and so on. Pagans try and avoid
    > biblical names, and so on.

    Do you have any examples of non-gaelic names spelt gaelic-style?

    > Like you say, possible memetic subject there. Perhaps studying the trend
    > for new names amongst African-Americans would be a good way in to finding
    > their origins, rates of spreading, and mutation on the way. I bet someone's
    > done this somewhere.

    Probably. It seems rather an obvious research topic (though so do many,
    in retrospect). But I wonder what, specifically, a memetic perspective
    would add to any study of naming trends?

    Robin Faichney
    Get your Meta-Information from
    (CAUTION: contains philosophy, may cause heads to spin)

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