Saturday, 3 August 2013

What's In A Name?

So the new Royal baby has a name, and there has, inevitably, been much debate about it.  Too traditional?  What meaning? Their choice really?  Etc etc etc.  And of course there was the recent furore, in both the media and across the blogging and social networks, over the odious Katie Hopkins' comments on names (and hair colour).  Then yesterday I entered a competition which asked for your favourite name as a comment for entry.  Other people's choices and comments were fascinating.  So I got to wondering, in my best Carrie Bradshaw impression, what's in a name?  Or more specifically, how do we choose our children's names?

Some, it seems, have name choices set in stone from childhood.  (Just as well I didn't stick with mine - the world probably has more than enough Laurens after its '80s/'90s popularity, and Cassandra is a bit too much for my taste now!*)  Whilst other parents are still debating their chosen names, or at least the order to put them in, at the eleventh hour on their way to the registry office.

Which brings us on to middle names.  To have or not to have, that is the question.  And if to have, then how many?  Not to mention surnames, especially if the parents are unmarried, or like me a feminist who has kept their own name.  All in all, a complete minefield!

Add to that all the personal associations you build up over the years (for example, I hate the names Justin and Amelia because of particularly horrible children at high school), and then for me, top it off with a decade of teaching and all the name associations and likes/dislikes that brings, and naming your children becomes a complete headache.

Having had two girls so far, we still have our original boy name waiting in the wings, but choosing the right combination of names for girl three is proving tricky.  Particularly as we decided from the start to give all our children three middle names!

So, I'm being nosy, how did you decide on your children's names?  For what it's worth, here's our rationale so far:

Number one daughter is called Lara Alice Mary Ann.  Lara was a long-term choice of mine, long before the reality of having a baby, and is named after the wonderful heroine of Doctor Zhivago.  (The very beautiful Julie Christie if your DZ knowledge only goes as far as the wonderful but inaccurate David Lean/Omar Sharif film!)  Alice is after my very dear late great aunt who is fondly remembered; Mary after both of my grandmothers (one's first name, the other's middle name); and Ann is both my mum's and bizarrely my aunt's middle name.

And number two daughter is Sophia Agnes Katya Anastasia.  Sophia (pronounced So-FY-a not So-fee-a) came about because Steve liked Sophie and I liked Sophia in the conventional pronunciation, but we thought both too common**.  Then we remembered the old English pronunciation as 'So-fy-a' and loved it, so that is what she became.  Agnes is after Steve's granny and a name I loved anyway, and Katya and Anastasia are two of my favourite Russian girl's names, but wouldn't be good as first names.  Katya because no British person can pronounce it properly, and Anastasia because it is shortened to 'Nastya' in Russian, which I loathe.  So giving them to Sophia as middle names seemed like a good plan!

Oh and as for the surname thing, I have mine, Steve has his, and the children have both.  Now we just have to get number three's names sorted...

Go on, indulge me, what are your children's names, and why?


* If those are your name choices, please ignore me.  They are both lovely, and I am certainly no Katie Hopkins!!!

** 'Common' as in frequently used, not lower class, I hasten to add!!


8 comments :

  1. My son is Rory. I'd never even considered it as a name for potential babies that I may have, but I fell pregnant and just 'knew' that the baby was a little boy called Rory right from being about 7 weeks pregnant. Luckily, my husband liked it too.

    It was important to me that his name wasn't commonly used, but also that it was still quite traditional - a difficult balance. Irritatingly, 2 or 3 weeks after he was born, the character of Rory was introduced to Doctor Who. I was fuming! It's now much more common than it was before then. I'm still cross to this day!

    One thing that amuses me about the names people choose for their children these days is when they think they're being terribly original by choosing names that would have been unusual when we were kids, but actually their choices are in the top 50 baby names because everyone's thinking the same way. These days, it would be far more original to name your child John or Simon or Paul than Alfie or whatever.

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    1. Oh I like the name Rory. Some people have misheard my cat's name (Yuri) as Rory, and I adored an Enid Blyton character who was called Rory as a child!

      Totally agree with you on all the 'original' names, not to mention the 'quirky' spellings - grr...

      Thanks for commenting! Lx

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  2. I loved reading this! I can't have children but always wanted to call a daughter Sophia & funnily enough the way you pronounce your Sophia too! I do have a dog & named him Hudson just because I liked the name & it wasn't a common dogs name in the UK. My brother's girlfriend has given us the namess she's planning to call their daughter & I hate the once's she has chosen (my brother doesn't have a say in it apparently)! However my mum really wanted us to continue the second name Dawn (or third, fourth name) but she won't have it which has upset her & the family & just says well it's not my fault Shelley can't have kids & I'm not calling any kid of mine that. She is rather young & immature (way too immature to be having a baby) & doesn't feel she needs to respect anyone's feeling by saying nicely that it isn't really a name she would consider. So it just shows how choosing a babie's name can cause so many problems & also with surnames as she says when they get married she isn't taking my brother's surname & neither is the baby! I do think my parents would be fine with it if she would of just worded it nicely!

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    1. Thank you Shelley! I'm glad you enjoyed it. Good to have another Sophia-liker on board, a lot of people have never heard of that pronunciation and think we are saying 'Sapphire' or even 'So Fire' :-/

      Gosh your future SIL sounds fun!! Steve's parents were worried when they found out I didn't want to change my name, but he explained he was quite happy with it and then they were fine (I think!) Like you say, it's how you say things to people/explain your reasons that makes a difference.

      For me, the taking your husband's name thing is quite an offensive tradition, harking back to men owning their wives and children. (They could even sell us as late as 180 years ago!!) The name changing tradition is also peculiar to only a few countries. For example, the Spanish automatically have both mother and father's names and no-one changes their name. I was determined from a very early age that I would keep my name!

      Good luck with the SIL!!! (Love 'Hudson' by the way.)

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  3. We had 3 names for our first, but when he arrived he was definitely a Dylan. I had chosen it as I didn't think it was too common but since having him, I see Dylans everywhere! With Archie we had nothing until I was in labour when I suddenly knew I was having a baby Archie. It took us a few days to get used to the name before we decided it was the right one as we had never even considered it before but it suits him perfectly now

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    1. Ooh, that's weird. I have heard other people say that, it's as if the baby comes with name attached. Some think their souls choose who to go to, so maybe that is how they already have a suited name. I can't imagine our girls being called anything else now either, funny isn't it?

      I didn't think Dylan was that common either, not heard of many round here yet. Always makes me think of too cool for school Bob! Lx

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  4. I tend to agree that when the baby is born you will know if the name you have chosen is suitable

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  5. As soon as I found out I was expecting with all 3 boys we had names chosen more or less right away & stuck with them. The names were not chosen for any other reason than we liked them, my eldest is Connor (15 nearly 16) Jak (spelt how you say it, aged 10) & Harrison (4 months) all 3 boys have middle names but these are family surnames ie grandparents. I couldn't imagine them being called anything else.

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