Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Reflections on Conventions, Naming not Political or What's in a Name?

It's always interesting watching the trends in children's names in the US. Each year the lists come out and new names pop up. Some of those names are nice, simple, solid names and some are way-out there. Well, in Jordan, it seems that names must also go through cycles and new names get introduced commonly. (At least boy's names should be cyclical due to the first born named after Jiddo situation.) I was thinking about this today because of the kids and their peers in school. One thing I find interesting in the US is that the top 10 names remain fairly constant for boys and vary widely for girls. Boys' names haven't changed that much since 1900, girls names have changed greatly. Here in Jordan, I don't necessarily have insight into what are "normal" names and what are odd names. But, I do have some insight into common names these days, which I find interesting. So, here are some common names from the rosters of the under 7 set.
  1. Farah: ButterBean has two in her class alone. Last year, she had 3 Farah's in her class (you'd think they'd split them across the classes, no?). Clearly this is a popular name. I don't think, however, that it's a new name.
  2. Jude: Also two of these in ButterBean's class. One was referred to as the "English" Jude. (She was Arab as were both of her parents, but she didn't speak any more Arabic on starting KG than ButterBean. Her parents spoke to her only in English, sadly she had mediocre English skills and mediocre Arabic skills.) We also have friends with a daughter named Jude. I understand this isn't really a new name, but is new in popularity. Everytime I hear it, I think of the Beatles. Wonder if those who name their kids Jude do as well?
  3. Maia: Now this is definitely a foreign name (in fact, before ButterBean was born I wanted this to be her middle name. El 3atal objected because it's too much like water in Arabic. How silly does he feel now that ButterBean's grade has 2 Maia's and we know a 3rd?)
  4. Yasmeen: Another one that isn't new but is rather popular. I've yet to meet an adult named Yasmeen, but there are 2 girls in ButterBean's grade named Yasmeen. Have anything to do with Disney's Aladdin (teehee)?
  5. Zeid: When friends of ours had their first (12 years ago now), El 3atal said it was kind of an old name (you know like Gertrude and Cordelia). Now, throw a rock in pre-school and you'll hit a Zeid. Personally, I think it's a nice name.

Another interesting trend (not limited to the little ones) is naming Western sounding names, but misspelling them in English. For instance:

  1. ButterBean's teacher was Marian. Yes, to the Arab eye, that is apparently equivalent to Marianne. However, an American would take a quick read of the name and pronounce it "Mary-un."
  2. Same with a girl at the bank, Suzan. I'm sure she thinks her name is Suzanne, but in English, it's "Suze-un."
  3. Leya: ButterBean had one of these in her class. I thought it was like Princess Leia in Star Wars. Apparently, it's Leah. You know, Lee-uh like in the Bible.

Generally, I find it interesting seeing what people all over are doing for names. And, while we're on the subject am I the only one who is horrified at the idea that a woman who named her kids Track, Bristol, Piper, Willow, and Trig (this one really gives me the heebie-jeebies causing flashbacks to high school math) might be Vice President? As if the flood of Britneys and Tiffanys wasn't bad enough...

Happy Naming Conventions!


At 2:45 AM , Blogger NasEr said...

See,Palin's kids stole the show at the end ! seriously !! there is something about this woman ! a555 .

At 6:24 AM , Blogger MommaBean said...

I think that was the intent. And there is something, but I'm not of the opinion that it's something good :). But the names, oh my goodness the names. Can you imagine when trig has to TAKE trig in school? How embarassing will that be...

At 9:20 AM , Blogger Anast├ício Soberbo said...

Hello, I like this blog.
Sorry not write more, but my English is not good.
A hug from Portugal

At 1:30 PM , Blogger MommaBean said...

Welcome Anastacio and I'm glad you've ejoyed reading my blog.

At 4:23 PM , Blogger NasEr said...

well i hated that they stole the show ! I hate that she is in every second of the news,and the battle now is between Obama VS Palin !
I'm seriously worried that we (we = the world ) would be caught up in this Obama Palin issue for the next two months and time would pass and McCain might actually have a chance !

At 2:50 AM , Blogger UmmFarouq said...

Trig, yes, that's a bad one. Makes me want to whip out my scientific calculator.

I love the name JUDE! If I have another daughter (cough, cough, sputter) I'd love to name her Jude.

All these Palin clan names are still better than Aquanetta any day, though.

At 5:49 AM , Blogger MommaBean said...

Now, UmmFarouq, I think you'd say they're better than Frozenia and Fredtonio as well. I don't know what you mean... But, if Aquanetta's mom had a boy, would be have been Aquanet?

At 4:23 AM , Blogger UmmFarouq said...

Indeed, it would have been. You are one sharp Alabamian (we should start a club).


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