Today we have naming of children

At the playground today with L, there were a number of other families there, including one woman (middle-class by her accent) with 2 girls called Storm and Poppy. I thought this was rather tough on them, since such names seem to close off so many options. Storm, for example, can only really be the heroine of a romantic novel, and probably has to have grey eyes, which change to reflect her passionate nature. Poppy, meanwhile, has no option but to be sunny and a little flamboyant. She can’t be shy or depressive, let alone tragic. My rule of thumb for choosing a girl’s name (before L was born) was that it had to sound OK with ‘Professor’ in front of it, but equally could be abbreviated/adapted suitably if she wanted to become a pop star or just be informal. That way, L could imprint her personality on her name rather than vice-versa. This is far trickier for girls’ names than boys’. Just a look at the current British favourites (see http://www.statistics.gov.uk/CCI/nugget.asp?ID=184) shows how much fancier girls’ names tend to be than boys, with far more change over time. Presumably, a woman’s name is intended to be part of her feminine attractiveness, while boys’ name have shown slower developments over time, because of a tendency to inherit family names. What I’m not sure is when this began (in Britain, at least). My immediate thought would be the eighteenth century, when I know some invented names that are still popular developed, such as Vanessa and Stella. But maybe it’s an Elizabethan idea, since at least some female names of Greek origin seem to have been popularised by the Renaissance. If anyone knows, I’d be interested to hear more…

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One thought on “Today we have naming of children

  1. You can plan all you want, but sometimes your Karma runs over your Dogma. I went to school in the 1950s with pleasant, but rather plain, girl whose parents, shortly before the name became significant, named her Marilyn Monroe.

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