Friday, May 21, 2010

More thoughts on the Renault Zoe

I wrote last November about the Renault Zoe, the story has not died completely. A Zoe Renault has hired lawyers to try to persuade Renault to scrap the name. The article (and I find it somewhat amusing that the journalist is a Zoe as well) brings up some interesting points about the danger of naming - mainly, you don't know what a name is going to be associated with in the future.

While the Renault family were probably well-aware of the car company when they named their daughter, they still avoided any of the Renault car names at the time - Espace, Fuego or a number (not exactly names you would choose anyway) or any other the more viable as name former car names eg Ondine, Dauphine or Floride. But they couldn't avoid the possibility that Renault may choose Zoe in the future - that was a gamble they had to make.

Of course, with the surname Renault, you would be aware that the danger of a different association primarily came from the car company. However, there are various other examples of simply a popular name (Adolf being the classic example) gaining a stigma because of an unexpected event/person/product. Of course, can you avoid that? Choosing a popular name, say Isabella, might avoid getting a product named after you - most popular products tend to choose more unusual names, but may end up with a famous or infamous figure in twenty years due to the higher proportion of Isabellas being born at the same time. Of course, that's ignoring what is partly responsible for pushing Isabella into its high popularity at the moment, Bella Swan from Twilight.

The answer could therefore to be to choose a completely obscure name, lowering the possibility of name being used elsewhere, but also increasing the danger that if it is used elsewhere then this will become solely associated with that thing (say actresses - Merle - like Oberon? Gwyneth - like Paltrow? Gabourey - like Sidibe? Angelina - like Jolie? Charlize - like Theron? etc.).

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Now this is cool...

The SSA are you letting download a zip file that contains docs for each year back to 1880, which contain all the names that have 5 or more recorded instances. So I can see that in 2009, 7 females named Bryony were born, #1001 was Nyasia, 173 Cordelias were born and 5 boys were named Zyvion.

Awesomeness - hopefully will be able to use it to track historical trends when names dip out of the top 1000.

Friday, May 07, 2010

SSA Top 1000 released

I've been thinking about this all day (another distraction from revision, what with the election and general busyness of life) and haven't yet formed any firm conclusions, so this post is going to be a splatter of thoughts and musings, with a few links to more concise conclusions.

If you don't have a grip on the naming world, then you may be unaware that May 7 is Name Day, or the day that the SSA Top 1000 names are released (aka, we get to see what names were 'hot' in the US last year).

What's really 'hot' are the so-called Twilight names - Isabella topped the girl's name charts - not just by accident, but by GAINING around 3500 births. For a name that dropped its number of births last year, that's fairly impressive. More than that, for the first time since 1949, there is a female name as the #1 name in the US.
Of course, the situation is very different from 1949, when the top names comprised almost 100 000 births, but as a name nerd, such changes make me rather excited.
Isabella of course existed before Twilight, and when the first book was published in 2005, the name was #6.

But what about the rest of the Twilight crew? This is where the Twilight effect is especially tangible - Cullen is the fastest male riser, going from #782 to 485, a surprising number but just a growth of 0.013%. Members of the Cullen family also rose - Emmett from #547 to 332, Jasper from #449 to 337, Alice from #327 to 258. Rosalie and Esme did not chart, and Edward rose just 11 places to #137, though this represented a % change of 0.013% again. Jacob's already at the top, and Bella rose 58 places.

It's generally been a good year for the 'Bella' names - all examples rose in the charts: Isabella (of course), Arabella, Annabella, Izabella and new entry Anabella.

Presidential children Sasha and Malia were among the fast risers, with Maliyah being the quickest riser of them all.

New entries (or reentries) that I've noticed include June, Bristol (the Palin effect or admiration for the West country port?), Kloe (on the back of Chloe), Analia (the telenovela effect), Leighton (Meester?), Milan, Calleigh, Adelynn, Taraji (P. Henson - Oscar nominated in '09), Eloise, Raelyn, Taya (Parker?), Leona (Lewis?), Kellan (Lutz?), Sylas, Jaxen, Dilan, Westin, Garrison, Juelz, Maddux, Cain, Hugh, Stone and Amos.

Oh and Mary fell out of the top 100.