Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Name Game

Whether it's for writing purposes, or my "fantasy" list of potential kids, it's fun to brainstorm names.

The other day I discovered a really fun sight, Nameberry, that tracks trends in baby names. What really stood out was an entry called In Praise of Regular Guy Names, in which they praised the comfort of male names such as Fred/Frederick. Aaaah, finally something cool and modern about Fred, lol.

But names are important, and significant markers of the times and generations. Today's grandparent names, in the black community in particular -- Betty, Melvin, Barbara, Sandra, Gladys, Edward, Jackie -- will one day be replaced by names such as DuShawn, LaKeisha, Lexus, Jovan, Precious and the likes.

A group of my students has a fun little game going where they've given each other "old school" black nicknames -- Willie, Hattie Mae, Cleophus, Ruthie, J.C. (Jimmy Carter), Sis, Beulah Mae, Otha, Carl, etc... It's a fun way of keeping some history and traditions alive.

I don't know if children are part of my future, but I've always tended to favor names that could go for either gender, names such as Taylor, Kendall, and Lauren/Loren. But I also like names like Kyle, Jess, Seth, Steph, Xavier, and Ruby which are more on the safe side. There are "not-so-safe" names I like such as Desdemona and Delilah. I think with a last name like Smith, three-syllable first names are a good combo.

For writing purposes, or just fantasizing about your future family, thinking about names is an important, meaningful and fun part of life. Your future kid names? Or any old school names that resonate with you?


Carleen Brice said...

This made me smile. I volunteer at a Head Start and some of the names of the kids will make for interesting grandmas. I tend to give characters the middle names of people I know, at least for place holders.

Jamar Herrod said...

I'm skeptical about some of the names that have been given to black people because many names were given to them by their white slave masters. They later would take their owner's last name and so while I don't know if those names are the best. I know that is what we are used to but I would seek another avenue..I wouldnt mind an African name.