Baby names have been getting shorter since 1990, reports Dan Kopf in his Quartz article “The rise of the 4-letter baby name.” The November 1, 2018 article examines a series of data and quotes naming expert Laura Wattenberg. It’s a fascinating take on the usual “top names of the year” articles I see popping up around this time of the year. In short, baby names are getting shorter, but this apparently is a return to a length that was popular before.
I’m guilty as charged! My kids have names that have 4 and 6 letters in them. While I did focus on whether their names were in the top 100 for the few years leading up to their birth, I didn’t focus on the popularity of the length.
Trends are trends—whether it’s a particular name or simply a particular style of name—we have cultural preferences. While some expecting parents will peek at the popular name list and steer clear (like I did!), I don’t know if parents would either choose a name with a style that wasn’t on-trend or, the opposite, select a name with a style that is on-trend so the name doesn’t stand out too much. (Surely some parents pass on a name simply because it’s too unusual, just as they’ll pass on a name that is too common!) Is popularity of name length a consideration, though? I don’t know, but I think style is a factor to consider. And, just by nature of names, length plays into style.
From this article, I learned about “liquid” and “raindrop” names, which are short and smooth monikers. Focusing on the style and not the length may be easier for parents while sifting through name options. If choosing the name for a second, third, (or more) child, sticking with a particular style of name may be a way to ensure the names of multiple children in a family “go together,” yet another consideration for parents adding more children to their family.
How about you? Did you consider the length of your children’s names? Were name length trends a deciding factor (whether you were on-trend or purposely avoided the trend)? I know subtle cultural trends do influence our decisions (and not just for our baby’s name!), but when it comes to choosing the most perfect name, it’s not an analysis of data that sways our decision, it’s our hearts.
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