Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Best baby names

Prospective parents, rejoice. The ONS has released a list of the most popular baby names in the UK (see this lovely map Mindful Mum has put together showing where the names are most popular - love a good map).

So, now we all know which names to avoid this year so that our children will not be known in the classroom as Harry4 or Lily8. Or worse just by their surname (fine for secondary school, not so endearing at nursery).

Compared to say, childbirth, naming your child may not seem such a tricky job, but this is your offspring's social future you are playing with. You could unwittingly be adding years of torment and teasing to the poor child's life, so somehow, in between raging pregnancy hormones and sleeplessness and the sheer blind panic of birth, you have to come up with a suitable name that fills the following criteria:

  • Original, but not barking mad
  • Pretty (or manly), but not too much or everyone will be using it
  • Fits with your last name, but not in a weird way (everyone has a peculiarly named child they went to school with, mine was Iona Sidebottom)
Then you have family heritage to take into consideration. Luigi is a perfectly acceptable name for a family with an Italian background, but as there isn’t a drop of carbonara in our bloodline, it might sound a bit pretentious in our household. 

That said, I do love European names: French, Italian, even some of Russian sounding names are lovely. But to be worthy of consideration they’d have to be pronounceable and not sound too bizarre. Here are a few of my favourites:

Top five French names (girls)

  • Aimee
  • Clementine
  • Jessamyn
  • Simone
  • Violet

Top five French names (boys)

  • Sebastian
  • Louie
  • Luc/Luke
  • Javier
  • Emile

Top five Italian names (girls)

  • Chiara
  • Rosa
  • Alegra
  • Elena
  • Gabriella

Top five Italian names (boys)

  • Luca
Actually that was it, the rest all sound like they belong on a pizza menu. Don’t think a freckly Londoner is going to get away with being called Giovanni or Romano.

Top five Russian-y names (girls)

  • Natalia
  • Alexandra
  • Alyssa
  • Eda
  • Anya

Top five Russian-y names (boys)

  • Stefan
  • Ivan
Actually, just the two here as well. The rest are all Vladmirs and Egors. Again, imagine a Geordie introducing himself as Vladmir...?

What do you think? Any good ones I've missed?

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