Meaningless names

Robyn Starkey rohina at
Tue Jun 29 12:54:53 EDT 2004

>I just read about a study done by someone at the University College 
>(London) that talked about this! The
>link is here: 
>But for those without web access, it basically talks about how American 
>baby names were studied across
>the 20th century, and it was found that girls name changed a lot more. One 
>suggestion was that because
>family names have traditionally been patrilineal, male first names were 
>correspondingly more linked to
>past family names. But the trends for the mutation rate (yes they used 
>this phrase) changed between
>decades, and the 1990s were very innovative for both genders, with the 
>most new boy names being
>recorded. Which would seem to correspond to less traditionalism? Other 
>interesting tidbits included a switch
>from New Testament names such as John and Paul to Old Testament names such 
>as Jacob and Noah.

This was a mildly interesting point. It's a pity that the example they took 
was of a child whose names included a matrilinear name choice (that is, 
"Blythe" is the name of Gwynneth Paltrow's mother, so hardly radical as a 
choice), which fact was conveniently ignored.


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