Tuesday 25 November 2014

Baby names - are they 4real?

The Geldof girls: Peaches, left, and her sister Fif Trixiebell

So you have a new baby. Will he or she be Apple, Lark, Audio Science, or even 4real? You can call your baby anything nowadays just so long as you don't plump for boring old John or Mary. The names once given to Irish babies with barely a moment's thought have fallen out of favour dramatically.

Until relatively recently, most first names came either from the Bible or from Greek, Roman or Germanic traditions; children were called after saints, or failing that other family members or historical heroes.

Now, some parents are as likely to name them after their favourite brand of underwear.

Mary does not feature in the top 25 names for girls in 2006 compiled by the Central Statistics Office. Irish parents are more inclined towards solid Jane Austen-type labels than religious figures. The top three girls' names in Ireland are Sarah, Emma and Katie, while Sophie and Emily are also in the top 25. Leah, Mia, and Lauren might once have been considered unusual, but now feature prominently.

Irish names are more popular for boys with Sean, Conor, Cian, Darragh and Oisin all in the top 25.

Anyone for Affinity, Afternoon, Barcelona, Seagull or Navigator? They all feature in a new Brilliant Book Of Baby Names by Pamela Satran and Linda Rozencrantz.

Controversially, they come up with a list of names that that "all your friends will think are cool'' (or possibly insufferably pretentious)

For girls: Asia, Bronwyn Delaney, Delilah, Lark, Paloma, Siena, Willa. For boys: Ash, Beckett, Cruz, Donovan, Elvis, Hudson, Jackson, Jude.

Celebrities are now almost expected to brand their infants with a ludicrous moniker. They would probably be shunned in glitzy circles if they didn't come up with something special like Sage Moonblood (the name given to Sylvester Stallone's infant) or Pilot Inspektor (the son of actor Jason Lee).

Glamour model Jordan and her husband, former pop star Peter Andre, recently named their baby daughter Princess Tiaamii.

Tiaamii -- pronounced tee-ah-me -- is taken from the names of Andre's mother Thea and Jordan's mother Amy.

Jordan explained helpfully: "Her name is Princess Tiaamii. Princess because she is our princess and Tiaamii was Pete's idea because it's taken from our mums' names. We love it because it's unique. I'm going to get a tattoo on the back of my neck with a crown and 'Princess' underneath."

Jordan is merely following a time-honoured tradition. Frank Zappa seemed to top everyone when he named his daughter Moon Unit.

She might curse her parents for giving her such a name, but she might consider herself blessed for not getting the name of her sister, Diva Muffin.

Baby-naming rules vary from country to country. In a high profile case, authorities in New Zealand banned a couple from their baby 4real, so they then changed it to something more conventional... Superman

Germany disallows the the names Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Laden and in France parents must choose names from a national list.

Irish authorities are liberal in allowing the registration of baby names. But even they might baulk at the name chosen by a Chinese couple earlier this month: authorities banned them from naming their child after the email sign @.

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