Are you a boy whose name ends in “n”? Congratulations, you are contributing to one of the weirdest naming trends in American history.
This article looks at naming trends, but specifically at the “*Aiden” name family: Jayden, Aden, Kayden, etc. This group of similar sounding names has a wide range of spellings, made even more diverse with the recent trend of desiring unique spellings (though it’s arguable how recent this trend is in some demographic groups). In any case, the *Aiden and *Ayton (Clayton, Peyton, Dayton) name families may be made up of many different names, but the overall sound similarity of these groups makes it reasonable to analyze them as a unit, rather than many different names. And now, as a group, these types of names are overtaking the traditionally more popular names like David, Robert, John, and Michael (many of which are Biblical in origin).
So what does this mean? Really, all it means is that names have always had trends and fads and this one really is no different.
This graph shows the “*bert”s versus the “*aiden”s. Back in the ’20s, the proportion of babies given names from the *Bert family outnumbers those in the *Aiden family today. The main difference is that there are fewer ways people then chose to spell these names.
There were a bazillion Jessicas, Jennifers, [C|K]aitlins and Laurens in my high school class. It felt like half of the boys in my friend group were named Chris or Matt. Naming trends have always existed! (As far as we know.) This is why there aren’t so many Abernathys and Belindas any more. They used to be more popular names, but the trends have changed. As the io9 article concludes:
What’s fascinating is that parents seem to measure a name’s distinctiveness not by its sound, but by its spelling. The delightful irony, of course, is that in seeking to diversify the way we spell our children’s names, we wind up converging on a surprisingly homogenized sound. The more names change, the more they stay the same.
I always go to bed way too early & then I can’t stay up late.
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