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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Rhymers

I was thinking about the Aiden, Brayden, Caden, Hayden, Jaden thing. Now that more people are noticing it as a batch of rhyming names, it's getting common to hear people rejecting the whole group of names because of it: each name is popular in its own right but also seems more popular because of its rhyming friends.

That's the weakness of rhymers, but also their strength. If you want a name that's unusual but less likely to raise eyebrows, you can choose a name that rhymes with a familiar name. Instead of Jason, use Cason or Greyson. Instead of Emma, use Gemma. The rhyme---and the way you can say calming things such as "It's like Jason with a C"---gives the name a familiar, reassuring sound even if it's the first time your mom has ever heard it.

Back to weaknesses, though: as everyone with a rhyming name can tell you, it means a lifetime of minor misunderstandings: Anna keeps having to tell people her name is not Hannah, and Alyssa has to keep saying it's not Melissa. Well, but pretty much all of us have to do something over and over with our names: I have to say it's Kristen "with a K and an -en," and my friend Sara has to say "without the h."

28 comments:

moo said...

Even today, with the most common girl's name EVER (it seems, although I know that's a little dramatic), I STILL have to spell my name to people. What IS that? Oh yeah, it's the 'Y' phenomenon. Mykayla's have ruined it for the rest of us.

Erica said...

I always have to answer the question "Is it Erica with a C or a K or both?"

Kristi said...

You're so right that pretty much everyone has to do something over and over with their names.

My name totally isn't complicated, and for as long as I can remember I've had to say "it's with a K and an I at the end."

Lara Jane said...

Lucky for Henry, nothing rhymes with his name! Then again, it's a pretty "generic" name so it's not easily confused.

My name on the other hand... Ugh. Nobody reads it correctly, first of all. They rhyme it with Sarah. But even when I'm introducing myself, everyone says, "Laura?" NO!!!!! Did I say "Laura?" It doesn't sound remotely similar! Aaaaaah!

Like I said, we gave our son an uncomplicated name. :)

d e v a n said...

Speaking of complicated names I've almost NEVER had someone spell my name right. My own grandmother used to mispell it. sheesh.
Also, it's a boys name, especially when I was younger. I've heard, "that's an interesting name..." TOO many times to count.
So, yeah, everyone has something.

Bethtastic said...

Funny. You're right, no matter the name, there's always something. I'm Beth. But NOT Elizabeth, so even though I have about the easiest name in the UNIVERSE, I always have to say, "No, just Beth, not Elizabeth." Always.

Funny thing about names.

Giselle said...

Lara Jane, how DO you say your name, if it isn't like Sarah and it isn't like Laura. I'm having a hard time thinking of another option...Lora maybe?

And having a name that's too ethnic/unusual is a bummer too. I've been called everything from Jerome to Gazebo to the most popular...nothing at all. Although with the latest Disney Princess there is now a select group of people who instantly recognize my name! ;)

Laura L. Lawson, M.S., PLPC, Board Elig. NCC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
shoeaddict said...

Swistle- I feel you 100%! People always want to spell it with a "CH"

Laura said...

My name is Laura (phonetically Lora), but I get called Lauren all the time. Also, when I live on the East coast nobody got my name wrong but now that I live in the Midwest, everyone says my name differently (La-ra, Lair-a? NO it is LAURA). I know it will only get worse for our children with all the weird names people choose these days. Oh well!

I never thought about names being rhymey before, but I think the overuse of a given name makes a difference. For example, even with Laura there is Cora, Dora, Flora, Maura, Nora, etc.

Laura said...

These comments are so funny to me because my name is Laura, pronounced to rhyme with car. I live on the east coast and have heard every pronunciation in the book. I do not even realize anymore when people pronounce my name other than how I do.
I love this blog, Swistle!

Mary said...

I have the most common female name ever (Mary) and I've never had anyone ask how to spell or pronounce it. But I got stuck with a difficult last name, so I guess you really can't win.

Anonymous said...

In my son's second grade class there is a Braxton, a Brayden, and a Bryceton. My daughter has in her class a Sequoia, a Sahara, and a Savannah. I don't know how their teacher keeps any of them straight! What is funny to me is that their parents probably tried so hard to give them names that were not common...and then they are STILL mixed up with other kids in their classes! You just can't win.

Anonymous said...

So true. In my son's class there is a Tillson (boy) and a Tillman (girl). Also a Mary and Murray (both girls).

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

Oh, the rhyming.

When I read on one of the lists that ALL those rhyming boys names (of the Aiden, Jayden, Braden group) fell into the top 10, this was my first reaction:

As a teacher, I am going to walk into class. My list of boys will read something like:

Aiden
Caden
Jayden
Braden
Hayden
Aidan .... etc, etc, ETC.

HOW WILL I KEEP A STRAIGHT FACE DURING ATTENDANCE???

Also: I'm a Stephanie. One of "The Most Popular 1985 Names". Most of the time my name doesn't need to be spelled out, because it's the pretty popular spelling. But I do get the "with a -ph or an -f" sometimes.

Once, I signed for a delivery at work, and the guy had to punch in my name. I saw afterwards he wrote: "Stefeny".

I don't even know what to make of that one...

Linda said...

I feel much better about naming my daughter Lorelei now. It seems like everyone has to spell their name, even common ones. Now that I think about it, I have to spell Linda for people, as in "Linda with an I."

Leticia said...

You're right about the rhyming thing. I liked the name Grayson, but I think its because it sounds like Jason.

I loved the name Aiden when I was pregnant..but it was so popular, so we thought we'd go with Caden, which I hadn't necessarily heard. BUT when I started asking people who were having babies or grandbabies be born and the names were hayden and Jaden and Aidan, we just rejected the name of Caden all together since it was too trendy and too popular right now. And its a good thing because I love the name we ended up going with. :o)

Aside, because this comment is obviously not long enough already... I recently went to 3 baby showers for 3 boys. The first one's baby shower was for a baby boy to be named Jay. The second one's name was Aiden and the last baby shower was for a boy to be named Jayden. All are cousins. Talk about confusing!

krisfun said...

I have the same problem as you Swistle, except I have to say, it's Kristin, with two "i's". I've taken to pointing to my eyes for emphasis. However, I can't escape people always wanting to put an "e" at the end.
You'd think I'd have learned my lesson, but I've sentenced my daughter to this life of correcting people by naming her Elisabeth.
(Love reading your blogs!)

Lara Jane said...

Sorry, Giselle (lovely name, btw!), I forgot that some people pronounce Laura & Lara the same, as noted by the East Coast Laura! My hubby is from Arkansas and he, too, pronounces Laura/Lara roughly the same.

I always tell people my name doesn't rhyme with Sarah or Dora, but that doesn't always make it clear, especially when there are weirdos like that tv reporter Lara Spencer who says her own name "Lair-uh." She's ruining it for the rest of us Laras! ;)

For the record, the correct (LOL) way rhymes with the first half of "faraway."

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

Lara Jane ---

So it's like saying the name "Lars", drop the S and say "uh". ;-)

Meegan said...

My name is Meegan. Yes, Meegan. Not Megan. The first syllable is rhymes with SEE. It's pronounced just like it looks, and yet my entire life has been spent correcting people. I can't tell you how many times I've heard, "Is that a typo?". I've been asked if my parents made it up. (No, it's an old Irish surname.) People almost NEVER assume it's pronounced like it appears. They say "Megan" and then tentatively, "Or is it...Meegan?". I was always envious of the Jennifers, Alisons and Amys while I was growing up, but I've come to like my name. And it only took 30 plus years.

hobbychanger said...

I'm a Kathryn, but go by Katie. Imagine all the mixups in spelling and names I get all the time. Even my own family members still misspell my names (both of them). It used to drive me nuts until I met my friend Sarah a few years ago. She introduces herself to people as "Sarah with an 'h' because the 'h' stands for hot." No one forgets her or how to spell her name then. So I've spent the past few years trying to come up with my own little phrase for at least one of my names. It at least keeps me entertained!

Pocket said...

Ooh, ooh! I love what I always get to say when I spell my name: "It's Rachael with an a-e-l, but that's because my Dad's name is Michael." I get some weird looks from people who don't care WHY my name is spelled that way (like the lady at the DMV), but most people say, "Oh, that's neat!" even if it's just to appease me.

Lindsay said...

Swistle you are so observant...my bro is Colin "with one L", and my dad and sister's names rhyme so there was always issues when they were being yelled for about the house. Another phenomenom...when 2 people with non gender specific names get married. I feel like all the Pat and Sandi/y's and Terri/y's of the world married each other.

MzEll said...

Yes, Yes. I am always saying "(my name) with no H on the end" or I get called Heather. And in high school I babysat for a couple where the husband's name was Stacy and the wife was Terri. I was very confused the first time because I thought "Stacy" was the wife!

There were something like 7 kids in my oldest son's camp class this summer whose names started with vowels. That had to be interesting for the teachers!

Katie said...

I think you're right about we all have to clarify SOMETHING about our names. Even my husband, John, often gets Jon or even Jonathan. How can you mess up John? I don't know, but they can.

My daughter Rebecca...we constantly have to spell it for people. And I have to spell Katie for people as well. So, I'm thinking that no matter how traditional a name you choose, it is going to get messed up. I can only imagine the Madysyn's out there and how they will fare.

Anonymous said...

I always have to specify "Mandy with a y" because I've had so many people spell it "Mandie" or "Mandi." And my husband is Matthew-- easy, right? Nope. "Matthew with two T's" is what he has to say. No matter the name, there's always another way to spell it.

SaraJ said...

My guess is that your friend Sara has developed quite a complex over that uninvited H. However, all the Sarahs I talk to complain that "everybody leaves off the H!"

-- Sara WITHOUT AN H