The name game
Last year, while researching information on baby names for 2012, we discovered more than a few interesting trends - from retro namesakes to video game inspirations.
Now, it's that time again to start making some predictions for the New Year. Laura Wattenberg, author and creator of babynamewizard.com, and Jennifer Moss, founder and CEO of babynames.com, gave us the scoop on their early forecasts for baby names that will be hot this year.
Read on to find out which trends will define 2013.
According to Wattenberg, there are signs of a British invasion.
"The expected royal baby is already causing people to look at the royal family tree and baby name trends in the UK," she says. "The boy band One Direction is also interesting from a name perspective because they have names that never reached the same height in popularity in North America. So those names might be ready to cross the pond. Watch for 'ladies and gentlemen'-style names. We haven't had a lot of Georges and Arthurs, which have always been popular in the UK."
One interesting new trend that came to Wattenberg's attention was the recent wave of combo names.
"Parents are really into combining names, for example, Bella and Lynn," she says. "I think that while the Twilight name Renesmee didn't take off, it inspired parents to combine names and patch them together."
Staying away from baby names lists
Where parents once relied on baby name lists to generate new ideas, Wattenberg believes that parents are now using those same lists in order to avoid choosing popular names.
"There's a reverse arms race where everyone doesn't want to be No.1s," she explains. "The girl list, especially, has had a lot of turnover at the very top."
Avoiding Twilight names
Whether you consider yourself a fan of Stephanie Meyers' vampire books or not, most parents will be turning their backs on the names made popular by the franchise.
"People look at the name charts and think that the books had a huge impact, but Stephanie Meyers just had a good ear for name trends and chose ones that were fashionable and rising," Wattenberg says. "But the huge focus on Jacob and Isabella is making parents turn away from names that they feel are stamped by these Twilight characters."
"The girls names are still traditional [going into 2013]," says Moss. "Names like Charlotte will stay strong for another couple of years."
As for Wattenberg's research, it shows that the name Sophia is currently vying with Emma and Isabella to be the No. 1 girls name of 2012. "Meanwhile Jacob, which has held the top spot [for boys] since the 1990s, is part of a top pack along with Mason, William and Noah," she says.
Popular names like Aidan, Jacob and Michael may start to find themselves overshadowed by longer, flashier names. According to Wattenberg, 2013 will see a shift away from two syllables, especially for boys.
"Watch for longer names like Remington or Theodore," she says. "Parents will start to go long and grand."
One trend that's started to show up on baby lists for the coming year is names that have a more romantic Italian or Latin feel.
"The girls names still tend to be traditional, but what I've noticed is that the up-and-comers are less "grandma" names and are more like Italian and Latin romance names," explains Moss. "Look for anything that ends with an 'a' like Nora, Luna or Aria. They may not be in Top 100 right now but they are trending fast."
While there are fascinating new trends popping up like the British Invasion, year after year there are still many parents who resort to tried and true names found in the Bible.
"North Americans often go for Biblical or saintly names like Julian and Sebastian," says Wattenberg.
We all know how big a role celebrities and historical figures can play in our baby-naming decisions. This year, watch for something positively presidential, specifically in the United States.
"There's been a lot of publicity for Abraham Lincoln, with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Steven Spielberg's Lincoln both coming out this year," Moss says. "Plus, it was a big election year (in the US)."
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