Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Methodology of a Name, Part Two!

Progress has been made in narrowing down the name lists even further, partly thanks to the great suggestions in the comments from the last post. If you have any ideas, keep em coming! ;-)

8. Real Life Pairings

Jenn was right -- certain pairs of names need to be avoided, at the risk of having other real-life personages curb the blossoming identity of our new addition. So despite my love for the name "Grace", having a Will and Grace in the house was not an option. Same for Will and Harry, Will and Kate, William and Trillium, and even Bill and Hilary.

Casualties: Grace, Hilary, Harry, Blake

9. War of the Words!

Both Dave and I have a penchant for word-names. They're easy to spell, easy to pronounce, and can invoke a meaningful totem to guide the child. That being said, we'd rather not have *two* word names, as a name like "Indigo Lily" feels a bit gimmicky to me.

Therefore, the words must all battle one another. There can only be one!

I grouped together all the word names for boys and girls, and then we thinned out the names we were less fond of. With girls, we were able to narrow by subject; we had A LOT of plant names and colour names to work with.

Plant Battle Casualties: Lily, Saffron, Sage

Colour Spectrum Casualties: Indigo, Scarlet, Clementine

Boy-Word-Casualties: Grant, Phoenix, Sterling

So, what's the next step? At 25 names, the girl's list still needs some paring down, which will likely happen by getting pairs of names to compete with another to eliminate weaker options. However, our boy's list is down to a manageable dozen options, so from here we can skip straight to examining the combinations for unfortunate initials and clunky sounds.

And of course, ideas are always welcome! :-D

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Methodology of a Name

As some of you may know, Dave and I are expecting our second child this winter. We're very excited to meet this new little person, albeit somewhat terrified about the prospect of chasing around not one, but TWO small children. I suppose the evolving/devolving coherence of this blog will be a testament to how we're managing. ;-)

Anyhoo, we are once again having to contemplate a name for this impending HelgaHume. And unlike our first time going through this process, we have less time and energy to sit and daydream about perfect name choices.

We have to be focused. We have to be decisive. And somewhere in there, we also have to listen carefully for the gentle, easily-missed messages from the universe... quiet messages guiding us towards the baby's true name.

No pressure.

So here's the method we are using, in all of its OCD-esque glory. To keep things interesting, I included name-casualties at each turn... the list of active names remains very secret, but perhaps you might be entertained in knowing which names have hit the chopping block, and for what exact reasons. ;-)

1. Buy a name book, preferably one slanted to your own naming sensibilities

Unsure of where to start, we purchased a baby name book specifically tailored to the kinds of names we are drawn to. The tongue-in-cheek book of choice was "Cool Names for Babies" by Satran and Rozencrantz, chosen for its emphasis on less common names, ranging from "a little different" to downright strange.

Casualties: Ultra-popular choices Jacob, John, Emma, Madison.

2. Secretly write down every name you don't hate

Dave and I independently went through the book, writing down every name that we were at least lukewarm about. We also added names we'd come across, or thought up, in the interests of having this list be as complete as possible.

Casualties: Names in the book that didn't resonate... Gable, Otis, Lola, Olivia

3. Combine lists, make notes of overlap

I then combined both lists into a single MEGA-LIST (in Excel), boldfacing the names that appeared on both lists. Note, there were no casualties at this point, as they happen next...

4. Blackball!

This was fun. We'd independently look over the list, and cross out anything we hated. Again, anything that was at least lukewarm to both partners could stay. Still, it was fun to tease each other for "weird" selections. ;-)

Casualties: Elvis, Connor, Lydia, Isabella

5. Points system

We were left with a long list of names, and now needed a way to prioritize them by how much we liked them. I proposed a method involving allocating points, where:
  • 1 point = lukewarm
  • 2 points = kinda like it
  • 3 points = really like it!
Going through all the remaining names, we individually gave points to each according to how much we individually liked them. These scores were added to one another, for a total ranging from 2 to 6.

Then, we sorted the names by points, and removed anything scoring 2 or 3 points, as that meant that neither of us was especially keen on said name.

Casualties: Bigby, Kennedy, Tamsin, Sonata

6. Weird meanings?!

Given that name meanings are important, we looked up the meanings of the remaining names, and removed any with strange or uncomfortable meanings.

Tennyson = "Son of Dennis". Uhm, no, and Davidson/Karlason doesn't sound as cool, or relate back to awesome poets of yore.
Hudson = "Son of the hooded man". Sounds kinda rapey, dont'cha think? :-/
Caledonia = "From Scotland". Not really.
Ingrid = "Beauty of Froy, the mythical Norse horse". Pretty as a horse? No thanks.

...but the prize goes to Ripley, meaning "shouting man's meadow". Hee hee hee... "AUGH!! AUGH!!! I'm in a meadow!!! AUGH!!!" Yes, I'm finding that way too funny.

7. Stella Barbarella: Thinning the list by removing less desirable same-end-letter options

I noticed on our girls' names list that a stunning number all ended with the same letters. Granted, girls' names ending with "a" and "y"-sounds are both very common, but it pointed out to me that we could not indeed give a first and middle name that both ended in the same letter/sound without it sounding weird.

Hence, when grouping together eligible names by last letter (=LAST() function, for all you Excel junkies), I realized these groups were all in direct competition with one another. As such, it would be wise to thin each end-letter group to three or so entries, according to which we're showing a stronger preference for.

Casualties: Augustine, Sawyer, Isadora, Melody

... So what's step 8? Your guess is as good as mine! Our lists still need thinning, but at least they're prioritized. Will update you with further steps as they arise, but in the meantime, I hope this has minimally entertained you. ;-)