Thursday, December 2, 2010

Miscellaneous: Baby Names

Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis
First, to my family: No, there isn't a baby on the way that you don't know about. Now that that's out of the way, a look at popular baby names.

The people who keep track of these things today announced the most popular baby names of 2010--although it seems premature; we still have 29 days to go. I was surprised to see Aiden, a rather British-sounding name at the top of the list of boys' names (is this the Harry Potter effect?)--but I must be out of touch; apparently Aiden has been the leader for six years now. Colin, another rather British-sounding name, came in at 58. Sophia is apparently the most popular moniker to tag a baby girl with, followed by Isabella and Olivia--all rather girly names. I was surprised to see Brooklyn at number 38. Brooklyn? I thought only blues musicians were named after places (although usually states and big Southern cities). Cadence (at no. 70) and Kennedy (at 74) seem odd choices for a girl as well. 

Brooklyn seems to have some sort of international appeal, though, along with Cincinnati--but in this case, not as names. I spent the summer of 2010 in Europe, mostly in southern France. I was surprised to see many T-shirts there with references to Brooklyn and Cincinnati on them. Alas for the Cincinnati boosters, it was always spelled "Cincinati." Why? I have no idea, but there's a story in there somewhere. Is it a coincidence that Cincinnati has its own John Roebling-designed bridge that looks very much like the Brooklyn Bridge?

I was reminded of the antique bronze globe that to this day stands on the grounds of Narita-san, the vast temple complex in Narita, the town that hosts Japan's largest international airport. Important world cities are marked on the globe, including Cincinnati, attesting to that city's stature at the time the globe was made. Unfortunately (again) the name is cast incorrectly as the equivalent of "Cincinna City" (in Japanese, シンシナ市). "Shi," as the final "ti" of Cincinnati is pronounced in Japanese, just happens to mean "city" in that language, so the globe makers assumed the place was called "Cincinna" with "City" on the end, as in Oklahoma City. Oh well, I hear Cincinnati's a fine place to live these days.

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