Thursday, January 06, 2005

What's in a name?

So, the other piece of language news today comes from the Office of National Statistics which has published its annual survey of names given at birth registrations. Like any other area of language, naming children reflects long term changes in society, and short term whims and fashions. So, this year the news is all about how the name Mohammed has leapt up the list of most popular boys' names, reflecting the changing cultural diversity of Britain. But this is not mirrored in girls' names, accounted for in the article by the wider pool of girls' names that exists in most cultures. Now there's a fascinating fact I wasn't aware of before... The article also considers the enormous influence of American names and American popular culture, and if you click on the items in the "related stories" bar to the right of the article you can read about a Muslim cleric's appeal to families not to call their sons "Osama", and the influence of Footballers' Wives and Fame Academy on the nation's babies. It's scary...

Mohammed the lad leaps up league of names

Babies names 2004 - National Statistics Online


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