Wednesday, April 4

Gap Casting Call Names



Join me, obsessive onomasts, on a journey to the fantastically bizarre name soup that is the website of the open casting call for potential baby Gap models

Every so often I come across a perfectly neutral collection of names — because any parent can upload their child's photo, I imagine these are American parents from all walks of life — and the more random a sampling, the more interesting I find it. These are real kids with real names that reflect trends in popularity, the influence of pop culture on baby naming, and other nebulous waves that might otherwise slip by unnoticed. 

Some of my favorite finds —

Girls
Alabee 
Assata — "ass-" notwithstanding
Aveline 
Ayelet  a lovely Hebrew name, means "gazelle"
Bea Roselle 
Cinta
Cookie 
Cyprienne 
Domini 
Julieta 
Leyonce — Beyonce with an "L," or variant spelling of a feminine "Leo-" name?
Lilikoi 
Mathilde — swoon for this spelling
Merelyne 
Norell 
Ofelia 
Rosaleigh
Sibelle 
Siddah Jane 
Tizzy 
Towner — anyone have any ideas? Southern surname, or something?
Verba 
Yanishka
Zeah


Boys
Ansel 
Attison 
Baier 
Brewer 
Epiq — woah
Erris
Everest 
Hardison 
Hart this kid was super cute, sort of sold me on the name
Grisham 
Ikemba — akimbo Ikemba
Juelle
Kepper — pair this with Towner as a sibling, you got half a law firm going
Mateen 
Nyles 
Payce Mayker
Princeton — aiming high
Tano 
Trucky 
Tycho — another swoon 
Usher
Viery
Wake 
Whittaker
Winfred 

And for those who don't feel guilty indulging in some good old-fashioned name snark every once in a while, I present to you, the case for the runaway "H" — 

Dhylan 
Jhustice 
Kholtin 
Khylie 
Lhandyn 
Loghan
Peighton 
Rhome 
Rhyan 
Tehgan 
Zhander 
Zhoei

I wish I could blame Khloe, but, alas, most of these children were probably born before her family bought their way into the zeitgeist. What is so attractive about these wayward Hs? Why do they so often go hand in hand with further ... imaginative, let's say ...  spelling twists? (Such as the  "Y instead of another, more suitable vowel," or the almost classic "K instead of C" choice.)

I try to keep an open mind when it comes to names that are so far outside my taste zone that they appear on screen as really terrible Scrabble hands (and hey, I like Epiq and Trucky) but these ones are worth mentioning as particularly unfortunate 

Bad place names: AstynBrystol (when you one-up a Palin on bad-naming, you win a gold medal), Daytona and Paesynn, all girls

Killing the K: Kemry, Karter and Kamdyn (girls), Kautlyn (I don't know ...), Kameren (when a spelling changes the pronunciation, you know it's time to stop)

Ugly spellings: Madizyn, Trinidy, Bralee (no way does this imply a long "A" sound, which is what I assume they're going for), Collynn (girl, again)

Random apostrophes: T'Lee, Ka'den and K'Lesse (does this rhyme with Payless?)

Names that make me need to take a moment: Broxtyn, Nashly, Britlynn


Forgive me, name gods.

15 comments:

  1. Towner ... I'm struggling to find it, but I have the feeling that there's a literary reference here.

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  2. GOT IT! The Lace Reader ... Remember, it was a HUGE big deal a few years ago, in 2008. The author's name, Brunonia, sparked a lot of talk. Towner Whitney was the main character, but I can't recall the story behind her name: http://www.amazon.com/The-Lace-Reader-A-Novel/dp/B00394DOGG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1333587286&sr=1-1

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  3. ah, thanks Abby! I knew there had to be a story behind it. Never would have found that.

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  4. Alabee is the name of the daughter of Kevin Barnes, the lead singer of Of Montreal. They band has a song called "So Begins Our Alabee." Interesting to see it used on another child. I like the sound of it, but I'd assumed that it was made up.

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  5. I recognized Alabee from that song, but didn't realize the song was named for someone -- cool.

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  6. Aveline is gorgeous, and I've always loved Hart.

    I did notice many of these name trends myself in our recent contest; re-spelling names I can cope with - re-spelling actual established words and place names makes me get testy.

    (Gee I hope we have a nice long break until Gap starts here; I'm all contested out!)

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  7. I love that you pull name lists from such creative places-- it makes your blog one of my favorite reads for sure. Domini is a sweet name and offers up a lot of cute nicknames.

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  8. I have a funny feeling that this Gap contest will give us a real view into how insane creative spellings have actually gotten.
    I am looking forward to finding some unexpected gems!

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  9. 'When you one-up a Palin on bad-naming, you win a gold medal' Yep, that totally cracked me up. Love that you've included Hart, it's one of my all time favourites.

    Just a few weeks ago someone put up a new status on fb saying that they had welcomed baby Rylie. I was all 'Hmm, that's way too tame for her'. She updated two minutes later to correct herself - the baby's name was actually Rhylie. When you can't even remember how to spell your child's name, you know you've got a problem on your hands.

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  10. As they would say in Mystery Science Theater 3000, "That's an illegal use of a silent consonant!"

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  11. I just peeked through the lists and spied Capote....oh dear!

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  12. Wow! A Cyprienne, Aveline, and a Lilikoi all in one sighting? Holy cow. Tears of joy... Thanks for the list!

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  13. Kautlyn has to be a Kaitlyn typo. That's the only explanation.

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  14. There's a Talon! So intense. I kind of love it.

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  15. Assata is a Senegalese or West African form of Aisha. Yanishka is a Ukrainian diminutive form of Yana.

    I actually like Daytona. I have noticed it used in the Florida birth announcements from time to time ever since I started reading BAs from across the country since 2003. I always thought that at least it has a feminine sound and tons of cute nickname options.

    From this list I like (also will add incite)

    Aveline (I have had this on and off my list, mostly as middle name potential, I would pronounce is ave-uh-LINE)
    Ayelet
    Cyprienne (an obscure French feminine form of Cyprien. Very pretty!)
    Domini (if I recall, this is an obscure German form of Domina)
    Lilikoi (I believe this is Hawaiian but I cannot remember what it means)
    Ofelia (this is nice, prefer Ophelia)
    Siddah Jane
    Verba

    Ansel
    Hart — total GP
    Tycho — love!

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Names are all opinion -- share yours.