Traditional baby names are dying out!!!! Aaarrggghhh!

Is this load of rubbish really considered news? Baby names have always been been subject to this kind of drift. When the Normans conquered England, there was a rise in the number of Norman names; the same happened later in Wales and Scotland. The spread of Christianity had already led to an increase in the frequency of Hebrew- and Greek-based names in Britain. Then there’s the effect of popular culture, which is hardly anything new, despite what the article seems to think. The article notes that many “traditional” names could be lost forever!!!


So should we care? No. Even if we do lose some of these names for a generation or two, we hardly suffer. Besides, they’re not actually lost in any case. They’ll still be there in memory or records, waiting to be reused. The writer seems to forget that once a name becomes uncommon, it acquires its own novelty value, and its connections with the history of one’s culture (or adopted culture) makes it all the more appealing. My grandmothers were called Jean and Betty — hardly Welsh names. Yet my school class was full of Angharads and Elains and Bethans and Llinoses.

The one interesting thing in this article is that parents are apparently less inclined nowadays to name their children after relatives. Which may or many not be true. Otherwise, its message boils down to the fact that names fluctuate in popularity from generation to generation, and that some come close to disappearing entirely.

This has been true for all of recorded history.

Oh, and in case you are (inexplicably) worried by the loss of these names, the article ends by telling us that:

The Office for National Statistics says the most popular baby names last year were Jack, Thomas and Oliver for boys and Grace, Ruby and Olivia for girls.

Alas that such modern uncouth names should be forced on our poor children.


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