Baby Names Styles
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Naming your child is one of the few areas where you have complete creative freedom, at least in the United States. Many parents select their child’s name through a painstaking process before the birth while others adhere to an established tradition within their family. There are many methods to finding the perfect name and personal taste certainly plays into the parent’s enthusiasm for any one method.
While there are not any rules for naming your child, there are a several common style preferences that may guide your selection process.
 Traditional Naming
Names in this category tend to be names that are familiar and are used throughout the ages. Examples include: Catherine, Elizabeth, William, Michael, and John. Since Traditional names are not strictly associated with a certain time period (such as Bertha, the quintessential “icky old lady name” or Nevaeh, which was completely unheard of ten years ago), these names will not become dated. It is unlikely that someone, fifty years from now, will see William Jones’s name in the newspaper and say, “well, it doesn’t say how old this guy is but I imagine that he’s middle aged”. Traditional names are like the stately Victorian chair in your lounge. They blend well with their surroundings as time marches on. The downside of a traditional name is that, since they are so prevalent and familiar, they can sound a bit stale. Anna is boring, which has lead to more people opting for Annabelle and Analise. William has been done to death, hence the increasing popularity of Liam.
 Modern Classics
Modern classics are names that have not been around forever (such as Mary, Edward or James) but they are not trendy and likely to lose favor in the near future. These are often regarded as the “normal” names and they include Samantha, Jessica, Aidan and Eric. Like traditional names, these names also surge and wane in popularity but unlike trendy names, they never drop out completely.
 Trendy Naming
A trendy name might be a popular name or a new variation on an old name and more often than not, it is a name that you probably wouldn’t have heard of twenty years ago. Jayden, Nevaeh and many surnames turned first names, such as Riley, Tanner and Madison, comprise this group. These names are fresh and interesting at the onset but they tend to gain popularity very quickly until it seems like every other little girl (or boy) is named Madison. They are also notoriously gender confused as you find numerous spelling variations of Jayden, Kayden and the like handed out to boys and girls on a near equal basis.
 Biblical and Ethnic Naming
Another way to narrow your name search is to zero in on names from certain places. Commonly, Biblical names and names originating in certain countries are sought.
Biblical names are not always sought for their religious significance. Since most Biblical names enjoy universal appeal and are modified to conform to the language rules of various cultures, they are a versatile choice. Peter is also known as Pedro and John is also known as Johan, depending on where in the world you are. Ethnic names, particularly Spanish, French, Italian and Irish, are well loved for their exotic pronunciations and spellings. Catherine becomes Caitriona or Katarina, which certainly jazzes up Catherine just a bit. However, beware of spelling and pronunciation problems when you select a name that is drastically different than it’s Anglo variation. Few North Americans can pronounce Siobhan without stumbling and even fewer can spell it correctly.
 Retro Cool Naming
You have probably heard the expression “everything old is new again”. This adage certainly applies to baby names. Violet, which enjoyed its heyday at the turn of the last century and then dropped steadily out of use in the United States for the next ninety years, scarcely appearing in the top 1000 until the late 1990s is again on the road to popularity. What is considered old and hopelessly frumpy can resurge. Retro cool names are frequently mistaken for classic names when really, they are not. They occasionally share space with classic names as they are old and experience waves of popularity, but they generally do not enjoy the same long-term popularity and their roots are a bit fluffier. For example, Sadie, which to modern ears sounds sufficiently dignified and established as to be a classic name, was originally a nickname for the classic favorite Sarah.
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