Israeli couple name their daughter after Facebook
In search of an original name, a couple have named their daughter 'Like', after a Facebook function. But even less striking names can tell a story of their own.
The Adler family were determined to name their daughter something unique – a name that no other child in the country had ever had before. So, this week, we welcome Like Adler into the world, called after the thumbs up button on a Facebook page.
Of course, the Adlers aren't the first parents to try to escape the ordinary when it comes to naming children. Among celebrities, it's almost a requirement to give your children names that range from the eccentric to the positively outlandish. Madonna called her daughter Lourdes. Bob Geldof's daughters are Peaches, Pixie and Fifi Trixabelle. Frank Zappa went one further and called his daughter Moon Unit.
And why not, we might ask. Surely parents can call their children whatever they want? It hasn't always been that way though. In Ancient Rome, parents chose from a list of about 25 possible first names. Seven of those 25 were just numbers, given to children in the order they were born.
In Mediaeval England, the list of possible names was longer but still restrictive. Most names came from the Bible – even as late as the 18th Century, a quarter of all children were called either John or Mary.
The choice of names could tell a lot about people's origins and social status. French names like William or Robert, brought to England by the Norman Conquest, were aristocratic. English royal names are all drawn from this small stock.
Other names were associated with servants. Daisy – a popular name today – would once have been fit only for chambermaids. Celtic names like Gavin or Bridget marked the bearer as coming from the great waves of poor Irish and Welsh immigrants who arrived in England during the 19th Century.
Even today, a first name gives a lot of information about a person. David and Margaret are among the most common British names overall. But they are among the least popular names for babies born today. Davids and Margarets are likely to be older than Olivers and Isabelles.
Looking at the most popular names today another story emerges. If all its many spellings were counted together, the most popular boys' name would be not Oliver, but Mohammed.
What's in a name?
A name is a label that we carry with us for life. But does it matter? You could say it's not our name but our character that counts – 'a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,' as Shakespeare put it.
But names are crucial in giving us a sense of our own identity. Jews, arriving at Auschwitz concentration camp in the 1940s, had their names replaced with numbers. By taking away their names, the Nazis tried to dehumanise them before leading them to the gas chambers.
- Do you wish your name was more or less unusual? Why / why not?
- How important is your name to you? How would you feel if your name was replaced by a number?
- Make up your own celebrity baby name. How outlandish can you get? See who comes up with the best one.
- Do some research into the meaning and origin of your own name. What does your name say about you and what does it mean to you? Write a short article called: 'My Name and Me'
Some People Say...
“Giving children weird names is a form of child abuse.”
What do you think?
Q & A
- So if I have a name I don't like, am I stuck with it?
- These days, we can legally change our names if we think our parents did a bad job the first time. Musicians and film stars have been doing it for years: Marilyn Monroe laboured through her childhood as the decidedly unglamorous Norma Baker.
- What about ordinary people?
- Well, there was a teenager who changed his name from George Garratt to 'Captain Fantastic Faster Than Superman Spiderman Batman Wolverine The Hulk And The Flash Combined.'
- But I don't want a weird name!
- Not everyone does. Zowie Bowie, son of the rockstar David Bowie, now asks people to call him Duncan Jones.
- Fair enough right?
- Oh he had it lucky. Other strange names reported recently include: Stallion, Yeah Detroit, Fish and Chips, and Number 16 Bus Shelter.