Research Report: Parents Confuse Their Children’s Names More Often When The Names Sound Alike

According to a new study from the University of Texas in Austin, parents are more likely to confuse their children’s names when the names sound alike. That finding sounds fairly commonsensical to me, so I read deeper into April Flowers’ article about the study on Red Orbit to find out more.

Reading a little more, I found that by “names that sound alike” Zenzi Griffen PhD of U.T. Austin and Thomas Wangerman, PhD, formerly of Georgia Institute of Technology meant: sibling names that start with the same letter like John and James and sibling names that have a similar ending like Amanda and Samantha.

Ouch! Although I advise parents not to pick names that sound too similar, like Jaden and Braden or Emma and Ella, I admit my post called “Naming Siblings” suggests a variety of “themes” or strategies for making sibling names sound compatible… (if you think I’m procrastinating, you’re probably right)… including the idea of picking names that start with the same letter.

Many years ago, I named my son Doug and my daughter Dana. I rarely confused the two names. Neither did my wife. The kids fought like cats and dogs and we could always tell them apart in the heat of battle. One was shouting “She hit me first!”And the other was shouting “He hit me first! (If you think I’m using humor to pretend I’m not feeling defensive, you’re probably right.)

But all kidding aside, it’s easy to admit parents are more likely to confuse John and James (or Johnny and Jimmy) when calling the kids to the phone than would be the case if the brothers were named, say,  Zenzi and Thomas. Of course if Zenzi and Thomas were brothers I’d be amazed. Not only do their first names reflect no common theme, neither do their last names.

So instead of procrastinating even more, I’m  going to take my medicine like a man, learn my lesson, and mix my metaphors while continuing to play for time before I bite the bullet and revise my “Naming Siblings” post to make sure everyone who reads the article is advised to name one of their children Hehitmefirst and the other child Ididn’tdoit which should solve almost every problem.

The names will be thematically related but they won’t sound alike. Unfortunately those names are not perfect. Both kids sound like idiots. It isn’t easy to find perfect sibling names, but a good place to find some ideas worth considering is my revised “Naming Siblings” article.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s