Take a look at this list of recommended names taken from articles written by Pamela Redmond Satran in recent months. See if you can figure out why each name could be annoying, frustrating or downright harmful to the children of Nameberry readers unlucky enough to be given these names. If you get stuck on any one of them, scroll down. Under the list of names you’ll find a short list of baby-naming don’t’s that quickly explain what parents (and experts) should consider when picking (or recommending) a name.
Some of Pamela Redmond Satran’s Recently Recommended Names:
Betsan, Cabe, Kaius, Neri, Macsen, Macson, Camber, Sender, Effa, Gerty, Mertilla, Tulsi, Sula, Hebe, Kitty, Maelys, Blue, Carola
Quick List of Baby-Naming Don’ts
1. Avoid names that make negative impressions. (Detroit is a bankrupt city. that is “uncool,” right now, like Chris Christie and A-Rod. Blue comes across as “depressed.”)
2. Avoid names that come across as weird or confusing. (Kaius, Neri, Betsan, Cabe, Tulsi, Sula, Macsen and Maelys come across as random collection of letters—which don’t seem much like names. I call them “alphabet-soup” names. Mertillla is weird and clunky.)
3. Avoid names that have negative or confusing meanings. (Blue means “depressed.” Sender is “someone who sends something.” Camber is “a slightly arched surface.” None of these three capitalized words seem much like names.).
4. Avoid names likely to encourage teasing or bullying. (Detroit is going through bankruptcy. Effa sounds like a reference to the “f-bomb.” Gerty rhymes with a well-known slang word for feces. Neri will be called “Neri Christmas.” Sula will be called “Sula Does the Hula.” Hebe is a derisive term for Jews. Blue easily lends itself to, “Why so blue, Blue?” Kitty will be called, “Here kitty, kitty!”)
5. Avoid names that are difficult to spell. (Kaius is tricky to spell. So are Macsen and Maelys–along with most of the names I call “alphabet- soup” names because it’s hard to guess what the “correct spelling” of these names might be.)
6. Avoid names that are difficult to pronounce. (Kaius can be tricky to pronounce; is it KAY-us or KIE-us or KAY-oss? Carola is a German name that should be pronounced ca-ROLL-ah and the “r” in the second syllable needs to be “rolled.”)
7. Avoid names that aren’t “versatile” i.e., that don’t provide good options for both formal and informal occasions. (Most of the “alphabet- soup” names like, Neri, Tulsi, Betsan and Cabe don’t make formal impressions. None of these names are likely to impress when they appear on college or job applications.)
Most parents intuitively know that the name they give their baby is one of the most important decisions they will make before their child is born. Many parents think about this decision carefully (and obsessively) and weigh hundreds of options in the (roughly) seven months after they find out they are expecting. Most parents and experts are familiar with the practical list of baby-naming dont’s I’ve listed above.)
However, it doesn’t seem to have occurred to Pamela Redmond Satran to give these issues even a minute of thought. Her list of recently-recommended names creates the impression that she doesn’t care about the effects of the names she recommends on the children of the million or more expectant parents who read her articles each month on Nameberry.com and in major-market newspapers and national websites like The Huffington Post which reprint her articles. Conceivably the total number of people reading her articles in all media may add up to several million.
Sooner or later, her readers, her colleagues at Nameberry and the publications and websites that reprint her articles will understand what readers of this post now understand. And when that happens, things will change. I hope you can see I’m not being “snarky.” I’m calling your attention to a serious problem that needs to be addressed. I hope you’ll let Nameberry or the newspaper or website on which you read Satran’s articles know what you think.