Advanced search

why do names differ so much - USA/UK

(81 Posts)
Summerbluues Thu 18-Aug-16 23:31:30

So just a late night thought and after seeing a post about a girls' name that I think would be totally accepted in the States but not so much here. It seems that across the pond they are much for "daring" with names, like there is more emphasis on trying to find something unique. I just commented on another post how "masculine" names are not all that rare for girls e.g Brynn, Ryan, Jamie.

My sister lives in Chicago and just through having a quick browse at her FB friends list I've found

Tinley (x2)
Avery (x2)
Ariel (x3)
Delaney (x3)
Brynn/Brynne for a girl x 2
Lincoln (x2)
Porter (x2)
Reese for a girl (x2)
Hadley (x2)
Piper (x4)
Madalyn (obvious Madeleine very common but never seen this spelling before!)
Presley (x3)

And those are just the ones that really stood's like I would see those names and know straight away it was someone from the States and not the UK. Why do you think it is that across the pond they are more "out there" with names?

MysteriesOfTheOrganism Thu 18-Aug-16 23:35:05

Because they can't spell? wink

PaperdollCartoon Thu 18-Aug-16 23:39:00

Possibly it's that they're a completely immigrant nation, a melting pot of so many different cultures/languages and therefore names, so more variation is likely to be spawned where there's less focus on name traditions like here.

There's also a much bigger culture of individuality over there, so parents are more likely to try to pick something different and unique. There's a growing trend of that here now, but it's been going on longer over there.

MoosLikeJagger Thu 18-Aug-16 23:41:42

Partly just a cultural difference. Partly depends on your social circle - I'm sure there are bits of the USA where Charlotte &c are very popular.

One cultural thing that does seem to be common(er) in the States is giving a child the mother's maiden name as a forename. Beyonce's name is a tweaking of her mother's maiden name, Beyince, for example.

I know too much about Beyonce

DramaAlpaca Thu 18-Aug-16 23:42:23

That list of names is giving me the vapours [shudder]

I'd say Paperdoll's explanation is right.

sonlypuppyfat Thu 18-Aug-16 23:47:46

I doubt any of those kids will be able to buy a mug with their name on

ComedyWing Thu 18-Aug-16 23:55:15

Yes to Paper, but the one that thing that strikes me is how awful the majority of those names are! All those gruesome younique twists like Kennedi and Haeliey, and Brielle and Braylon sound like drip-dry sofa coverings. Is 'Trinidy' just Trinity?

DramaAlpaca Thu 18-Aug-16 23:56:42

I initially read Landry as Laundry grin

senua Thu 18-Aug-16 23:57:31

For a moment there I thought that someone on that list was called Laundry.

senua Thu 18-Aug-16 23:57:59

Ha! Not just me.grin

Wellywife Fri 19-Aug-16 00:00:31

Unfortunately I'd subconsciously assume most live in a trailer park. hmm

Summerbluues Fri 19-Aug-16 00:03:23

ComedyWing haha I know! Taken very "normal" names and giving them bizarre spellings.

PaperdollCartoon good points. I suppose there isn't much influence of "traditional" names since as you say it's such an amalgamation of cultures so the tradional names from various countries may not have been carried over.

My sister is Bryony and was concerned when she first moved out there that everyone would find it really strange and not be able to pronounce it since it's a British flower and really only used in the UK, but she said people find it less "weird" than they do in the UK because so many names are so uncommon. She's also come across Bryanna, Bryonna, Bryannie and Brynna which are all bizarre but no other Bryonys

DramaAlpaca Fri 19-Aug-16 00:06:36

<high fives> senua grin

Great cross post!

AngharadTheSplendid Fri 19-Aug-16 00:21:15

Currently living in the states and yes there are so many Madison's, Mackenzie's, Knox's etc... Much less 'classic' names IYSWIM and more surnamey. Met a little girl called Campbell last week! confused

pennyunwise Fri 19-Aug-16 02:09:43

The culture of using surnames as first names is huge in the US.

AaronBleurgh Fri 19-Aug-16 02:16:05

"Unfortunately I'd subconsciously assume most live in a trailer park"
Seriously, but WT actual F?!! I'm genuinely shock that you wouldn't realise how offensive that comment is on so many levels.

LucyBabs Fri 19-Aug-16 02:20:37

How is Bryony pronounced? And do others pronounce it the same time with a different spelling?
I have an Irish name and I don't think anyone other than family have ever spelt my name correctly..Mainly coz they can't be bothered confused

VioletBam Fri 19-Aug-16 02:23:12

That name sounds like the ones I hear in Oz.

Well....there are two camps actually. I hear things like


and on the other side of the coin


So it's either weirdly American or full on English.

VioletBam Fri 19-Aug-16 02:23:50


How else?

TealLove Fri 19-Aug-16 02:32:00

Omg Trinidy is sincerely the worst name I have ever heard.

LucyBabs Fri 19-Aug-16 02:32:39

What do you mean how else violet ?
My name is not pronounced phonetically.. A lot of names aren't.. Not all names are from the English language grin

DixieWishbone Fri 19-Aug-16 02:32:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Anonymouses Fri 19-Aug-16 02:34:11

Lots of pronunciations are different as well. My middle one is called Kara pronounced Car-a but here the default pronunciation is ka-ra. She's getting a bit cross about it grin

Canyouforgiveher Fri 19-Aug-16 02:34:57

Because it is an enormous country, way way bigger than the UK, with a mostly immigrant population. So it doesn't have the small population and strong history of names.

also because it isn't class-obsessed (see the lovely "trailer park" comment above) and not that worried about class markers so even very middle class people wouldn't worry too much about giving an unusual name or spelling to a child.

That said, I think most white parents wouldn't give an overtly black name to a child.

Surnames are also very popular as first names.

That said, I live in the northeast and my dd knows more Emmas and Alexandras than any other name. To the point where there are 3 of each on her hockey team.

KickAssAngel Fri 19-Aug-16 03:49:24

As someone who teaches English in a US middle school.

1. There is far more emphasis on spelling, vocab and grammar than in UK schools.
2. What British people see as unusual or 'try too hard' or 'younique' are actually very often just normal run-of-the-mill names in the US. Some people are looking very ignorant of American culture with those comments.
3. Yes, there are large numbers of immigrants, but the majority of people living in the US are from families that have been there for several generations. Some of their 'different' names are actually very historical (as are many of their spellings - it was the Brits who changed spellings, not the Americans).
4. It is incredibly rude - some would say bigoted - to make derogatory comments about an entire nation. In fact, as some of the names being laughed at come from different racial backgrounds, it is racist.

But yes, I have gotten used to American culture, names and spellings. They are a different nation with different culture, and I do not laugh at or deride any of the children I teach because they offend my English priggishness sensibilities.

In fact, I find the British attitude towards names really weird nowadays. Stupid, ignorant, bad-spelling inbreeds who all use the same names and have no imagination. hmm

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now