Are Spanish Names Doomed?

I was mildly amused by Jeffrey Kluger’s article Adios, Juan and Juanita: Latin Names Trend Down. Not by the main message, which is plausible enough, but by two lines.

The first:

Though a fair number of Spanish names for both sexes will find asylum on American shores, the majority appear doomed.

Doomed? Now that’s a strong word.

I don’t think most Spanish names are “doomed.” (So fatalistic!) They may fall out of favor for a while, sure. But they’ll be back. In a few generations, the descendants of today’s Latin Americans will want to celebrate their ancestry, and they’ll start reusing those very “doomed” names to which the author refers. It’s just the nature of things.

The second:

We thus tagged [our daughters] with Elisa and Paloma — elegant, uncommon and undeniably Spanish.

Ahem. Elisa is not undeniably Spanish. Paloma, yes, but not Elisa. I’m surprised this statement made it into TIME.

2 thoughts on “Are Spanish Names Doomed?

  1. Thank you! My eyes crossed when I read the Elisa comment, too.

    And doomed? There’s really no such thing in naming, is there? With so many Latino names in the Top 100, I didn’t get this story at all. Just because Juan is on the decline doesn’t mean that another name isn’t taking his place. (I think Kluger attributed Diego’s rise to the cartoon – which struck me as implausible. Need to look into that …)

    In any event, it is nice to see names covered in TIME – even if the piece is flawed.

  2. He also lists “Daniel” as a name fated to fall soon (um, what?). And calls “Hector”, “Daniel”, “Sandra” and “Cecilia” bilingual names. Does he not know that Hector was in The Iliad (on a soldier of Troy, which the Greek’s considered to be “oriental”)? Or that Daniel is in the Bible? Or that Cecilia was a Roman Saint? Or that Sandra is a nickname for the Italian name Alessandra? NONE of those names is decidedly a Spanish name, although I don’t doubt that they’re used in Spanish-speaking countries.

    Jeffrey Kluger did not do enough research.

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