How popular is the baby name Anika in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, check out all the blog posts that mention the name Anika.
In 1995, researchers Herbert Barry and Aylene S. Harper invented a way to score personal names to determine how “male” or “female” they sounded. Names with positive scores on the scale were more female-sounding, and names with negative scores were more male-sounding.
- +2 points if the accent is on the 2nd or later syllable (Elizabeth)
- +2 points if the last phoneme is unstressed and schwa-like (Sarah)
- +1 points if the last phoneme is some other vowel sound, not a schwa sound (Melanie)
- +1 points if the accent is on the 1st of 3 or more syllables (Emily)
- -1 points if the name has 1 syllable (Mitch)
- -1 points if the last phoneme is S, Z, F, V, TH, CH, ZH, or DZH (James)
- -2 points if the last phoneme is P, B, T, D, K, or G (Jacob)
- -2 points if the accent is on the 1st of 2 syllables and the name has 6+ phonemes (Robert)
The authors looked at Pennsylvania baby names from 1960 to 1990 and discovered that the average phonetic gender score for girl names and boy names had become more “female” over time.
Several years ago, linguist Anika Okrent used the same scale to analyze national baby name data from 1880 to 2013. She noticed the same trend — stretching back to 1950 and continuing until today.
Her theory is that the shift was essentially fueled by shifting trends in boy names. As names like Donald gave way to names like Elijah, the result was an overall rise in the average phonetic gender score for boy names. This in turn triggered a corresponding rise in the average phonetic gender score for girl names “in order to maintain the gender distinction” (i.e., Janet giving way to Olivia).
Do you agree with this theory?
New Zealand’s top Maori baby names of 2013 were announced last month.
According to the Department of Internal Affairs and the Maori Language Commission (Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori), the country’s most popular Maori names of 2013* were Aria and Nikau.
Here are the top 20 Maori girl names and Maori boy names of 2013:
8. Te Ariki
This is the second-ever official list of popular Maori names, and it’s very different from the first list (2012). Notably, half of the girl names and nearly half of the boy names above are brand new. Two of the newbie boy names, Ari and Niko, now rank 2nd and 4th respectively.
The only Maori name on the list of popular baby names in New Zealand (top 25 of 2013) is Aria, ranked 24th.
*Actually, they’re the top Maori names given during the “2012-2013 financial year,” so, between April 1, 2012, and March 31, 2013.
Source: Maori Language Week: Top Maori boys’ and girls’ names
A conversation with commenter elbowin a couple of weeks ago prompted me to do a bit of research on Maori names. And what did I stumble upon while doing that research? An official list of the top Maori baby names of 2012:
|Baby Girl Names
||Baby Boy Names
14. Te Ariki
16. Te Koha
The list was created using data from the Births, Deaths and Marriages registry of NZ’s Department of Internal Affairs. How?
The results are for the first name given to nineteen thousand Maori babies (by descent) registered in 2012. The analysis found that Maori girls are more likely to be given Maori names.
So, they tallied up and ranked all the Maori names given to babies of Maori descent. (In case you’re wondering, 61,178 babies were born in New Zealand in 2012 and 33% of these babies were of Maori descent.)
I do wish the press release had included some raw numbers, or at least mentioned what percentage of Maori babies got Maori names in 2012. Because, without this information, there’s no way to know what sort of influence (if any) Maori babies getting Maori names had on the overall 2012 list.
For instance, the top two Maori girl names, Maia and Aria — which aren’t exclusively Maori in origin — ranked 30th and 38th nation-wide. Would they have ranked as well if they hadn’t been so popular among the Maori specifically?
Anyway…it’s a cool list, regardless. Thanks, elbowin, for all the thoughtful comments. :)
Sources: Top 20 Maori boys’ and girls’ names released, Births and Deaths: Year ended December 2012