Years ago, I came up with a list of one-handed baby names — that is, names that are typed with either the left hand or the right hand on a QWERTY keyboard.
Turns out there may be a slight advantage to right-hand names.
According to a study published recently in Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, “the QWERTY keyboard may gradually attach more positive meanings to words with more letters located on the right side of the layout (everything to the right of T, G and B).”
We tend to like simplicity over complexity, and the harder-to-type letter pairs are on a QWERTY keyboard’s left side — these two facts together may lead people to prefer words (and names) that are typed on the right.
Which names are typed by the right hand only? My original list:
While researching the name Tiare on Monday, I discovered another Tahitian name on the SSA’s baby name list: Vaitiare, which means “water flower” in Tahitian. It was a one-hit wonder on the list in 1991:
1991: 5 baby girls named Vaitiare [debut]
The influence here might have been Tahitian model/actress Vaitiare Hirshon, who dated Julio Iglesias for much of the 1980s.
Yesterday I read an article about this year’s college football prospects. Three of the top ten have first and last names that start with the same letter: Bryce Brown (#1), Rueben Randle (#2) and Jelani Jenkins (#10).
That seemed like a rather high concentration…so I checked out the entire top 100 for similar names. I found six more: Janzen Jackson (#17), Garrett Gilbert (#18), Shayne Skov (#45), Morgan Moses (#49), Patrick Patterson (#50) and Jarvis Jones (#72).
Nine out of 100…nearly 10%. (Could this be representative of the entire population?) At this point I was curious enough to scan all of the archived rankings:
8 in ’08: Julio Jones, Armond Armstead, Janoris Jenkins, Garrett Goebel, Joshua Jarboe, Brendan Beal, Brice Butler, Brandon Beachum
6 in ’07: Terrance Toliver, Chris Culliver, Tyrod Taylor, Armando Allen, Bryan Bulaga, Gary Gray
6 in ’06: Mitch Mustain, Robert Rose, Tim Tebow, Stephen Schilling, Michael Morgan, Dorin Dickerson
7 in ’05: Ryan Reynolds, Dan Doering, Mohamed Massaquoi, Mario Manningham, Curtis Crouch, Avery Atkins, Terrance Taylor
9 in ’04: Willie Williams, Cameron Colvin, Lance Leggett, Brandon Barrett, Brandon Braxton, Josh Johnson, Brian Brohm, Tony Temple (maybe), Doug Dutch
6 in ’03: Steve Smith, Dennis Dixon, Mike Mason, Donovan Davis, Jason Jack, Craig Chambers
2 in ’02: Julian Jenkins, Doug Datish
So it seems there are more of these names than normal this year. Still, though, I’m curious to know just how many people in the U.S. have first names that start with the same letters as their surnames. (I also wonder whether the Name-Letter Effect has skewed the number upward at all.)
I realize that QWERTY “handedness” is not a major baby-naming factor for most people, but I do think it would be cute to pair a one-handed name with another one-handed name — maybe a surname (Teresa Garza, Phillip Hill) or a twin name (Edward & John, Grace & Lily, Zara & Milo). What do you think?