During the ’60s and ’70s, a slew of Africa-inspired baby names debuted in the U.S. baby name data. These included traditional African names (e.g., Abayomi, Ayanna), names taken from African and African-American public figures (e.g., Lumumba, Levar), and — the focus of today’s post — African place names, particularly country names.
Here are all the African country/region/kingdom names I’ve spotted in the SSA data so far. (I didn’t omit Chad, even though it coincides with the English name Chad.)
The name Jean-Luc debuted on the SSA’s list in 1987, and peak usage was in 1992:
1993: 63 baby boys named Jean-Luc
1992: 65 baby boys named Jean-Luc
1991: 46 baby boys named Jean-Luc
1990: 26 baby boys named Jean-Luc
1989: 21 baby boys named Jean-Luc
1988: 14 baby boys named Jean-Luc
1987: 8 baby boys named Jean-Luc [debut]
Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the starship Enterprise.
Picard, played by Patrick Stewart, was the central character in the TV show Star Trek: The Next Generation, which premiered in late 1987 and ran until mid-1994.
The character, though born and raised in 24th-century France, was a native English speaker. How? According to the show, French had become an obscure language by the 2300s. And yet, interestingly, the people of English-speaking future-France were still getting very traditional French names. Picard’s parents were named Maurice and Yvette, for instance. (Do you think this is a believable scenario?)
The names Geordi and Riker also debuted during the years TNG was on the air. They were likely inspired by the characters Will Riker (first officer) and Geordi La Forge (chief engineer, played by LeVar Burton).
The only other Star Trek name I’ve blogged about so far is Uhura, but there are more coming up…
In the meanwhile, what do you think of the name Jean-Luc?