Wanna Talk Names? Give Me a Call!

I’ve created a couple of videos recently (on YouTube) and I’m looking forward to creating similar audio/video content in the future.

But here’s the thing: It’s no fun if it’s just me! I’d love to feature audio from you — your stories, opinions, questions, requests, and so on.

So I’ve set up this phone number (should go straight to voicemail) for collecting anything you’d like to tell me about names: 305-204-NAME (6263).

Just call in and leave me a message!

What should you say? Here are some ideas:

Tell a story about your name.

This is the type of audio I’m most excited about. Lots of people have great name stories, and would be willing to share them…but don’t feel compelled to write those stories down and send them to some random baby name blogger. But what if they could call a number, speak their stories over the phone, and have those stories magically turned into YouTube videos (with no other effort on their part)? That sounds way more fun, right?

A few prompts:

  • What’s the story behind your name?
  • Have you had any unique experiences because of your name?
  • Has your name opened/closed any doors for you?

I’m particularly interested in name origin stories — I’ve been collecting/posting them in the name stories category for years — but I’d be happy to hear any story you want to tell me about your name and your experience of living with it.

Pronounce a name or two (or ten, or twenty).

This is the type of audio I’m next most excited about. Remember that Maryland mom who named her baby Ottilie with the British pronunciation in mind? She was so disappointed by the way Americans pronounced it that she ended up changing the name to Margot. This story makes me eager to gather recordings of names being spoken by all sorts of different people — particularly in various English accents — so that we can easily hear the differences.

Some ideas:

  • If you’re an English speaker, what’s your take on “Ottilie”? How about “Ione”?
  • If you’re from Ireland, how would you say “Aoife”? “Pádraig”?
  • If you’re Hawaiian, how do you say “Ikaika”? “Nāinoa“?
  • If you’re a native Spanish speaker, how would you say “Xiomara”? “Jacinto”?
  • If you’re a native French speaker, how would you say “Maëlle”? “Loïc”?
  • If you’re a native Italian speaker, how would you say “Letizia”? “Enos“?

I think it would be most efficient to work from a pronunciation “wish list” so that the trickiest names get priority. To nominate a name for the list, leave a comment below.

If you call in with pronunciations, please remember to mention your accent and/or location as well. (“I’ve got a Southern Irish accent.” “I was born and raised in Omaha.” “I grew up in Jamaica.”) Same for people pronouncing non-English names. (If you speak Spanish, did you grow up in Buenos Aires? Barcelona? Bogotá?) With this context, the recordings are more useful.

Submit a baby name request.

The videos I’ve made so far are based on written Five-Name Friday requests, but it would be just as easy for me to splice in a spoken request. Be sure the request is still just two sentences long, though. (Check out the Need a Name? page for more information.)

Talk about anything else related to names.

Opinions, questions, observations, rants…anything! I’m happy to listen, and I appreciate anything you’re willing to give me.

And on that note, a few general comments about the recordings:

  • Call as many times as you want, but each voicemail can only be up to three minutes long.
  • Speak clearly, particularly if you’re demonstrating how to pronounce a name.
  • Identify yourself…or not. It’s up to you. But if you’re telling a story about your name, we do need to know what your name is. :) Likewise, for pronunciation recordings we need information about your accent/language.
  • I can’t guarantee that I’ll be able to use every single recording in a future video/audio, unfortunately.
  • By calling and leaving a message, you grant me (Nancy) perpetual license to use your message, in whole or in part, in any future piece(s) of media. (Here’s the policy page, btw.)

The number again is 305-204-6263. Those last four digits spell the word “name” on the telephone keypad, which is pretty cool. They also spell “oboe,” incidentally. :)

Hope to hear from you soon!


Five-Name Friday – The Return of Suggestion Posts!

five name friday, call for requests

Update, 6/21/2017: Check out the Need a Name? page.

The people have spoken! Well, not all the people. Only those people who voted in the poll that was sitting in my sidebar for about a month.

In any case, those specific people spoke. That is, they voted. And what they voted for was a weekly baby name suggestion post.

But here’s the thing: I’m not going to do in-depth suggestion posts this time around. What I’ll do instead is focus on simplified baby name requests (up to 2 sentences each) and limited baby name suggestions (up to 5 from me, and up to 5 from every commenter). My hope is that these constraints will make participation easy and fun, like a game.

Ready to play? Here are the details…

Request Baby Names

Send me requests via the contact page or via social media. Here are some examples of requests you could send:

  • “I like the names Abigail, Rebecca and Catherine, but my spouse likes Allie, Ellie and Missy. What are girl names we’d both like?”
  • “What are some boy names that pay tribute to Dallas, Texas? They can’t start with the letter W please.”
  • “I want a girl name that makes people smile. Must sound good with the surname Jacobsen.”
  • “I love circuses! Please give me boy names associated with the circus.”
  • “I’m looking for a nature name for a baby boy that’s unlikely to be used for baby girls. Definitely cannot end in -a or -y.”
  • “What are some traditional but unexpected boy names that start with F, G, and H? His sisters are named Sarah and Tamar.”

You don’t have to be pregnant, or even planning to get pregnant, to place a request. And you can send as many requests as you like — either separately or all in the same email.

But I’ll only accept requests for first names that make note of gender in some way. And, as I said, no more than 2 sentences per request. (No run-ons, please.)

After you’ve sent a request (or several), subscribe to the blog. That way you can keep tabs on all future Five-Name Friday posts and see which requests get featured. Will one of them be yours?

Suggest Baby Names

We can’t start suggesting names until next Friday, so I’ll hold off on these guidelines for now.

But I will say that those who try to sneak extra names into their comments should expect to see said comments “fixed” in some embarrassing way by yours truly. (I’m very much looking forward to this…)

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So what are you waiting for? Request away! (Or, send requests via Twitter or Facebook.)

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Update, 8/30: Here’s the ever-growing Five-Name Friday archive!

10th Blogiversary

A full decade of blogging! Why? Because clearly something is wrong with me.

Six-year-old Nancy Joyce Darken of Chicago, on the other hand, is perfect in all ways:

Nancy Joyce Darken in her Nancy box, Chicago, 1937
© LIFE

In fact, it was NJD who reminded me to write this post.

Not personally, of course. Her photo did the reminding.

I’ve had it saved on my computer since last year, and every time I saw it, I’d say to myself: “Don’t forget to add that to the 2016 blogiversary post.”

Which in turn reminded me to write the 2016 blogiversary post.

Anyway…

Double digits. Pretty cool. Not quite as cool as twenty years, which is what Behind the Name recently hit (congrats to Mike C!), but cool nonetheless.

On to decade #2!

Image: “She is tap-dancing on the ceiling.” LIFE 28 Jun. 1937: 68.

Posts About the SSA Names Will Be Late

The U.S.’s top baby names of 2014 will be released very soon (yay!).

Typically, I spend “release day” and the following weekend writing posts, updating the site, and drinking large amounts of coffee.

This year, though, the writing/updating/coffee drinking will happen a bit late as husband and I are currently visiting Prague and won’t be back until Sunday.

swans, vltava river, prague
Swans in the Vltava river about a week ago

Apologies in advance about the delay.

In the meanwhile, here are the top names in the Czech Republic.

When the new rankings become available, check out the top 1,000 online at the SSA’s Popular Baby Names page and/or download the full set of data from the SSA’s Beyond the Top 1000 Names page.

P.S. Have any last-minute pop culture predictions?

UPDATE, 5/11: And here’s the list! Most Popular U.S. Baby Names of 2014

NBN Is Now Mobile-Optimized; Graphs Coming Soon

The good news? NBN is now optimized for mobile devices!

Making the site mobile-friendly has been on my to-do list since, oh, 2010. :)

The bad news? The baby name popularity graphs don’t yet work in mobile.

I’d been planning to figure out how to get them to work in mobile prior to making the site responsive but, alas, an impending Google algorithm update has thwarted that plan.

So I’m posting this to let you know about (and apologize for) the problem. I will fix it as soon as I can.

In the meanwhile, please note that the graphs are only a click away if you’re on a smartphone or similar device. Simply navigate to a graph page, scroll to the very bottom of the page, and click “View Full Site” to get out of mobile and back to the web-based version of the site (where the graphs are always visible).

Thanks for your patience, everyone!