What's in a Name?
Popular Names in Britain Today
"What's in a name?", Shakespeare asked in his play Romeo and Juliet. Well, the answer is: quite a lot, apparently! Choosing a name for a child can be a lengthy, drawn out process, sometimes even causing the parents or the family to fall out! Names come in and out of fashion. In Britain girls' names such as Gertrude and Ethel have fallen out of favour, as have boys' names such as Percival and Albert. Some names are handed down through the generations, from father to son, from mother to daughter. Others are chosen on a whim – because they sound nice, or because one or both of the parents want to name the child after someone famous they particularly like. So what are the most popular names in Britain today?
Popular girls' names are often taken from flowers. Lily, Daisy and Poppy are all names of flowers and they all feature in the top thirty in the popularity stakes. Summer and Autumn are also firm favourites though Spring and Winter are much less popular. Emily has been an extremely popular name in recent years and was one of the top two most popular girls' names for the first five years of this century. Jessica and Grace are next, followed by Ruby. None of these are as popular as Olivia, however, which only started appearing in the top five in 2005 and quickly jumped to the number one spot. How long it will stay there is anyone's guess!
One of the most popular boys' names in Britain is a traditional one - James. A name that harks back to the Bible and the Royal Family, James is a name that has been in use for years and years. However, in 2006 it was pushed out of the top five to make way for Harry. Possibly the popularity of Prince Charles' second son accounts for the rise in popularity for this name, who can say? Other frequently-used boys names are Oliver, Joshua and Thomas, which all appear in the top five. The reigning champion, however, is Jack, which has been the most popular boys' name in Britain for several years now.
Giving your child the name of a famous celebrity is a trend that has caught on in Britain. Cruz is a boy's name that has become much more popular in recent years, perhaps due to the fact that David and Victoria Beckham's youngest son is called Cruz. And it is possible that Angelina Jolie's son Maddox is responsible for the rise in popularity of that name: Maddox has risen nearly 90 places in the popularity stakes. Jayden is a name that is catching on too, apparently because Britney Spears called her youngest child Jayden. One of the fastest rising names on the list is Keira, which went straight into the top 100 at number 51 and rose to 33 almost immediately - an impressive debut! The fact that Keira Knightley stars in the box office hit "Pirates of the Caribbean" may well have something to do with this! However, the name of her co-star Orlando Bloom is not enjoying the same success.
Quick Quiz: Read the clues below and write the solutions on a piece of paper. Then take the first letter of each answer and rearrange them to find the hidden word connected with this Talking Point.
1. In Britain girls' names such as Gertrude and __________ have fallen out of favour.
2. Emily has been an extremely popular name in recent years and was one the top two most popular girls' name for the first five years of this __________.
3. Olivia started __________ in the top five in 2005 and quickly jumped to the number one spot.
4. Possibly the popularity of Prince Charles' second son accounts for the rise __________ popularity for this name.
5. Jack has been the most popular boys' name in Britain for several years __________.
6. It is possible that Angelina Jolie's son __________ is responsible for the rise in popularity of that name.
7. One of the fastest rising names on the list is __________ which went straight into the top 100 at number 51.
8. However, the name of Keira Knightley's co-star Orlando Bloom is __________ enjoying the same success.
For use with Talking Point worksheets
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