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Lessons in Naming from American Sign Language

July 17, 2021 Namerology 3 min read 1 Comment

Who gets to name Kamala Harris? For those of us in the hearing world, the question may scarcely make sense. Vice President Harris is a grown woman whose name is well established (despite opponents’ attempts to diminish her by deliberately mangling it). But for American Sign Language users, the question […]

road with "pavement ends" sign

A Baby Name Gender Gap Is Closing, Part 2

February 18, 2021 Namerology 4 min read 2 Comments

In Part 1 of this series, I described how a longstanding gender difference in American baby naming is rapidly disappearing. Boys used to be named more conservatively, while girls’ names were more trendy and creative. Today, boys’ names too are objects of fashion, subject to shifting tastes. What does this […]

"I'm sorry, Dave" (image from the film 2001 A Space Odyssey)

The Names that Do—and Don’t—Hold Power in Washington

February 4, 2021 LauraWattenberg 4 min read 5 Comments

The Brady Bunch? In. Dave and Jen? Out. Oh, and women? Yeah, they’re still out too. Those are a few of the conclusions from a review of the names that rule in American government. I tallied the given names of over 900 current high-ranking US public servants, including congresspeople, cabinet […]

Elon Musk holding baby

5 Names that Mattered in 2020

December 22, 2020 LauraWattenberg 6 min read 1 Comment

The pace of news was set to double-time in 2020, and name news was no exception. Names made headlines as they were chosen, abandoned, celebrated, mocked, debated and redefined. These five names made their mark on a year like no other. COVIDThe many names given to the virus that paralyzed […]

Photos of Karen Bass, Michelle Lujan Grisham, Val Demings and Kamala Harris

The Vice-Presidential Name Field, 2020

August 8, 2020 LauraWattenberg 4 min read 4 Comments

As Joe Biden has vetted prospective VP candidates, the leading names have been analyzed and dissected in the media in every imaginable way. Every way but one, that is: the names themselves. Because while the nominee is expected to be ground-breaking—likely the first woman of color on a major ticket—the […]

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