Baby Names

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On this episode of the EnglishLingQ podcast, Mark tells Jill how he and his wife chose their kids’ names. They also speak about some of the traditional ways that people choose baby names.

Mark: Here we are again at EnglishLingQ; Mark Kaufmann with Jill Soles.

Jill: Hello.

Mark: Today we are going to talk about baby names or, I guess, names in general.

Jill: And how we name our kids and maybe what our favorite names are.

Mark: Yeah, we’ll see what we touch on.

I guess, obviously, we’re talking about it because Jill has an impending arrival and, obviously, you and Chris are talking about names.

Jill: Yeah.

Mark: Which is a fun activity in anticipation.

Jill: We haven’t talked that much because Chris kind of is sort of like always ah, you know, that’s a long ways away.

I don’t know, I think maybe men are like that whereas women are kind of well, no, I want to talk about this and I want to figure this out and it’s not that far away and it’s going to come faster than you know it.

Mark: Yeah, I think that’s probably true. I know that I’m the same way, like how about we worry about it when the time comes.

Jill: So, he would probably just wait until the child was born and oh well, what do we want to call it?

What do you want to name it?

Mark: Then you have a situation like me where the child has no name for two weeks.

Jill: Oh, I know, my girlfriend who had a baby a year ago they didn’t name their child…I think you have 30 days, you have a month, and then you have to name it and they were down to the wire.

Mark: Really.

Jill: They just couldn’t decide on a name. It was 28 days later or something.

Mark: Yeah, I know that I think I was supposed to be a girl.

My parents were convinced that I was one, so they had a girl’s name picked out.

When I came out a boy…

Jill: That really threw them off, hey?

Mark: Yeah, they were pretty sure I was going to be a girl.

Jill: And your mom, why, she just had a feeling?

Mark: I don’t know, I don’t know, I guess I should ask her.

Jill: Yeah, because back then they didn’t do ultrasounds I don’t think, did they?

Mark: No, no, no, she just thought I was. I don’t know, maybe I felt different than my brother did.

Jill: Yeah.

Mark: I don’t know why, but I guess they were pretty sure that I was a girl, yeah.

I guess the mind can convince you.

Like if you really want to believe that…let’s just put it this way, they wanted a girl.

Jill: And you’ve just been a disappointment ever since.

Mark: You know, my whole life; it started early, yes.

Jill: Oh no, not true. Do you remember what the name was that they were going to give you?

Mark: They were going to name me Annie, yeah.

Jill: Oh, after your dad’s mom.

Mark: Yeah, yeah.

Jill: Oh, that’s great, because I was asking you about that the other day. Your daughter’s name is Annie.

Mark: That’s right and after my dad’s mom who I never met, because she died when he was quite young.

For whatever reason, Kindrey, my wife, has always kind of liked to give names that are meaningful that are related to someone in the family.

Whereas, to me, I never really thought of naming kids that way.

I would just pick a name I like and name the kid whereas, I guess, she’s more traditional or likes to, I don’t know…

Jill: I guess, traditionally, people did sort of…you know, I know often boys for sons were named after their father, so Mark Senior, Mark Junior, whatever.

Mark: Right.

Jill: In my family on my dad’s side the son’s middle name is always the father’s first name, so my granddad’s name is John and my dad’s name is Patrick John and my brother’s name is Christopher Patrick.

Mark: Oh yeah.

Jill: And so now my brother when he named his son he followed that same.

Mark: Oh yeah, I mean that’s kind of neat to have a tradition like that. The Ken Sr., Ken Jr., that’s a tough one.

Jill: I’m not a big fan of that, I have to say.

Mark: It doesn’t seem to happen much anymore at all.

Jill: No, no.

Mark: I don’t know of any juniors in my kids’ generation.

I’m sure it happens still, but it used to happen more, for sure.

Jill: Yeah, so then Kindrey was keen on Annie then?

Mark: Yeah, Kindrey really liked the name Annie and, typically, Annie is a short form for Ann, Anna…

Jill: …Annabelle.

Mark: I think my dad’s mom, my grandmother’s name was Anna, but Kindrey didn’t like Anna or Ann and wanted just Annie’s name to be Annie.

So, in fact, that’s not a nickname that’s her name.

Jill: That’s her full name. On her birth certificate it’s A-n-n-i-e, Annie.

Mark: Yeah and her middle name is, actually, Kindrey’s mom’s name, so she’s Annie Patricia.

Jill: Right.

Mark: Yeah.

Jill: And then so what about Kyle, your son?

Mark: Kyle was just…we just picked a name, Kyle Matthew. He has no name sort of tied to anybody, but then Olivia’s middle name is my mom’s name.

Jill: Carmen.

Mark: Yeah.

Jill: Oh really.

Mark: Actually, you know it’s Maria…there’s the phone.

Jill: We always like to add a little color to these podcasts.

Mark: Right. Hopefully, he doesn’t phone back again.

Jill: So, it’s Olivia Carmen.

Mark: Olivia Maria. My mom’s name is Maria Del Carmen.

Jill: Oh really? So how come she always goes by Carmen?

Mark: Well, that’s just how she’s always gone, yeah.

Jill: Oh wow, I didn’t know that.

Mark: So, anyway, the Maria comes from her.

Jill: Oh that’s pretty, Olivia Maria. And Olivia was just because you guys liked the name.

Mark: Yeah.

Jill: Right.

Mark: And, in fact, we were talking about this earlier that Olivia, we liked the name and, actually, she goes by Liv, which is a short form.

Although, I still call her Livia, but it turns out that it’s quite a popular name now.

Jill: Very popular.

Mark: We didn’t choose it because other people were choosing it but, for whatever reason, we thought it was a nice name.

It turns out there’s like at least two other Olivias in her class and there’s lots in the school, so it’s quite a popular name.

Jill: Yeah, I know quite a few little Olivias.

I think there was quite a period of time where it wasn’t common.

Growing up, my generation, I don’t remember knowing any Olivias, maybe one, my whole life.

Mark: Yeah.

Jill: But now there are a lot of little girls named Olivia.

Mark: There are.

Yeah, I knew none either, except that when I was at university one of my friend’s girlfriend was Olivia and probably the only Olivia that I knew.

Kindrey met her too and at the time we thought oh, that’s a nice name, so it’s funny.

Jill: Yeah and we were talking too that Chris and I we love that name for a girl.

It’s one name we can agree on.

There’s not many that we do, but Olivia is a name that we both really like and we like Liv and Livie as well too.

Mark: Yeah.

Jill: They’re nice, short, names and most people with more than a one-syllable name will get some sort of shortened version and some of them aren’t very nice.

Mark: Right, or at least you don’t like them.

Jill: Yeah, exactly, I shouldn’t say they’re not nice, but maybe I don’t like them.

So, that’s important to us too is finding one where they’re going to be called something that we actually like.

Mark: It is a funny thing when you’re talking about naming kids.

You know, you come up with a name that you really like and then your spouse, for whatever reason, is death on that name.

Like, oh no, and often it’s because they knew a Lisa at some point who was whatever and there’s no way, you know.

Jill: It’s so true.

You make these associations with people, ex-boyfriends, ex-girlfriends, people you knew that maybe you really didn’t like or whatever and you can never like that name ever again.

Mark: Never, yeah, I know.

It’s so funny and it ends up, as you say, there aren’t that many at the end that you both agree on that you want to use.

Jill: Yeah, exactly.

I mean Olivia we both like, but it’s extremely popular, so I don’t know that we’ll do that.

One I really like, which isn’t popular and I don’t think has ever been popular, is Chloe.

Mark: Yeah.

Jill: I really like Chloe. Chris isn’t a big fan.

I think it’s growing on him a little bit because I don’t let it go and just because I like it and it’s not popular.

Mark: I would say, I mean, it didn’t exist when we were little.

Like you didn’t hear it at all, whereas, you hear it now.

Jill: A little bit.

Mark: There are some Chloes around.

Jill: Yeah, yeah.

Mark: I think there’s one in Livia’s class.

Jill: Yeah, but it’s certainly not…still, if you look at top 10 or top 50 names it’s not in there so, you know, who knows.

But I know Chris’ preference if we have a girl is, actually, he would love to name the little girl after his mom.

Mark: Oh yeah.

Jill: He loves his mom’s name.

Mark: And what’s her name?

Jill: Her name is Clara.

Mark: Oh yeah, that’s a nice name.

Jill: It’s a very old-fashioned name; very few Claras.

There are a lot of Claires; very few Claras.

He just loves it.

He thinks it’s a beautiful name and he just loves his mom and I love her too and, like he says, you know, who is there that you would rather name your child after than my mom.

But he’s really not a momma’s boy.

He’s not at all like that; very independent, always has been, but just she’s an extremely caring, loving, thoughtful, person.

So, I don’t mind it; I don’t dislike it.

There are other names I like better so, I don’t know, we’ll see what will happen.

Mark: We will see. We’ll find out after.

Jill: And if it’s a boy…

Mark: I was going to say, we haven’t heard too many boys’ names thrown out.

Jill: You know, we don’t really…neither of us are keen on really any boys’ names.

We find that it’s a lot harder with boys.

Mark: We found that too.

Jill: We’re sort of to the point where we’re trying to find names that we don’t mind.

Mark: Right.

Jill: There are really no names that we just love.

Mark: The issue with boys too is you end up saying we can’t…you’ve got to be a little more careful because, in a way, there’s a little more leeway with girls.

There’s a wider variety of names that are sort of okay, whereas, with boys you feel like if you name them something a little weird and he’s going…

Jill: …be teased his whole life.

And, no, I would never do that.

Mark: Yeah, you know, whereas girls aren’t going to tease each other about their names.

Jill: With girls, in some ways, it’s almost cool or neat to have a unique name.

Mark: Right.

Jill: That could be a really great thing, but with boys not so much.

Mark: No.

Jill: So, I don’t know, we’re thinking of maybe Jacob.

Mark: Yeah.

Jill: I really like the name Luke.

Actually, personally, I like the name Luke, but Chris doesn’t like one-syllable names.

He thinks that’s not a real name that Lucas is a real name and then we would call him Luke.

Mark: Right.

Jill: So he says if we do Luke, we officially name him Lucas and then just call him Luke, but I was always the type of person who said why do people do that?

Why do they name their child a name and then never, ever, even call their child that name?

Mark: Right and shorten it.

Jill: Well then just name them that.

Mark: Right.

Jill: That’s kind of what I always thought.

Mark: Right.

Jill: So, I don’t know.

Mark: Ask him what the long form is of Mark.

Jill: Yeah, exactly.

Mark: That doesn’t exist; Marcus?

Jill: Marcus, that’s right.

Mark: Marcus I don’t consider an English name really, necessarily.

Jill: No, isn’t it a Scandinavian-type name?

Mark: It seems like, yeah, or German.

It’s not really an English name, Marcus, you don’t hear it very often.

Jill: But we have made it English by spelling it M-a-r-c-u-s.

I have known Marcuses in school.

Mark: Yeah, that’s true.

I mean, no, it’s not that it doesn’t exist, but there are a lot more Marks than there are Marcuses.

Jill: Yeah, for sure.

Oh yeah, Mark is a very common name, yeah.

My little brother’s name is Mark, actually.

Mark: Oh yeah?

Jill: So, I don’t know, we’ll see.

The other thing with Clara is I feel like it’s a little bit unfair to my mom that we’re, you know, naming the first name but, you know, my mom’s really great.

Mark: Right.

Jill: I’ve already talked to her about this and she’s not at all upset or offended and it doesn’t bother her at all.

Chris always says well, it’s too bad your mom has such a bad name because if she didn’t have such a bad name we could name it after her.

Mark: That’s not very nice, what’s your mom’s name?

Jill: My mom’s name is Sheryl.

Mark: What’s wrong with that?

Jill: Sheryl Ann, so I mean it’s just that Ann is very common, very plain, you know, whatever.

It’s not bad it’s just average and, actually, my grandma who I was extremely close to and who just passed away a couple years ago, I would really like to have had her name as like a middle name.

Mark: Oh yeah.

Jill: Unfortunately, and we’ve had some good laughs about this, she was called Penny.

That’s not her name…

Mark: Penelope?

Jill: No, no, her name is actually Marlene and her middle name is Gladys.

Mark: Wow.

Jill: So, Marlene Gladys.

Mark: But that was another time.

They’re just very old-fashioned.

Jill: Which are both names that we’re not fans of and she was always called Penny because my grandpa gave her that name when they were like 15 years old or something.

Mark: Is that right?

Jill: But, Penny is not a real name either; it’s short for Penelope often.

Mark: Yeah, right.

Jill: But she wasn’t Penelope.

Mark: No.

Jill: So, who knows, I think our kids’ names are not going to really have any sort of significance.

Mark: Yeah, you know, getting back to that issue about your mom versus Chris’ mom, Kindrey always wanted to have names of significance and so, you know, we ended up…Annie is named after my dad’s mom and Kindrey’s mom.

When Olivia came along we were okay, we should probably name her after my mom and my mom didn’t care at all.

She was just like no, don’t.

She didn’t really want it, you know.

Everybody is different and I don’t think people are offended.

I mean, you’ve just got to pick a name and whatever name you pick, even if it seems like…it always seems a bit funny because the child isn’t there and you pick a name, but…

Jill: …they grow into it, yeah.

Mark: Pretty soon, yeah, they can’t be anything else.

That’s who they are, right?

Jill: That’s what they are, yeah, exactly, so.

Mark: Anyway, we’ll be waiting to hear.

We should have a pool on EnglishLingQ.

People can guess which names.

Jill: I was thinking of having a pool just to guess if it’s going to be a boy or a girl because so many people are so convinced it’s going to be a boy and there have only been a couple people who are adamant that it’s going to be a girl, so I might get a pool going.

Mark: Yeah, yeah, that’s a fairly common thing to do.

Jill: Is it nowadays?

Mark: To have a baby pool?

Jill: Yeah.

Mark: In an office?

Jill: Oh really.

Mark: At least when I was playing hockey if anybody was having a kid we’d have a baby pool for sure trying to guess the date.

Jill: Yeah, we did that, actually, with a cousin who just had a baby.

We did try to guess the date and the sex and it was kind of fun.

Mark: Yeah, we should do that.

Jill: Yeah.

Mark: I guess with that we’ll sign off, but we’ll tune in again in the spring when we have more information. Bye, bye.

Jill: Bye.

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