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Language Log

Thursday, Sept. 10, 2009 - 11:08 a.m.

Despite that long list of things to do in my recent entry (like, 2 hours ago), I find myself browsing the Social Security Administration lists of top 1000 baby names. Actually, it was because someone (SJAT-- I'd do a link but I've forgotten how, sorry) mentioned a really bad name they saw on a grave. That reminded me of my grandmother's name, which was so awful I keep forgetting it (I never met her, ok? She died youngish, a couple of decades before I showed up). I can't possibly ask my mother for the umpteenth time, so I went to see if I could find it on the list. I didn't, but now I remember it: Luvine.

I'm always stunned by the gawdawful names on these lists. I did a full browse. My favorites for the decade of 1900-1910 (grandmother was born in 1904) were, for girls: Icy/Icie, Huldah, Emmer, and Joe. And let's note that Arizona, Florida, and Missouri were in there, too. And for boys, I can't get over all the names that I think of as absolutely no-question-about-it girls' names: Alice, Ivy, Martha, Ella, Dorothy, Bonnie, Bernice, Rose, Patsy, Hazel, and Marie. Oh, and Pink. There were 112 Pinks. Poor bastards. And 240 just named "Wm"? That'll teach lazy old dad to make abbreviations on the offical birth certificate.

Ok, back to work.

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