There’s no doubt that there’s been an increase in the number of unusually spelled children’s names. My friend Sam’s sister deliberately chose the spelling “Jaicub” for her lovely new young, er, cub, but now a study carried out by a social analyst is leading some to suggest that there has been a sharp increase in reworked names caused by lazy spelling and grammar in texts and emails. Mark McCrindle checked out Australian births in 2007 and found no fewer than 12 spellings for Jayden, nine for Aidan and eight each for Amelia and Tahlia (which I would spell Talia).
So, are email and nauseating txt spk contributing to a generation of kids with random capitals, commas and indeed vowels in their names? Even if they are, does it matter?
Personally I think it makes life easier for all concerned when the spelling is more traditional but then I get letters addressed to Ms Rhoumbus, so I would say that. My lovely future m-i-l, with her fairly common Jewish surname, gets letters to Mrs. Goatsteam (seriously) and Mrs. Goudsceu. You can guess for yourselves what her real name is. If you already have a surname that trips people up, why would you want to give yourself over to the mercy of people’s assumptions about your first name? Challenge them if you will – you’re still going to get misspelled and badly addressed post and emails. Just ask Dollymix‘s Cate Sevilla, who’s been Katherine so frequently she almost doesn’t bother to point out that it’s Caitlin. Yeah, with a C and two “i”s, thanks for asking.
I’m not sure we can blame technology for bad spelling though. The shortening of words into txt spk or substituting words for the most common ones found in the predictive text menu – these are both annoying and unnecessary, but, while I choose not to, I could do these things and still generally be able to spell. Surely, however, spelling and grammar checkers should at least make email a more readable format. If we’re looking at the reasons for bizarre baby names we should probably look at celebrities (Geldof, I’m talking to you); surely getting inventive with the spelling of a traditional name – or making up a name altogether like Jordan’s Princess Tiaamii – is just another form of pop culture-led self-expression.
I still think it’s ridiculous though. Soz.
Alexandra Roumbas is Deputy Editor of Shiny Shiny. She is not now considering baby names for future children. No way. Not her.