The Consonantization of America
the readers at
www.Languagehat.com noted that many of the trends I report
reversed themselves after 1960 or 1970, and that the present naming
pattern is significantly different than the 1960 pattern. This is
true, and perhaps change has been cyclic to a degree.
The decline of f , o,
and e and the replacement of h by k were
apparently permanent, but a and i have
recovered and p has declined to approximately
where it was before.
The fact that the 2000 and 2005
numbers don't seem to add up to 100% is a sign that we
shouldn't take all this very seriously.
This site, based on census records, graphically depicts the rise
and fall of American baby names since the 1880s. Most of it is
pretty ho-hum: more Ashley,
less Mabel. However, I applied my powerful scientific mind to the
database and asked myself: "How are the letters of the alphabet
found was that some letters have been doing very well indeed, while
others have been doing badly. Specifically the group a, e,
i, o, h, f, w has plummeted, whereas the group d, p, s, t, k
has soared. In 1900 31.2% of all baby names began with letters in
the first group, but by 1960 only 9.4% did (fewer than a third as
many). As for the second group, in 1900 only 9.3% of the baby names
belonged to this group, but by 1960 30.7% did (more than three times
noticeable trend is a move away from names beginning in vowels.
In 1900 18% of the baby names began with vowels, but in 1960 only
6.9% did (fewer than half as many). A second noticeable trend is a
reversal of Grimm's law. P names have replaced F
names, and K names have replaced H names. F
and H went from a total of 9.3% to 1.8%, while P and
K went from 2.6% to 9.7%. Goodbye, Frank and
Harold and Florence and Harriet; hello, Kevin and Peter and Karen and
have any idea what the significance of all this is either, but could
it possibly be a good thing? Something certainly should be done! -- but
first, further research is required.
||+21.4% (3x )
eyeballed the graphs and did the arithmetic with a pencil on the
back of the proverbial envelope. I chose the years 1900 and 1960 and
the letters a, e, i, o, h, f, v, d, p, s, t, and k
because I got the most significant results that way. I didn't
include the vowel u because u-names have always been
I am emersonj at gmail dot com.
Original materials copyright John J