Evolving First Names

Here are the first names of the 18 students in my fall class at Montclair State University:

Carolyn, Melina, Pamela, Miguel, Nardeen, Kanequa, Julieth, Leslie, Alaysia, Carla, Milena (two Melinas!), Russell, Charles, Iyana, Kejdi, Aya, Klavdiya, Usman.

I suspect that finding out the naming rituals in all of the cultures involved would require a couple of weeks of study; the “Charles,” for example, is a Charles IV. Investigating the meanings of all the names would require more study.

I grew up with Marys and Carolyns and Susans, but some of them may have undergone name changes as they came to America. People don’t bother to do that any more. The names may also reflect the search for uniqueness in naming which has developed over the last few years.  Parents think up names that sound nice or that combine aspects of their own lives.

I memorize the names and they become familiar very quickly.

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