Why Meghan Markle spells her name the way she does

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex leaves Windsor Castle in the Ascot Landau carriage during a procession after getting married at St Georges Chapel on May 19, 2018 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)

On Saturday, May 19 2018, Meghan Markle married into the monarchy, bringing her misspelling and all. She will begin signing letters as “Meghan,” and the spelling will spread as children get named after the Duchess. The name historically acquired an “H” when the Welsh name was confused with Irish ones.

The first Megan hardly died 50 years ago, but parents have gotten straight to the business of misspelling it. Megan Lloyd George (1902 – 1966) was the first woman MP in Wales and the daughter of a British Prime Minister. Before her birth, the name was merely a nickname for Margaret, but her parents made it a first name itself, according to the ANS’ own Cleveland Evans:

He explained authors confused Megan with the Irish last names Meighan and Mehegan, and in 1977, a character by novelist Colleen McCullough brought the mothership: Meghann.

Click through to this article at Macleans, written by Meagan Campbell, to find out more!

About Names: Jackson and Sophia are really on top, not Liam and Emma, in 2017 US baby names

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his May 22nd column, he looks at the latest rankings of US baby names in 2017.

On May 11, the Social Security Administration released the United States’ top baby names of 2017. On SSA’s lists, Liam and Emma rank first. Emma’s been No. 1 since 2014. Liam beat out Noah, which was on top the previous three years. But SSA counts every spelling as a separate name. Each year, I add together spellings probably pronounced the same to create lists I think more accurately reflect name popularity.

When boys named Jaxon, Jaxson, Jakson, etc., are added to Jackson, 23,903 were born in 2017, ranking it first for the fifth year in a row. When Sofia and other spellings are added, 23,144 Sophias arrived in 2017. Sophia’s been No. 1 on my list since 2011. Last year, 11 percent more Sophias were born than Olivias, the No. 2 girls’ name.

Want to know more? Read on to find out more about the top 2017 names in the US!

How many Bay Area place names have you been mispronouncing?

Accent marks are missing in place names all over the Bay Area. Many neighborhoods and streets are named after Spanish explorers. Some of those names once had accent marks. But now, without them, we don’t know if we’re saying them right. In this news story at KALW, you can listen to the different ways residents pronounce the name of their neighborhood in San Francisco. 

And find out about the history of San Francisco’s Portola district. Don Gaspar de Portola was a Spanish explorer. Historians believe he discovered the San Francisco Bay in the 1700s. He was also the first Governor of Spanish-ruled California, before it was a state.  After the miners struck gold and San Francisco rapidly grew, most people living here didn’t know about Portola. And those that did, forgot about him. How did a neighborhood end up named after him?

The Baby Name Trend That Unites America: Vowels

The Social Security Administration has recently released its annual list of the United States’ most popular baby names and one thing is clear: American parents love vowels. Continuing an on-and-off reign that began in 2008, “Emma” took the top slot for newborn girls’ names. “Liam” became the most popular name for boys for the first time ever. Both, notably, have a 1:1 ratio of consonants to vowels.

This is true up and down the list: Vowels accounted for at least half of the letters in all but one of the most popular girls’ names (Charlotte). Boys’ names are slightly less vowel-heavy: They make up at least half of the letters in four of the 10 most popular boys’ names, but many of the rest are close, with just slightly fewer vowels than consonants.

Want to know more about this trend? Click through to this article at the Atlantic for details and analysis!

Taiwan is no longer “Taiwan” at four major airlines, under pressure from China

On April 25, China sent a letter to 36 foreign airlines pressuring them to remove references to Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau as countries on their websites and marketing materials. Air Canada and Malaysia Airlines have altered references to Taiwan on their websites, indicating China’s claim over the self-ruled island; at Malaysia Arlines, where the country used to list “Taiwan,” it’s been changed to “Taiwan-China.” Air Canada’s booking page  previously listed Taipei’s airport as being in “TW,” the abbreviation for Taiwan, but just recently all mention of Taiwan as the country had been replaced by “CN,” the abbreviation of China, with no mention of Taiwan.

This article at Business Insider reveals more about the changes, and details some of the steps China is taking to assert its preferences in the international market.

In Australia, the six options for choosing your baby’s surname

It used to be the rule that children would take on their paternal surname – but no more. A range of options are on the rise, whether that be for children of heterosexual or same-sex couples.

Lorelei Vashti, author of How to Choose Your Baby’s Last Name: A Handbook for New Parents, says there is no one-size-fits-all approach for what she calls “the baby surname dilemma”, because people are motivated by different values. For some, family unity and identity are most important, but for others gender equity and fairness are the priority.

Vashti said there are six options when it comes to naming your child:

  • Father’s surname
  • Mother’s surname
  • Hyphenation, or a double-barrelled surname (without a hyphen)
  • Alternating the two parents’ surnames between siblings
  • Combining the two surnames into a portmanteau or blended surname
  • Making up a completely new surname

To find out more about these options, and how they’re viewed by society, click through to this article at ABC News.

A map of Britain’s place names, literally

The UK is known for having a rich and diverse history attracting Roman, Celtic and Anglo-Saxon settlers. And with them, the settles brought unique meanings to Britain’s beloved counties, cities and towns. Click through to these maps at QuickQuid and learn the meanings of names like these:

Greater Manchester: Town on the Breast-like hill
Hertfordshire: Ford frequented by stags
Cheshire: Roman county
Leicestershire: Roman town of the people called Ligore

No more Alexas in the US? Thanks, Amazon

Fewer Americans are naming their babies Alexa since the first release of the Amazon Echo in 2015, according to Social Security data. The government keeps track of the popularity of all baby names in the U.S., and their data shows that the girls’ name Alexa peaked in popularity in 2015, right before the introduction of Amazon’s now famous AI personal assistant, which is most commonly activated by the wake word, “Alexa.” Check out this article at Business Insider to see what other names rose or declined in the wake of Alexa.