Monday, April 22, 2013

A Textbook Case of Reverse-Engineering a Baby Name?

I meant to get to this last week, but hey, there was a lot going on.

You may have seen that Jenna Bush Hager (one of George W. Bush's twin daughters) gave birth earlier this month to a girl named Mila.


Actually, the parents named her Margaret Laura, but they so desperately wanted to call their daughter Mila that the family included the nickname and its pronunciation ("mee-la") when announcing the birth.

The baby's formal name is taken from her grandmothers' names — an idea that I wholly support — but I feel like preordaining the nickname like that undermines a bit of the charm.

If you really want to name your child Mila, maybe it's best to actually name her Mila. It's not as if it's not a "real" name. (In fact, it's surging in popularity right now thanks to Mila Kunis.) I also think nicknames should arise organically.

I wonder if this is yet another case of reverse-engineering a name. They started off with Mila and then created a long version because they were worried it wasn't formal enough  an approach I call "longforming."

Uma Thurman, you'll recall, wanted to call her daughter Luna. So she named it Rosalind Arusha Arkadina Altalune Florence Thurman-Busson.

Okay, that one is still way worse.