Wednesday, October 7, 2015

When Twin Names Are Just Too Matchy

Naming a baby is an exciting process which means that naming two babies should be double the fun, right? If you happen to be expecting twins, you are now part of an elite club of parents who have the responsibility of naming two humans at once instead of one.

The rules of naming twins are a bit different.  While most parents of twins feel the need to make the names match, is it necessary? You wouldn't normally make different-aged siblings match quite the same way as twins. Perhaps it is because twins tend to be paired up and associated with each other much more than regular siblings are. But do they need their names to tie them together too?

It may be appealing while they're young but as they grow up, they may want their own identities. Giving them nearly identical names (like Taylor and Tyler) might be overkill.  Subtly linking the twins' names together can be a great way for them to bond while still allowing them to have their own name and their own identity apart from their womb buddy.

Let's take a look at different things make that twin names too matchy:

1.  Starting with the same letter AND ending with the same letter
There is nothing wrong with picking a single letter and using it to find names for all of your kids whether they are twins, triplets or not.  If you'd like their names to start with the same letter, make sure they end with different sounds. For example:

Mia & Madelyn = Not Too Matchy  |   Ella & Emma or Camden & Cannon = Too Matchy

2. Not varying the syllables
If you take a look at the first example above, you'll notice that the length and syllable count for Mia and Madelyn vary from one another.  Ella and Emma not only start and end with the same letters, but they are the same length and syllable count too. Same with Camden and Cannon. While there are probably several twins who currently have these names, they would be considered too matchy for many parents. Syllable count isn't normally a huge offense on its own, though, unless it is combined with another offense like #1 or #3:

3. Rhyming or sharing too many of the same sounds
This is the biggest no-no of twin naming. Don't make their names rhyme. Even further, don't make their names so reminiscent of each other that they barely have any noticeable difference in sound or spelling. Here are some real life examples that unnecessarily rhyme or sound too alike:

Female Twins:
Sarah & Farah
Miranda & Amanda
Sharon & Karen
Alaysia & Nalaysia
Tonya and Sonya
Miley & Riley
McKayla & McKenna
Jean & June
Lillian & Jillian
Kendal & Kennedy
Shayla & Kayla

Male Twins:
Mason & Jason
Chad & Brad
Jerry & Garry
Zane & Zander
Bryan & Ryan
Dion & Diondre
Marcus & Marquise
Lyle & Kyle
Derrick & Errick

Male/Female Twins
Jerry & Cherry
Victor & Victoria
Jesse & Jessica
Dennis & Denise
Deryl and Jeryl
Diondre & Diondrea
Wesley & Leslie
Nick & Nicole

You can be more creative than that. You don't need to pick a single name and then duplicate it with minor tweaks. Choose two separate names that will give the twins their own identity.  This goes for triplets, quadruplets, and octuplets too. We will explore good examples of that in the next article.

4. Using two variants of the same name:
Sometimes it isn't super obvious when two names are related. Some people genuinely don't know that Isabella comes from Elizabeth or that James and Jacob come from the same root name. They do seem like excellent twin names and can be forgiven. However, there are plenty of related names, variants, nicknames, diminutives, etc that shouldn't be used together whether it's obvious to the namer or not. For instance:

Jimmy & Jamie (both are nicknames for James)
Nicholas & Colin (Colin is a diminutive of Nicholas)

Maggie & Peggy (both are diminutives of Margaret)
Sarah & Sally (Sally is a diminutive of Sarah)

You get the idea. This is why research is so important. Unless, of course, those parents chose those related names on purpose, but I'd advise against it. What do you think?

5. Using anagrams and reversed spellings:
An anagram is when you take one name and rearrange its letters to come up with a new name. And then there's reversed names, the first twin has the forward spelling and the second twin has the backward spelling. This is admittedly very cute but also extremely matchy. Some are a little less obvious at first but once you notice it, that's all you'll see. For example:

Adeline & Daniele
Alice & Celia
Johan & Jonah
Kaleb & Blake
Brady & Darby
Neal & Lena

Reversed Spellings:
Heaven & Nevaeh
Iris & Siri
James & Semaj
Noel & Leon
Aidan & Nadia
Axel & Lexa

They're not all bad. Adeline & Daniele are so long, many people might not even notice they're anagrams. Alice & Celia and Aiden & Nadia slide under the radar and are close to being acceptable since they are legitimate names with different sounds. Then there's the unfortunate ones like the notorious Nevaeh.  Can you think of more?

Next week's article will explore some real life examples of excellent twin names that are different from one another but still work well together.

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