Depending on your age (and many other factors), when you read the phrase “What’s in a name?” you may think of one of two things:
- A soliloquy from Shakespeare where Juliet bemoans, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other word would smell as sweet.”
- A lyric from The Lion King’s “Hakuna Matata” where Pumba “thought of changing [his] name.” To which Timone asks, “What’s in a name?”
But I’m not here to write a thesis juxtaposing The Lion King and Shakespearean literature (especially not Romeo and Juliet; everyone knows Hamlet is the real inspiration here).
How Names and Culture Intersect
Names can often reflect different fads and values of a given society. Whether you’re thinking of naming your child after your favorite fictional dragon queen or trying to determine why there are so many 73-year-old women named Linda, there’s data for that. My job, with help from Jimmy Steinmetz (whose last name here is not a coincidence) and Chelsea Morgan, is to visualize this data.
So, please take a look at the Tableau dashboard below, and explore the various names! If you are interested in names other than your own, I’ve started with a name that has gained quite a bit of attention recently, especially on social media …