在起名这方面，西方人与中国人一样，姓会传给孩子，但名也是——常见的是儿子会沿用父亲的名字，会有很多父子都叫John、Will、Richard——所以我们经常会看到父子同名，只是会在后面加上个“Junior”（年少的），所以John的儿子会叫John Jr.。有的时候会在后面加上“the second”（二世），那么John的儿子就叫“John II”。
我的名字叫Logan，女生，小时候我就老幻想自己要是有个普通的名字该多好，就可以跟班上的Alison和Sarah们玩在一块了。如果同名，老师叫名字的时候就会在名字后面加上姓的首字母来区分，比如 Alison L、Alison B。长大以后，我学会了接受自己这个独特的名字，感觉自己生活和工作的大门都敞开了，我喜欢上了这个名字，让大家容易记住我。
One commonly asked question our consultants get is “Why do so many Western people have the same English name?” And more importantly, do they think it's weird to know other people share their same name. Names are a tough thing because for most people, they don't decide their name, instead it's given to them at birth by their parents. Your name plays a large part in shaping who you are: affecting your career opportunities (link to career + name article), and even how you look (link to appearance and name article). So why do so many people in the West have the same English name?
Similar to China, families tend to pass on their names, both family and given names. It's more common for men to pass down their names to their son. You can credit this historical process for the reason there are so many people named John, Will, and Richard. Sometimes you'll see a son who has the same name as their father to add a Junior next to their name, so John's son will be John Jr. or sometimes they'll adopt the title of “the second” so John's son will be John II.
Another reason you'll find people have the same English name is that there are name trends, just like fashion. You'll find babies born in the same year will have the same name just based on what was popular or projected to be popular when their parents were picking their name. Baby naming books and websites track trendy new names and warn parents about old fashioned ones. For example, you'll meet a lot of Monicas and Britneys who were born in the early 90s and Jessica and Jennifers who were born in the 1980s.
Lastly, parents like to choose names that are recognizable, meaning you've heard them before, so this leads people to having the same name. Some parents try to avoid their child having the same name as others by taking a popular name and changing the spelling. For example, you'll meet people named Ashley who spell it: Ashleigh, Ashlee, Ashlie, and Ashli. All pronounced the same but the different spelling makes it feel slightly more personal to the parents.
People who have a popular name tend to have a love-hate relationship with the idea. Some love their popular name because it is linked to their family and they're carrying on the tradition of their fathers and grandfathers. Others hate that their parents couldn't be more creative and think of a different name. You'll see a similar situation with people who have a unique name: they'll love it because it's different or hate it because they want to fit in with everyone else.
My name is Logan and I am a female. As a kid, I remember wishing that I had a common name, and just wanting to be able to fit in with all the Alisons and Sarahs in my class. Our teacher made them go by first name and last initial so he could tell them apart like Alison L. and Alison B. As I got older, I learned to embrace my unique, unisex name as it's really opened doors for me both personally and professionally. I love that it's rare and it helps people remember me.
Some parents try to avoid the trap of picking a popular name. They'll often consult with family and friends and maybe even complete strangers as they try to figure out which name to chose. It is common for a parent to pick a name that later becomes popular, which is frustrating but unavoidable. Regardless of popularity, most parents choose a name that they personally like and believe that will set their child up for success.
It's almost guaranteed that you will meet someone else who has your English name. It doesn't make you or the other person any less special, it just means that you have something in common with a complete stranger. Your name can help you along in your personal and professional life but it can't do the work for you. Wear your name proudly, no matter how popular it is and you might surprise yourself with what you can accomplish.
Looking for a name that is the right balance of popularity and personality? Talk with one of our Best English Name consultants today.