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In & Out: Obama Names

A baby-naming expert explains a postelection trend

Plug “Barack” into the name mapper on babynamewizard.com, and you’ll register zero hits before 2007, while “Malia” and “Sasha,” his daughters’ names, each register minor occurrences. Expect that to change. Already, new Baracks, Malias, and Sashas have entered the world, and that will likely continue, says Maryanna Korwitts, a baby-naming expert in Downers Grove. This is an unusual postelection trend, she says: “I did not see a rising in naming after the Bush girls, for example.” But it’s not altogether surprising. “We’re revisiting the Kennedy era. His whole family is very appealing,” says Korwitts, who counsels families to think about the subliminal features of a name as well as how it sounds. The name “Barack,” for instance, may initially jar with its consonance, but, Korwitts points out, it now communicates “people skills” and “diplomacy.”

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