I have a coworker who is having a baby.  The sex of the baby is unknown.  She is trying to come up with names. She needs assistance with picking a name for her second child.  If it is a boy she is pretty set with Sebastian Gideon or Sebastian Edward Robert with a two syllable last name that starts with G.  For a girl she likes Gabriella but is also thinking about using the name Sorvinia which is a computer game name a friend came up with for her and she is thinking of transferring it to the baby.  What are your thoughts?  She knows I am sending you this email and says she is okay if you don’t like her name choices but, if that is the case, she asks you to provide your suggestions.  She says she wants strong, unique names.


This is the second time in a month I’ve received a letter about a computer game name. Is this something I’m missing? Is there a cottage industry here?  Get at me, not just if you play video games but specifically if you work in that industry and this is an area where people are creating new names?

So your coworker’s in decent shape, and she knows it or she wouldn’t have let you send this. Not impeccable shape, but decent. I love both Sebastian and Gideon, but together they sound like a nursery rhyme. Sebastian Gideon pudding and pie. They’re too similar, with syllables and emphasis and sounds happening all in the same places. Therefore I’d choose Sebastian Edward,  losing the Robert because the same thing happens – Edward and Robert are so similar they almost cancel each other out. If this is offensive to her, then what about Sebastian Edgar? Edgar isn’t getting a lot of play recently, but I love it and it sounds like what would happen if Edward and Robert had a baby anyway. In general, the less a name sounds like Sebastian, the better she’s going to be.

For her prospective little girl, the choices seem a little more scattershot.  Gabriella is nice, but she’ll be bound to be nicknamed “Gabi”. This is a fact.   Even if her nickname until she gets to school is Ella, her teacher will immediately say the class has two other Ellas and wouldn’t she rather be Gabi instead? 

So then there’s Sorvinia. I don’t dislike it, and it brings to mind Sardinia, which is actually a good thing. The question is whether your coworker is prepared to deal with people never having heard it and whether she wants to admit it came from a video game. (People can be strange about this stuff?)  

If it turns out it isn’t cool for her, how about Lavinia? Stefania? Marcella? I’m trying to get the flavour that’s between Gabriella and Sorvinia, in case one or the other doesn’t work out. Someone recently sent me a letter extolling the virtues of Bettina. Is that a factor here? 

Also, for all you parents who love the “Ella”s – why is Marcella still so shunned?  For that matter, how about Priscilla?  

Tell her thanks for letting you send this and fill me in! Sorvinia…it’s kind of growing on me.