How Popular is the Sound of Your Name?


[time-interactive id=baby_phonemes]

See TIME’s Baby Name Predictor.

Flip through your contacts and odds are you’ll find a few Jessicas, Jennifers and Johns. Until very recently, the “soft g“–found at the beginning of most “J” names and “G” names like “George” and “Ginnie”–was by far the most popular sound used in baby names in the United States.

Just as individual names rise and fall in popularity, researchers have found that the sounds (or “phonemes”) used in names also go in and out of fashion. Up until 2008, the names beginning with a soft “G” had the largest share among the 36 phonemes, going back all the way to 1880, when the data from the Social Security Administration begins. It was finally overtaken by the ‘K’ phoneme, found in “Katie”, “Christina” and “Kevin.”

Each line on the graph above represents one phoneme’s percentage of names in each year…

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