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Quiz alert.  What's this?   

MALE                         FEMALE
1.   Noah                Sophia        
2.   Liam                 Emma
3.   Jacob                Olivia
4.   Mason               Isabella
5.   William              Ava
6.   Ethan                Mia
7.   Michael              Emily
8.   Alexander          Abigail
9.   Jayden              Madison   
10.  Daniel              Elizabeth
Answer below the fold.
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OK, you got it.  A List.  Of girls and boys names.  Easy!! But here's another list of names:

MALE                                 FEMALE
1.   Robert                          Mary
2.   John                             Dorothy                          
3.   James                           Helen     
4.   William                         Betty
5.   Charles                         Margaret
6.   George                         Ruth
7.   Joseph                         Virginia
8.   Richard                        Doris
9.   Edward                        Mildred
10. Donald                         Frances

So what's the difference?
Both lists are of most popular baby names for boys and girls. But the top list is the 10 most popular in 2013. The second list is a compilation of the 10 most popular baby names of the 1920s.

I invite your comparisons and comments.  Names are important.  I like my name, Joanna.  I know a lot of people who don't particularly like their names, and may even have changed them at least once.  (Let's don't get into nicknames.)

Only one of the 2013 names is also on the 1920s list. (See which one?)  Does that mean this name is of enduring in popularity?  Or enjoying a renaissance?  

And don't forget: these are the most popular names.  I, for one, wouldn't want a "popular" name.  Off-beat-ish for moi.  (Don't see my name on these lists!!)

Some of the 2013 names seem to me pretty gender neutral.  The 1920s ones?  Not so much. As I studied these two lists I began to fantasize that each male-female line entry could be a wedding announcement pair. . . maybe.  And some of the 2013 pairs would nicely fit our more marriage-equality era.

I did expect that the 2013 names would be more, well, ethnic.

Finally, what do given first names say about society? (e.g., what names were Hollywood, Politics, High Society. . . in the news?) There's our essay question for today, class.  So sharpen up your e-pencils and prepare to discuss!

[Here are the links:  For 2013 list  
     For the 1920s compilation.]

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