About Names that Sound Like
Hi, I'm Dayne Batten, and I'm the creator of Names that Sound Like. I recently got the idea for this site when my wife and I were looking for baby names for our first child. We did a lot of searching on the internet and we found that we rarely liked more than a handful of names in each list of baby names we looked at. It was frustrating!
So, I started wondering if there was a way to let people explore names that were similar to ones they already knew they liked. Of course, there are many ways you could measure name similarity (country of origin, old vs. new, etc.) but I decided to start simple... letting people find names that sound like the ones they already like. So, if "Emily" has a nice ring for you... maybe you'll be into "Millie" or "Everly". I built this site to test out that theory!
About the Algorithms
To actually make the site work, I mapped thousands of names to their pronunciations using tools based on the latest speech and language research at Carnegie Mellon University. When a user searches for a name, the site matches its pronunciation to the pronunciation of every other name in the database, and measures the similarity. It ranks the matches based on the similarity of the pronunciation, so "Emily" and "Emilie" are a super-close match but "Emily" and "Charles" are not. Finally, it breaks ties based on the popularity of a name - so "Emily" ranks higher than "Emilie" in results.
I'll be continually upgrading the algorithms to make sure the site can provide you with the best matches!