Monday, November 26, 2012


Apologies for the unexpected hiatus! Planning ahead is apparently not my strong suit.

Daphne Constance made her appearance this weekend, and is doing wonderfully. :D

New posts and whatnot will resume soon. :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Same Name?!--Mini Grab Bag (boys)

  • Benedict (BEN-eh-dikt, English)
    • Bengt (BENGT, Swedish)
    • Benito (ben-EE-toh, Italian)
    • Bennett (BEN-net, English)
    • Benoit (ben-WAH, French)
  • Laurence (LAW-rents, LOH-rents, English)
    • Labhrás (LAHV-rahs, LOW-rahs, Irish)
    • Lars (LAHRS, Scandinavian)
  • Steven (STEE-ven, English)
    • Esteban (es-TEH-bahn, Spanish)
    • Étienne (ay-TYEN, French)
    • István (EEST-vahn, Hungarian)
    • Tapani (TAH-pah-nee, Finnish)
  • Thomas (TOM-as, English)
    • Tavish (TAH-vish, Scottish)--anglicized from Támhas
    • Tommaso (toh-MAH-zoh, Italian)
  • William (WIL-yam, English)
    • Guillaume (gee-OHM, French)
    • Guillermo (gee-EHR-moh, Spanish)
    • Gwilym (GWIL-um, Welsh)
    • Willis (WIL-lis, English)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Medieval Madness

'-ee' names are big right now, especially for girls. No denying that! But, it's not a new trend, in fact, it's been decently common since the Middle Ages. Quite often when a name was imported from Latin to English and/or French, the '-ius/ia' was replaced with simply '-y/ie'; and in Norman French in particular, names of any origin were altered to end in '-y'.
Later in English, this expanded to '-y/ee/ie' becoming a diminutive of any name, but it has stayed more common for girls. Quite often, just like today, these regional forms and nicknames became accepted as separate names on their own.

  • Anthony [Antonius]
  • Aubrey [Alberich]
  • Avery [Alberich/Alfred]
  • Barnaby [Barnabus]
  • Emery [Emmerich]
  • Geoffrey/Jeffrey [Walahfrid/Gaufrid]
  • Godfrey [Godafrid]
  • Gregory [Gregorius]
  • Hilary [Hilarius]
  • Humphrey [Hunfrid]
  • Jeremy [Jeremiah]
  • Stacy [Eustace]
  • Toby [Tobias]
  • Zachary [Zacharius]

  • Audrey [Etheldred]
  • Barbary [Barbara]
  • Cecily [Cecilia]
  • Clemency [Clementia]
  • Dorothy [Dorothea]
  • Dulcie [Dulcia]
  • Idony [Idonea]
  • Jenny [Jane]
  • Lucy [Lucia]
  • Margery [Margaret]
  • Mary [Maria]
  • Nancy [Annis/Anne]
  • Sibley [Sibyl]
  • Sidony [Sidonia]
  • Tiffany [Theophania]

It is rather interesting how names evolve. In some cases, the original forms & the '-y' forms stayed separate; in others the '-y' is currently regarded as a nickname. Many of the forms have died out entirely. And of course, a few have inevitably changed from male to female. 
Really makes me wonder what the naming pool will look like in 500 years. :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Usual Nickname, Unexpected Name--Kai

Okay, technically, Kai is quite an established name in many parts of the world (with several different origins).
But, in the U.S., where nicknames like Ty for Tyler & Sy for Silas/Simon are fairly expected, I can see how Kai can feel incomplete, especially since Kyle is still quite a common name.

And yes, Kai is unisex, but it's overwhelmingly more common for boys in the U.S., and besides, boy-only posts are in the minority on this blog. :)

  • Arkaitz (ahr-kites, Basque)--"rock"
  • Caetano (kye-eh-TAH-noh, Portuguese)
  • Caius (KYE-us, Latin)--prob. the original form of Kai (in Europe)
  • Chaim (KHIME, Hebrew)--"life"
  • Ekain (eh-kine, Basque)
  • Ekaitz (eh-kites, Basque)--"storm"
  • Hezekiah (hez-eh-KYE-ah, Hebrew)--"God strengthens"
  • Ikaia (ee-kye-ah, Hawaiian)--form of Isaiah
  • Ikaika (ee-kye-kah, Hawaiian)--"strong"
  • Kaino (KYE-noh, Finnish)
  • Kaito (kah-ee-toh, Japanese)
  • Makaio (mah-kye-oh, Hawaiian)--form of Matthew
  • Malachi (MAL-ah-kye, Hebrew)--"my angel"
  • Micaiah (mih-KYE-ah, Hebrew)--original [unisex] form of Micah
  • Mordecai (MOHR-deh-kye, Hebrew)
  • Nikolai (NIK-oh-lye, Russian)--form of Nicholas

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Old-Fashioned Fun with Modern Names

While reading on another board about "name-stealing"--a subject I have mixed feelings about--I began to wonder if part of the problem was that we've become severely limited in the ways we create nicknames. The naming pool was significantly smaller in previous generations, and yet no one seemed to really care about sharing their name with others, or about close friends/family "stealing" their baby name (or maybe no one bothered to record it if they did).
Perhaps part of the problem is how most of our current popular names have only one "go-to" nickname (maybe two)? If you look at historically-common names, they can have several, even dozens! Whether the nickname-creativity was spurred by the over-abundances of Marys, Margarets, Richards, & Johns, or just a by-product of flexible archaic English, I'm not sure, but either way, we're missing some opportunity for fun. ;)

While today's nicknames tend to be made in one way (shortening it, and maybe adding 'ee' or 'ah'), in older times, nicknames could be made in several ways:
  • Shortening to main syllable, just like today
  • Rhyming: Ed --> Ted
  • Adding N to vowel-names (a result of affectionately saying 'Mine ____'): Ann --> Nan
  • Contraction: Florence --> Floss
  • Adding 'ee' (for either gender), 'see', -in, or -kin: Adam --> Addy, Beth--> Betsy, John --> Jonkin
  • Slight vowel-shift: Simon --> Sim
  • Using a regional pronunciation as a nickname: Mary --> Molly
Often these changes combined & built upon each other, for instance: Margaret --> Mag --> Meg --> Peg; Mary --> Molly --> Polly; John --> Jan --> Jankin --> Jack

Now imagine the fun if we applied some of these methods to today's popular names. Hmmm.....
  • Sophia --> Sophie --> Sosie
  • Isabella --> Nissie; Isabella --> Ibbie --> Tibbie
  • Olivia --> Nol, Nollie; Olivia --> Olia
  • Emma --> Emsie
  • Abigail --> Allie; Abigail --> Aggie
  • Madison --> Missy
  • Aiden --> Aikin; Aiden --> Nay
  • Jacob --> Jobe; Jacob --> Cobin
  • Mason --> Mase --> Tase; Mason --> Maykin
  • Michael --> Mel; Michael --> Mykin; Michael --> Kel --> Kellin
  • William --> Wilkin --> Wilk; William --> Wim
  • Ethan --> Ean --> Dean
  • Noah --> Noey; Noah --> Koah; Noah --> Joah --> Joe

Yes, I purposely left out the names that I couldn't come up with non-silly nicknames for (of course, I can see many of these being considered silly). But imagine the possibilities! Who says that all Isabellas must go by Izzy or Bella? Having "such a common name" wouldn't really matter if you come up with your own new nickname for her. :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Same Name?!?--Mini Grab Bag (Girls)

Quite frequently, I come across a name with a couple interesting variants, but not enough to dedicate an entire post to. I've been storing them away in the back of my mind, and I think I've collected enough for now. Girls' names today, and a little list of boys' names soon....and probably a few more grab-bag posts down the line (I love doing 'same name' posts--language is fun!).

  • Amy (AY-mee, English)
    • Aimee (eh-MAY, French)
    • Amada (ah-MAH-dah, Spanish)
  • Evelyn (EV-el-in, English)
    • Avelina (av-eh-LEE-nah, Germanic)
    • Eibhlín (EYE-leen, Irish)--anglicized to Eileen/Aileen
  • Guinevere (GWIN-eh-veer, English)
    • Gaynor (GAY-nor, English)
    • Ginevra (jin-EV-rah, Italian)
    • Jenifer (JEN-ih-fer, Cornish, English)
  • Matilda (mah-TIL-dah, English)
    • Mafalda (mah-FAHL-dah, Italian, Portuguese)
    • Mahaut (mah-oh, French)
    • Maud (MAWD, English)
  • Sophia (soh-FEE-ah, English)
    • Sonya (SOHN-yah, Russian)
    • Zosia (ZAW-shah, Polish)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Holy Crap! Nameberry!

I mean really--holy crap! I just logged on to find my page-views skyrocketing, and the culprit is a post by Abby Sandel of the fantastic Appellation Mountain. My astonished thanks to her, and welcome to random Nameberry viewers, since chances are if you're reading this, you followed her link here.

I'm a bit embarrassed, since I made the Modern Name Generator on a playful whim (and it is completely tongue-in-cheek, BTW!), and never actually expected anyone other than a few friends to find amusement in it. I'm quite proud of the girls' output, but the boys'...well, it's still a bit rough. Definitely. As it's nearly 2am here, I won't be taking the time to tweak it now, but it's shot to the top of my freetime priority list, that's for sure! So just stick to the girls' until then. ;)

Again, humble thanks for the link, Abby; and readers, if you somehow got here by some other way, you should go check out both Nameberry & Appellation Mountain. It's an honor to be mentioned on the same page as them. :)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

People with People-Names, Round 2

Yeah, it's been a while. But, I kept coming across names I'd somehow missed the first time around, and my persnickety nature insists that I either add a whole bunch to the original post, or make a new one. I like sequels, so here're more names based on location/tribe.

  • Gaetano (gah-eh-TAH-noh, Italian)--from Latin, "of Caieta/Gaeta" [central Italy]
  • Laurence (LAW-rents, LOH-rents, English)--from Latin "of Laurentum" [western Italy]
  • Luke (LUEK, English)--from Greek, "of Lucania" [southern Italy]
  • Saveliy (sah-VEHL-ee, Russian)--from Latin, "of Sabine" [central Italy]
  • Sebastian (seh-BAS-tyen, English)--from Latin "of Sebaste" [central-eastern Turkey]

  • Cynthia (SIN-thee-ah, English)--from Greek, "of Kynthos" [Island of Delos, Greece]
  • Delphine (del-FEEN, French)--from Latin "of Delphi" [central-southern Greece]
  • Gaetana (gah-eh-TAH-nah, Italian)--feminine of Gaetano
  • Isaura (ee-SOW-rah, Portuguese, Spanish)--from Latin, "of Isauria" [central-southern Turkey]
  • Jocelyn (JOS-el-in, English)--from the Germanic tribe Gaut/Goth [prob. originally Scandinavian; spread thoughout Europe]
  • Magdalene (MAG-dah-leen, English)--from Latin, "of Magdala" [prob. Migdal, Israel]
  • Romola (ROH-moh-lah, Italian)--from Latin, "of Rome"
  • Sidonie (see-doh-NEE, French; sih-DOH-nee, English, zee-DOH-nee-eh, German)--from Latin, "of Sidon" [Saida, Lebanon]
  • Svea (SVAY-ah, Swedish)--"of Sweden"
  • Sveva (SVAY-vah, Italian)--from the Germanic tribe Suebi [originally Swabia, Germany; migrated to Portugal]

  • Devon (DEV-on, English)--from the Celtic tribe Dumnonii [south-west U.K.]
  • Indigo (IN-dih-goh, English)--from Greek, "of India"