Sunday, October 30, 2016

No Relation.

Etymology can be a knotty field! I've been sort of mentally keeping track of muddled associations I've spotted on forums and baby-name sites, and finally decided to unravel them all (mostly for myself, but I hope others might enjoy, too). :)

Amelia and Emilia--Amelia is Latinized Germanic, meaning "work, vigor", while Emilia is from Latin, "competitor, rival". They may be pronounced nearly identically in English, but in many languages, they are quite distinct.

Cecelia and Celia--both are Latin, but Cecelia is from Caecilia ("blind") and Celia from Caelia ("heaven").

Eloise and Louise--both are French forms of Germanic names, but Eloise ultimately comes from Helewidis ("healthy and wide" or "healthy wood") and Louise from Chlodovech ("famous battle").

Ellen/Elaine/Helena and Eleanor--Helena is from Ancient Greek, prob. "torch". Ellen and Elaine are medieval English and French forms, respectively. Eleanor comes from Provençal Alianor, itself probably from a Germanic name, like Aldenordis ("old north").

Genevieve and Guinevere--both are medieval and Gallicized, but Genevieve is from Germanic Genovefa, prob. "tribe woman", while Guinevere is from Welsh Gwenhwyfar, prob. "white phantom".

Jerome and Jeremy--Jerome is Anglicized from Greek Hieronymos ("sacred name"). Jeremy is a medieval form of Hebrew Jeremiah ("Yahweh lifts up").

John and Jonathan--well, they're not completely unrelated: both are Hebrew and theophoric, but John didn't originate as nickname for JonathanJohn comes from Yehochanan ("Yahweh is gracious"), and Jonathan from Yehonatan ("Yahweh has given"). For some reason, John went through a lot more changes passing through Greek and Latin than Jonathan did!

Livia and Olivia--Olivia is a Shakespearean coinage, probably based either on Oliver or Olive (which are, incidentally, also unrelated to each other, see below), while Livia is a much older Latin name, poss. meaning "bluish, jealous".

Olive and Oliver--shockingly, Olive means "olive", taken almost directly from Latin ;) Oliver is Anglicized from French Olivier, itself from Old Norse Olaf/Áleifr ("ancestor's descendent") or from a Germanic name like Alfher ("elf warrior") or Aylward/Adalward ("noble defender").

Rose and Rosalind/Rosamund--although they're commonly interpreted as "beautiful rose" and "rose of the world", respectively, in Latin, Rosalind and Rosamund are not Latin names, but Germanic. The 'rosa-' part is actually derived from hros, "horse" (and there were many other Germanic -hros- names, but these two are by far the most well-known today): Rosalind is from Roslindis ("gentle horse"); and Rosamund from Rosmunda ("horse protection").

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Iras & Yras, Ilas & Ylas

Time for another installment of the short and catchy!
(first two here: Aias, Anas, & ArasIas, Inas, & Itas)
Since English is an outlier with our treatment of 'i's and 'y's, I'll be separating them by sound rather than by spelling. ;)
(and yes, many do have different pronunciations as well)

  • Cira/Sira (Spanish, Portuguese, Italian)
  • Dyra (Swedish)
  • Fira (Russian)
  • Gvira (Hebrew)
  • Hira (Turkish, Arabic)
  • Ira (Russian, Greek, Basque) [separate derivations]
  • Kira (English, Russian, Japanese, Scandinavian) [multiple derivations]
  • Mira (English, Hindi, Slavic) [multiple derivations]
  • Nira (Hebrew, Russian) [separate derivations]
  • Rira (Persian, Japanese) [separate derivations]
  • Shira (Hebrew)
  • Tsira (Georgian)
  • Tyra (Swedish)
  • Vera (English)
  • Vira (Ukrainian)

  • Aira (Finnish, Estonian, Latvian)
  • Cyra (English)
  • Daira (Latvian)
  • Eira (Welsh)
  • Kaira (Estonian, Latvian)
  • Kayra (Turkish) [unisex]
  • Kyra (English)
  • Lyra (English)
  • Maira (Spanish, Portuguese, [ancient] Greek, Latvian) [multiple derivations]
  • Mayra (Spanish)
  • Myra (English)
  • Naira (Spanish, Aymara)
  • Saira (Indian [Urdu?])
  • Tyra (English)
  • Vaira (Latvian)
  • Yaira (Hebrew)
  • Zaira (Italian)

  • Cila (Portuguese)
  • Čila (Croatian)
  • Dila (Turkish)
  • Gila (German, Hebrew) [separate derivations]
  • Hila (Hebrew)
  • Ila (Hindi)
  • Jila (Persian)
  • Lila/Leela (Hindi)
  • Mila (English, Slavic, French, Portuguese, Scandinavian)
  • Nila/Neela (Hindi)
  • Phila ([ancient] Greek)
  • Shila/Sheela (Hindi)
  • Síle/Sheila (Irish, English)
  • Svila (Serbian)
  • Tila (Spanish, Scandinavian) [separate derivations]
  • Tzila (Hebrew)
  • Zhila/Zheela (Persian)

  • Aila (Finnish)
  • Ayla (Turkish, Scandinavian) [separate derivations]
  • Baila/Beila (Yiddish)
  • Gaila ([medieval] Basque)
  • Ila (English)
  • Isla (Scottish, English)
  • Kyla (English)
  • Laila (Scandinavian)
  • Lila/Lilah (English)
  • Lyla (English)
  • Maila (Estonian, Scandinavian, Portuguese)
  • Naila (Arabic)
  • Raila (Finnish)
  • Saila (Finnish)
  • Twila/Twyla (English)

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Legendary Princesses

Oh, princesses. They've been a part of pop-culture for a while, and I'm happy that the idea of a less passive-damsel-in-distress type princess is finally catching on. In the spirit of this trend, here are some legendary princesses (and a couple queens) who were known for more than just getting saved and/or married off. :)

  • Æthelflæd (ATH-el-flad, Old English) of Mercia--"noble beauty". More modern form is Elfleda (elf-LEE-dah). 
  • Anahí (ah-nah-EE, Spanish), Native American--from Guarani, poss. "ceibo flower"
  • Aoife (EE-fah, Irish), Irish--"beauty". Her equally-awesome sister, with an arguably less-usable name, was Scáthach (SKAH-hahkh, prob. "shadow").
  • Awilda (ah-WIL-dah, [Latinized] Old Norse), Scandinavian--"elf battle". Also called AlfhildAlwilda or Alvilda
  • Brunhilda (broon-HIL-dah, Germanic) of Austrasia--"armor-battle"
  • Cordeilla (kor-DAY-lah, [literary] Middle English)--prob. from Welsh Creiddylad (krye-THUL-ad, poss. "heart-debt"). Also called Cordelia.
  • Cynisca (sin-IS-kah, [Anglicized, ancient] Greek)--"female puppy". Greek form is Kyniska (koo-NEES-kah). 
  • Disa (DEE-sah, Swedish)--from Old Norse, "goddess"
  • Eréndira (eh-REN-deer-ah, Spanish), Native American--from Tarascan, meaning unknown. Also spelled Erendira (eh-ren-DEER-ah). 
  • Gwendolen (GWEN-doh-len, [literary] Middle English)--poss. from Welsh, "white ring"
  • Heledd (HEL-eth ['th' like in "that"], Welsh)--poss. "salt" or "estuary"
  • Ness (NES, Old Irish)--prob. "not gentle". Also called Neas (NYAS, NAS), Neasa (NYAS-ah, NAS-ah), or Nessa (NES-sah). 
  • Razia (rah-ZEE-ah, Arabic, Hindi, Urdu), Delhi--poss. "happy, content". Also transliterated as Raziyya.
  • Tamar (TAH-mahr, Georgian; TAY-mar, English) of Georgia--from Hebrew, "palm tree". Also called Tamari (TAH-mah-ree). 
  • Wanda (VAHN-dah, Polish; WAHN-dah, English), Polish--prob. from "Wend" [a tribal name, itself poss. from Germanic "friend" or Old Prussian "water"]
  • Zenobia (zen-OH-bee-ah, [ancient] Greek), Palmyrene--poss. "Zeus-life" or from Arabic Zaynab (ZAY-nab, poss. "beauty")

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

More Matronymics

Some time ago (5 years, apparently!), I did a post on matronymic surnames. Since then, I've found more! Although there are nowhere near as many matronymics as patronymics, there are still quite a few more than I'd realized. :)
Prime surname-formation time was the Middle Ages, and many of the listed women's names only survived in surname form.
*unless otherwise stated, the name etymologies are Old English or Germanic
**in source names with two forms stated, the first was a common medieval form, the second the more familiar modern form

  • Aldis, Edis--from Aldus ("old")
  • Ames--from Amice (Latin, "friend") [can also be from the masculine form, Amis]
  • AnnettAnning--from Anne (Hebrew, "grace") or Annis/Agnes (Greek, "chaste")
  • Ansteys, Anstice, Anstis--from Anstice/Anastasia (Greek, "resurrection")
  • Aylett--from Ailith ("noble war")
  • Ayliff--from Aileva ("noble gift")
  • Baseley, Bazeley, Bazell--from Basilia (Greek, "king")
  • Bedloe, Bedlow--from Bedelove (poss. "battle-love")
  • Belson--from Isabel (Hebrew, "my God is an oath") or Belsant (poss. "sword strength")
  • Drewett--from Drueta (feminine of Drogo, poss. "ghost")
  • Edney--from Idony (Old Norse, poss. "love again")
  • Ellett, Ellet--from Ellen (Greek, "torch")
  • Elvey--from Alviva ("elf gift")
  • Elvis, Elwes--from Helewys/Eloise ("famous war")
  • Ennever, Enever, Jenever--from Guinevere/Jennifer (from Celtic, "white phantom")
  • Evatt, Evett, Evetts--from Eva/Eve (Hebrew, "life")
  • Gillet, Gillette--from Gilia (feminine of Giles, Latin, "goat") or Gillian (Latin, "fuzzy-bearded" or "of Jove")
  • Goldburg--from Goldburga ("gold fortress")
  • Goodison--from Godith ("god-war")
  • Hawes--from Hawisia/Hawys ("battle-wide" or "battle-wood")
  • Hildyard, Hilliard--from Hildegard ("battle-protection")
  • Ingrey--from Ingrid (Old Norse, "beautiful Ing")
  • Issard, Izatt, Izett, Izzard--from Isolda/Isolde (poss. "ice-battle" or "iron-battle")
  • Jeeves--from Geva/Genevieve ("kinswoman")
  • Jennett--from Jane (Hebrew, "God is gracious")
  • Jewett, Jowett--from Julian/Gillian (Latin, "fuzzy-bearded" or "of Jove") [Julian was unisex, and more common for girls in medieval England]
  • Kimbro, Kimbrough--from Kinborough ("royal fortress")
  • Letson, Lett, Letts--from Lettice/Letitia (Latin, "joy")
  • Linney--from Linniva (poss. "linden-gift" or "shield-gift")
  • Loveday--from Loveday (you guessed it--"love-day")
  • Malkin, Marriott--from Mary (Hebrew, origin uncertain)
  • Mott, Tillett--from Matilda ("battle-might")
  • Parnall--from Petronilla (Latin, prob, "rock" or "rustic")
  • Quennell, Quinell--from Quenilda ("queen-battle")
  • Rain--from Regina (Latin, "queen") [may also be from masculine Germanic Ragin-names, like Reginald or Reinhard]
  • Ravenell, Ravenhall, Ravenhill--from Ravenild ("raven-battle")
  • Sealy, Seeley, Seely--from Sely ("blessed") [unisex, but more often feminine]
  • Seavers--from Sefare ("sea-journey") [may also be from Severus]
  • Sibley--from Sibyl/Sybil (Greek, "prophetess, oracle")
  • Sisley, Sisterson--from Cecily/Cecilia (Latin, "blind")
  • Stanbery, Stanberry--from Stanburg ("stone fortress")
  • Summerhill, Summerill--from Somerhild ("summer battle")
  • Swannell--from Swanhilda ("swan-battle")
  • Tiffany--from Teffan/Theophania (Greek, "appearance of God")
  • Wantling--from Wentliana/Gwenllian (Welsh, "pure-flaxen")
  • Winney--from Wenyeva ("joy-gift" or "friend-gift")
  • Whybray, Wyber, Wybrew--from Wigburg ("war fortress")
  • Wymark--from Wimarc (poss. "war-famous" or Breton " ??? -horse") [unisex]

As you can probably guess, this is still nowhere near comprehensive! It was a great excuse to find more fun medieval girls' names, and unexpected forms of some modern girls' names, though. ;)

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Iamb What I Am (boys)

I've been wondering--why do we have so many iambic names for girls, but not for boys? (if you need a reminder, an "iamb" is a word/name with a 'weak' syllable followed by a stressed syllable. e.g. Denise, Renee, Marie)
Iambic names are often the go-to names for girls' middles, but boys don't seem to have that many options. I think we should try to remedy that. :)
(before we even start, yes, this list leans heavily French)

  • Achille (ah-SHEEL, French)--form of Achilles
  • Adair (ah-DEHR, English [surname])--form of Edgar
  • Adán (ah-DAHN, Spanish)--form of Adam
  • Aimé (eh-MAY, French)--masculine of Amy/Aimée
  • Alain (ah-LEN, French)--form of Alan
  • Aleix (ah-LEHSH, Catalan)--form of Alexis
  • Amir (ah-MEER, Arabic, Hebrew) [separate derivations]
  • Armand (ar-MAWN, French)--from Germanic, "army man"
  • Armel (ar-MEL, French)--from Old Breton, "bear-prince"
  • Arnaud (ar-NOH, French)--form of Arnold
  • Aviv (ah-VEEV, Hebrew)--"spring" [the season]
  • Benoit (ben-WAH, French)--form of Benedict/Bennett
  • Bohdan (boh-DAHN, Czech, Ukrainian)--from Slavic, "given by God"
  • Canute (kah-NOOT, English)--from Old Norse, "knot"
  • Charlot (shar-LOH, French)--masculine of Charlotte
  • Cornell (kor-NEL, English [surname])--form of Cornelius
  • Darnell (dar-NEL, English [surname])
  • Denzel (den-ZEL, English [surname])--also spelled Denzell
  • Eloy (eh-LOY, Spanish)--from Latin, "chosen". Also spelled Eloi (Catalan) and Elói (Portuguese). 
  • Emil (eh-MEEL, English)--masculine of Emily. French form is Émile (ay-MEEL).
  • Eugene (yoo-JEEN, English)--from Greek, "born good". French form is Eugene (oo-ZHEN). 
  • Fernand (fehr-NAWN, French)--from Germanic, "brave journey". Other forms include Ferran (fehr-RAHN [rolled Rs], Catalan) and Hernan (ehr-NAHN, Spanish). 
  • Gaspar (gahs-PAHR, Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan)--form of Jasper/Casper
  • Gawain (gah-WAYN, English)--older form of Gavin
  • Gerard (jer-ARD, English)--from Germanic, "brave spear". French form is Gérard (zhay-RAHR). 
  • Ivan (ee-VAHN, Russian, Ukrainian, Serbian, Czech, Polish, Slovak, Portuguese)--form of John. Spanish spelling is Iván.  
  • Javier (hahv-YEHR, Spanish)--form of Xavier
  • Jermaine (jur-MAYN, English)--from Latin, "brother". French form is Germain (zhehr-MAHN). 
  • Jerome (jeh-ROHM, English)
  • Jourdain (zhor-DAHN, French)--form of Jordan. Other forms include Jordán (hor-DAHN, Spanish), Jordão (zhor-DOW, Portuguese), and Yarden (yar-DEN, Hebrew).
  • Lamar (lah-MAHR, English [surname])--from French, "the pond"
  • Lazare (lah-ZAHR, French)--form of Lazarus, "God has helped"
  • Louis (loo-EE, French)--from Germanic, "famous battle". Other forms include Luis (loo-EES, Spanish), Luís (loo-EESH, Portuguese) and Loïc (loh-EEK, Breton).
  • Manuel (man-WEL, English; mahn-WEL, Spanish, Catalan, Italian)--form of Emmanuel
  • Marcel (mar-SEL, English, French, Catalan)--from Latin, poss. "of Mars"
  • Martell (mar-TEL, English [surname])--form of Martin, or from French "hammer"
  • Maurice (mor-EES, French, English)
  • Pascal (pas-KAL, French, pahs-KAHL, Dutch, German)--from Latin "Easter". Other forms include Pascual (pahs-KWAHL, Spanish), Pasqual (pahs-KWAHL, Catalan), and Paskal (pas-KAHL, Bulgarian).
  • Ramón (rah-MOHN, Spanish)--form of Raymond
  • Renard (reh-NAHR, French)--from Germanic, "brave advisor" [also means "fox" in modern French]
  • Rennell (ren-NEL, English [surname])--form of Reynold/Reginald
  • Ruslan (roos-LAHN, Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian)--poss. from Turkish, "lion". 
  • Salim (sah-LEEM, Arabic)--"safe"
  • Sinclair (sin-CLEHR, English [surname])--"Saint Clair"
  • Stephane (stay-FAHN, French)--form of Stephen. Other forms include Stepan (stee-PAHN, Russian). 
  • Tyrone (tye-ROHN, English)--from Irish place-name, "Owen's land"
  • Yefim (yeh-FEEM, Russian)--masculine of Euphemia

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

I've Got a Bad Feelyn' About This (2015)

I did the -leys a few months back, and I got a perverse urge to find all the -lyns as well.
So here they all are, alternate spellings combined (only the most popular is listed here), from most --> least common.

  • Adalynn (≈15000 babies)
  • Madelyn
  • Evelyn (≈11000 babies)
  • Brooklyn
  • Kaitlyn
  • Jocelyn (≈4700 babies)
  • Kaelyn
  • Raelynn
  • Emmalyn
  • Jaelynn
  • Jacqueline
  • Ashlyn (≈2000 babies)
  • Braelynn
  • Gracelyn
  • Jazlyn
  • Aylin
  • Roselyn
  • Rylan
  • Dylan (≈1000 babies)
  • Avalynn
  • Marilyn
  • Gwendolyn
  • Helen
  • Aislinn
  • Taelyn
  • Maelynn
  • Carolyn
  • Ellen (≈500 babies)
  • Skylynn
  • Angeline
  • Fallon
  • Shaelyn
  • Jessalyn
  • Aaralyn
  • Daelyn
  • Kylynn
  • Sherlyn
  • Annalynn (≈250 babies)
  • Breelyn
  • Jacelyn
  • Emberlyn
  • Azlynn 
  • Jadelyn
  • Magdalene
  • Lakelyn
  • Harlyn
  • Haylen
  • Irelynn
  • Kimberlyn
  • Brilynn
  • Coralynn
  • Scotlyn
  • Zailynn
  • Marlen
  • Berlin
  • Carlin
  • Krislyn
  • Courtlynn
  • Locklyn
  • Oaklynn
  • Natalynn
  • Makaylin
  • Declyn (≈100 babies)
  • Blakelyn
  • Yaslin
  • Lynn
  • Kendalyn
  • Amberlynn
  • Arlyn
  • Callan
  • Kahlan
  • Quinlan
  • Brecklyn
  • Kellyn
  • Laelynn
  • Jolynn
  • Bailyn
  • Kacelyn
  • Pailynn
  • Edelyn
  • Weslyn
  • Faelyn
  • Kashlyn
  • Joshlyn
  • Keelyn
  • Naydelin
  • Allyn
  • Jerilyn
  • Faithlynn
  • Everlyn
  • Graelyn
  • Brinlynn
  • Breslin (≈50 babies)
  • Hollyn
  • Yeilin
  • Christalyn
  • Milynn
  • Darlyn
  • Collyn
  • Andilyn
  • Macklyn
  • Hazelyn
  • Paislynn
  • Danilynn
  • Nolan
  • Hartlyn
  • Tylynn
  • Katilyn
  • Jennalyn
  • Deslyn
  • Mialynn
  • Novalynn
  • Kathlyn
  • Saralyn
  • Starlynn
  • Lauralyn
  • Taralynn
  • Lovelyn
  • Joycelyn
  • Timberlynn
  • Devlyn (≈25 babies)
  • Sharlyn
  • Evangelyn
  • Waylon
  • Valen
  • Merlin
  • Copelyn
  • Joplin
  • Brycelynn
  • Icelynn
  • Joylynn
  • Preslyn
  • Macelyn
  • Kenlynn
  • Brittlynn
  • Kaslynn
  • Brenlynn
  • Rocklyn
  • Emerlyn
  • Gracilyn
  • Jakailyn
  • Taitlyn
  • Zeppelin
  • Talon
  • Tesslyn
  • Hadalyn
  • Brendalyn
  • Summerlyn
  • Emlyn
  • Hadlyn
  • Leelynn
  • Noralyn
  • Veralyn
  • Aidalyn
  • Brandalyn
  • Mandolin
  • Daralyn (≈10 babies)
  • Adailyn
  • Llewellyn
  • Chaselyn
  • Kinlyn
  • Maizlyn
  • Mazlyn
  • Portlyn
  • Brexlyn
  • Chaslyn
  • Eslyn
  • Franklyn
  • Janalyn
  • Kamlyn
  • Keslyn
  • Karslyn (here and below 5 babies)
  • Kirklyn
  • Paitlyn
  • Thailyn

Apparently I haven't been keeping track in previous years, but that's ≈175 -lyn names (in about 1205 "unique" spellings), comprising 5.3% of all new baby girls born last year. 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Primer: Ancient Greek Names

If you have any sort of background or interest in Ancient Greece, you've probably noticed that I've been rather inconsistent on pronunciation. Part of this is laziness, but another part (especially the further back in my blog you go) was lack of knowledge. I might go back and correct or clarify previous posts later, but for now, I'll just resolve myself to be better going forward!

This is not intended to be a thorough guide to Ancient Greek names, but it should be helpful for the newbie or for passing interest.

First, there are three ways to pronounce Ancient Greek names:
--reconstructed Ancient Greek (what most scholars believe the language actually sounded like)
--Latinized (how the Romans pronounced the names when they imported them)
--Anglicized (how we usually say them today, which is based off the Latinized versions)

The letters are mostly the same as English, but there are some exceptions:
  • A (Α, α) -- "ah" (like 'father') in Ancient Greek and Latin. In English, like "a" ('cat') or "ah" ('father') or "ay" ('play').
  • C (Κ, κ) -- always hard ('cat') in Ancient Greek and Latin. In English, like our C: hard before a, o, u ('cat'); soft before i, e, y ('cent'). Also soft before 'ae'.
    Latin didn't have the letter K, so older transliterations will have C. More authentic transliterations will use K (which English adopted directly from Greek).
  • G (Γ, γ) -- always hard ('gift') in Ancient Greek and Latin. In English, like our G: hard before a, o, u ('go'); soft before e, i, y ('gem'). Also soft before 'ae'.
  • I (Ι, ι) -- "ee" in Ancient Greek and Latin; in English, "ih" ('it'), "ee" ('see'), or "eye" ('sight'). Usually 'ih' if followed by two consonants, otherwise whichever is easiest to say, it seems. 
  • X (Ξ, ξ) -- "ks" in Ancient Greek and Latin; in English "z" at the start of a word ('xylophone'), "ks" otherwise.
  • Y (Υ, υ) -- "eu" in Ancient Greek (doesn't exist in English; think of the French 'u'); "ee" in Latin. In English, like I, basically a toss-up. 
  • U (Υ, υ) -- "eu" in Ancient Greek (doesn't exist in English; think of the French 'u'); "oo" in Latin; "oo" in English, or "yoo" when at the beginning of a word.
    (yes, the letter upsilon (Υ, υ) is written either Y or U. If after another vowel, it tends to be written as U, and as Y after consonants)
  • CH (Χ, χ) -- "kh" in Ancient Greek and Latin; "k" in English.
  • PS (Ψ, ψ) -- "ps" in Ancient Greek; "s" in Latin and English.
  • TH (Θ, θ) -- "t'h" in Ancient Greek and Latin (an aspirated T, rather like a 't'-sound followed immediately by a 'h'-sound); "th" in English ("thigh").
    (Interestingly, in Modern Greek, now pronounced "th".)

I've saved the two trickiest for last--E & O. Both are represented by two letters in Ancient Greek, and the pronunciation depends on which.
  • E can be either from epsilon (Ε, ε), which is short ('let'), or eta (Η, η), which is similar to the long English "ay" sound ('play'). When Anglicized, the eta says "ee" ('see'), and sometimes the epsilon does too.
  • Similarly, O can be either from omicron (Ο, ο), which is short ('cot') or omega (Ω, ω), which is long ('coat'). When Anglicized, both tend to follow English pronunciation rules.
    Names ending in -os are usually changed to -us in Latin and English.

Ancient Greek uses the following digraphs:
  • ai (αι) -- "eye". Written as ae in Latin, still pronounced "eye". Often ae in English as well, but then is pronounced "ee" or "eh".
  • au (αυ) -- "ow", like 'cow'.
  • ei (ει) -- "ay" in Ancient Greek and Latin, usually "eh" ('set') or "ee" ('see') in English. Often written as just e or i in Latin and English (e.g. Rheia --> RheaDareios --> Darius).
  • eu (ευ or ηυ) -- "eh-oo" in Ancient Greek and Latin, "yoo" in English ('Europe').
  • oi (οι) -- "oy", like 'boy'. Written as oe in Latin, and usually in English as well, but then pronounced "ee" (not to be confused with the name ending -oe, which is two separate vowels, οη or ωη).
  • ou (ου) -- "oo", like "boot". Often written as just in Latin and English (and in English, then pronounced "yoo" at the start of the word, like in 'Uranus').
  • yi or ui (υι) -- "oo-ee" in Ancient Greek and Latin, "ee" in English.

So, that was easy, right? :p On to stress!

--Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek used tonal stress, which is something that a native English speaker will have a hard time imagining, let alone pulling off! Most just approximate it by using the dynamic ("loudness") stress we Anglophones are used to.
(aside: stress is something that's generally quite lacking in pronunciation guides, and if you want a really in-depth look, I suggest this page:, which is amazingly thorough on stress differences in Ancient Greek and Latinized pronunciations)
If you happen to have the actual Greek spelling of the name, you can often quite easily tell where the stress is--many names have the stressed syllable marked with the acute accent (ά, έ, ή, etc).
If the name does not have the accents marked, it can get quite complicated since stress is dependent on word length and vowel length (really, the simplest way might be to just stick the Greek spelling into Forvo)!
  • Two-syllable names are usually stressed on the first. 
  • Greek often has final-syllable stress, particularly in names ending in -o, -is, -os or -us
  • If the name ends in -as, -on, -e, -ia, or -ea, it's usually the second-last syllable stressed (but not -eia, however! Those are stressed on the third-last).
    Remember that the vowel pairs -oe, -ia and -ea are separate syllables, so the stress would be on the oi, or e (Beroe = "beh-RAH-ay"; Delia = "day-LEE-ah"; Leucothea = "lyoo-koth-EH-ah").
  • With longer names, the third-last is usually a good guess, especially if the name does not fall into one of the previously mentioned patterns. 
We're used to Latinized pronunciations, so if it sounds awkward, you're probably pretty close. :p

--Latin and English
  • If you don't care about attempting Ancient Greek accent, and are content with Latinized or Anglicized, just stress the second-last syllable.
  • Common exceptions are when the name ends in -ia or -e (Eumelia = "yoo-MEL-ee-ah; Antigone = "an-TIG-on-ee"), or -ias, -ion, or -eus (Callias = "KAL-ee-us", Endymion = "en-DIM-ee-on", Proteus = "PRO-tee-us").
  • With names of 4 syllables. it's sometimes the third-to-last that's stressed (Eidothea = "ed-OTH-ee-ah"), but not always (Amalthea = "am-al-THEE-ah").

Here are a few names, showing common differences in the three pronunciation methods.

Ancient Greek
Psyche (Ψυχή)
Theseus (Θησεύς)
Kelaino / Celaeno (Κελαινώ)
Chryseis (Χρυσηἰς)
"krye-SEE-is" or "kris-AY-is"
Medousa / Medusa (Μέδουσα)

"Quick primer". Ha!
Well, hopefully that wasn't too confusing, and maybe a little bit helpful. ;)

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

British vs. American, Part 2 (2015)

(part 1 here)
Oh, I am nervous. Here are the most popular American names that were not used at all in England & Wales last year.

  1. Brantley
  2. Waylon
  3. Brooks
  4. Gunner
  5. Gage
  6. Collin
  7. Garrett
  8. Rhett
  9. Lane
  10. Remington
  11. Barrett
  12. Landen
  13. Beckham
  14. Major
  15. Kamden
  16. Legend
  17. Jaxton
  18. Kolton
  19. Gerardo
  20. Chandler

  1. Kinsley
  2. Ximena
  3. Emery
  4. Londyn
  5. Raelynn
  6. Makenzie
  7. Kinley
  8. Daleyza
  9. Kylee
  10. Brynlee
  11. Brynn
  12. Jordan
  13. Journey
  14. Haley
  15. Raelyn
  16. Alondra
  17. Kaydence
  18. Blakely
  19. Allyson
  20. Kamryn
Yep, that's about what I was expecting. 

Here are the "most American" names that do appear on the full ONS list:

  1. Jesus
  2. Paxton
  3. Angel
  4. Josue
  5. Iker
  6. Cesar
  7. Weston
  8. Easton
  9. Jayceon
  10. Landon
  11. Grady
  12. Emiliano
  13. Graham
  14. Esteban
  15. Trenton
  16. Sawyer
  17. Enrique
  18. Princeton
  19. Jamison
  20. Tucker

  1. Allison
  2. Finley
  3. Jordyn
  4. Genesis
  5. Adalynn
  6. Makenna
  7. Lyric
  8. London
  9. Camila
  10. Ainsley
  11. Brinley
  12. Kylie
  13. Sawyer
  14. Malaysia
  15. Ryan
  16. Rylee
  17. Haylee
  18. Jaylah
  19. Presley
  20. Madilyn
Spanish names and surnames! Wow.

Still too weird, my British friends? Here are the most American names from the ONS Top 1000:

  1. Colton
  2. Silas
  3. Nolan
  4. Greyson
  5. Wyatt
  6. Ian
  7. Giovanni
  8. Colin
  9. Kenneth
  10. Karter
  11. Emmett
  12. Brayden
  13. Ryder
  14. Jayce
  15. Jeremiah
  16. Jase
  17. Avery
  18. Braxton
  19. Wesley
  20. Julian

  1. Avery
  2. Claire
  3. Addison
  4. Zoey
  5. Serenity
  6. Aubrey
  7. Vivian
  8. Kimberly
  9. Caroline
  10. Riley
  11. Melanie
  12. Ashley
  13. Brooklyn
  14. Bailey
  15. Jocelyn
  16. Andrea
  17. Morgan
  18. Paisley
  19. Brianna
  20. Trinity
Avery is on both lists again! Seems to be gaining quite a bit of popularity in the UK, too. Kind of interesting how we're both pretty into -y names for girls, but not always the same ones!

And just for fun again, here are the names that are used about evenly in both nations (by % of births in each, from the Top 1500ish):

  1. Denzel
  2. Harper
  3. Perry
  4. Peter
  5. Myles
  6. Kylan
  7. Massimo
  8. Benjamin
  9. Tate
  10. Kenny
  11. Bradley
  12. Kareem
  13. Quinn
  14. Martin
  15. Kane
  16. Darius
  17. Amar
  18. Tyler
  19. Aarush
  20. Simeon

  1. Nala
  2. Luella
  3. Lilah
  4. Ariya
  5. Mae
  6. Delia
  7. Stevie
  8. Siena
  9. Nadine
  10. Annabella
  11. Violet
  12. Anabelle
  13. Charlotte
  14. Noa
  15. Taya
  16. Arya
  17. Hannah
  18. Jennifer
  19. Melissa
  20. Thalia
Those are some pretty decent lists. Nice going, all. :)