Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Very International Names (boys)

Boys turn!
Again, I decided to try and find out what are currently the most popular name families in the Western world. This data was compiled from the 2014 or 2015 (depending on what was available) Top Names lists from 16 countries (US, England & Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Spain, Italy, Hungary, Belgium).
Variants of one name were mostly all grouped together--exceptions were if the names are generally thought of as distinct names (e.g. Jacob and James) or for nicknames that have multiple full forms (so Max was counted alone, not grouped with Maxwell, Maximo, or Maxmilian).
In total there were approximately 386 name 'families', not that far off from the girls' 408.

  • William/Liam/Wilhelm/Guillermo/etc--31 instances
    Lists without: Iceland
  • Lucas/Luke/Luca/etc--31 instances
    Lists without: Iceland, Hungary
  • Alexander/Alex/Alessandro/etc--29 instances
    Lists without: Finland
  • John/Sean/Ian/Johannes/Jan/Ivan/Evan/etc--29 instances (easily the most diverse set, BTW!)
    Lists without: Finland
  • Matthew/Matteo/Matias/etc--26 instances
    Lists without: none
  • Jackson/Jack--22 instances
    Lists without: Finland, Iceland, Norway, Spain, Italy, Hungary
  • Oliver/Alvaro/Ollie/etc--22 instances
    Lists without: Italy, Belgium
  • Jacob/Jake/Giacomo/etc--21 instances
    Lists without: Finland, Iceland, Hungary
  • Thomas/Tom/Tomas/etc--20 instances
    Lists without: Finland, Norway, Sweden, Spain
  • Daniel/Dan/etc--19 instances
    Lists without: none
  • Leo/Leon/etc--19 instances
    Lists without: Iceland, Italy, Hungary
Benjamin, Samuel, Eli, Louis, Nicholas, Joseph, James, David, Michael, Robert, and Theodore finish out the Top 20. (Okay, 22. There were ties)

And again, the country with the most 'unique' names was Iceland, with 40% of the Top 50 not appearing on any other top names list:
Guðmund, Gunnar, Dagur, Arni/Arnar, Bjarki, Kári, Andri, Jökull, Ásgeir, Baldur, Birkir, Hilmar, Elvar/Elfar, Björn, Haukur, Styrmir, Ari, Eyþor, Frosti, and Sindri

Hungary's Top 100 is just under 40% 'unique' names:
Marcell, Balázs, Zalán, Botond, Laszlo, Zsombor, Ákos, Attila, Nimród, Roland, Csaba, Zétény, Hunor, Ábel, Szabolcs, Kornél, Norbert, Bendegúz, Ármin, Tibor, Csongor, Imre, Soma, Brendon, Kende, Dénes, Csanád, Bertalan, Donát, Zente, Szilárd, Zsigmond, Dorián, Flórián, and Zénó.

Sweden's Top 100 is about 1/4 'unique' names--Arvid, Melvin, Edvin, Sixten, Albin, Gustav, Melker, Malte, Ebbe, August, Viggo, Colin, Loke, Wilmer, Vidar, Milton, Elton, Vilgot, Otto, Tage, Hjalmar, Maximilian, Algot, Linus, Ture, and Folke.

Spain's Top 100 is about 1/5 'unique' names--Sergio, Izan, Gonzalo, Bruno, Raul, Jesus, Aitor, Rodrigo, Asier, Unai, Ismael, Alonso, Biel, Gael, Ignacio, Nil, Saul, Aimar, and Yeray.

As expected, the English-speaking countries all share a lot of names. England & Wales has only two 'unique' names (Dexter and Ronnie), N. Ireland, Australia, and Canada each have 3 (Conan, Caolán, and Dáithí; Bailey, Mitchell, and MaxwellJeremy, Declan, and Emmett; respectively); and New Zealand has five (Arlo, Nixon, Ezra, Quinn, and Cohen). 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Very International Names (girls)

I'm amazed at how trends can spread across the globe. Yeah, Sophia is popular here in the US, but how is it also popular in like 14 other countries in the western world? Out of 16 countries I found current (2014 or 2015) data for (US, England & Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Spain, Italy, Hungary, Belgium), only Iceland did not have a form of Sophia in its Top Names list. Most countries had more than more than one! What is it about Sophia?

Anyway, I set out to find which "name families" are most popular right now, and also see which country has the most unique names. :)
(this is compiled from the Top Names lists only--which are either Top 50 or Top 100, depending on the country--so for instance, if there's a variant of Mary at #51 on the Finnish charts, it wasn't counted)

  • Mary/Marie/Maria/Mia/Marion/Molly/etc--45 instances
    Lists without: Finland
  • Anna/Ana/Hannah/Nancy/etc--39 instances
    Lists without: none
  • Sophia/Sofia/Sophie/etc--35 instances
    Lists without: Iceland
  • Elizabeth/Elise/Elsa/Lisa/Eliza/etc--32 instances
    Lists without: none
  • Sarah/Sara/Sadie/etc--27 instances
    Lists without: none
  • Eva/Eve/Evie--25 instances
    Lists without: Norway, Sweden, Hungary
  • Isabella/Isabelle/Isabel/etc--25 instances
    Lists without: Finland, Norway, Belgium
  • Lily/Lilly/Lili/Lilja/Lilla/etc--24 instances
    Lists without: Spain, Italy
  • Ella/Ellie/etc--21 instances
    Lists without: Iceland, Spain, Italy, Hungary
  • Emily/Emilie/Emilia--21 instances
    Lists without: Spain
Julia, Alice, Katherine, Charlotte, Emma, Olivia, Helena, Amelia, Maya, and Rose round out the overall Top 20. 
There were approximately 408 "name families" total, although many are inter-related (Isabella is a form of Elizabeth, for instance, but they're generally treated as distinct names; same with Caroline and Charlotte. Ella/Ellie could be from Elizabeth, but it can also be from Helena/Ellen or Eleanor).

The country with the most unique names ('unique names' in this case being shorthand for "names without any variants appearing on any other top names lists") was by far Iceland, with nearly 1/2 of the Top 50:
Hekla, Birta, Sóley, Helga, Katla, Guðrún, Þórdís, Ingibjörg, Embla, Sigrún, Harpa, Hrafntinna, Steinunn, Unnur, Aþena, Fanney, Iðunn, Arna, Hrafnhildur, Snædís, and Vigdís. 

Spain's Top 100 is about 1/3 'unique' names:
Daniela, Valeria, Alba, Carmen, Ainhoa, Aitana, Marina, Candela, Laia, Ainara, Leire/Leyre, Nerea, Rocio, Vega, Jimena, Abril, Triana, Nuria, Aroa, Manuela, Mar, Mara, Africa, Naia, Noelia, Nahia, Naiara/Nayara, Elia, Arlet, Yanira, Fatima, Erika, and Mireia.

Finland's Top 50 is about 30% 'unique' names:
Venla, Aino, Helmi, Enni, Kerttu, Pihla, Hilla, Minea, Iina, Vilja, Sanni, Lumi, and Seela.

While Hungary, Sweden, and Italy are all around 1/4 'unique' names.
Hungary (Top 100): Boglárka, Csenge, Réka, Petra, Zselyke, Regina, Kinga, Szonja, Emese, Tímea, Tamara, Fruzsina, Eniko, Virág, Hanga, Dorottya, Dalma, Kinsco, Vanda, Kira, Zita, Ramóna, Bíborka, Boróka, Patricia, and Dzsenifer.
Sweden (Top 100): Ebba, Alva, Signe, Nova, Edith, Elvira, Tyra, Juni, Felicia, Meja, Moa, Livia, Stina, Lykke, Svea, Cornelia, Joline, Lo, Tindra, Novalie, Philippa, My, Hilma, and Linn.
Italy (Top 100): Gaia, Ginevra, Ludovica, Gioia, Asia, Serena, Benedetta, Ilaria, Federica, Cecilia, Flavia, Gloria, Diletta, Sveva, Lucrezia, Virginia, Agata, Celeste, Lavinia, Sabrina, Teresa, and Anastasia. 

On the other end, New Zealand has zero unique names. England & Wales has 2 (Aisha and Bethany), Australia has 3 (Indiana, Chelsea, and Eloise), while Scotland and N. Ireland each have 4 (Eilidh, Skye, Iona, and Hope; Eimear, Cora, Cassie, and Farrah; respectively).
Although it's not terribly surprising that the English-speaking countries all have a lot in common. :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Taxonymy....nymy? (ferns)

Fern is kind of an odd name if you think about it. I mean, we don't call kids 'Algae' or 'Angiosperm' or 'Conifer' (although...Conifer could actually kind of work).
Ferns are a unique group of plants--they're complex with many different specialized cells, but don't have seeds or flowers, and instead reproduce with spores, like algae & fungi.
They're also not as large a group as the flowering plants, but I bet we can still find some fun potential names. :)
(all are genera, not common names)

  • Azolla
  • Ceradenia
  • Christella
  • Cyathea
  • Danaea
  • Davallia
  • Drynaria
  • Kaulinia
  • Lindsaea
  • Llavea
  • Marattia
  • Marsilea
  • Matonia
  • Mickelia
  • Mohria
  • Oleandra
  • Onoclea
  • Osmunda
  • Paesia
  • Pellaea
  • Pteris
  • Ptisana
  • Rumohra
  • Salvinia
  • Vittaria

Friday, November 4, 2016

Win-ning Names

Anybody else feel like Winnie-names might be starting to trend? I did a post on Winnie-names for girls a bit back (and somehow missed Elowen, my goodness!), and it recently struck me how much I like -win names for boys, as well.
Surprisingly, -win/wyn names are split about evenly for girls and boys in the U.S.; I expected them to be mostly feminine (although if you include -wen, the boys end up with a huge majority, thanks pretty much exclusively to Owen). 
Most turn out to be Welsh (where wyn means "white" or "blessed") or Old English/Germanic (where win means "friend"). Great meaning in both origins! :D
(many of the Old English names survive only as surnames today)

  • Aelwyn (ILE-win, Welsh)--"white brow". Also spelled Aylwyn
  • Alwyn (AL-win, Welsh, English)--from Welsh, poss. "white hillside"
  • Ashwin (ASH-win, Old English)--"ash [tree] friend" or "spear friend"
  • Baldwin (BALD-win, Old English)--"bold friend"
  • Berwyn (BEHR-win, Welsh)--"white top"
  • Brandwin (BRAND-win, Old English)--prob. "sword friend"
  • Brithwin (BRITH-win, Old English)--poss. "bright friend"
  • Burgwin (BURG-win, Old English)--"castle friend"
  • Caldwin (KAHLD-win, Old English)--poss. "cold friend"
  • Carwyn (KAR-win, Welsh)--"blessed love"
  • Cedwyn (KED-win, Welsh)--poss. "white woods"
  • Cenwyn (KEN-win, Welsh)--poss. "white ridge" or "blessed chief"
  • Christwin (KRIST-win, Old English)--"Christ-friend"
  • Cledwyn (KLED-win, Welsh)--poss. "blessed sword"
  • Colwyn (KAHL-win, Welsh)--poss. "enclosed thicket"
  • Cuthwin (KUTH-win, Old English)--"famous friend"
  • Darwin (DAR-win, English)--"dear friend"
  • Delwyn (DEL-win, Welsh)--"pretty + blessed"
  • Dilwyn (DIL-wyn, Welsh)--"genuine + blessed"
  • Dunwin (DUN-win, Old English)--"brown friend"
  • Edwin (ED-win, English)--"old friend" or "wealthy friend". An older form is Aldwin
  • Elwyn (EL-win, English)--prob. "noble friend", "old friend", or "elf friend"
  • Everwin (EV-er-win, Old English)--"boar friend". Another form is Irwin
  • Geldwin (GELD-win, Old English)--prob. "tribute friend"
  • Gerwin (GUR-win, Old English)--"spear friend"
  • Gladwin (GLAD-win, Old English)--"bright friend". Also spelled Gladwyn.
  • Goldwin (GOLD-win, Old English)--"gold friend"
  • Godwin (GAHD-win, Old English)--"god-friend". Another form is Goodwin.
  • Goswin (GAHZ-win, Old English; GOHZ-veen, German)--"Goth-friend"
  • Hadwin (HAD-win, Old English)--poss. "battle-friend"
  • Hartwin (HART-win, Old English; HART-veen, German)--"strong friend"
  • Heddwyn (HETH-win ['th' like in "the"], Welsh)--"blessed peace"
  • Hildwin (HILD-win, Old English)--"battle-friend". Another form is Hildewin
  • Kenwyn (KEN-win, Cornish [surname])--"white ridge"
  • Lewin (LOO-win, English)--"beloved friend". An older form is Lefwin
  • Merewin (MEHR-eh-win, Old English)--poss. "famous friend" or "sea-friend"
  • Merwin (MUR-win, English)--poss. from Merewin or Welsh Mervyn
  • Morwin (MOHR-win, Old English)--poss. "moor friend"
  • Ortwin (ORT-win, Old English; OHRT-veen, German)--"sharp-point friend"
  • Oswin (OZ-win, English; OHZ-veen, German)--"god-friend"
  • Rhydwyn (RID-win, Welsh)--prob. "white ford"
  • Rodwin (RAHD-win, Old English)--"famous friend"
  • Selwyn (SEL-win, English)--prob. "manor-friend" or "blessed friend"
  • Stanwin (STAN-win, Old English)--"stone friend" [yes, the reverse of Winston]
  • Tilwin (TIL-win, Old English)--poss. "good friend"
  • Wulfwin (WULF-win, Old English)--"wolf friend"

(As an aside, if you do prefer any of the "white/blessed" Welsh names for girls, changing -wyn to -wen generally gets you the feminine spelling. :) 
To complicate matters further, for some of the Old English "friend" names there are related feminine names, deriving from -wynn "joy", which usually became -wen in names that survived to Middle/early Modern English; e.g. Brithwen "bright joy"; Edwen "wealthy joy"The masculine -win names are traditionally feminized to -wina/vina, and the feminine -wen names often became -wina/vina as well!)

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Weird Name Journey: Isabella

Two major things alter names: time and translation. More than any other type of name, it seems, Biblical names have been subject to both. Today's WNJ is a prime example of that: Isabella.
If you're thinking, "um, Isabella isn't in the Bible.....is it?" you're sort of right.

Let's start with Elisheva. It's the name of a couple characters in the Bible, most notably the mother of John the Baptist. You probably know her as Elizabeth. When the Bible was translated into Greek, Elisheva became Elisabet, and then Elisabeth in Latin and English (in fact, many of the names we think of as "Hebrew" are actually Hellenized and/or Latinized forms). 
Provençal had problems with that final -th, however, so in Southern France, the name became Elisabel
It then spread to Spanish and Catalan areas, and then went through something called hypercorrection. Hypercorrection is when linguistic rules are overapplied, particularly to a word or name from a different language. In this case, Spanish speakers may have interpreted Elisabel as "el Isabel" ("the Isabel"), and dropped the non-sensical masculine 'el'. Alternatively, Catalan speakers may have heard Elisabel as "e l'Isabel"("and the Isabel"). Or both could have happened! But for whatever reason, Elisabel became Isabel as it left Provence. 
Isabel caught on like wildfire in the Middle Ages, becoming common throughout Europe. It was then re-Latinized (it wasn't exactly recognizable as a form of Elizabeth if you didn't know Provençal!) to Isabella