Because of its relatively small population, Wales has sent fewer immigrants to the US than Ireland and Scotland have–a mere 100,000 between 1820 and 1976–so that Welsh names are not as well known here as the other Celts. Which is a shame, because it’s a lilting, rhythmic language, offering lots of fresh and beguiling choices.
Like the Irish, the Welsh have only rediscovered some of the rich resources of their own language and culture in the past century. Ater the Welsh language was suppressed for hundreds of years, baby namers are now digging back into their native history and myth, traditional literature and legends for inspirational namesakes of ancient heroes, princes and other royalty, for example increasing the popularity of names like the mythological Rhiannon.
Unlike the Irish names, Welsh choices present far fewer pronunciation challenges–their spelling is much closer to phonetic. Also note that the yn ending is usually masculine (even though, for example, Gwyn might sound feminine to us), and the en ending, as in Gwen, is for the most part feminine.
Here, a selection of some rich Welsh possibilities:
FFLUR (FLEER)–Welsh word for flower)
GWENNO (a nickname-name for Gwen names)
SIAM (SHAM)–Welsh form of James
SIARL (SHARL)–Welsh form of Charles
SIOR (SHOR)–Welsh form of George
Let’s say you have a two-year-old son named Connor. Then suddenly you wake up one morning and see that Scarlett Superstar has just named her new baby daughter Connor. And the thought runs through your mind–omg!!–are thousands of other parents now going to follow her lead and name their little girls Connor? Is this the end of Connor as a boy’s name?
To the horror of many parents of boys, it can and sometimes does happen. Think about Addison and Avery and Jordan and Morgan and all the other gender blurring we’ve seen in recent years–and sometimes it is a single starbaby who has, if not incited the trend, at least accelerated it. A few once strictly-male names that fit this profile:
BAILEY–somewhat used for girls since the 80s, but really popped after several celebs chose it.
To a lesser degree, this can happen with a celebrity’s own name too. Although Glenn Close and Daryl Hannah didn’t do much to alter the gender images of their names, Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Reese Witherspoon certainly did–there were over 2,300 girls named Reese last year.
So, which celebrity-endorsed boy-to-girl names have had or will have a lasting impact?
STARBABIES WHO HAVE ALREADY HAD AN EFFECT:
Those that could:
Those that probebly won’t (though you never know):