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Category: European baby names

French Names: New Wave Classics

Zazie-dans-le-Metro

In late 1950s France there emerged a group of young intellectual, experimental filmmakers, including François Truffaut, Claude Chabrol and Jean-Luc Goddard, who became known collectively as La Nouvelle Vague or New Wave, and changed the face of film.

In films like Breathless, they rebelled against traditional French cinema, employing such groundbreaking techniques as using  real locations, hand-held cameras, natural lighting and improvised scripts, jump cuts, voiceovers and slanguage, all of which had a profound influence on such later American directors as Martin Scorese, Francis Ford Coppola, John Cassavetes, Robert Altman and Quentin Tarantino.

But though their techniques emigrated across the Atlantic, the names of many of the characters in their films did not, and, looking through the casts of characters in these movies, we find a variety of fresh options, particularly on the female side, with sleek ine-ending choices and feminissima ette names.

GIRLS

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italgirl1

Elisabeth Wilborn, creator of one of our absolute favorite blogs, You Can’t Call It “It,” introduces us to the wide world of great Italian girls’ names beyond Isabella. Elisabeth, a writer, artist, and mom, lives in Brooklyn, New York.

You don’t have to be Italian to fawn all over Isabella.

She’s lyrical, historical, and even practical with nicknames Bella and Izzy at the ready.  It’s no surprise that she and cohorts Olivia and Sophia would be storming up the charts, now assuming spots 1, 3, and 4.  But are these the only options for little girls if you want to honor your Italian heritage?

Let’s take a look at what people are choosing in New Jersey.  As housewife fame has evidenced, they’re heavy on Italian pride.

Top picks for the state include:

Adriana (#64), Adrianna (#95), Angelina (#30), Ariana (#46), Arianna (#43),
Gabriella (12), Gianna (#11), Julia (#19- Giulia in Italy), Isabella (#1), Juliana (#49), Julianna (#63), Maria (#65), Natalia (#72), Olivia (#2), Sophia (#3), Valentina (#92), Victoria (#22- Vittoria in Italy).

Italian-American mothers often lament that all the good names are taken by their family and friends.

I assure you the options are vast!

If you’ll be summering with Nonna in Toscana, you may want a choice that is both well loved there and reads undeniably Italian here (rankings are from Italy in 2008): Alessia (#8), Chiara (#5), Federica (#21), Francesca (#9), Giada
(#13), Giorgia (#6), Ludovica (#27)Ilaria (#25), Vittoria (#26).

Italy also has a few popular names that wouldn’t necessarily scream Carbonara: Alice (#10), Anna (#11), Beatrice (#18), Elisa (#12), Emma (#14), Greta (#14), Marta (#29),  Martina (#3), Matilde (#15), Nicole (#30)Noemi (#19), Sara (#4).  Note Alice and Beatrice are pronounced ah-LEE-che and be-ah-TREE-che.

A triumvirate of recent Cosimas, Claudia Schiffer’s child, Sofia Coppola’s baby, and a Windsor 22nd in line to the throne, remind us that there are still other genuine Italian names to cull from the history books.  Some are quite antique, but just as we have “old lady chic” here, so too do they in Italy.

I urge you to take a chance on an ancient beauty:

Agnella

Alessandra

Anastasia

Antonia

Artemisia

Aurelia

Aurora

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British Baby Names

The following is a guest post by Luke Eales from BabyNames.co.uk, one of the UK’s leading baby names websites. Established in 2007, the BabyNames.co.uk helps parents on the path to finding the perfect baby name.

Having read Nameberry’s recent article on popular baby names 2010, I was inspired to run some analysis of my own – this time with a UK slant.

So in a similar way to what Nameberry did, I delved into our site usage data. I brought up a list of the names receiving the most searches this year so far, and compared the numbers against the same period last year. I then sorted the names to see which had the greatest proportional increase in searches. The result is two lists – the UK’s fastest rising boys and girls names of 2010 so far.

girls

1. FLORENCE
2. LUCIE
3. LACEY
4. ESME
5. ELENA
6. LUCIA
7. BEATRICE
8. VIOLET
9. INDIA
10. FRANKIE

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Two Celebs Chose Cosima

cosima mars

Is it a coincidence that Sofia Coppola and Claudia Schiffer both picked the same unusual (in the U.S. anyway) name for their baby daughters almost simultaneously—or is it a signal that it’s about to enter the mainstream?

Cosima (accent on the first syllable) derives from the Greek Kosmos, and refers to the order and harmony of the universe.  It’s a logical choice for both of these moms in terms of their roots: there could be a Cosima on Coppola’s family tree and it’s also often heard in Germany, where Schiffer was born.  Cosima is used in Greece as well, and by upper class Brits: English celebrity chef Nigella Lawson has a daughter named Cosima, while Marissa Ribisi and Beck used the male form, Cosimo, for their son.  The most famous bearer of the name in history is a woman with strong musical ties—Cosima Wagner was both the daughter of composer Franz Liszt and the wife of composer Richard Wagner.

With her third child, Claudia Schiffer has continued her previous pattern of choosing a distinctive, cutting-edge name starting with her own first initial, “C,” as she did with older daughter Clementine and son Caspar.  Clementine, although it hasn’t made it onto the popularity lists yet, is rapidly becoming a favorite of both nameberries and celebrities .  Kirstie Alley first revived it in the late 70s, and it’s since been chosen by Ethan Hawke and Rachel Griffiths.

Caspar has been slower to catch on, but may well follow in the wake of cousin Jasper, if it can finally shake the friendly ghost association. Romy, the name of Sofia Coppola and Thomas Mars’ first daughter, is also beginning to be heard more and more.

Several other celebs have followed Claudia’s practice of serial-initializing, often repeating their own name’s starting letter.  There are, for instance, Tarian, Tristan and Tyler Tritt (sons of Travis);  Corde, Cordell and Cori, children of Cordozar Calvin (Snoop Dogg) Broadus; Scarlet, Sophia and Sistine Stallone, who all share the middle name of Rose; and—the grand prize winner—director Robert Rodriguez, who named his five children Racer, Rebel, Rocket, Rogue and Rhiannon.

But getting back to Cosima—does it have the potential to move out beyond the celebrisphere?  Especially since it could be limited by some possible pronunciation problems –as in coz-EE-ma.

What do you think?

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Athlete Names: Tennis, anyone??

tennis1

We’ve talked about the names of great poets and painters and musicians and worthy political and social namesakes, but one area we’ve somewhat neglected is athlete names.

The names of tennis champs are interesting because they include both genders and are international in scope.  And since the US Open (then called the US Men’s Singles Championship) dates back to 1881and the Women’s to 1887, with Wimbledon starting in 1877 and the Davis Cup to 1900, there’s plenty of opportunity to look back and include some cool  vintage names as well.

These are the names of tennis champs (and a few high-ranked contenders who didn’t quite make it to the very top) with possess distinctive names—so sorry John, Bill and Billie-Jean.

GIRLS

ALICE Marble

ALINE Terry

ALTHEA Gibson

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