Category: international baby names
Move to a different country, you’ll encounter the unfamiliar – new culture, customs, food, weather and attitudes. I was prepared for that when I left America to live in Britain. Even the language –notionally the same in both nations – had its variants: biccy for cookie, jumper for sweater, lift for elevator and the English tendency to jam a silent ‘u’ into the middle of perfectly ordinary words. All of this was to be expected. The one difference I hadn’t anticipated, and that took me by surprise, was in the way British name their children, and the coded meaning of those names.
For obvious reasons, baby names are still THE topic of the day in Britain, following the much anticipated birth and naming announcements of Baby Cambridge. To everyone’s surprise, the string of names was shortened from four to three, beginning with the consistent front-runner George, followed by the somewhat less expected Alexander and Louis.
But despite the diminished thickness of the royal baby’s name sandwich, the whole package will be distilled down to a single nickname. This nickname will be very affectionate. It may also be a little goofy, because that is what the upper classes do in Britain: they give a child a long line of important, reverent names, dripping with heritage, and then reduce them to one irreverent tag.
The letter V gives us relatively few usable names, but many of the ones it does give us are gems. From the queenly Victoria and the steady Vincent to the wonderfully rare Verity and the popular sound of Vander, V names are where it’s at! Just take a look at some names celebrities are choosing for their little ones, such as Violet, Vivienne and Viggo.
As I looked at the V names from 2012, I couldn’t help but notice a lot of forgotten ones that deserve to be remembered, as well as some interesting picks from beyond the US borders. Let’s take a look at the names that jumped out at me with their number of 2012 births…
Since I started a name blog a couple of years ago, I have learned of many new names. Here is a small selection of some that I never knew existed until recently, and have seen on real people (mostly babies). Most of them are rarely found on baby name sites. I’ve only included vocabulary names when I didn’t know the word existed before seeing it used as a personal name.
SEEN ON GIRLS
Athanasia: A Greek name meaning “immortal, deathless”. Saint Athanasia was an 8th century saint, and according to tradition, a star settled over her heart as a sign of her enlightenment.
Elif (eh-LEEF): A Turkish name based on Alif, the first letter of the Arabic alphabet. Because the letter is just a thin stroke of the pen, the name has connotations of slenderness and is sometimes translated that way. Due to folk etymology, it can also be understood as “demure, coy”.
Jinty: A Scottish pet form of Janet.
I have found a catalogue of old birth certificates of Romani (once referred to as Gypsy) children with their parent’s names. My understanding is that all of these records are from England with births throughout the 1800’s and early 1900’s. So many of the names are what I would expect from that place and time: Kate, Henry, Oliver, Matthew, Eliza, Sarah, James, Benjamin, Annie, Mary, Charlotte, Robert, Thomas…you get the idea. But here, I’m paying special attention to the glittery bits. There are some here that I can genuinely say that you’ve probably never seen before.
The only rule of baby naming in 2013?
From reliable classics to nouveau inventions to family heirlooms, the range of possibilities is truly infinite.
So it is no surprise that the baby name news ran the gamut this week. On the one side are Dutch royals and a supermodel’s three sons with regal names. On the other? We have a few nouveau inventions and discoveries that could work nicely for a twenty-first century child.
All of this leads to my favorite piece of baby naming advice from the blogosphere this week: don’t whittle down your short list, discarding names for one reason or another. Narrow your list UP, until you find the one that you truly adore.