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Category: Spanish baby names

Spanish Baby Names: New Trends

brown-haired-baby

In southern Spain recently, researching Spanish baby names, I came up against the fact that Spain is a widely varied country with different languages and cultures — and different names depending on ethnicity and region.

Rather than simply Spanish baby names, there are Catalonian baby names and Basque names, names more popular in Galicia and those favored in Navarre. And of course names popular in Spain may be different from those used most widely in other Spanish-speaking countries, such as Mexico or Brazil.

Spanish baby names that are stylish today and may be ready for import to the U.S. include:

girls

* Aitana
* Alba
* Amada
* Aniceta

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Cheery-O Names

O--teddy bear

From the time we wrote our very first name book, we’ve both been totally charmed by the unique verve and spirit of  names ending in the letter ‘o’.  And, over time, our love for them has only increased.  We’re glad to see that more and more people seem to be agreeing with us; lately there’s been an infusion of newly popular choices–and, surprisingly, this is beginning to be true for girls as well as boys.

Here are some of the currently coolest boys’  names, many of then reflecting the ever-growing globalization of baby names:

ALDO, ARLO & ARNO

BRUNO

COSMO & COSIMO

ENZO

HORATIO

HUGO

INDIO & INDIGO & INIGO

LASZLO

LEO

MATEO /MATTEO

MILO

ORLANDO

OTTO

RIO

ROCCO

ROMEO & VALENTINO — two choices previously considered uberly-romantic, now sudden celebrity faves

THEO

VIGGO

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photo by Sara Atkins

Latin culture is influencing everything in the United States, including baby names.  With the growing prominence of Latin stars and parents of all ethnic backgrounds more interested in using culturally significant names, Hispanic choices are moving up the popularity lists.

Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, Jessica Alba and Ricky Martin may be among the most famous Latin celebrities, but their names were inspired by the general culture and are hardly inspiring modern baby namers in search of an authentic Latin choice.  The Latin celebrities (and a few fictional characters) from the worlds of film, music, sports, and fashion whose names have proven influential in the U.S. include:

Female

AMERICA FERRARA

CAROLINA HERRERA

DAISY FUENTES

DORA the Explorer

EVA MENDES

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melisande

Let’s say you have a dilemma:  There’s someone dear to you who would make a great namesake, but who has a not-so-great name.

Or there’s a name you’ve always loved that has become a bit too popular over time.

One solution you might consider is finding a foreign variation of the name that adds a little pizzazz to it, while still retaining the family connection. No reason why Great-Aunt Florence can’t inspire a little Fiorella, or Grandpa Henry can’t bond with his relatedly-named Enrico.  (Granted, the idea might take a little getting used to on the part of the honoree.)

It doesn’t take much to change a conservative straight guy or  Plain Jane kind of name into a Latin lover or a French flirt. Sometimes it’s only a matter of adding one final vowel to give it that extra bit of exotic flair–say going from Leonard to Leonardo–or dropping a letter, as in making Flora into Flor; while others require some more elaborate  translating.  In any caseo Romance language cognates can definitely make a name more romantic, and the possible variations are almost endless..

Here, first, are some pairs with minimal differences, where the relationship between the two names is fairly obvious:

GIRLS

ADRIENNE  —  ADRIANA

ALEXIS —  ALESSIA

AMANDA —  AMANDINE

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Ryan Wong: Can You Mix Ethnicities?

Ryan is the Number One name in New York City — for Asian baby boys.  Kevin is a top choice among Asian parents too.

Ethnic names are getting more and more popular, and not only among people from “matching” ethnic backgrounds.  Irish choices like Ryan and Kevin — and Aidan/Aiden, Connor/Conor, Kennedy and Riley — have been favored by parents of all ethnic backgrounds for several years now.

Spanish names are gaining in popularity too.  Americans originally from Spanish-speaking countries are more likely now than they were in the past to choose names with a Spanish flavor, from such classics as Jose and Maria to Angel, Sofia, and Bianca.

The Latin trend has been influential in a more general way, with elaborate feminine forms such as Isabella, Gabriella, and Adrianna gathering steam, along with o-ending boys’ names such as Carlo and Mateo.

Parents whose French, Italian, Russian, or African forebears emigrated generations ago are now more than ever looking back to the old country as a source for names. Choosing something with ethnic significance is a way to infuse your child’s name with personal meaning and to help establish your child’s identity in the larger world.

Sometimes, a name may be a way to assert an ethnic strain that might otherwise not be visible. Because we used my husband’s Czech last name, for example, I wanted our first child’s name to be Irish, the strongest part of my background. We considered Bridget (my grandmother’s name), Siobhan, and Kerry before settling on Rory.

But what if you like French names in the same way you prefer French food and Parisian clothes: for their style value? If you’re attracted to the romance of Italian names like Chiara and Paolo, even though your family is a blend of Jewish and Caribbean, or if your last name is Wong but you, like hundreds of other Wongs, want to name your son Ryan?

Nothing wrong with that, we say. The world of names — thanks to online sources and parents’ adventurousness — is getting wider every day, and the process of choosing the perfect name for your baby is more interesting and more meaningful for it.

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