Monday, August 8, 2016

Island Names - Africa

Hello, readers!

Due to circumstances outside of my control, I haven't been able to write as much as I'd like to. To remedy this, I'm starting a series of posts to jump-start my blog again! I'll be looking at names based on islands around the world, separated by continent. This isn't meant to be a complete list of options; more of an inspirational start!

As summer comes to an end, vacations we enjoyed (or wished we had) are on many of our minds. The classic dream is the island vacation - but, since islands around the world exist in all sorts of climates, there's not really one kind of getaway attached to the concept. A trip to the Isle of Skye is a bit different than a trip to Oahu. Today's post will look at islands around the coast of Africa, with other continents to follow.

Félicité, by Jmhullot - Own work, CC BY 3.0,

Let's begin!

Félicité - Republic of Seychelles
This lovely French name meaning "happiness" has an English version in the US top 1000 - Felicity. This foreign variation is très mignonne, and if you can get past the pronunciation confusion, it's a very pretty choice. Felicia and Flicka are other variants heard in the English-speaking world.

Marianne - Republic of Seychelles
Another classic French name, but this one works far better cross-culturally. Marianne is also the personification of France (where the island got its name), and adorns a main character in Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility. It fits in with similarly-styled Vivienne and Adrienne.

Thérèse - Republic of Seychelles
Thérèse got a bit of Oscar press recently, as it was featured as the name of a main character in Carol. But Thérèse has yet to make a comeback in the United States. It ranked on the top 100 from 1880 to 1984, surpassed by Theresa and Tessa today. Still, Thérèse is an elegant, mature option for a name that will grow with your baby through her lifetime.

Picard - Republic of Seychelles
A pop culture pick - Picard is well-known as the captain's last name on Star Trek: The Next Generation (played by Patrick Stewart). While I haven't been able to find information on the reason for this island bearing the name, some light research indicates that Picard translates originally to "pike-bearer" in French. This is definitely a nerdy choice, but a sweet one at that.

Florentin - Republic of Seychelles
An alternative to medieval Florian and a unique way to access nicknames Finn or Flynn, Florentin is a fabulous uncommon pick. It provides a more masculine way to honor a Flora or Florence, but keeps the flowery origins at bay. It can be pronounced Flo-ren-TIN or Flo-ren-TAHN.

Rémire - Republic of Seychelles
Another name with a short historical record, I'm including Rémire for its ability to fit in stylistically with other boy's names: Amir, Remy, and Ramiro, for example. It translates to "to look again" in Spanish - an intriguing meaning, in my view. The island itself was named after an English ship that passed it by in 1771.

Etoile - Republic of Seychelles
An island in the same group as Rémire, Etoile was named after a French ship that was part of Bougainville's circumnavigation of the globe in the eighteenth century. Etoile also translates to "star" in French, and could be an ornate alternative to Estrella or Stella. It is pronounced Ay-TWAH.

Providence - Republic of Seychelles
A Puritan name among French and Spanish classics - depending on the pronunciation, of course! It refers to the idea of "divine direction", or God's foresight on individual lives. With Constance, Patience, and Prudence in intermittent use, Providence might fit in well as an unexpected first or middle.

Brava - Republic of Cape Verde
Meaning "brave" in Esperanto, Brava could be worn well by a confident little girl. It's upbeat, adventurous, and encouraging - not bad associations to have! Brava may get a bit of "brava, bravissima" teasing, but a perpetual adoring audience is not necessarily a drawback.

Santiago - Republic of Cape Verde
The most popular name on this list, Santiago currently ranks at #127 on the US top 1000 for boys. It's a literary favorite, from Hemingway to Rice, and works well in many languages. The literal translation is "Saint James", which could offer honorific options. International variations include rare names like Yago, Tiago, and Xanti.

Tell me your favorites in the comments!

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