Thursday, December 21, 2017

Names from William Blake

Hello, readers!

While researching the name Albion, I came across this interesting set of names from the mythology of William Blake. This eighteenth-century English writer wrote a series of books advocating for his own political and spiritual ideals through the exploration of invented gods and goddesses. While this series sounds a bit too complex for me, the names themselves are fascinating!

According to Wikipedia, many of these names were taken from writings of Geoffrey of Monmouth and John Milton, as well as individuals involved in Blake's 1803 sedition trial. (I wonder if his books included as disclaimer to avoid further legal action?) While I won't delve into the mythology, here are some of the character names!

The Four Zoas and their Emanations:

Tharmas (m) - The name sounds like a combination of Arthur and Thomas, but seems too clinical to have real potential for a modern name. 

Enion (f) - Only one letter off from "onion," so I'm going to pass on reviving this. 

Urthona (m) - Though this character is supposed to represent inspiration, I'm not quite convinced by Urthona...

Enitharmon (f) - Just complex and creative enough to pique my interest. Perhaps Ennis or Enid would be a bit easier to wear daily?

Luvah (m) - The name was supposedly chosen because of its aural similarities to "lover," but Luvah feels a bit excessive. Levi or Love, on the other hand, are fantastic!

Vala (f) - While this name has been recorded regularly since 1921, Vala seems unfinished. I'd recommend alternatives like Vera, Calla, or Valerie

Urizen (m) - Definitely not my favorite. Horizon, on the other hand, feels like an excellent modern choice. 

Ahania (f) - Euphonic names are big right now, and Ahania might fit right in. Somewhere between Hannah, Alana, and Anya?

Sons of Albion:

Hand - Nope. 

Hyle - I suppose if Lyle and Kyle can manage, Hyle's not too different. It was recorded for boys once in 1919. 

Coban - Hello, bell-tone boy's name! I'm genuinely surprised this name hasn't been recorded yet, being it sounds so similar to Colby, Cohen, and Robin

Guantok - This does sound like some Vietnamese or Thai names I've come across, but Guantok doesn't seem quite as accessible as other cross-cultural picks. 

Peachey - As a pet name, I wholeheartedly recommend Peachey, Peach, and Peaches!

Brereton - The extra syllable in the middle doesn't add much. Bretton or Brighton are lovely in and of themselves.

Slayd - This sounds like the name of a superhero! Slade has gotten some attention, but I don't think changing the spelling makes the name any cooler (Slade is inherently cool). 

Hutton - An uncommon surname choice, Hutton comes from Old English for "ridge settlement." With Sutton and Houston gaining fans, Hutton could work well on modern playgrounds. 

Scofield - Another surname pick, but not quite as friendly as Hutton

Kox - Being that this name's homophone could cause some issues, I'd go with Knox

Kotope - Sounds a bit like a scientific instrument. "Pass the kotope, Doctor Scofield!"

Bowen - The first name in this post to rank in the top 1000, Bowen is currently at #478 for boys. Handsome, Celtic in origin, with the cute nickname Bo - what's not to love?

Daughters of Albion:

Gwendolen - A fabulous Welsh name - whose spelling variant Gwendolyn currently ranks in the top 500 - with a ton of nickname possibilities, Gwendolen is positively gorgeous. 

Ragan - Maybe it's Germanic, maybe it's made up - Ragan (I'm reading it as "Ray-gahn") sounds like a spelling alternative for Reagan for parents who like the sound but aren't as fond of the president. 

Sabrina - Audrey Hepburn immediately comes to mind - a definite plus!

Gonorill - This looks a bit like Goneril, King Lear's eldest daughter. Can't say I love the name or the namesakes. 

Mehetabel - Ooooh, a rare and lovely Hebrew name (I'm writing this post while traveling Israel). While it's certainly different, it may be worth the work. And Bella works as a nickname!

Cordella - I can't decide if Cordelia is better, or if Cordella is an entirely new kind of name. Readers, what do you think?

Boadicea - I've come across this one in "name nerd" posts - beautiful rhythm, not really accessible. 

Gwiniverra - I'm a proponent of Gwenivere, but Gwiniverra takes Jennifer just a bit too far. 

Conwenna - It seems that this name was invented by Geoffrey of Monmouth. It almost feels like a feminization of a surname, which isn't something I've seen before. 

Estrild - Not even once. 

Gwinefrid - Oh boy. 

Ignoge - Again, nope. 

Cambel - A simplification of Campbell, perhaps? Pretty, simple, and sweet. 

Tell me your thoughts in the comments!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Names from My Travels - Part 2

Hello, readers!

If you didn't get a chance, here's the first part - Names from My Travels.

TLDR: I'm traveling Asia and collecting name stories!

Since my last update, my boyfriend Ethan and I have visited more of southern China (Chongqing and Chengdu), spent six weeks in Taiwan (Taipei, Hualien, Taitung, Kaohsiung, Taichung, Sun Moon Lake), scootered through Vietnam (Hanoi, Ninh Binh, Hue, Ho Chi Minh City), and are currently hanging out in Thailand (Bangkok, Ayutthaya, Chiang Mai). I've met some wonderful new friends along the way, and have asked a lot of people nosy questions about their names :)

Ethan and me scootering outside of Hanoi

I've tried to remove anything too personal - FB friends, let me know if I need to edit anything!

Not someone I actually met, but a few Belgian friends told me about the weirdest name they knew; apparently his parents couldn't pick between the two, so they created a compound name. I gotta say, Joe-Thibault is an unusual mix of styles!

Sibset: Camille (f), Justine (f), Auguste (m)
The lovely Camille was named for an associate of Auguste Rodin, one of her parents' favorite artists (hence her brother's name, Auguste). We had a great conversation about names later on (just saying, there's a lot of people out there who keep lists of their favorite names!)

Nadège (f)
The French form of a Slavic name meaning "hope" (from the same family as Nadia). I'm reminded of another French name, Edwige, and I can think of two currently popular names that end in -ge: Paige and Sage

Lannan (Eve)
A friendly Chinese woman told me her name means "very smart" in Mandarin (I couldn't find the right combination of name elements online). She picked her own English name, Eve

Sibset: Itai (m), Dror (m), Naama (f), Sivan (f), Shaked (f), Keshet (f)
When Sivan told me she was one of six children, I asked their names so fast I nearly choked. Her family is Israeli, and they chose each of their children's names based on the Torah reading for the week they were born. Itai is a name of one of King David's warriors, meaning "being." Dror means "freedom," chosen because he was born during Pesach (the Jewish holiday of Passover, celebrating the liberation of the Jews under the leadership of Moses). Naama is a fairly popular name in Israel, meaning "pleasant." Sivan was named for the third month of the Jewish calendar, which comes from a word meaning "season" or "time." Shaked means "almond," as she was born during Tu BiShvat, a Jewish holiday celebrating ecological awareness and the planting of trees. Keshet means "rainbow," referencing the story of Noah

Sibset: Talia (f), Alon (m), Shachar (m), Shani (f)
Another excellent Israeli family name group! Talia is a Hebrew name meaning "dew from heaven" (it's currently fairly popular in the US), Alon is a Hebrew name meaning "oak tree," Shachar is a Hebrew name meaning "dawn," and Shani is a Hebrew name meaning "red."

Special thanks to the incomparable Shachar and Sivan for answering my questions one after another! <3

The third Israeli interviewed on this list, Nathan was named for his grandfather. We talked a bit about "word names" being on the rise in the United States, when they're very popular in other countries already (see Sivan and Shachar's stories above!)

Sibset: Elena Georgina and Isabel Antonia
These gorgeous names reflect Elena's family's roots in Italy and in Puerto Rico. We also both noticed that the middles were feminizations of traditionally male names. 

The fabulous Sigrid was supposed to be named Julia, but her parents felt the choice didn't fit her. They chose her name in part because it sounds like "sie grinst," German for "she smiles."

Sibset: Jack, Grace, Samuel
Jack would have been Kate if he was a girl, but didn't know why his parents chose Jack

Couple: Una and Aga
This warm Taiwanese couple owned and managed a hostel in Hualien. Una is one of my favorite names, and I love how their names sound together. 

Sibset: Erica, Sara, Isaac, John
Erica told me that her parents chose "simple names" for her and her siblings because theirs were more complicated. I hear more about the reverse of that happening: choosing a "unique" name for one's child because one's own name is too popular. 

Arslan (m)
This is a form of Aslan (meaning "lion"), and comes from Arslan's home state of Bashkortostan, a republic in Russia. 

Huong (f)
This is a Vietnamese name meaning "perfume" - similar to Jasmine or Rose, perhaps?

While attending Quest Festival outside of Hanoi, I collected a lot of names, but few stories behind them: Aymen, Atlas, EdithLou and Loup, Jael, Mansour, Naadir, Muti, Trey, Pim, and a ton of Alex's!

Couple: Willi (f) and Willem (m)
This funny couple from Amsterdam had been together for decades, with the matching names Willi and Willem. Willem joked "If I had known her name, I would have walked away!"

Aladdin (m)
I met a real-life Aladdin, from Lyons, France!

Kurn (m)
When he told me he was Welsh, I asked his name, expecting an unusual Welsh choice. Instead, his parents chose a Hebrew name - Kurn, from Koren, meaning "shining" - to honor their Jewish heritage. 

So many names and stories! Thanks everyone for sharing theirs with me :)