Spanish girl's name help
You know, I came here to ask this question 8 months ago, and then I got caught up in the name games and completely forgot about it until now!
Anyway, I’m writing a comedic book about the exploits of a group of American college students and I still don’t have a name for the Spanish exchange student among them. It’s set in the present and she’s 18, i.e. born in ’98-’99. She’s from Spain, not Latin America. I’m looking for a name that’s…
A) Not stereotypically Spanish (eg. Maria, Lucia, Elena, Gabriella) I’m doing my best to make sure she’s more than just the token foreign exchange student so I don’t want to give her a “token Latina” sounding name. You know how in kids’ shows how there’s always a token version of every conceivable race, and the token black kid has a stereotypically black name (Andre, DeShawn, Keisha, Monique), the token Asian usually has a two part name (Mei Lee or something to that effect), the token white kids have generic names, the boys something like Chris or Andy and the girls Jen or Jess or Amy, and the token Hispanic something like Pablo, Angel, Jose, Julio, Maria, Elena, or Gabriella? I’m really trying to avoid the stereotypes.
B) But at the same time, not something that sounds like it could just as easily be the names of one of her American colleagues (Julia, Emma, Sara).
C) She’s a very down to earth character, so I don’t want to give her a name that’s too frilly or sensual (eg. Valentina, Alejandra, Rosalina, Adriana)
It’s also worth noting that the work is going to be a written work, so I’m also trying to avoid names that aren’t intuitive for English speakers (eg. Julia as “Hulia” or Eva with a short e).
Now, I’m incredibly grateful for the top names in Spain list, but remember my character was born almost two decades ago. I don’t know how many of these names were as popular or at all in the late ‘90’s. I also really want to make sure that the name I choose is popular in *Spain*, not *Latin America*. I really don’t want to pick a name that’s *Spanish* but only used in the Americas. A couple of names I’ve picked out:
Martina/Marta: Looking through the top Spanish girls’ names list, Martina immediately stood out as an ideal name: Spanish but not stereotypically so, and not too frilly. However, I have a few worries. A) I worry this might be a name that’s really popular now but was almost completely unheard of 20 years ago, like Ava or Harper in the States. Was Martina in popular enough use in the late ‘90’s? B) I worry Martina reads too Scandinavian/Eastern European. I know it’s popular all over Europe, but I’m worried it doesn’t seem Spanish enough (I’m looking for a nice balance), and C) my biggest worry is that there’s a lot of other characters in the work whose names start with M – in her close group of friends there’s also a Macy, a Madison, and a Monica, and in a more supporting role a Mason. Would a Martina in there be an M overload? Marta I also really like, but I have the same worries about it.
Luz: The Spanish word for light and an occasional female name, I really like Luz. It’s pretty without being too fancy, and it has a connection to one of my all-time favorite movies, Giant. But my worry is, especially since Giant is set in Texas, that Luz is too Mexican/Latin American. Is it used at all in Spain? Could Lucia nicknamed Luz work? Also, her best friend is named Layla, do you think Luz & Layla are a little too similar?
Paulina: I noticed Paula was pretty popular in Spain, but I’ve always been more partial to Paulina. Is Paulina used in Spain?
Paloma: Another name I’m worried sounds too Latin American, but I really love Paloma.
Sofia: I like it but I worry that A) it’s a little too in the company of Maria and Elena as being stereotypically Spanish and B) she’s a little too old for the Sophia boom of the last fifteen-ish years.
I also really like Raquel, but I already have a Rachel in the story so I can’t use it.
Any other suggestions? Thanks so much and sorry this was so long! Also sorry if this comes out in a weird font but it's storming here and I didn't want to lose my progess in an unexpected power outage so I wrote this on a Word doc!
Sat, 07/22/2017 - 9:33pm