About Me

Per EVie's suggestion: Here is some information about me: Since personal names currently in use are derived from a multitude of languages and sources, no one can be an expert in all of them. My PhD is in Old and Middle English and Old Icelandic, and I also have had formal training in almost all the Germanic languages (Old and Middle High German, Old Saxon, Gothic, Old Low Franconian, Middle Dutch, Yiddish, Modern German, and Netherlandic/Flemish). In addition I learned Hebrew, Latin, and French before I left high school. Cobbling together my French and Latin, I know something about some of the other Romance languages (including Old French, Anglo-Norman, and Occitan), but I am no expert in Romance philology, although I have had formal training in Germanic philology. So that gives me a better than average background in many of the languages from which our current namestock is derived. However, what I know about Greek and Greek-derived , Balto-Slavic and Celtic names comes from my general knowledge of Indo-European philology, and my general knowledge of Indo-European philology does not really cover names from Sanskrit and other Indian languages and Persian. Knowing Hebrew gives me a bit of insight into cognate Arabic names, but I know nothing about Finno-Ugaric (happily we have our Hungarian sisters for that), Chinese, Japanese, the many indigenous languages of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas.

My Favorite Names

No favorite names yet.

My Recent Blog Comments
August 29, 2016 01:51 PM

The ah represents the broad a as in father, and the aw as in law.  We really do need our own mini-forvo, since the IPA isn't accessible to everyone.

August 29, 2016 10:58 AM

Ah and aw alternate all down the East Coast and around the Gulf Coast.  I can pretty much place people's homes by which sound they use in which words.  Famously in NYC it's chawc'lit, whereas where I come from in SE PA it's chahc'lit (chocolate).  But I have cawst and Bawston for cost and Boston. I have sawsage and cawffee, but fifty miles away in the Philly suburbs it's sahsage and cahffee (coffee). In New Orleans it's Jawn for John, gawd for god, and dawlin for darling.  I distinguish between Dawn and Don (Dahn).

August 27, 2016 02:58 PM
In Response to Baby name for 3rd boy!

There is the Nordic name Reidar...

August 27, 2016 02:54 PM
In Response to Unexpected name.

I just readone of those clickbait articles, something like Victorian names that should be resurrected.  On ename so recommended happened to be Ottilie, characterized as a good variant for Natalie.  Um, just no.

August 27, 2016 12:54 PM

My daughter-in-law has an older brother named Zeno.  He must like it very much because there are a Zeno, jr., and a Zeno III.  Even more fun, Zeno rhymes with their surname....

August 27, 2016 12:52 PM

The only Wilder I know is female--it's a surname from her family tree.

August 24, 2016 05:10 PM
In Response to Pete's Dragon

I am very interested to see how our Elliott reacts to this film.  I am sure he will see it if he hasn't already--he goes to every age-appropriate movie and live performance that comes to town, and lots of them come to Las Vegas.  Las Vegas entertanment  isn't all faded pop stars and naked dancing girls; there are family- and kid-oriented shows as well.  And I must say that our Elliott's performance decorum is usually excellent.

August 23, 2016 12:11 PM
In Response to Need feedback please

Odell Beckham, jr., is a star pro football player in the US, and he pronounces it Oh-dell.  Guglielmina is the Italian version of Wilhelmina.

August 22, 2016 03:06 PM
In Response to Sibling dilemma

Queen Isabella the Catholic (Isabel la Catolica) of Castile was just as "royal" if not more so than Princess Charlotte.  Surely the schools still teach about Isabella and Columbus in the early classes of American history.

August 22, 2016 12:28 PM
In Response to Sibling dilemma

Obviously you can name your child whatever you and your husband wish,  If by "swinging it," you mean that other people would see Charlotte as an honor name for a Richard, I would say no.  Charlotte is a form of Karl, nothing to do with Richard.  But if you and your family feel the similarity is sufficient, then who is to gainsay you.  You can tell your daughter that her name honors Richard because both names have char in them (even though the ch is pronounced differently), and she will have no choice but to accept that.

Charlotte Isabel is a lovely and fashionable name and will serve your daughter well for a lifetime.  In my personal estimation it falls short as an honor name for Richard, and Isabel is still a repeat of her sister's name.  But that's just my personal opinion.  If Charlotte fulfills your preference for an honor name for Richard and if you think that sharing the same name in different forms makes for a nice subtle bond between sisters, then the name itself is beyond reproach.

August 21, 2016 06:45 PM
In Response to Colder Names!

Aurora for the aurora borealis?

August 21, 2016 10:43 AM
In Response to Sibling dilemma

Another relevant medieval variant is Richildis/Richilde.


An offbeat choice that would fit your pattern is Salome (Sally) Hope.  There are two biblical Salomes, the famously bad one with the head of John the Baptist, and the not-quite-so-famous good one, mother of James and John and witness to both the crucifixion and resurrection.

Other possibles: Deborah, Jemima (if in the US, there is the stereotype issue which may be less relevant than it once was), Leah, Lydia, Martha, Magdalena/Madeleine, Naomi, Noa, Ruth, Susanna (or another of its several forms), Rachel, Rebecca, Sarah, Tamar.  Hannah Hope does alliterate which some people like and some people don't.  And I can also suggest...Miriam, which does indeed have several cute nicknames.

August 18, 2016 01:39 PM
In Response to Sibling dilemma

Beatrice/Beatrix, Blanche/Bianca, Barbara, Bridget, Bryony, Berenice, Bernadine, Beverly, Blythe, Bronwen, Bonnie/Bonita (connected by root meaning to Belle/Bella), Brianna, Brenda, Brielle

To go with Elizabeth, I would pick Beatrice.

Letitia (Elizabeth I had a cousin Lettice, so that would go), Larissa, Laurel, Lydia, Lavinia, Lenore/Lenora, Lorraine, Leona, Leonie, Lily/Lillian/Liliana, Lucy/Lucia/Lucille/Lucinda, Linnea. Lynette, Louise/Louisa

To go with Elizabeth I would pick Letitia or Lettice.


August 18, 2016 11:25 AM
In Response to Sibling dilemma

Elizabeth and Isabel are the same name (like James and Jacob or Miriam and Mary), so I would say they are all too good a match.  If it were me, I would look elsewhere.  Something like Annabel or Arabella might work for your situation.

August 17, 2016 10:48 AM

Out of curiosity, I googled Eamon and got a couple of rapper hits, but mostly page after page of normal, respectable people in a wide variety of walks of life.  My results were (happily) not vulgar-centric.  Of course, being in my 70s I don;t spend a lot of time googling rappers....

August 17, 2016 12:49 AM

Never mind this vulgar personage who is surely going to vanish from public view very quickly.  Think of Eamon de Valera who was a key figure in the struggle for Irish independence and a major political leader after Ireland became independent, always on the list of the most important people in Irish history.  Or Eamonn Coghlan who won multiple Olympic medals in track and went on to serve in the Irish parliament.

Frankly I am surprised Eamon de Valera did not come up in your search.  Just goes to show the interests of many Google searchers....

August 15, 2016 11:31 AM

To my ears there is also what sounds like a glide stuck in there after the n, and I had trouble with the zh and the n glide so close together.  BTW the forvo pronunciations are somewhat different from Katie's own pronunciation.  She was from Poznan, and there would certainly be regional differences.  Her surname began with Szcz, and I had trouble with that too.  It's like the shch in Krushchev, but in initial position I had no end of difficulty.  I ended up sounding like a twittering bird.

August 15, 2016 10:00 AM

Just a note: Viking is not an ethnicity; it's a job title.  Vikings were men who spent their summers out in their longboats raping and pillaging from Constantinople to northern Canada.  Their fellow Norwegians, Swedes, Danes, and Icelanders who spent their summers at home farming were not Vikings.  If you want a middle name that might have been born by a Viking (and by his brother who stayed home on the farm), I recommend checking out the list of permissible Icelandic names.  Viking Age Iceland had some people of Irish descent and that resulted in some Icelandic names of Irish origin like Kormak (Cormac) and Njal (Niall/Neil).  Kieran Cormac might be a bit much, but Kieran Niall would work.

August 15, 2016 09:47 AM

My son's college girlfriend was born in Poland and named Katarzyna.  I had the devil's own time pronouncing it.  Happily she went by Katie which I could handle.  Hint: the z is not like the z in zipper.