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
February 20, 2017 09:34 PM

I wouldn't worry about it. I knew that I remembered the name from somewhere, looked it up, and there was the story. I doubt that it comes to many people's minds. But when your daughter is old enough to google her name, there it will be.

February 20, 2017 09:27 PM

According to the article, it has something to do with the divine nature of the newly born who still have ties to sacred spirits, but beyond that the article didn't delve too deeply into the whole of their religious beliefs.

February 20, 2017 07:38 PM

Not that it matters, but there is Rielle Hunter, whose affair (and baby) with Vice-Presidential nominee John Edwards drove him out of politics. So not unique....

February 20, 2017 04:58 PM

I have known several families that used only initials, not attached to any names, e.g. J. T., R. B., and so on.

February 20, 2017 12:35 PM

First of all, Hebrew does not have a letter "lod"--perhaps you are thinking of of the "yod." Second Kabbalah is not for amateurs. The study of Kabbalah is traditionally restricted to men over forty who have mastered the Gemara, and that's not me or you or Ms. Portman for that matter. A new-age charlatan (I think his name is Berman) ginned up some mumbo-jumbo to separate the likes of Madonna from their money and called the mumbo-jumbo Kabbalah which it isn't. Now, of course, who knows where Ms. Portman gets her kabbalistic information, from the teaching of the charlatan or from a genuine Kabbalist. In any case, anything online about Kabbalah should not be taken seriously, just like most of what is online about names is nonsense.

February 19, 2017 06:43 AM

Maggie May, well, if you are a fan of Rod Stewart.....

February 17, 2017 12:30 PM

For those who don't know, Hebrew letters also have numerical values, and gematria is a kabbalistic way of interpreting the Hebrew scriptures by adding up the numerical values that adhere to the letters of the various words.  From the perspective of gematria, the numerical value of aleph is one, and my guess is that Aleph's parents were thinking of the mystical kabbalistic associations of one when they chose the name: one=first, origin, unity, and so forth.

My grandfather, who died just before I was born, was a kabbalist (the real kind, not the Madonna charlatan kind), and about the only legacy he left behind was a kind of poorly understood mystical superstitious mumbo-jumbo that permeated my mother's world view.

February 16, 2017 12:37 PM

Karyn, I was named after my grandfather who was far from beloved. In fact, I never heard a single good word about him, but lots of bad ones. However, he died a few months before I was born, and my mother felt bound by tradition and superstition to give me a form of his name. I always felt some of her hostility to him rubbed off on me.

February 15, 2017 11:22 PM

Well, fe with an acute accent is Spanish and Portuguese for faith, and Fay, Faye, Fae are all pronounced the same as fe, but are all derived from the same root as fairy. So is that what you are talking about? Two names with the same pronunciation but entirely different origins, so that Faye could stand in for the virtue name Faith by way of Fe?

February 15, 2017 01:16 PM

Given that in general there is no end to celebrity ingenuity in naming children and given that Ms. Portman is smarter than the average bear, I'm sure she/they will come up with something.

For example, they could pivot from alpha to numeric and name the kid Infinity, which is pretty much second to nothing.

February 15, 2017 12:11 PM

Like Alpha's sibling Omega?

February 15, 2017 11:52 AM


February 12, 2017 11:27 PM

It is acceptable for more than one family member to be named for the same deceased relative. It is, for example, very common for first cousins to be named for a shared grandparent. In fact, my son and my grandson are both named for my father. BTW naming after the deceased is an Ashkenazic custom. Sephardim name after the living.

February 8, 2017 06:28 PM

Now that the filter let through.

February 8, 2017 06:27 PM

I promise not to post any ads for the enhancement of the male member.....

February 8, 2017 05:47 PM

This is a name site, and if posters cannot post messages that are nothing more than a list of perfectly ordinary names, then imo that's a problem that needs attention.

February 8, 2017 12:44 PM

As far as I can find all Russian feminine names have -a endings; the only exception I know of is Lyubov.  All Latin feminine names end in -a, as do several masculine names (e.g., Agrippa, Caligula, Aquila, Nerva, Seneca).  I don't see a problem if sisters all have -a names.

February 8, 2017 12:36 PM

The first version that was rejected had commas, not slashes, so that's not it.  I tried several versions with minor tweaks, and all were snared.  Frankly I can't imagine a more innocuous post in all its several versions.

February 8, 2017 08:46 AM

BTW the above got stuck in the spam filter.  It's beyond me why.

February 8, 2017 07:59 AM

Noa and Noah are two different names, and Noa is a feminine name.