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March 26, 2017 12:29 AM

I ran across the nickname Jink recently...I can't recall where, probably a book, but a quick Google search suggests there isn't any common, dominant association. (There's some very minor Marvel character, but I don't think that's where I heard it.)

March 25, 2017 09:41 PM
In Response to Third Boy?

Alba is either derived from a Latin word for "bright, white" or a Germanic word for "elf", so it seems very Christmas-themed to me.

March 25, 2017 02:10 PM
In Response to Third Boy?

If you do go for Sam, it could be partly in honor of Sam the Snowman, who narrates Rudolph :).

You could use Ben or Tim from A Christmas Carol, maybe a character from Charlie Brown—Linus? Jim and Ted are the heroes in Holiday Inn. Or could I interest you in Phil? Groundhog Day is about my favorite Christmas movie, even though it's not, iykwim. And the are a bunch of cool names that can be nicknamed to (or from) Phil: Philip, of course, plus Phileas, Philemon, Theophilus, etc.

March 24, 2017 03:05 PM

Also, the etymology of Fiona is a little murky; the author cited in Behind the Name did not use the word as a given name for a woman, but rather as a term for the "heroes of Fion Mac Comnal", AKA Finn MacCool. This suggests that it actually was a variation on the Fianna, which (if Wikipedia is to be believed) were something like Robin Hood's Merry Men, and heroes in Irish mythology. They had three mottos: Purity of our hearts, Strength of our limbs, and Action to match our speech. Its derivation is also different from Fionn: fíann was probably from an old Celtic word meaning "hero". All of this seems like a pretty cool "meaning"/association for the name, and I would be totally comfortable saying that Fiona "means" "roving hero" or similar.

March 24, 2017 02:44 PM

Could I interest you in Sophronia? It's unusual, has its own sort-of-cool Greek meaning ("self-controlled, sensible"), and lends itself to both Sophia/Sophie and Fiona as nicknames (along with the traditional Phronsie).

I actually think you could use Fiona as a nickname for Sophia, too, if you wanted to, though I think this is the kind of nickname that is hard to make "stick".

I quite like the idea of finding your own "meaning" for Fiona, too. Since it's a "coined" name, you could coin your own etymology for it, especially if you're up-front about it. "A Scottish poet came up with it first, and to us it's from the "-phi-" in my great-grandmother's name, Sophia, plus the Catalan word ona for "wave". So you're our little wisdom of the sea" (for example).

March 22, 2017 01:11 PM
In Response to Help with Name Remorse

Or, at the grimmer end of the spectrum, is it possible that this is an early sign of some mental changes?

Changes in personality, including the kind of thing you're describing, can be an early symptom of Alzheimer's and some other forms of dementia. If your FIL genuinely forgets that the name isn't Mikey, being called on it would be very likely to trigger a defensive and even aggressive response.

Of course, it could just be that he's generally a jerk, but if that hasn't manifested before this I would watch out for other possible symptoms.

March 22, 2017 09:13 AM

I tracked down the original study, and the authors state that they intentionally included hairstyles and such:

"because research has demonstrated that the external features (e.g., hairstyle) of unfamiliar faces are essential for recognition (Ellis, Shepherd, & Davis, 1979), we kept targets’ original hairstyles and focused on real faces with their everyday appearance (except in Study 6, where we isolated both the hairstyle and the facial features)."

They tried to control for ethnicity and age with their sample photographs, but I'm really not convinced that these are the only factors that come "before" naming rather than after. Just to take an extreme example, if men named Whisper are less likely to have a stereotypically "masculine" appearance than boys named Nitro, it seems less likely to me to be because each is trying to "look like his name" than because of the kinds of values their parents had, which manifest themselves in their children both socially (the kinds of hairstyles and activities they favor) and perhaps even genetically (if the mothers are selecting both names and mates based on how well they fit a particular image, those traits may be passed on to their sons).

I would love to have someone who is familiar with the Israeli or French naming landscape to take a look at the name results--some names were apparently much easier to match to the correct individuals than others (e.g. Netanel vs Ofri), but I don't know enough about the names themselves to guess what might be different about them.

March 22, 2017 08:47 AM

Can you tell us some names that you have considered, and what you liked (or didn't) about them?

March 21, 2017 11:30 PM

I would probably start out by dropping both Sophia and Mariah for breaking two of your rules each, and for each really breaking one of those. Sophia isn't just a modern, popularity-isn't-what-it-used-to-be, locally popular name; it's a multi-country world mega-hit. Especially in the context of your other kids' names, I don't think you'd be totally satisfied with this choice. And Mariah doesn't just share an initial with a sibling, it actually sounds very similar to her sister's name as a whole—and combined with the similarity to her own middle name, it almost breaks the rule twice. (If at this point you have gotten extremely prickly and defensive on behalf of one of these two names, that might be your answer.)

At this point, I think you could comfortably "break" any of the first three rules.

1. I suspect Abigail really isn't a name that you're going to meet coming and going.

2. I agree with HNG that parent names don't count for initial-matching (and a cross-sex namesake for a youngest child seems particularly sweet). And

3. I think name "meanings" should include at the very top what the name means to the parents—that might be something like "classic, unfussy but fun to say, and representative of our interests as a couple"—and really be more meaningful than a name that somewhere in the mists of time was related to the word for [cool word here].

Rule 4 is much harder, especially if there's a name in one of the other categories that you do both love. I wouldn't necessarily toss either of these yet, but go ahead and put them on the back burner. Maybe one of you will come around to the less-loved name in the next little bit, or maybe when she's born she'll just "look like" one of these (or maybe you'll come up with a variant you both love). If so, great; if not, i think you can safely pick from elsewhere on your list without regret.

Bottom line, I would focus on Abigail, Charis, and Fiona for now. But if one of the names discarded from this group is just begging to come back onto the list, take that as your subconscious telling you that it might be the name you really want.

March 21, 2017 01:19 PM

I agree, it is an interesting topic. We've discussed it here before, but not for a while. I think in some senses the "ideal" is having a first-last that is generic enough that you aren't haunted by a single other reference (or your own online youthful indiscretion), but with a middle name or names sufficiently "unique" to quickly extricate you from any legal identity confusion.

March 20, 2017 09:40 AM
In Response to Help with Name Remorse

Is there a specific name on your list that you are regretting, or is it just that you aren't comfortable with Nicholas yet and anything seems better?

If it's the former, and you really feel that a different name is *him*, then you may want to investigate the ins-and-outs of actually changing his name (it's not as hard as it seems, and some people who have come to this board have done it). After you figure out the logistics, you and your husband can decide if the hassle would be worth it to you.

If, though, there isn't a specific name that's calling to you and it's more that you just haven't fully gotten comfortable with this name, then I do think this will get better with time.

For nicknames, I think Cole is a great suggestion of an intuitive name with a very different feel. If you want a "compromise" nickname for Grandpa, Nike (rhymes with Mikey) is really cute, and may be appropriate if he ends up very fleet-footed in the future (Nike was a Greek goddess, but I don't think that should present a problem in today's world). 

March 17, 2017 10:31 AM
In Response to Help With A Boy Name

If you're already sometimes calling him Lɛvi and he responds to that and his original name, I think using Lɛvi as a nickname rather than a full legal change to some third name makes a lot of sense. You can introduce him as Lɛvi, let his school know he can be called Lɛvi, etc. but he'll still have the option of his longer name when he's older. He can also be Vɑlɛntin sometimes, like at home or with grandparents or when travelling to places where it's more familiar. If the occasional confusion continues to bother him as he grows up, it can still be changed legally at any time.

FWIW, both my first and last names were regularly misspelled and mispronounced when I was growing up. My first name had two common pronunciations (mine is more common) and multiple spellings (mine is most common of the variants, but much less common than the "main" spelling). My last name is a four-syllable Asian name that was regularly butchered, most often when people wanted it to be Polish and changed -shi to -ski. It was annoying sometimes, but mostly a point of conversation, not traumatic or anything.

March 16, 2017 12:40 PM

Some specific questions:

How do you pronounce Seve? Is it like the name Steve without the -t- (rhymes with leave)? Or is it Sehv or maybe two syllables...?

How is Erendiz pronounced? That might be my favorite on your list. I'm imagining it as something like air-un-deez.

For the names with more than one syllable, is there any rule for where to put the stress? For example, I'm imagining Yedeger as YEH-deh-GRR, with primary stress on the first syllable and secondary stress on the that close?

Do these get used very often for naming people in Turkish-speaking families, or would they be more unexpected? Would they have connotations of being nature-y or spiritual or something else?

Thanks for sharing these--I love to learn more about names that aren't easily available in regular US sources!

March 16, 2017 10:56 AM

I like almost all of these. I especially like the crisp "mouth feel" of a lot of them.

They slightly confound some western name-gender assumptions, I think--that is, a lot of the boy names end in -a or are multi-syllabic, where I think those would be more characteristic of girl names in most European US/UK naming traditions. Tanha, for example, I could easily see appealing to modern US parents as a girl name, whereas something like Tilek or Masak might lean more boy.

Are there any general pronunciation rules that might not be obvious to an English-speaker for Turkish names? I'm curious whether my guess as to pronunciation are anywhere near correct!

March 16, 2017 10:40 AM

I had the same thought as Karyn: what a very lovely, very Irish name she will have! Both are lovely and classic, so you can't go wrong.

You could always try flipping a coin, and see how you feel about the result: if it comes up tails and you go "Whee!" then the tails name is the right choice; on the other hand, if it comes up tails and you get a sinking feeling in your gut then the heads name is probably the right choice. Or take both names to the hospital and see if she looks more like a Molly or a Katherine (or Kate or Rina or Mollikat etc.).

I also agree with HNG's point about popularity. The very classicness of these combos means that there are already quite a few out there. Have you googled them to make sure you don't mind any connotations? The Katherine Sullivans (and Katherine O'Sullivans) are a pretty good mix of normal-looking women. Molly O'Sullivan is apparently a minor Doctor Who character, and lots of other folks. And results for Molly Sullivan are dominated by a pretty sportscaster and a stripper/model (or maybe that's the sportscaster with a dye job, I'm not entirely sure but they both have a lot of teeth). In any case, I think a more unusual middle name, or a second middle name, might be helpful for future disambiguation with whatever first name you choose.

March 16, 2017 09:18 AM
In Response to Help With A Boy Name

Jinx, almost! :)

March 16, 2017 09:18 AM
In Response to Help With A Boy Name

Sigh. It's been doing that a lot lately. If you send us an email at bnwmod at gmail dot com with the text of your message one of us can copy and paste it into the thread for you. Or you can try posting again, avoiding the letter combination "etc" (one common trigger we've identified). I'm sorry about the inconvenience!

March 15, 2017 03:04 PM

Perhaps the Maura-variant Moira? It feels even more Celtic to me for some reason.

I'll also suggest Lorna. This was a coined literary name for an English character, but to the extent that it may have been based on Lorne it has Scottish roots. Also, it has the built-in personalized treat Lorna Doone cookies, which apparently also have Scottish roots :).

March 15, 2017 01:43 PM

I agree with a lot of what's already been said, so I'll just note some highlights.

First, I agree, don't worry about the middle names unless there's a strong plot or character reason to share it with readers. If they're "just for you" and back-story, then you really don't need to worry about things like flow. I would even go so far as to say don't waste a favorite name in the middle slot, unless you're comfortable reusing middles for later characters' firsts.

That said, I would not want to read a book with a character named Lucia in it unless the correct pronunciation was given very early on, preferably with a mnemonic. I HATE reading books with character names that I can't even say in my head, and Lucia has at least four "standard" pronunciations that I am aware of so it would be itching my brain the whole time.

I think Severus would be OK if he mostly goes by Sev or Sevvy, and it's mentioned somewhere along the way that his parents were HP fanatics who named him after their favorite character or what-have-you. That said, keep in mind that it is very unlikely that Snape would have been anyone's favorite character until the last book came out in 2007, and it's really only folks who grew up with the series who are likely to be passionate enough to name a child after him, so I would expect this character to be no more than ten years old at the absolute oldest, and probably more like negative two or three (in other words, the child of people who were about ten years old about ten years ago). Severin would be a less-loaded option with similar feel and nicknames.

I think all of your other names are fine. I don't associate Arcturus with HP at all (it's purely astronomical for me). The more unusual names (Arcturus, Penrose, Pandora) are easy to parse and remember, even if they're unfamiliar, and their distinctiveness from other names on the list and each other is a bonus in terms of keeping the dramatis personae straight. Penrose or Pandora do share an initial (almost the whole first syllable) and if you're concerned at all about people getting them mixed up more as a result perhaps you could consider Penrose and Andora or some other mythological character. But the different lengths and very different styles mitigate that, so it's a very minor quibble.

Other minor quibbles: If you're going to keep PenROSE, maybe not both Daisy and Lily unless they're all three part of the same "bouquet" family.

Same thing with Arcturus and Pandora: two Classical Greek names in a group of friends is a little surprising, unless their parents are all Classicists or something. Would make a good (fictional) sib-set, though.

March 15, 2017 01:20 PM

Have you considered Rosalaine? I'll second that suggestion. I don't think it's very common, but it's the kind of name that feels like it ought to be a traditional name, and if it isn't has probably been independently "coined" many times over the centuries.

Also, if you're at all open to having the third syllable be the -e, then maybe the French name Ghislaine. The -laine part is pronounced something like layna. The Ghis- part rhymes with this, with that delicious French G like in Zsa-Zsa (or, more mundanely, the second G in "garage"). The nickname Gigi would be adorable, too (especially the way Louis Jordan said it!). Hear Ghislaine pronounced by real French people: