Tala

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This name is one of the ultimate cross-cultural names, it has various meanings and legitimate origins from Europe, to Asia and to the Middle East.

The name has been recorded in use in Northern Europe since Medieval Times, possibly being a contracted form of Adalheidis, its offshoots of Talea and Talina have experienced minor recent resurgence in Germany. Tala also been used in most Scandinavian countries, though today, it is considered very archaic.

Tala appears in a 14th-century Swedish folk ballad Herr Holger (which is the subject of a 1996 song by the Swedish band, Gamarna). The ballad recounts the exploits of a greedy tax official who steals tax money for himself. He is caught by King Christian and beheaded. He is condemned to hell, but is able to return to warn his wife, Fru Tala (Lady Tala). He pleads with Tala to return all the wealth she inherited from him, (which in turn was the result of his stolen money), to its rightful owner or else she will experience a similar fate. Tala refuses, as she would rather condemn herself to hell than give up her wealth.

Its Finnish and Estonian form is Taala and Taali, and a Scandinavian  masculine version is Tale.

Tala is also the name of a Tagalog goddess of the morning and evening star. In one legend, she is the daughter of the sun god Arao and the moon goddess, Buan. Arao and Buan had a large number of star-children, the eldest being Tala. Arao was afraid his heat would burn up his star-children, so he and Buan decided to destroy them, but Buan reneged on her promise and hid her children behind clouds. Arao got wind of Buan’s secret and, according to legend, continues to try and destroy her, which explains the phenomenon of eclipses. Each morning, Buan runs to hide her children behind the clouds, her eldest Tala being the lookout before dawn, being the personification of the morning star.

In another Tagalog legend, Tala is the daughter of the god Bathala. She is the sister of Hanan (the goddess of the morning) and Mayari, another moon goddess.

In Tagalog, tala means “star; planet; celestial body.”

Tala was recently a hit song by Filipina singer, Sarah Geronimo (2016).

In Indian classical music, Tala is the term used to describe musical meter and rhythm. It literally means “clapping; tapping.”

Tala can also be Arabic تالة (Tala) meaning “Turmeric tree; turmeric spice” or a “small potted palm.”

In Amazigh, one of the languages of the Berber people, Tala means “source; spring or fountain.”

Tala is also Farsi and means “gold.”

In Italy and Romania, Tala is used as a diminutive form of Natalia, a la Romanian actress, Tala Birell (1907-1958).

Tala is the name of a type of decidous tree native to tropical and subtropical South America. Its scientific name is celtis tala.

Other meanings include:

  • It is the Azeri word for “glade.”
  • tālā is the Samoan currency and is believed to be a phonetic corruption of the English word dollar.
  • In Polish, it is a feminine form of the Greek, Thales, though it is seldom used, it does appear on the nameday calendar.
  • In Pashtun, Təla/Tala means “weighing scale” and is the name of the seventh month of the Afghan Calendar, its meaning referring to the Zodiac sign of Libra.
  • It is the name of a minor Chadic language in Nigeria.

What the name is not:

Many baby name sources have dubiously listed this name as meaning “wolf” in “Native American,” (which is not a language by the way), while other sources have listed this as being Cherokee or Iroquois for “wolf hunter,” but there are no legitimate Cherokee or Iroquois sources collaborating this information. In fact, Native Languages of the Americas has written a fabulous list pertaining to faux Native American baby names and Tala made the list.

As a closing to this post, I recommend this blog post written by a mother explaining the reason why she chose this name for her daughter. It is from 2006, but still a wonderful read D-Log: The Many Meanings of Tala.

Sources

Alizée

Gender: Feminine
Origin: French
Meaning: “tradewind.”
Fre (ah-leey-ZAY)

The name is a feminine form of alizé, which is a French term used to describe the trade winds. The root of the word is derived from the Latin plural dative, alis, meaning, “a wing.”

Since 2009, she has jumped 23 spots coming in as the 205th most popular female name in France, (2010). Corsican pop-singer, Alizée Jacotey may have helped propel this name to popularity.

Though obscure before the 20th-century, the name has appeared before, she occurs in the U.S. and Canadian census records as early as the 1860s in Quebec, Canada and Louisiana.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Alisea (Corsican/Italian)
  • Alisia (Galician/Spanish)

It should be noted that Alizé is also the name of an alcoholic beverage.

Alizée may make a cool and subtle appellation for a November baby as the trade winds are strongest during this month.

Ilana

Origin: Hebrew אִילָנָה
Meaning: “tree”.
(ee-LAH-nah).

The name comes directly from the Hebrew word for tree. Another female form is Ilanit (ee-LAH-neet) אִילָנִית. She is borne by Israeli pop-singer, known simply as Ilanit (b.1947) her real name being Hanna Drezner-Tzakh.

As of 2010, Ilana was the 255th most popular female name in France. While in the Netherlands, she comes in as the 321st most popular female name, (2011).

The masculine form is Ilan.

Pinja

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Estonian/Finnish
Meaning: “pine.”

The name is derived from the Finnish word for a species of pine tree known as pinus pinea. This might be the perfect autumnal name. Its designate name-day is October 6.

As of 2011, Pinja was the 35th most popular female name in Finland.

Björk, Bjørk

Gender: feminine
Origin: Icelandic/Faroese
Meaning: “birch, birch tree.”
(BYERK) Pronunciation can be heard here: http://www.forvo.com/word/björk/

Indie rock star, Björk Guðmundsdóttir (b.1965), made this one a household name, though it is now a recognized name outside of Iceland, it will probably always be associated with the singer to non-Icelanders.

Björk is the Icelandic word for birch tree, when spelled Bjørk, it has the same meaning in both Faroese and Norwegian. It is interesting to note that björk is the modern Swedish word for birch tree, though neither nouns are used as a given names in Swedish or Norwegian. However, it is a very common and ordinary female name in both Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

As of 2010, Bjørk was the 8th most popular female name in the Faroe Islands.

Alma

The name has several different origins and meanings. Its usage as a name in Britain skyrocketed around 1854, after the victorious Battle of Alma, which took place near the Alma River in the Crimea.

In this case, the name is derived from the Tatar word for, “apple.” It is interesting to note that Alma, till this day, is a traditional and common female name across Central Asia, especially among Russian-Tatars, Kazakhs and Uzbeks. In Uzbek, it appears in the form of Olma. Alma is also the word for apple in Hungarian, where it is also occasionally used as a female given name.

The name also appears in Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queen as the name of a minor character, the head of the House of Temperance in Book 2. In this case, the name is most likely taken from the Portuguese and Spanish word for “soul.”

Alma appears sparingly as a female given name in Renaissance Italy, in this case, it is most likely derived from the Latin, almus, meaning, “nourishing”; hence the term, alma mater (fostering mother). This usage of the name also appears as an epithet for a few Roman goddess, particularly Venus and Ceres.

It is the name of a book in The Book of Mormon, but in this case, it is masculine, being the name of two prophets, a father and son; Alma the Younger being the Chief Judge among the Nephites.

Other etymologies which have been suggested, include:

  • It is from the Greek, αλμη (salt water)
  • It is from an Arabic source, al-ma, meaning, (the water).
  • It is a contracted form of Amalia and Amalberga.

The name is used in virtually every European country, including Scandinavia, where it is currently very trendy.

As of 2010, Alma was the 8th most popular female in the Faroe Islands. Her rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 23 (Sweden, 2010)
  • # 24 (Denmark, 2010)
  • # 48 (Norway, 2010)
  • # 49 (Bosnia & Herzegovina, 2010)
  • # 80 (Spain, 2010)
  • # 849 (United States, 2010)

 

Eva, Eve

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Hebrew
Meaning: “life.”
Eng (EEV); (EE-vuh); Germ/Sp/Pol (EV-ah)

The name is borne in the Bible and in the Quran by the first woman created by God. She and her husband were expelled from the Garden of Eden after eating from the Tree of Knowledge.

The name is believed to be derived from the Hebrew roots חַוָּה, Ḥavvāh, from the Hebrew root ḥāyâ meaning “life” and the Semitic element, ḥyw “to live.” Both the Hebrew word chavah meaning “to live” and chayah meaning “to breath” share the same root.

Despite Eve’s fall from Grace in the Bible, the name was always in usage among Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities. In England, its usage can be traced back to the 12th-century. Its Latinate form of Eva, has always been a classic in continental Europe, especially in Germany, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

As of 2010, Eva was the most popular female name in the Faroe Islanda and in Slovenia. Eve, Eva and all her various forms’ rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 3 (Iceland, 2010)
  • # 4 (French-speaking, Switzerland, 2010)
  • # 5 (Netherlands, 2010)
  • # 7 (Ieva, Lithuania, 2010)
  • # 10 (Armenia, 2010)
  • # 10 (Evie, England/Wales, 2010)
  • # 14 (Northern Ireland, 2010)
  • # 15 (France, 2009)
  • # 17 (Scotland, 2010)
  • # 20 (Belgium, 2009)
  • # 24 (New Zealand, 2010)
  • # 26 (Australia, NSW, 2010)
  • # 29 (Croatia, 2010)
  • # 31 (Evie, Scotland, 2010)
  • # 33 (Evie, Australia, NSW, 2010)
  • # 37 (England/Wales, 2010)
  • # 44 (Eevi, Finland among Finnish-speakers, 2010)
  • # 44 (Ireland, 2010)
  • # 46 (Austria, 2010)
  • # 47 (Canada, BC, 2010)
  • # 48 (Spain, 2010)
  • # 55 (Catalonia, 2010)
  • # 55 (Éabha, Ireland, 2010)
  • # 56 (Eve, Northern Ireland, 2010)
  • # 59 (Eve, Ireland, 2010)
  • # 86 (Norway, 2010)
  • # 91 (United States, 2010)
  • # 92 (Eve, England/Wales, 2010)
  • # 99 (Eve, Australia, NSW, 2010)
  • # 201 (Eve, France, 2009)
  • # 589 (Eve, United States, 2010)
  • # 705 (Evie, United States, 2010)

Other forms of the name include:

  • Eva Ева ევა
    (Afrikaans/Albanian/Armenian/Basque/Belarusian/Bosnian/Catalan/Croatian/Czech/Dutch/Faroese/French/Frisian/Galician/Georgian/German/Icelandic/Italian/Portuguese/Romansch/Spanish/Scandinavian)
  • Evis (Albanian)
  • Mahalet/Mahlet (Amharic)
  • Hawa حواء Хауа (Arabic)
  • Yeva (Armenian)
  • Həvva (Azeri)
  • Yeva Ева Эва (Belarusian/Russian/Ukrainian)
  • Yevga Евга (Belarusian)
  • Hava (Bosnian)
  • Evy (Danish/Norwegian/Swedish: initially a diminutive form, occasionally used as an independent given name)
  • Eveke (Dutch: initially a diminutive form, used as an independent given name, EV-eh-ke)
  • Eve (English/Estonian/Walon)
  • Evie (English)
  • Hawat/Hewa (Egyptian/Coptic)
  • Eeva (Estonian/Finnish)
  • Eevi (Estonian/Finnish)
  • Evi (Estonian)
  • Ivi/Iivi (Estonian)
  • Iivika (Estonian)
  • Ève (French)
  • Eefje, Eefke (Frisian)
  • Hawwa ሕይዋን (Ge-ez)
  • Eua Ευα (Greek)
  • Chava חַוָה (Hebrew: Modern: KHAH-vah, gutteral CH sound)
  • Éva (Hungarian: AY-vaw, diminutive form is Évike)
  • Hawa (Indonesian/Malayalam)
  • Éabha (Irish-Gaelic)
  • Ieva (Latvian/Lithuanian: YEH-vah)
  • Evuzus (Malaysian)
  • Aaue (Manx)
  • Èva (Occitanian)
  • Ewa (Polish: EH-vah, diminutive forms are Ewka, Ewunia and Ewusia)
  • Evá (Sami)
  • Evelia (Spanish)
  • Evita (Spanish)
  • Eba (Tagalog)
  • Havva (Turkish)
  • Efa (Welsh)

Italian masculine form is Evo.

Traditionally, in most European countries, the name-day for Adam and Eve is December 24.

Storm

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Old Norse
Meaning: “storm.”

The name is derived from the Old Norse, stormr, literally meaning, “storm.” During the Viking Period, it was most likely used as a nickname for somebody with a blustery personality.

The word has been borrowed over into English, Dutch and the Scandinavian languages, all of which use it as a male given name.

As of 2010, Storm was the 43rd most popular male name in Denmark. His rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 94 (Norway, 2010)
  • # 220 (Netherlands, 2010)

An obscure feminine Danish form is Storma, while an English female form is Stormy.

Dunja

quinceGender: Feminine
Origin: South Slavic Дуња
Meaning: “quince fruit.”
(DOON-yah)

The name comes directly from the South Slavic word for the quince fruit. The quince is usually ready to fall from its stems from early October all the way to November, it is considered an autumnal fruit.

Coincidentally, the name could also be a Russian diminutive form of Avdotya which is a Russian form of the Greek name Eudoxia meaning “good fame.”  The spelling is also sometimes transliterated as Dunya.

As of 2009, Dunja was the 97th most popular female name in Croatia.

The name is borne by Russian violinist Dunja (Avdotya) Lavrova (b.1985).