Danilo

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Serbo-Croatian

Danilo has been equated with the Biblical Hebrew Daniel, but is in fact most likely derived from a pre-Christian Slavic source. It is believed to be derived from the element dan (gift) with the diminutive suffix of -ilo attached.

The name is also used in Italy, Spanish-speaking countries and in Brazil, where it is currently the 65th most popular male name.

The name was most famously borne by Danilo I Petrović-Njegoš, Prince of Montenegro (1826-1960).

 

Daniel, Danielle

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Biblical Hebrew
Meaning: “God is my Judge.”

If you are like me, you probably think Daniel is dull and overused. Then there is the other camp who might think this is a wonderful classic. It has the youthful nickname options of Dan and Danny and its used in just about every European country with such variants as the Italian Daniele and the Czech and Polish diminutive forms of Danek. Another plus is that, while the name has religious connotations, its doesn’t adhere to a specific denomination. It is fair game for both Jewish and Christian parents alike, Catholic and Protestant. It is even used among Muslims.

The name Daniel is found in the Old Testament, (it has its own book), composed of the Hebrew elements dan meaning “judge” and the 1st person possessive singular suffix of i plus El which was a reference to God.

As for the Biblical Daniel himself, according to the Bible, he was a Jewish boy who was captured by the Babylonians and employed as a sort of dream-reader, (sounds like a pretty cool job). Daniel was so good at his job that he eventually became famous, even among his Persian and Babylonian captives. Due to his prestige and influence, Daniel was also able to persuade his captors to release the Jews back to their homeland. There is far more to the Biblical Daniel’s story than I will write here, but he is probably most noted for his steadfast loyalty to his faith and people as well as his miraculous survival after being thrown in a den of lions.

In the United States, Daniel has been steadfast in its popularity. He currently comes in at # 5. Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, he comes in at # 7. In Scotland at # 3. In Ireland # 4. While in Spain he comes in at a whopping # 2.

This forms is also used in the Czech Republic, Finland, French-speaking countries, German-speaking countries, Poland, Portuguese-speaking countries, Romania,  Scandinavia, Slovakia and Spanish-speaking countries

Other forms include :

  • Dana (Afrikaans)
  • Danieli (Albanian)
  • Danyal دانيال (Arabic)
  • Taniel (Armenian)
  • Danel (Basque)
  • Danilo (Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian)
  • Deniel (Breton)
  • Danail Данаил (Bulgarian)
  • Danelu (Corsican/Sardinian/Sicilian)
  • Daan (Dutch/Limburgish)
  • Daniël (Dutch)
  • Daaniel/Taaniel (Estonian)
  • Tanel/Tani (Estonian)
  • Taano/Tanno (Estonian)
  • Taneli/Tatu (Finnish)
  • Dāniyyêl דָּנִיֵּאל (Hebrew: Modern)
  • Dániel (Hungarian)
  • Daniló (Hungarian)
  • Dános (Hungarian)
  • Daniele (Italian: dahn-YAY-lay)
  • Daniello (Italian: an archaic version which died out in the 17th-century)
  • Danilo/Danilio (Italian: obscure)
  • Danielius (Lithuanian)
  • Daniilu Данїилъ (Old Church Slavonic)
  • Dani داني (Persian)
  • Daniyal دانيال (Persian)
  • Danil/Dănuṭ (Romanian: duh-NOOTS)
  • Daniil Даниил (Russian)
  • Daniele/Danijel (Slovene)
  • Dani/Däne/Dänu/Danü (Swiss-German: Bern dialect)
  • Danyal/Danyel(Turkish)
  • Deiniol (Welsh)

Czech diminutives are: Dan, Daník, Daneček, Danoušek, Danny, Dandýsek, Dady, Danda, Dáda, Danda, Dannys, Danušík and Dandýsek, Italian diminutive forms are: Nilo, Danio, Danino and Nilio.

Danya Даня is a common Russian and Ukrainian diminutive form.

Let us not forget its feminine versions of Daniella, Daniela and Danielle. As of 2010, its Spanish and Slavic diminutive form of Dania reached the top 1000, coming in as the 999th most popular female name in the United States.

The French Danielle, does not have the same staying power as its masculine counterpart. Though always more common as a middle name, Danielle is one of the quintessential names of the 1980s. In 1987, she came close to reaching the top 10 by hitting # 14. In the last popularity census, Danielle still comes in rather high at # 144.  Its Latinate counterpart of Daniela comes in a tad bit higher at # 121, while the Italian Daniella is all the way down at # 303.

Other forms are:

  • Danijela (Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian/Slovene)
  • Danaila (Bulgarian)
  • Daniela (Czech/German/Polish/Portuguese/Romanian/Scandinavian/Slovene/Spanish)
  • Danielle (English)
  • Danièle (French)
  • Danelia (Italian: obscure)
  • Daniella (Italian)
  • Danila/Danilla (Italian: obscure)

Italian feminine diminutives are : Dana, Dania and Nila.

Designated name-days are: July 21 (Germany/Hungary/Slovakia), December 10 (Poland/Lithuanian), December 11 (Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Norway, Sweden), December 17 (Greec/Czech Republic)

Basque Names….just a Subcategory of Spanish Names?

This weeks International Name Over View will focus on Basque Names.

The Basque are an ethnic group that inhabit the Pyrenees of Northwestern Spain and the bordering region of Southern France. Their language has yet to be categorized, often a topic of hot debate among Linguists. While some theorists have connected Basque from Georgian to Etruscan, the most widely accepted consensus is that Basque is closely related to the now extinct Aquitanian (spoken in France). It is in fact an indigenous European language. That is, it is not related to any of the Indo-European languages. It is considered an Isolate Language and it was most likely spoken in Europe long before the mass migration of the Indos.

Though either French or Spanish citizens, the Basque are fiercely proud of their language and culture. In the last century, there has been a strong push for autonomy. The Basque have fought hard to keep their language alive, most recently fighting oppression during the Franco regime, and are currently experiencing a revival. The Basque language is spoken by approximately 665,800 people. Not a lot, but believe it or not, the Basque and their language have actually left an impact in Spanish and even English.

Some of the more common Spanish surnames seen among Spanish-speakers are actually of Basque and not of Spanish origin. For example: Aldana, Loyola and Zuñiga.

Since the Basque were valuable in shepherding, fishing and mercantilism, a vast population of them immigrated to the Americas, leaving their imprint on modern Hispanic culture.

The country of Chile boasts Basque as their largest European ethnic group. The largest Basque-American population resides in Boise, Idaho. A fair amount of the Mexican population can claim Basque heritage to some extent.

As a result, several place names throughout the Americas are Basque, like Durango (Mexico), Nuevo Santander, (Mexico), Jalapa (Guatemala) and it is even argued that Arizona is derived from the Basque elements, aritz ona meaning “good oak.”

Our very own Xavier, which appears in the U.S. top 100 most popular male names was inspired by a Basque surname. Its usage as a given name was popularized by the notoriety of the Basque saint, Francis Xavier. Another notable Basque Saint is Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus.

One of the ways that the Basque people have expressed their culture is through their first names. The Basque have a unique array of names, one feature that seems unique among them is their usage of place names. Unlike Anglo-phone parents who tend to use place names because of “cuteness”  or sonority, the Basque use place names due to religious significance. Basque culture has a strong emphasis on Catholicism, so any place or thing associated with the Virgin Mary is often used as a given name.

For a good idea of what the Basque in Spain are currently naming their children, check out the Top 10 listed below:

Top 10 Male Names in Basque Country, Spain 2008

Mikel

Pablo

Iker

Aimar

Asier

Unai

Iñigo

Javier

Aitor

Adrián

Top 10 Female Names in the Basque Country, Spain 2008

Lucía

Paula

Irati

Nahia

Uxue

Leyre

Sara

María

Ane

Ainhoa/Aitana

Mikel, Pablo, Adrián, Iñaki, Sara, María, Ane, Lucía and Paula are all derived from Biblical or saints names.

Aitor (good fathers) is a name taken from Basque folklore, he is believed to have been the first man and the progenitor of the Basque people.

Iker is the vernacular form of Visitación, an unusual Spanish name used in reference to the Virgin Mary (Our Lady of the Visitation). This is the same case with the female Irati, which is a place-name associated with a shrine to the Virgin Mary, which literally means “fern field”; and Uxue taken from the name of a Catholic shrine, but is also associated with the Basque word for dove. Ainhoa is a religious place-name name and even appears in the Spanish Top 100, coming in as the 31st most popular female name in all of Spain. Aitana is a Spanish place-name of unknown meaning. Leyre is the Spanish form of Leire, the name of a place in the Basque country associated with a Catholic monastery.

Nahia is from a Basque word meaning, “wish; desire.”

Unai is an indigenous Basque name with no Spanish or English equivalent, meaning “cowherd.”

Asier is from the Basque hasiera meaning “beginning.”

I have yet to find any information on Aimar, but subsequent searches led me to several notable Basque bearers, so I am assuming that he is Basque too. If anyone has anymore info on him, please step forward 🙂

You might be one of the many Latinas or Americans who claim Basque heritage, or perhaps you are just looking for a cool and different name that is actually legitimate. Below are a list of names I have compiled for the Anglo-phone parent. Basque names that would be easy for an English-speaking child to wear. Enjoy 🙂

Easy to say Basque alternatives to common English names

Instead of Caitlin try Catalin

Instead of Emma try out Ama

Instead of Madison or Madelyn, you might like Maialen or Malen

Like Olivia, try Olaria

Loving Ella, then you might like Elaia (swallow)

Considering Hannah well you just might like Oihana (forest)

Like Nevaeh check out Nerea

Here is a selection of Basque names compatible with English:

Female

  • Alaia (joyful; happy)
  • Amaia (end)
  • Elixane (Elise)
  • Esti (Sweet; honey)
  • Garden (transparent; clear)
  • Julene (Juliana)
  • Katerin (Catherine)
  • Lilura (enchantment)
  • Lorea (flower)
  • Maia (Maddie)
  • Miren (Mary)
  • Naiara
  • Nora
  • Oria
  • Pauli
  • Semera
  • Zerran
  • Zilia

Male

  • Adon
  • Bingen (Vincent)
  • Denis (Dennis)
  • Eder (beautiful)
  • Erroman (Raymond)
  • Gabon (Christmas)
  • Harri (rock)
  • Hartz (Bear)
  • Igon (Ascension)
  • Jurdan (Jordan)
  • Kelemen (Clement)
  • Kemen (Strength)
  • Lain
  • Luken (Luke)
  • Manex (John)
  • Zorion (happy)

Basque Equivalents to Common English Given Names

Female

  • Alize (Alice)
  • Ane (Anna)
  • Elixabete (Elizabeth)
  • Estebeni (Stephanie)
  • Fede (Faith)
  • Gartxene (Grace)
  • Itxaro (Hope)
  • Kalare (Claire)
  • Lili (Lily)
  • Mikele (Michaela)
  • Mixtoleta (Poppy)
  • Nikole (Nicole)
  • Hirune/Irune (Trinity)
  • Udane (Summer)
  • Udazken (Autumn)

Male

  • Adame (Adam)
  • Alesander (Alexander)
  • Danel (Daniel)
  • Edorta (Edward)
  • Eli (Elias)
  • Gabirel (Gabriel)
  • Gilen (William)
  • Handi (Max)
  • Ixaka (Isaac)
  • Jakes (Jacob)
  • Jon (John)
  • Marz (Mark)
  • Nikola (Nicholas)
  • Txomin (Dominic)
  • Xabier (Xavier)
  • Xarles (Charles)

What are your favorite Basque names? Would you use any of the above?

Sources

  1. http://www.behindthename.com/
  2. http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~witzel/mt26s.html
  3. http://www.ei.ehu.es/p056-12532/eu/contenidos/informacion/grammar_euskara/en_doc/index.html
  4. http://www1.euskadi.net/morris/resultado.asp
  5. http://www.euskarakultur.org/
  6. http://www.eke.org/euskara/
  7. http://basque.unr.edu/

Lithuanian Names

Each weekend I will do an installation of names from different categories. I would have liked to preferably do Saturday, but I was running late this week 😉

Lithuania  is a country that lies in Northeast Europe, bordering Poland, Latvia, Belarus and Kaliningrad.

Once the largest country in Europe (during the 17th-century), she now only consists of 3.3 million people, the majority of whom are Lithuanian by ethnicity.

I will not bore you with intricate details of Lithuania’s rich history, but to make a long story short, Lithuania has been occupied by Poland and Russia and has resisted German occupation several times. She was one of the last countries in Europe to accept Christianity as their official religion (circ. 1385) and in the Middle Ages, she formed a powerful commonwealth with Poland.

One of the most interesting features of Lithuania is their language. Lithuanian is considered one of the oldest and one of the most pure derivations of Indo-European. Famous French linguist, Antoine Meillet, once said that “anyone wishing to hear how Indo-Europeans spoke should come and listen to a Lithuanian peasant” (Antoine Meillet)

Since Lithuanian is thought to be the closest form of Proto-Indo-European in modern linguistics, linguists are able to compare modern Lithuanian words with Sanskrit. Some words are identical in both languages, for instance, sunus (son) >(Sanskrit; Lithuanian). Words that are almost identical but slightly different include: (LIT stands for Lithuanian while SKT stands for Sanskrit).

  • LIT dūmas; SKT dhumas  (smoke)
  • LIT vyras; SKT vira (man; hero)
  • LIT dantys; SKT dantas (teeth)
  • LIT naktys; SKT nakt (night)

Lithuanian masculine names are usually formed by ending in the suffix-as; -ys; -is while feminine names usually end in -a or

It is interesting to note that if one studies the top 10 most popular female names in Lithuania, there seems to be a strong preference for names that end in , compare that to the top 10 of a previous generation, where all the names had a tendency to end in an -a.

Top 10 Most Popular Female Names (Total Population, 2008)

Ona

Irena

Janina

Kristina

Danutė

Lina

Regina

Aldona

Rasa

Daiva

Top 10 Most Popular Female Names (babies, 2009)

Emilija

Gabija

Urtė

Ugnė

Gabrielė

Kamilė

Austėja

Goda

Ieva

Viltė

Janina is a definite Polish borrowing, something which is often seen in Lithuanian names. Irena, Ona, Kristina and Regina are all saints names, which would not be surprising to see in Catholic Lithuania, even during Soviet times. Names like Danutė, Lina, Aldona, Rasa and Daiva, are all native Lithuanian names with no English equivalents.

Danutė in particular is a classic that has been used at least since the 14th-century. It is a name of uncertain derivation, but is also found in Poland in the form of Danuta.

Aldona is another choice that has been in usage for centuries which is of uncertain meaning or origin. Some sources contend that it is an archaic Belarusian form of Eudocia.

Lina is the feminine form of Linas which comes directly from the Lithuanian word for “flax.” Rasa (dew) and Daiva (deity) are also Lithuanian word names.

Names from nature and Lithuanian mythology seem to be popular choices. Gabija and Austėja both reflect this (see the earlier entries for Gabija and Austėja-soon to come). Ugnė is pulled from nature, meaning “fire”, Viltė is from the Lithuanian word for hope and Goda seems to be a name related to an action, possibly derived from the Lithuanian verb godyti meaning “to anticipate.”

Emilija (Emily), Kamilė (Camilla), Ieva (Eve), Urtė (Dorothy) and Gabrielė (Gabriella) are all Lithuanian equivalents to a saint’s name or a Biblical name.

Since Lithuanians are fiercely proud of their language and culture, it is no wonder that they have a tendency to choose names that are distinctively Lithuanian, unlike other EU members who currently have a tendency to pick names that do not reflect a particular language of origin, as can be reflected in the Top Names of other countries.

Some of the most popular masculine names include, (when possible, equivalents are in parenthesis):

Top 10 Male Names (total population, 2008)

Jonas (John)

Vytautas

Antanas (Anthony)

Tomas (Thomas)

Juozas (Joseph)

Mindaugas

Kęstutis

Darius

Andrius (Andrew)

Saulius

Top Ten Male Names (for babies, 2009)

Matas (Mathias)

Lukas (Lucas)

Nojus

Kajus (Caius)

Dovydas (David)

Dominykas (Dominic)

Mantas

Rokas (Rock)

Jokūbas

Augustas

Catholic saints names are definitely more preferred for males, still, names like Vytautas, Mantas, Nojus, Mindaugas and Kęstutis are very ancient Lithuanian names with no equivalents in any other language.

Since I am most likely writing to an Anglo-phone audience, you must be wondering if there are any authentic Lithuanian names compatible with the English language. Many parents are often on the look out for unique and unusual names, and Lithuanian names definitely have hundreds of possibilities to offer, some however, might be a pain in the neck for English speakers to pronounce, others, on the other hand, should be given consideration.

I have compiled a list of cool but similar alternatives of very popular names in North American and the United Kingdom

Instead of Madison/Madeleine go with Medeina

Instead of Ava go with Aiva (I-vah)

Instead of Chloe try Chloja (KLOY-a)

Instead of Samantha you might like Mantė (MAHN-tay; MAHN-te)

Instead of Grace you might like Gražina (grah-ZHIH-nah)

Instead of Gabriella try Gabija.

Instead of Audrey try Audra.

Instead of Miley try Meilė

Instead of Esme try Esmilė

Instead of Lily you might like Lelija (LEH-lee-yah)

Instead of Maximilian try Maksas

Finally, if you are one who is infatuated with Nevaeh and are daring enough to constantly correct people, then you might like the Lithuanian Danguolė (heaven; sky).

In the United Kingdom and the States, nature names seem to be on the rise, some parents may like the idea of using a word name, but are not daring enough to choose an obvious one. Choosing a word name from another language is a good way to hide the obviousness of a name from nature. Here is a selection of Lithuanian nature names that should not pose a problem with English-speakers:

Female

Indrė (name of a type of rush)

Lina (flax)

Mėta (mint)

Rasa (dew)

Svalia (name of a river)

Vaiva (rainbow)

Vėtra (tempest)


Male

Aras (eagle)

Joris (foliage green)

Tauras (Ox)

Vėjas (wind)

Names compatible with English:

Female

Dalia

Galia

Katrė

Milnora

Naura

Skaidra

Tulė

Vaida

Male

Danas

Grantas

Kastas

Mintas

Rimas

Vilnius

And finally, here are some Lithuanian equivalents to common English given names:

Female

Amber=Gintarė

Anna=Ona

Elizabeth=Elzbieta

Emma=Ema

Emily=Emilija

Jane=Joana

Katherine-Kotryna

Mary=Marija

Natalie=Natalija

Olivia=Olivija

Rose=Rozė

Summer=Vasarė

Male

Alexander=Aleksandras

Anthony=Antanas

Christopher=Kristofas

Daniel=Danielis

Jacob=Jokūbas

John=Jonas

Michael=Michaelas

Paul=Paulius

Thomas=Tomas

William=Vilimas

What are your favorite Lithuanian names? Would you use any in the above list?

Stay tuned for next weeks International Name Overview


Sources