Tala

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

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

Advertisements

Thaïs

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Greek Θαις
Meaning: “headband; band.”
Eng (tye-YEES); Fre (tah-YEEZ); Por (TAH-ees)

The name is derived from the Greek root for a band worn around the head. It was borne by a 3rd-century B.C.E. Greek hetaera who was credited as being the burner of Persopolis. She is sometimes believed to have been a lover of Alexander the Great, but there is no conclusive evidence that the two were ever together, what is known for sure is that she was the courtesan of Ptolomy Soter I, Alexander’s general. Her character later inspired other characters of the same name in both Classical Roman and post-Classical literature. She appears in Terence’s Eunuchas, her lines were later quoted by Cicero and a Thaïs is mentioned in Dante’s Inferno. In more recent history, she was the inspiration of Ivan Eframov’s novel, Thaïs of Athens (1975).

The name was also borne by a legendary Egyptian Christian saint who was believed to have originally been a prostitute. She was converted by St. Paphnutius who had disguised himself as a “customer.” Thaïs became a fervent Christian, abandoning her comfortable life as a high-end prostitute and spending three years in repentance eventually dying in peace as a hermit in the Egyptian desert. Her story is the inspiration behind the Anatole France novel Thaïs (1890) which was later adapted into an opera of the same name. Demetre Chiparus famous sculpture, Thaïs, was in turn inspired by the Opera.

Due to the cult of St. Thaïs of Egypt, the name remained in use throughout the former Byzantine Empire. She was used to a certain extent on the continent and in 18th-century England during the Romantic Period.

As of 2010, Thaïs was the 97th most popular female name in France. Her Slovene form of Tajda was the 74th most popular female name in Slovenia, (2010), while Taja came in as the 23rd most popular female name in Slovenia, (2010).

Other forms of the name include:

  • Taisija/Taisiya (Bulgarian/Macedonian/Serbian/Russian/Ukrainian)
  • Taís (Catalan/Spanish)
  • Tayys تاييس (Coptic/Lebanese/Syrian)
  • Thaïs (English/French/German/Greek)
  • Thaisia (German)
  • Thaisis (German)
  • Taide (Italian)
  • Taisia (Italian)
  • Taida (Polish)
  • Tais (Polish)
  • Taisja (Polish)
  • Tesja (Polish)
  • Thaís (Portuguese)
  • Taja (Slovene)
  • Tajana (Slovene)
  • Tajda (Slovene)
  • Tajka (Slovene)
  • Tajša (Slovene)

Cassandra

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Greek Κασσανδρα
Meaning: debated
Eng (kə-SAN-drə; kə-SAHN-drə)

There are a few theories as to the origins of this name, one is that it is composed of the Greek elements, kekesmai (κεκασμαι), “shining” and the genitive Greek, aner, (ανηρ) “man.” Another possibility to the first element is that it is from the Greek, kasis (κάσις) meaning, “sister.” If either of these theories are to be considered, Cassandra may either mean “shining upon man” or “man’s sister.” The third possibility is that it is a Greek corruption of the ancient Persian female name, Cassandane, which is of uncertain meaning but was the name of a wife of Cyrus the Great. The name is still used in modern Iran in the form of Kasandan.

The name is borne in Greek mythology by the daughter of King Priam. She was cursed by Apollo to predict future events which nobody would believe. Hence the modern term “cassandra” to describe a valid warning which is dismissed or unheeded. Cassandra’s story has been the subject of literature, music and art for the last 2,000 years.

The name was fairly common in Medieval England and was revived in the 18th-century. It was borne by Cassandra Austen (1773-1845) a British artist and the sister of Jane Austen.

The highest the name ranked in U.S. history was in 1990, coming in as the 49th most popular female name. As of 2011, she was the 411th most popular female name.

As of 2010, Cassandra was the 116th most popular female name while her actual French form of Cassandre came in as the 145th most popular name.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Kasandra Касандра (Bosnian/Bulgarian/Croatian/Macedonian/Polish/Serbian/Slovene)
  • Cassandra (Catalan/English/French/Italian/Portuguese/Scandinavian)
  • Kassandra Κασσάνδρα Кассандра (Dutch/Czech/German/Greek/Russian/Scandinavian)
  • Cassandre (French)
  • Kasszandra (Hungarian)
  • Casandra (Spanish)
Common English short forms are Cassie and Sandy.

Safiyya

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Arabic صفيّة
Meaning: “pure.”
(sah-FEE-yah)

The name is derived from the Arabic word, saf صاف (pure).

The name was borne by Safiyya Bint Huyayy, a Jewish-Bedouin woman who converted to Islam and became one of the Prophet Mohammed’s wives. It was also borne by Safiyya bint ‘Abd al-Muttalib, a Sahaba of Mohammed.

As of 2010, its Maghrebin form of Safia was the 293rd most popular female name in France. Her variant forms appear throughout the French top 500; their rankings are as follows:

  • # 297 (Safa)
  • # 466 (Safiya)
Safiyyah was the 10th most popular female name in Malaysia (2011)

Other forms of Safiya include:

  • Safija Сафия (Albanian/Bosnian/Bulgarian/Central Asian)
  • Safia (Algerian/Berber/Moroccan/Tunisian)
  • Safa (Arabic)
  • Saffiya (Arabic)
  • Safiye (Azeri/Kurdish/Turkish)
  • Shafiyah (Indonesian)
  • Safiyyah (Malaysian)
  • Safiya صفیه (Persian)

Qays, Kais

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Arabic قيس‎
(kah-EES)

Qays was the name of a pre-Islamic marauding Arabic tribe who were eventually converted and absorbed into the general Arab population.

The name later appears in the Arab epic romantic poem, Qays & Leila.

As of 2010, its Maghrebin form of Kaïs was the 86th most popular male name in France.

Sufian

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Arabic
Meaning: debated
(SOOF-yahn)

The name could either be derived from the Arabic ṣafā (صَفا) meaning, “pure” or the Arabic,    ṣūf (صُوف), meaning, “wool.”

The name was borne by Abu Sufyan, originally a staunch opponent to the Prophet Mohammed, he later became a devout Muslim. It was also borne by Sufyan ath-Thawri ibn Said (716–778), a notable Islamic scholar who is credited for putting together many of the hadiths.

A modern notable bearer is American musician, Sufjan Stevens (b.1975).

As of 2010, its Maghrebin form of Sofiane was the 106th most popular male name in France.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Sufyan (Albanian/Arabic)
  • Sofiane (Algerian/Moroccan/Tunisian)
  • Sufian (Arabic/Persian)
  • Süfyan (Azeri/Kurdish/Turkish)
  • Sufjan Суфьян (Bosnian/Bulgarian/Central Asian)
  • Sufyaan (Somalian)

Halima

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Arabic حليمة
Meaning: “patient.”
(huh-LEE-muh)

The name is derived from the Arabic, حليم (haliem) meaning, “patient.”

The name was borne by a 6th-century Ghassian princess, (the Ghassians were a group of Hellenized Arabs).

As of 2010, Halima was the 455th most popular female name in France.

As West African form is Halimat.

Masculine form is Halim.

Nabil

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Arabic نبيل
Meaning: “noble”
(NAH-BEEL)

The name comes from the Arabic meaning, “noble”, and is popular among Christians, Muslims and even Baha’i.

It was borne by a an early Christian saint and martyr, a king of Mauretania, who was martyred under his brother Gildon, who took the side of the Pagan Romans.

It was also borne by Nabíl-i-Akbar (1829-1892), one of the 19 Apostles of Bahá’u’lláh and the Great Nabíl (1831–1892), a renowned Bahai historian.

As of 2009, Nabil was the 399th most popular male name in France.

A Berber form is Navil and a feminine form is Nabila.

Badis

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Berber
Meaning: unknown
(BAH-dees)

The name is a Berber name of ancient origins but of uncertain meaning. This was the original name of the Spanish island of Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera, which lies off the coast of Morocco.

The name was borne by a few Amazigh kings, the most notable being, Badis the Hammadit.

As of 2009, Badis was the 443rd most popular male name in France.