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

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)

Titouan

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Occitanian
(teey-too-AWn)

The name is a franconization of the Occitanian male name, Titoan, which is the Occitanian form of Anthony. Though it is a legitimate name with much history, especially in the regions within the Langue D’Oc, the name was not allowed official usage in France until 1987. The recent outburst in popularity may have something to do with Titouan Lamazou (b.1955) a famous contemporary French artist, sailor and children’s rights activist. In his case, Titouan is a nickname for Antoine, in his case, his Moroccan nanny had a difficult time pronouncing his name, giving him, instead the name of a Berber town which sounded similar to Antoine, Tétouan, which comes from the Berber, Titwan, meaning, “the eyes.” There is a district in Madrid that was named in reference to the town, Tétuan.

Titouan‘s popularity is also probably a mix of the recent interest and revival of regional cultures in France: that of the Basque, Breton, Alsatian and Occitanian. This and several other Breton and Occitanian names appear in the French top 500.

As of 2010, Titouan was the 51st most popular male name in France.

An Occitanian feminine for is Titoana, and obscure French feminine form is Titouane.

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)

Sakina

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Arabic  سكينة Сакина
Meaning: “calm; peace; tranquility.”
(sah-KEE-nah)

The term sakina is derived from the Arabic, sukun, meaning, (calm; tranquility; serenity; peace of mind). The term appears in the Qu’ran as the name of an attribute that fell upon Mohammed and his followers from Allah when they entered Mecca unarmed.

Sakina shares the same etymological root with the Hebrew abstract feminine noun, shekinah שכינה‎, which means “dwelling; settling” but in Judaism is used to describe the presence of God in the world.

In Arabic Sakina appears in various forms such as Sukina and Sukayna.

The name was borne by the daughter of Hussein and the great-granddaughter of the Prophet Mohammed, Sukayna bint Hussein. She is revered as a great saint among Shi’a Muslims, known in her life time for her devotion, piety and charity, she was the favorite daughter of Hussein.

As of 2010, Sakina was the 444th most popular female name in France while its Maghrebin form of Soukaina came in lower at # 487.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Soukaina (Algerian/Moroccan/Tunisian)
  • Sukaina/Sukayna (Arabic)
  • Sukina (Arabic)

Kahina

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Arabic/Berber
Meaning: “soothsayer.”
Ber/Arab (kah-HEE-nah); Fre (kah-EE-nah)

The name is derived from the Arabic al-Kāhinatmeaning (the soothsayer), a nickname used by Muslim opponents for the Berber Warrior Queen, Dihya.

Dihya or Kahina is a symbol of Berber nationalism, she was a 7th-century Berber woman who led a rebellion against Islamic expansionism in North Africa. Though she was eventually defeated, her nickname Kahina has stuck over the centuries, and parents of Berber extraction have bestowed it upon their daughters in her honour. She gained the nickname al-Kāhinat as it was rumored that she was a prophetess.

As of 2009, Kahina was the 422nd most popular female name in France. The franconized form of Kaïna comes in as the 473rd most popular female name in France.

Karim

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Arabic  كريم Карим
Meaning: “noble; generous.”
(KAH-REEM)

The name comes directly from the Arabic word for, “noble; generous.” In Islam, Karim is one of the 99 designations of Allah and is used to describe the Qu’ran (Al-Qur’an Al-Karim), literally meaning “the Noble Qu’ran.”

The name is used throughout the Islamic world, but is also used among Middle Eastern Christians.

The name has been occasionally used in Latin America, in Brazil, it seems to be a Portugized spelling for the Scandinavian female name Karin, but in this case it is pronounced (kah-REEN).

The name has numerous famous bearers.

As of 2009, Karim was the 260th most popular male name in France.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Kerim (Azeri/Turkish)
It is sometimes transliterated as Kareem. Feminine forms are Karima, Kerime (Turkish) or Kareema.

Adel, Adil

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Arabic عادل
Meaning: “just; fair.”

The name is derived from the Arabic adjective,  عدل  (adala), meaning, “just.”

The name is used throughout the Islamic world, though, the it is also used among Middle Eastern Christians.

As of 2009, Adel was the 285th most popular male name while Adil was the 378th most popular.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Adel پور (Algerian/Arabic/Coptic/Egyptian/Ethiopian/Kurdish/Lebanese/Persian/Sudanese/Syrian/Tunisian/Uyghur)
  • Adil Адиль
  • (Albanian/Azeri/Bangali/Baloch/Bashkir/Bosnian/Bulgarian/Chechen/Circassian/Dagestani/Kazakh/Moroccan/Ossetian/Pakistani/Tatar/Turkish/Turkmen/Uzbek)
  • Jedil/Yedil Эдил (Kyrgyz)

A feminine form is Adila (Arabic) and Adile (Turkish)