How do I like my name? – Nancy’s interview with me. –

Hi people! 🙂

Nancy at

Nancy’s Baby Names

has a series of name interviews on her blog, where she interviews her readers about how they like their names, how they feel with them. I always find it very interesting to hear about people’s views and relationships with their own names, so I really like this series – as I do her entire blog, being a name nerd – and so I thought I’d contribute to this too and answer Nancy’s questions myself, especially that I had a feeling like my name story could perhaps be interesting for people since I am not from the US and have changed my name legally.

And today Nancy has published the interview on her blog, and you can read it

here.

Some of what I wrote for Nancy you may already know from my blog, but if you’re interested, go ahead and check it out. 🙂 I also highly recommend reading her other posts if you haven’t come across her blog yet and perhaps aren’t as crazily into names as me but still have a bit of interest in it, it’s a great time for name geeks now because the SSA data about baby names used in 2019 have been recently published and Nancy, as well as other American baby name bloggers, are doing a great job of analysing them.

 

Question of the day.

Hi people! 🙂

What would be the absolute worst name you could give your child?

My answer:

Well, it depends on so many things, in my opinion. It depends on whether we are talking objectively what is the worst (most harmful) way of naming a baby, or rather the worst way of choosing a name for your baby, or subjectively which name I dislike the most. If we’re talking about the latter, just as I know lots of beautiful names that I love and could give my children, I’ve also learnt about lots of names from all sorts of cultures that I intensely dislike and it’s hard to pick just one that I would dislike the most and think that it’s the absolute worst. If we’re talking about the former, I think there are lots of ways to do it wrong, but then even when we’d try to look at it objectively everyone has so different values and opinions when it comes to ochoosing a name. And there are so many names out there that I’ve heard about over the years and would have never thought in the past that anyone coould ever use, yet people do use them. Shooter, Lucifer, Legia (as in Polish football team Legia-Warsaw, or at least I’ve heard about a daddy wanting to call her daughter this, but I don’t know if he succeeded with our back then quite strict naming laws), Google, Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116 pronounced as Albin, or A, also pronounced as Albin (an “artistic” creation of Swedish parents Lasse Diding and Elisabeth Hallin, though the boy didn’t get named either in the end, but was nameless for some six years instead), or some eccentric Puritan names like Silence, which are all quite extreme examples of really bad ways of naming your child. But it’s hard to pick the worst, really. Then there are people like my Mum who flinch at every normal name they’d never heard onn a real person when they first hear of it being used on a baby. Recently our distant relatives called their baby boy Noe (Noah in English) and while Noah is very popular in the US, Noe is not so much in Poland, even though the N as a first letter is quite a trendy theme at the moment in my view, although a bit more for the girls, and Biblical boy names have been ruling for a while, and short names have been getting a lot of attention as well. The reason for Noe not being in favour is probably that it ends in -e, while it’s rather uncommon (and may feel unnatural for many people) for a masculine Polish name to end with a vowel other than -i or -y. I don’t know any guys called Noe personally. Anyways, my Mum told me that in a very horrified, indignant voice, and when I said “So what? Noe isn’t a usual name, but I don’t see anything wrong with it if they like it so much”, she was even more horrified and like: “But how will they call him, in normal life, every day?! Ark? There’s no nickname for Noe!”. Oh yes, that’s such a dilemma! But Poles like their nicknames. My Mum’s name is Anna, short enough, right? But no one calls her Anna, just as hardly any other Annas are just Annas. A Polish Anna usually automatically goes by Ania, unless she’s prepared for a life-long battle of correcting everyone. I love the name Anna so much but Ania is so superficial and bland. So I said that nicknames are only a matter of creativity, at least in our language, you have pretty much endless possibilities, and after all there are no rules that one nickname works with only one name, no one said at all that your nickname has to be related to your birth name. So if he likes to go by Ark indeed, why the heck can’t he? I’m sure it’s better to be the only Noe in school than the 30th Jakub, especially that the name is – like most Polish names – very straightforward in spelling, declination and what not, so should not be overly stigmatising or burdening unless he keeps bumping into such strange judgy people like my Mum. 😀 Or yesterday Sofi told us that there’s a boy called Michael in her school. The Polish version of Michael is Michał, and Michael on a Polish person certainly would feel a tad pretentious to most Polish people (including myself) because the spelling is not in-line with our phonetics, because we have our own native form of the name and despite it’s now legal to use names from foreign cultures with non-phonetical spellings, it’s still a new thing and generally it tends to be a bit of an informal naming rule for most people still not to use names from different cultures if we have a native equivalent or if that foreign name doesn’t adapt well to the language. And the boy doesn’t seem to have foreign roots or anything. So my Mum rolled her eyes and was like: “Really…? He’s Michael! I thought they were such normal people!”. 😀 So, as you see, it often doesn’t take much to shock people, even though I personally think that, while I would never call my child Michael in Poland and while it is a bit pretentious, it’s not harmful or somehow really stigmatising in a major way.

So, let’s just talk about what I would try to do or avoid doing when naming my potential baby, some rules that I would stick to, not necessarily about my personal style as such but more like to simply make sure that my child’s name will be at least bearable to them to live with for their entire life.

I would avoid names that feel dated and not ready for a comeback yet, so names that are typical for either my generation or the generation of my parents, because by the time my child would go to school or something, it’s likely that the name would feel cringey to their peers if it was massively popular in, say, the 90’s and then has become much less popular so that it’s associated with the 90’s very strongly and is more common among the mums or dads. I’d also try to avoid names that would seem “seasonal” to me. Ones that get a lot of usage in a short while and then quickly fall downwards in popularity to never come back again.

Unless the child would have some foreign heritage in close family, I would not use a name that could be difficult to spell here, because Polish is a phonetic language and almost everything is spelled as it’s said. It wouldn’t necessarily have to be a known Polish name though, for example my long-time favourite for a potential baby girl is Saskia. And I’ve just looked through the popularity list for the whole Polish population and couldn’t find the name Saskia there at all, so if there are any Saskias here there is less than 100 of them. yet still it ends with an -a, as a proper, traditional Polish feminine noun should, and poses no pronunciation or spelling dilemmas. I think, like most people, I’d be in that category of parents who want something unique but not too qree8tyv.

I have nothing against people using unisex names, but it’s not a thing here, and that’s probably part of why I am not a big enthusiast of them myself, with some exceptions. But I would definitely try to avoid unisex names, or at least those that are rather similarly often used for both genders, I would mind much less names like Evelyn (which is an adorable name) which use on males is pretty much historical from what i know. If I’d want to use a word name, in Polish I’d probably never do it at all because there are only few traditionally used word names and the idea is still very new. If I were to use an English word name, I’d likely use it for a middle, especially if it’s a frequently used word, or has some very specific associations. Though the word names category is very broad, I guess even Jack could count, and I think there’s absolutely nothing wrong with using names like that as they’re well known as names and very normal. My long-time word name favourite is Hyacinth, and I’d be also happy to use that, and surprisingly, on either gender. But that would only be if I lived in an English-speaking country.

Because I believe in that name & personality thing as you probably know, and I would really hate to give my child a name that wouldn’t miss their personality, I would be careful with using family/honour names. Of course honouring someone is a great thing, but I want my child to have an identity of his own, so I would never give him a first and middle name of his grandad, rather, I’d use first name of his one grandad and second of the other. And I’d never do things like promising someone ahead of time, before seeing my baby, that I’ll name my baby after them for sure. Generally I think I would want to have some names prepared before the child’s arrival but I would not make a definite decision before seeing the child and spending some time with them, I must get a feel of them, I don’t want them to be conflicted internally. If there was a tradition in my family of using family names from generation to generation (which there sort of is because me and my siblings, my Dad and all his siblings all have middle names after our parents), I’d break this tradition if I thought that the name would clash with my kid.

What would be the worst name/way of naming for you? 🙂

Names for the Joyful Mysteries

I have reblogged posts from many baby naming blogs for you guys as I’m crazy about names, but it has just dawned on me that I’ve never shared any posts from my most favourite baby naming blogger – Kate of Sancta Nomina – with you. It is my most favourite baby naming blog because it is all about Catholic names, and I am Catholic myself.
Kate re-shared this post yesterday, as it was the feast of Announciation, that she wrote a couple years ago so I thought I’d share it with you, my readers, as well, particularly that it is a difficult time for many of us so we need some more joy. Because, whether you are Catholic or not, there are lots of brilliant and joyful names here.
My favourite mysteries of the Rosary are definitely the Sorrowful ones, but I think I like the Joyful names most.
Which ones of these names are your favourites? Can you think of any more? If you’re not Catholic or maybe not a Christian in general, which names do you associate with joy or something joyful, or which names make you think of/feel joy?
I really like angelic names on this list, including Gabrielle and Gabriel. I think Evangeline/Evangelina would fit here too, because, while it is not strictly angelic, it does share one of its roots with Angelina and the like, and as a whole means “bearer of good news”. I am also a big fan of Elizabeth and many of its variant forms from all around the world. Emmanuelle is so sweet and I love it, but I also like the masculine form. I also love Felicity and Felix so very much. I think Felicia could also make a great fit for this list! I’ve never heard of Fiat used as a name before but I love the sound of this word and the Marian connection so I’m all for it. Well… maybe not here, but in English it would work brilliantly as a middle name. I think Grace/Gracia/Graciela could make this list as well, as a reference to the mystery of Announciation. Also one of other possible options that I thought of is Lucy, or its variant forms like Lucia, Luz, Lucinda, Luce, Lux, or the male variants Lucius or Lucian or even Lucas or Luke… I know that it would fit better for the Light mysteries, but I also think that it could be a nice tie to the mystery of Presentation and Jesus who is “the Light to enlighten pagan nations”, so it would make a gorgeous fit for a baby born on Candlemas since Lucy & co mean light. Oh and this makes me think of Candelaria! I adore Noelle so very much, and I like Noel as well.
I really like Christopher and its meaning. I also like John and especially the possibility to nickname it to Jack, YAY! 😀 Jesus sounds awkward as a normal human name outside of the Spanish-speaking world to me personally as a Pole, but I guess Joshua could be a cool alternative for English-speaking parents.
So, what would you add? What names fill you with joy?

Sancta Nomina

Yesterday was one of my very favorite feast days and the first of the Joyful Mysteries, which makes today the perfect Tuesday to post names associated with them! And also, Dwija’s little Helenwas discharged from the NICU yesterday and is home with her family, happy and thriving. Joy all around!!

Today’s post is a continuation of my Mysteries of the Rosary series, having already done names for the Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries, and your comments have been invaluable — keep them coming!

These are the Joyful Mysteries (read more here) (and here’s how to pray the Rosary):

The Annunciation by Gabriel to Mary (yesterday’s feast!)
The Visitation of Mary to Her Cousin Elizabeth
The Nativity of Jesus
The Presentation of the Baby Jesus in the Temple
The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple

Names associated with the Joyful Mysteries might include:

Girls

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Question of the day.

Hey people! 🙂

Which of your former classmates had the most interesting or unusual names?

My answer:

I hadn’t had very many with unusual names really. Zofijka is being much more lucky with that hahaha. One that comes to mind is a girl called Luiza, which name has always been somewhere among my most favourites for girls. It’s certainly not unheard of, but not very popular at all. Also, one of my groupmates – not classmates – at the boarding school had a very unusual name, and I’ve never encountered or even heard of anyone with the same name neither before I’d met her, not afterwards, her name was Arnika, as in arnica – the plant. – In my college/high school there was a woman called Adela, which is a classic and vintage name that I love, that has probably never been highly popular as far as I know, although is now enjoying some more attention from parents and was a little below the top 100 last year, but still would rather be associated with an elderly lady by most people. Meanwhile my classmate certainly wasn’t older than in her mid 30’s or something (it was a weekend school for adults in case you didn’t know or remember). Also, through my education, I’d had plenty of classmates with so called “seasonal”, or in any case quite modern names, that is ones that were popular only about the time when they/we were born, were hardly used before, or not for a long time, and felt unusual for some, or fresher than more classic names, and people might have not been as used to them as they are now, but that now feel very much associated with the generation. For example names like Klaudia (I had quite a bunch of classmates with this name throughout my schooling at different stages and in different schools), Angelika (I went to college with two, one spelt with a g and another with a dż), Krystian, Olaf, Oliwia, Nikola (it’s a girl’s name in Poland, unlike in many other Slavic countries), Or some had names that maybe weren’t super popular back when they were born, so might have felt a little more unexpected, but are very high for babies right now, like Kornelia, Marcelina, Nadia and Oliwier. So overall very normal. It’s possible that I don’t remember someone right now, because one year while going to school I had individual education, and was only going to school twice a week, and while in college, there was a lot of rotation, people were dropping out, new people were coming, many were absent for weeks and later on I started to do most of the material remotely and saw my classmates less.

So, how about you? 🙂

Question of the day.

If you had to name your child after a city, what would you name them? Boy AND girl.

My answer:

Well. I guess that depends… because in Poland we don’t really have the tradition of using geographic names as human first names, and for a long time, when we had official naming rules, it was actually not allowed, or at least somehow not correct from the linguistic point of view. We do have some names that are well-known as names and at the same time happen to be names of cities, but it’s not a thing really to name babies after places, even now when we no longer have that rule. I can’t really think of many Polish given names that would coincide with city names except for some very old Slavic names (like there’s a Polish town or city, I’m not sure what it qualifies as, anyway it’s called Wrocław, and there used to be an old Slavic name Wrocław as well) but those don’t really appeal to me. There also are names of foreign cities like Wiktoria, Adelajda, Konstancja and Florencja (though I’ve never seen Florencja in actual use, it’s rather Flora or Florentyna), or even Emilia as there’s Reggio Emilia in Italy, and I do like them though I’m not sure I like Konstancja and Adelajda enough to use them, and I think Wiktoria is too popular for me, and I wouldn’t call my child Emilia, first because it is my name and second because it’s popular for babies right now. So, if we are talking about Polish, I’m a bit clueless. Oh, I could use Filadelfia for a girl and call her Fila, but that would be really extravagant! 😀 Other than that I really can’t think of many city and people names in Polish.

I have more ideas if we’re talking about English names, assuming I lived in the English-speaking world or wanted to give my child a foreign name for some reason. For a boy, I think I’d go with Milan, just because I like this name and quite a lot. I also like Hamilton because I have nice associations with it, though the name itself is not very much my style and if I had any more children I’d probably have a hard time finding names that would fit with Hamilton and that I would like. But oh… wait, I’ve just got an idea! Isn’t there a city somewhere in the US that’s called Jackson? So yeah, I could happily go with that! I could have either two sons Hamilton and Jackson because I happen to like them both even though they aren’t exactly the kind of names I normally tend to like, or I could have one boy called Milan Jackson, but going by Jack, yay! I just feel like Milan Jackson goes better than Jackson Milan, what do you think? For girls, I could make whole city combos! I could happily use Sofia, Florence, Adelaide (which I like more than Adelajda), Victoria, Chelsea (though I’d rather use Chelsea as a middle), Laris(s)a. So, those are my ideas.

How about you? 🙂 It doesn’t have to be a lot of ideas, of course, can be just for one girl and one boy.

All about Emanuel

I used to think this name was strange and a bit too softy for a guy, but things have changed and I really like it these days. I like the Biblical connection and also it has something mysterious to it. The feminine forms Emanuela and Emmanuelle are even more beautiful. Emanuela and Manuela are also used in Poland (though in the case of Emanuela I have no idea if it’s actually used anywhere else other than in religious orders, Manuela is for sure though). Both are very rare and so is Em(m)anuel, though I recently met a Polish mummy online whose son is called Emanuel. I think the downside of this name for me is that it doesn’t really have cool nicknames, especially in Polish, though Russian Emik is quite cute. But I think Emmanuelle has a huge nickname potential and I love it about it.
How do you guys feel about this name, or the whole family of names related to Emmanuel? 🙂

Onomastics Outside the Box

U.S. actor Edward G. Robinson, né Emanuel Goldenberg, 1893–1973

Emanuel is the Romanian, Scandinavian, German, Portuguese, English, Czech, Slovak, and Croatian form of the Hebrew Imanuel (God is with us). In the Book of Isaiah, this is foretold as the name of the Messiah. Somewhat surprisingly, the name didn’t become popular in the Anglophone world till the 16th century (with the spellings Emmanuel and Immanuel). In continental Europe, it’s always been far more popular.

The variation Emánuel is Hungarian; Emanuël is Dutch; Emanúel is Icelandic; and Émanuél is Kashubian. I’ve really grown to love this name, not least because it was the birth name of one of my favourite male actors of the sound era!

Other forms include:

1. Emmanuel is French and English. The variation Emmanúel is Icelandic, and Emmanuël is Dutch.

2. Immanuel is German and English. The variation Immanúel is Icelandic, and Immanuël is Dutch.

3…

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Quintuple syllables

Mmmm! 😋 So many delicious names, don’t you think, guys? 🙂 So, which ones on this list do you like? 🙂
I love many of these, and like most of them actually especially the feminine ones, I find most of the masculine slightly clunky.
I love -bella names super girly and cute, so I find Adorabella adorable.
I prefer just Aurelia to Aureliana but Aureliana is cool too.
Candelaria is sweet and I love the Catholicky feel of it.
Eleonora is by far my most favourite variant of Eleanor, and Emanuela is gorgeous.
I am Emilia Anna and sometimes I sign myself Emilianna for fun, although in Polish phonetics that’s four syllables. I much prefer it with two n’s.
I have soft spot for Evangeline and Evangelina too, it’s even more frilly! 😀
Not crazy for Leokadia but I like that it becomes to feel vintage here while loses the dated & geriatric feel so should be fresh and ready for a comeback in a while in my view, just as all the Pelagias, Apolonias and other such. That could be an interesting change. I have two Leokadias in my family tree that I’m aware of. However in Polish phonetics that would actually be 4 syllables, not 5, as we pronounce it le-aw-KAH-dyah, the i is just kinda softening and doesn’t make its own syllable.
Michelangela and Michelangelo are so lovely, Michelangelo always makes me think of my Mum, and sometimes I call Misha Michelarcangelo because Russian blue cats come from Arkhangelsk and are sometimes called Archangelic.
Oliviana could be a nice twist on the overused Olivia.
Vitaliana and Viridiana both sound so fresh and make me think of spring.
Which ones do you like?

Onomastics Outside the Box

From the short and sweet to the long and flowery, here are some names with five syllables. Unsurprisingly, a great many of them are Italian.

Female:

Adorabella
Alexandria, Alexandrina
Anastasia, Anastasiya, Anastazia
Annunziata, Annunciata
Artemisia
Aureliana

Bartolomea
Bonaventura (means “good fortune” in Italian)
Candelaria
Capitolina, Kapitolina
Cassiopeia
Desideria
Diamantina
Dionisia

Eleftheria
Eleonora
Elisabeta, Elisabetta, Elizabeta
Emanuela
Emerentia
Emiliana
Evangelina

Giuliana
Immaculada
Innocentia, Innokentiya
Iphigenia, Efigenia
Ghisolabella
Leokadia, Leocadia (one of my fave Polish names)
Marionetta
Michelangela

Octaviana, Oktaviana
Oliviana
Olympiada, Olimpiada
Paraskovia, Paraskoviya
Rosamaria
Sebastiana
Solomonida
Theodosia

Valeriana
Vespasiana
Victoriana
Vitaliana
Viridiana
Yekaterina, Ekaterina
Yelikonida, Elikonida
Yelizaveta

Male:

Annunziato
Aureliano
Bartolomeo
Bonifacio
Desiderio
Emiliano
Giuliano
Martiniano
Maximilian
Michelangelo

Niktopolion (rare Russian form of Latin Nicopolitanus [citizen of Nicopolis]; born by poet Niktopolion Svyatskiy, 1854–1917)
Pantaleone (means “all lion” in Greek)
Sebastiano
Teodosio
Valeriano
Vespasiano
Vitaliano

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One-syllable names

Even though I am closer to be the kind of person who is more likely to gravitate towards Anastasias, Fiammettas, Leonardos, Zachariahs and the like, I think some of the one-syllable names are really endearing, and, after all, my most favourite male name ever – Jack – belongs to this category, hence I thought I’d share this post of Carrie-Anne’s with you guys.
Which one-syllable names are your favourite?
My most favourite of this list – except for Jac(k) that I’ve mentioned – are: Rhys (I prefer this spelling over Reese for both genders) Anne, Belle, Luz, Lyn(n(e)), Nell, Peace, Cliff, Finn, Flynn, John, Luke and Myles.

Onomastics Outside the Box

While some people gravitate towards long, flowery, ornate, multisyllabic names like Anastasia, Fiammetta, Leonardo, and Zachariah, others have a naming style which favours short, simple, and to the point. Towards that end, here are some names which fit the bill.

For the sake of relative brevity, I won’t be including Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese names. One-syllable names are the overwhelming rule in those languages, whereas they’re fairly less common in Indo–European languages.

Unisex:

Bay
Blake (I know this is traditionally male, but I was introduced to it through a female character on Guiding Light)
Dale
Drew
Lee
Quinn
Rain
Reese
Shai, Shay (means “gift” in Hebrew and completely separate from the male Irish name Shea/Shay)

Female:

Anne
Belle
Blaire
Blanche
Blythe
Bree, Brie
Brooke
Bryn, Brynn
Claire
Dawn
Dove
Eve

Faith
Fawn
Fern
Fleur
Gayle, Gail
Grace
Hope
Iynx (INKS), an obscure Greek love goddess. The English forms are…

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All about Lydia

Here’s another great post from Onomastics Outside the Box. 🙂
I honestly didn’t realise this name existed in so many languages! I like Lydia, perhaps not love but it is definitely a pretty name, with Biblical roots and feminine sounding, so there’s no reason for me not to like it. It has some elegance and sophistication to it. I also like our Polish Lidia, I guess I like the sound of it more, but the nickname Lidka which most Lidias go by ruins it completely to me and makes it sound shallow and kind of auntie-like, if you get what I mean.
Do you have a favourite form? I find the sami Livli very interesting.

Onomastics Outside the Box

Dissident Russian writer Lidiya Korneyevna Chukovskaya, 1907–1996

The English, German, and Greek name Lydia means, simply, “from Lydia” in Greek. Lydia was a region on Asia Minor’s west coast, reputedly named after legendary King Lydos (of unknown etymology). Today, Lydia is in western Turkey.

The name briefly appears in the Bible, on a woman whom St. Paul converts to Christianity. It didn’t become common in the Anglophone world till the Protestant Reformation.

Lydia was #77 when the U.S. began keeping name records in 1880, and stayed in the lower Top 100 till 1899. Over the ensuing decades, it gradually dipped in popularity, but never sank lower than #329 in 1973. From lows came highs, and in 1979 it rose to #296 from #324. In each succeeding year, Lydia was steadily more popular, till it re-entered the Top 100 in 2011. In 2018, it was #89.

Other forms of Lydia include:

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All about Elizabeth

It always amazes me how many forms this name has, and even more so how many very diverse nicknames and variants it has in English! And that’s one of the reasons why I really like it a lot. I like most of the forms of this name. Which are/is your favourite(s)? 🙂

Onomastics Outside the Box

Though I’ve had prior posts about my favourite forms of the name Elizabeth, and its many nicknames, I’ve never had a post devoted to the name in its entirety. This post will also only focus on derivatives of the standard form Elizabeth, not related names Isabel and Lillian (unless those are a language’s only forms of Elizabeth). Despite their origins, they’ve for all intents and purposes developed into their own independent names.

Queen Elizabeth I of England in the 1560s, artist unknown

The English name Elizabeth comes from the Hebrew Elisheva, “my God is an oath.” Its historic popularity stems in large part from the fact that this was the name of John the Baptist’s mother. Traditionally, it was much more common in Eastern Europe (in its variety of forms) until another famous bearer (pictured above) appeared in the 16th century and made the name popular in Western…

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My Jackophilia.

Recently, one of my penfriends asked me whether I have ever written a post about my Jackophilia – that is, why I like the name Jacek, and Jack, and many other Jac- names, and why I have such a soft spot for people with those names – and if there’s any backstory to it. And it’s only then that I realised I’ve never written a post about that. The reason is quite simple, because there is no backstory, nothing that I could clearly point out or no particular event that has started it out. But I thought I’d write a bit more about my Jackophilia anyway.

My Dad’s name is Jacek, and since as long as I can remember, I’ve just loved this name, and, moreover, I thought that if I’d ever want to have a husband, he’ll just have to be a Jacek. I didn’t have any other criteria. I still remember very vividly when I told my grandma about that, I was maybe 5 or so, and she was shocked: “Oh, but if he’d be an alcoholic?! Would you still want him because his name is Jacek?!”. It wasn’t that I was in such awe of my Dad, I mean of course, he’s my Dad, I love him, but I don’t remember ever being quite as enamoured with himself as with his name, so to put it. 😀 All my toys that I felt were more masculine – teddy-bears, figurines, characters in my games – were named Jacek. Even if it meant that there was a whole family with a Dad named Jacek and his two or more sons, also all named Jacek. It’s probably good that there is no actual feminine form of Jacek in Polish (OK there is Hiacynta, but that sounds and looks different doesn’t it, and we’ll talk about that in a minute) or otherwise there wouldn’t be any diversity at all, and so at least females had their own unique names. I also felt immediately drawn to people named Jacek. Of course, I’ve met some Jaceks that I didn’t really get along with, and I am aware that there are some pretty nasty ones out there, all sorts of liars, thiefs, greedy, weak-willed, snobbish and two-faced people who don’t like to think more than necessary, but most of them are really cool, honest and reliable people. Also, I love book characters called Jacek. If ever in a book a character named Jacek was treated badly by someone, even just spoken negatively about, whatever, my heart broke into pieces. It still does, to an extent, even when that Jacek or Jack is a real villain. I remember when I was perhaps Zofijka’s age and read some young adult Polish novel, and there was a girl who was dating a Jacek, and at some point she just realised he’s not for her and she doesn’t really feel anything for him other than friendship. I knew her decision was right, it was clear in the book they don’t fit, yet I was almost crying reading how – in my view- she rejected him and he was so so sad. It was the name Jacek that also opened my eyes for the first time for this weird phenomenon which is the influence of names on personality, which I’m still passionate about and still figuring out. And as a kid I ust loved loads of words with jac in them. I still love the English ones: hijacking for example, it sounds like “Hi, Jack!”. Saint Jacek (or Hyacinth) has been my most favourite patron saint ever since. One of my first speech synthesisers was Jacek, and I still have him, it’s been over 10 years!!! And now it’s possible I’ll have to lose him. Oh well we’ll see… I love hyacinths – the flowers – but my favourite flower has always been muscari – and I’ve just recently learnt that they’re called blue grape hyacinths in English as well! – I’ve also heard that there is a gem stone called hyacinth, and if so, I really hope that some day I’ll be able to have one in my collection. My best friend was also Jacek.
Just as I started to take an interest in the etymology of the name Jacek, I was also curious if it exists in any other languages, and I asked people if they know how Jacek is in English. Most of them would confusedly say “Dunno, guess Jack…”. Jack didn’t sound even a bit quite as good as Jacek to me. But Polish people so often do such a weird thing that I can’t fully understand. When there is an a in an English word, they’ll make things more difficult for themselves and say it as e. So lots of people actually say Jeck, or bleck instead of black, or ket instead of cat. And Jeck sounded awful. But at some point there was a Jack in my ENglish textbook and then I learned that it’s JACK, and is written almost like Jacek, and I was over the moon! A lot of Polish Jaceks go sometimes by Jack, even just for fun, but those two names are not related at all. I’ve always wanted one of my musical crushes to be a Jack. Maybe someday it’ll come true. Lemme know if there are any musicians named Jack or something similar that you like, especially not too popular ones that I could like. 😀
Jacek (YAH-tsek) originated as a nickname of Jacenty (yah-TSEN-ti), but is now a short form, and a more common one actually, Jacenty is hardly ever used, it’s more common in the east of Poland in people born in 40’s or so, but it is NOT popular at all. I like the retro feel of Jacenty and I think it could come back, I mean I would like it to, not that I think it will anytime soon, with Jacek as a diminutive. Jacenty comes from the Greek Hyakinthos – Hyacinth – as in the Greek myth and as in the flower. – THere is also a more fancy, latinate form Hiacynt (HYAH-tsint), and the feminine Hiacynta (hyah-TSIN-tah). I’m not as fond of Hiacynta as I am of the male forms, and Hiacynt sounds a tiny bit too androgynous for my taste and lack masculinity a bit, but for a girl I really like Jacinda, and I love Hyacinth both for a boy and for a girl, even though normally I’m not a big fan of unisex names. There is also a theory that Jacek could be a Slavic name coming from an Old Slavic word that would be something like jać – which means to ride, and thus could mean good rider or something, how cool! – But that doesn’t really sound convincing and believable. There is also something like Jack (YAHTSK) in Kashubian language, it is apparently a Kashubian variant of Jacek, and another one is Jacy (YAH-tsi).
Jack, meanwhile, as I hope you Anglophones know without me telling you that 😉 is a nickname of John, which evolved via an earlier diminutive Jankin, which then became Jackin. So not quite an equivalent of Jacek etymologically but who cares. For me it is like Jacek very much, the feel of the name is very similar despite it sounds differently and has vastly different roots.
I love that there are so many expressions, fairytales, nursery rhymes and all with Jack in it, it adds to the feel of the name, that it gives to the personality of a bearer in my opinion.
I don’t like every single name that has Jac in it, for example I am not a big fan of Jacob, or Jace, but I do love all the forms of Jack. All the Jackins, Jackies, Jacs, even Jocks and Jockies! They’re all so brilliant and so vibrant and each has their own feel that I love. I think the Welsh Jac is my most favourite because of how minimalistic it is but how much inner potential it has. As I said I also love Hyacinth and all its forms, perhaps Hiacynta a little less than the rest. I love Jacqueline and the abundance of her forms too, despite it actually seems to come from Jacques, which comes from the Jacob/James family.
I thought I’d give you just a little bit of an idea how I see those two names – Jack and Jacek – people with them, how I think their names might shape their personalities. Of course, as always, keep in mind that it’s not the name that shapes our personality in the first place, that there are genes and so many other things that determine who we are, and that name is just one factor. There are also people who do NOT fit their name’s description, simply because their name doesn’t fit them and wasn’t chosen with enough consideration, and they may experience some sort of a disharmony and conflict in their life and feelings, particularly between what they are like, and what their surroundings expect them to be like. Lastly, people spell their names differently, people have middle names, people use nicknames and often a Jack might in fact be a John, or a Jackson, and his personality will likely reflect it. These are just small, very generalised characteristics of Jack and Jacek, they’re not exhaustive. If you are sceptical about any influence a name could possibly have on a person, feel free to just treat the paragraphs below as my imaginings, that I hope to be as objective as possible.
Jack: – Jack is practical, frank and honest, and he expects the same honesty in return. He takes things as they are, doesn’t overthink them or analyse overly. He is intelligent and certainly not shallow, but he doesn’t like wasting his time on things that don’t necessarily need that, and feels uncomfortable around people who are exalted, he has certain difficulty expressing strong positive emotions, it’s embarrassing for him. He much prefers being active, and doing something to show his love and dedication, rather than use big words to show it. He is humourous, friendly, and a pleasant companion, who will get along with pretty much anyone, he is also an ambivert. It’s only with his loved ones that know him really well that he takes off the protective mask of self-confidence that he wears mostly unconsciously. Only those who know him really well can see his weaknesses, insecurities, some darker and deeper shades to his personality that he sometimes doesn’t accept. On a daily basis, it is a mostly happy-go-lucky guy, but with those he feels comfortable with, he can often be changeable and moody. Usually naive in his young years, if life lets him down, he can easily become cynical and imbittered, he may feel let down because he looks at others from his own perspective, expecting frankness and directness, and as a result, his trust is often abused, unless he won’t change his ways of interacting with people. Jack himself is very reliable, trustworthy, makes people feel safe around him. Or in any case, he has an ease of making such an impression on people, which could potentially make him a great manipulator, but Jacks are usually empathetic people who have their moral values. He has predispositions to be good at arts, but he needs to develop his taste, he’s not born with a mind very perceptive to art but he definitely can shape it, as well as his own, unique and captivating style if he decides to do art seriously. He is flexible and open-minded and learns quickly. Jack is incredibly resilient, responsible, usually quite fit, able to pursue his dreams and put considerable effort into it, mostly calm, but can be very passionate at times. He is adventurous and likes to explore, but also has a huge, often unconscious need for roots, security and stability, home, belonging, and has a strong sense of connection to his family and heritage. He is a traditionalist but at the same time he’s usually very liberal in his views. He’s down-to-earth, but likes being creative and make things with his hands, be out in nature which inspires paths of his thoughts and imagination in a subtle way, he also loves to engage in sports. He is incredibly sensitive but doesn’t like to show it for fear of being vulnerable. He appreciates simplicity – in his surroundings, people’s claims and characters, in thinking and speech – and enjoys the simplest things in life the most. Jack usually comes across as very charming, even though he’s rarely truly and objectively physically attractive.
Jacek – Jacek is very similar to Jack, especially in his honesty and trustworthiness. He’s also a practical thinker and comes across as very charming, as well as friendly, though not as much and as immediately as Jack. Jacek is more complicated, more sensitive, more introverted, more imaginative, has a tendency for being irritable, he is less resilient than Jack, may be needy and slightly immature which makes relationships with him more intricate. He is more egocentric and selfish, but not badly egoistical or anything like that, he just has a hard time looking too far out of his own mind frame. He has a tendency for pensivity and is more of a dreamer than Jack, he is also a bit less outgoing, but not significantly. He’s just a decent, nice, conscientious guy, assuming he was brought up well and his upbringing helped those traits to come up properly. He might have his quirks, be eccentric or lead a bohemian lifestyle, he may also often feel misunderstood, or he may just be a bit of an outsider, but if he has to, he will fit in without a clash and he’ll adjust to any company he’s in.
Jacky is very friendly and outgoing as well, and very charming and lovable, often thought of as attractive, but less honest and might easily get himself into lots of trouble, he usually doesn’t find himself the best kind of friends, he wants to be always there where a lot is going on and has a lot of zest but at the same time a really careless attitude to things. But he can be a very emotional being and anxious to please, as well as impressionable. He is egotistic and always wants to be the best, he tries to avoid conflict and live well with everyone that is important for him, and he is very attached to his mother, he also appreciates comfort and luxury in life and might be a little bit snobbish.
Jackson loves adventure and travel, and is a great dreamer, brave, courageous and determined. He is confident, communicative and charming, and wants to appear very masculine. Can be manipulative, but in any case is very eloquent and makes for a good leader.
Jac is very much like a Jack, but some traits of his character can be more pronounced and intense. For example the resilience and intellect.
Jacenty – well, I can only see him as a man older than 50 so I may not be very objective here. He is strong, masculine, self-assured, can be wealthy and materialistic and people usually respect him very much. An introvert who is very proud and may be a little haughty and icy, and not the most tolerant. He’s reserved and usually very serious, cool and calm, it may or may not mean that deep down he’s actually rather shy and doubting in his abilities.
Hyacinth – a girl with this name is fanciful, not very disciplined and rather dreamy, often artsy. She is a bookworm and a big thinker, often completely lost in thought, shy and perfectionist, anxious and sensitive, and a good observer. She may be very skilled in dance or music. A guy named Hyacinth is also an intellectual and cerebral type, may be either very poetic, or more into things like science, he is also very spiritual and has a tendency to isolate. He is capable of doing great things in his life and he doesn’t like any restrictions, he loves being out in nature and do all sorts of sports, loves being by the sea. He’s quirky and not the most communicative in the world, often may seem very scatter-brained because he has always plenty to think about and his way of thinking and perceiving the world is different than most other, more typical people.
Jacqueline is a complex character because her personality is a combination of great strength and extreme fragility. She usually makes an impression of a very gentle and delicate, I’d say dainty woman, and tends to be quiet and not talk a lot, but she has a steely will. She is very sensitive and emotional, sometimes to the point of neurotic, capable of loving people greatly, she has a tendency to overthink everything in her life. She is sharp-witted, sophisticated and gifted artistically and literally, and has a natural air of elegance about her.
Jackie though is vastly different. She loves being active, sporty, she has a lot of energy and she likes to communicate, cooperate and get together with others, she usually has quite a bunch of friends. She might struggle with anxiety and feelings of inferiority though, because she’s very much of a perfectionist and self-conscious about her appearance, especially as a teenager, but later on as well. Talking about her problems with the others is the best cure for her, so it’s good if she has someone she really trusts, she isn’t made for solitary life.
Jacinda is full of charm and sweetness, optimistic and very feminine, youthful even in her older age. A very emotional, spontaneous and sensitive person with a big, kind heart, very trusting and rather naive. She likes to give as much of herself as possible and doesn’t expect much in return, she is capable of loving unconditionally and very altruistically. Her weakness is vanity, and lack of imagination.
Jackin has a very good self-esteem and people usually like him, because he’s nice-looking. He usually doesn’t look like a very serious person, but he is a very ambitious man, often a great materialist wanting to achieve a lot in life. He has a bit of an authoritarian personality and may easily be impatient and a bit harsh-mannered. I hope you enjoyed those name descriptions.
Do you like the name Jack, or Jacek, or any of the related names? Do you know any Jacks? Do you like them? Any Jac people out there? 🙂

Question of the day.

Do you like your parents’ inspiration for choosing your name, or do you think they should have gone a different way?

My answer:

I definitely don’t like it. My Mum made a promise to herself as a young girl that she will call her daughter after her best friend (whose name she really liked at the time). At the same time it was the name of my Mum’s youngest sister. So she did, even though that friendship soon ended and Mum doesn’t even like that name as much anymore. I really love my middle, even though it is so overwhelmingly popular, but I don’t like that they just did it as everyone else in our region and my middle name is my Mum’s first name – Anna. – It is also Zofijka’s middle name, I think it would have been more cool if we had different middles. My Dad wanted Anna to be my first name. I really love Anna, but it is really so very typical and popular in Poland, plus it is as I said my Mum’s name, so I don’t like the idea. And I don’t like the nickname Ania, which Poles use ALL the time, even though Anna is already short and sweet. Ania is so bland and boring. I’d rather be just Anna with no nicks, had it been my name, but that wouldn’t work out with people. So, as popular as it is, I’m glad my first name is not Anna.

How about you? 🙂

Question of the day (17th August).

Have you come across many people who share your name?

My answer:

No. I would kind of like to meet more Emilias, I just think it could be fun to meet more of my namesakes, but on the other hand I am glad that I don’t know many of them, it’s cool this way. Although Emilia is pretty big for babies right now so I’ll probably meet more of them in future, I see little Emilias being born on our baby naming Polish community pretty much every day. I know one who’s about 2 years my senior I guess, she was in my school. The other is my Dad’s colleague’s wife’s sister. My parents no longer keep in touch with their family and I only knew her very superficially, but my Mum knew her well enough that she got bad associations with the name, and that was the main reason why it was so weird for her when I’ve become an Emilia. I also know one Emilia who is now I suppose in her mid 30’s. But neither of them I know well.

How about you? If you do know someone with the same name as you, do you like them? Do you like having/not having many namesakes? 🙂

Question of the day (16th August).

So, another name related question of the day is:

Have you ever told people to call you something different from your birth name? Did it stick?

My answer:

Well yeah, as I wrote in the last question of the day post and in many other posts, I’ve changed my name legally, but even before I did that, I wanted to be called Emilia for many years. I just felt it fit me. There are tons of names I like more than Emilia, but I’ve just always thought Emilia fits me very well. So, I guess it started when I was about 12, and I asked my family to call me Emilia. Some did, some didn’t, but they were all like “You must be really crazy!” and it didn’t stuck. Even though my Mum agreed with me theoretically that Emilia fits me better and that my birth name didn’t really and that she gave it to me not giving it much thought. So I didn’t push it, but I knew that if I am still going to love Emilia for myself when I am adult, I will change it and it will be the only way to make it stick. Although I’ve been going by Emilia with my online friends even before I changed the name.

After I changed it, it did stick, but there are still people who don’t get it and there are still people who will never call me Emilia, just because. It’s pretty frustrating, in that I don’t get why it’s such a problem for them to do so. On the other hand when I talk to people to whom I haven’t talked in years and it’s just a single occurence that we met, I usually don’t let them know I’ve changed the name as I don’t want to make things more chaotic. But still, Emilia stuck pretty well, and I hear my birth name less and less now, but it suck that it takes so much effort to manage such an apparently simple thing and get people to call you what you want.

When I was younger, I called myself Biśbiś, or some other similar things, well that’s making it a bit simplified but in any case I used to talk about myself in specific circumstances as about Biśbiś, in third person, I sometimes still do especially when I am very excited about something or feel a bit odd… like a Biśbiś, oh well I don’t know how to describe it. And me and Zofijka have made a weird word based on it which is Bibiel, and Zofijka often calls me Bibiel. I wouldn’t like everyone to call me Bibiel, but it’s cool when she does, or other peeps I’m close to. I tried to spell it Bibielle or something that would look more feminine because Bibiel kind of doesn’t make the best impression in writing in my opinion, but that never stuck, so it’s just Bibiel.

You? 🙂

Question of the day (15th August).

Hey guys! 🙂

I’m catching up on posts finally, so let’s catch up on some fun questions, as well. As you probably already know if you’re here, I’m hugely into names, so let’s focus on our names for a while. 🙂 My question for you is:

When another person says your name out loud, does it ever sound weird, to you?

My answer:

Generally not, but my previous name change and name dilemmas that I’d had complicate things slightly. My name is nothing unusual in Poland, so there are no issues like that people wouldn’t know how to pronounce it, especially that Polish is a phonetic language, and also we don’t have such a diversity of accents as there is in English so people sound pretty universal. However as you may know I’ve changed my name legally some years ago, and it took people some time to get used to it. And even though I felt like my name was my name much earlier than I changed it legally, and I was sometimes already going by it by then, I had to get used to using it all the time as well. I know for some people it was sort of weird at the beginning to call me Emilia, and, perhaps as a result, it sounded a bit weird to me in their mouth. Even my Mum, who really advised me to change it and who sometimes called me Emilia even before the official change. Sometimes people still get confused, my Dad still isn’t fuly over my name change, because he just doesn’t like changes that he doesn’t understand, and in his mouth Emilia always sounds a tiny bit sarcastic, which I don’t care about too much now. People used to mispronounce my name a lot after I changed it, they often called me Emila, which I hated, and still fiercely do! Not that Emila and Emilia are that very different, Emila can actually work as a diminutive of Emilia, though it is also a separate modern feminine form of Emil in its own right, but to me Emila and Emilia sound wildly different! I definitely don’t feel like an Emila, and there are so many better nicknames out there. People in Poland have a real need to nickname almost every possible name, so, especially at the beginning of my adventures with the name Emilia, they would just assume I must go by Emila in daily life, or would misread Emilia for Emila, or simply mispronounce. While I was using my birth name, I’d had already enough of people assuming which nicknames I like, and even people in my distant family, not to mention strangers, would automatically call me a nickname that made me feel like gritting my teeth every time I heard it. So obviously I couldn’t let the same situation happen with my new name, especially that I was already an adult and could decide myself on what I want and don’t want to be called. So I just conveniently used that argument that Emila is a name in its own right, and I am an Emilia. And everyone understood without a problem. I don’t have anything against nicknames, in fact I go by some nickname almost all the time in my everyday life, but it’s either Emi, Mila, Milka, or Emilka.

When I was using my birth name, in my perception, it always sounded weird, not because it was weird, but because it felt weird on me, and it still does sound weird when someone uses it occasionally. But I think I’ve already written on this topic and how it always made me feel ragin’ just because some innocent being was talking to me. 😀

So, what are your experiences? 🙂

Female names of literary origin, A-F

Do you guys like literary names?
I love so many of these! Most of them actually. In fact, I think if I lived in an English-speaking country I could consider some of them as names for my potential children.
I particularly love Amaryllis, Araminta, Ariel, Celia (I didn’t even know it is a literary name, I knew it was Shakespearean but not that Shakespeare used it first), Belphoebe, Clarinda, Clarissa (I could actually use Clarissa in Poland on a real life child very happily), Cordelia, Dulcinea, Ethel, Evangeline (again, had no idea it was literary!) and Fiona. Which literary names out of these do you like? 🙂

Onomastics Outside the Box

Cosette on first-edition 1862 Les Misérables cover, by Émile Bayard

While all names necessarily have to be invented at some point, names created for literary characters are usually more recent creations than other names. Their staying power and popularity seems to hinge on how well they blend into the language of origin; i.e., do they sound like actual names, or do they only work in a fictional world?

This post only covers names invented for fictional characters, not names which already existed but only became popular after their use in literature.

Albena is the heroine of Bulgarian writer Yordan Yovkov’s 1930 play of the same name. It may be based on the word alben, a type of peony.

Amaryllis is a character in Virgil’s epic poem Eclogues. The name comes from the Greek word amarysso (to sparkle). The amaryllis flower is named from Virgil’s Amaryllis.

Aminta is a…

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Jane isn’t so plain

I definitely agree with the title of this post! How can a name with such an abundance of colourful and varied forms be plain?
I also feel like even if the name Jane itself is very popular and may feel a bit neutral or a filler for some, many women with this name are really original and interesting. I like Jane because it’s so classic, feminine, goes well with many other beautiful names, has something both simple and elegant in itself.
If I had to choose I’d rather say it’s Jean or Joan that are more plain and have less character on their own than Jane. I love Joanna but only the way we pronounce it in Poland (with a Y and double n). Janina is also nice, although I used to think about it as old-fashioned. I think it’s due for a come back, and has lovely nicknames, which I think Joanna doesn’t really, I like Joanna most in its full form.
I love the Celtic forms of Jane, especially Siwan and Sinead. English Janelle is also nice, as are some others.
I could also add that other forms of this name that are used over here are Żaneta, Żanna, and – already mentioned in the post – Jana, which is not a standard form in Poland in opposite to some other Slavic countries but there were 782 women in Poland with that name in 2017 and it can be also used as a nickname for Janina so you get to hear it occasionally.
What is your favourite form of Jane, guys? Do you think it’s plain?

Onomastics Outside the Box

U.S. reformer Jane Addams, 1860–1935

Jane, like its male counterpart John, is a timeless, universal mainstay. It’s the Middle English form of the Old French Jehanne, which in turn derives from the Latin Iohannes and Greek Ioannes, ultimately derived from the Hebrew Yochanan (God is  gracious).

The name was #98 in the U.S. in 1880, and stayed near the bottom of the Top 100 and just outside of it for the remainder of the 19th century. Jane went up and down until 1909, when it rose from #130 to #116. The name proceeded to jump up the charts to the Top 50, attaining its highest rank of #35 in 1946. Its last year in the Top 100 was 1965. In 2019, it was #291.

Jean, a Middle English variation of Jehanne, was common in Medieval Scotland and England, then fell from popularity till the 19th…

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The many forms of Eleanor

I love Eleanor! And all her forms! It’s classy, regal, internationally known, has a whole pool of nicknames and forms and many great bearers – historical and literary. – Which one is your favourite? 🙂

Onomastics Outside the Box

Queen Eleanor of Aquitane (1122 or 1124–1 April 1204), painted 1858 by Frederick Sandys

The name Eleanor, in the U.S. Top 100 in 1895 and again from 1897–42 (with its highest rank of #25 in 1920), is now quite trendy again. It began slowly rising in 1987, and was up to #32 in 2018. It’s not such a secret that more than a few parents choosing this name just want the trendy nicknames Ella and Nora.

Eleanor is also fairly popular in England and Wales, at #54, and New Zealand, at #76.

The name derives from the Old French form of the Occitan name Aliénor. One of the earliest known bearers was the above-pictured Queen Eleanor of Aquitane, named for her mother Aenor (of unknown etymology) and called alia Aenor, “the other Aenor,” to tell them apart.

It’s uncertain if other early bearers were Aenors to whom the…

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Question of the day.

Hi people! 🙂

A quirky name related question for you today:

Has anyone ever told you that you don’t look like your name? Like: “You’re Mary? You don’t look like a Mary!” and if so, did they suggest what name you did look like?

My answer:

Don’t know if it was more about looks, or character/personality/behaviour, or perhaps both, but yes, my own mother, who gave me my birth name, told me that. 😀 Isn’t it a bit ironic?! When I told my Mum for the first time that I really liked the name Emilia, she told me that actually, she doesn’t feel like my birth name suits me, and if she was to make that decision again, she wouldn’t give it to me, and that Emilia did feel kind of better though she didn’t know what she’d rename me if she could and had to make her own choice. She said a strange thing, that when she mentions me or talks about me with someone and uses my name, it feels like she’s talking and thinking about two different people. 😀 That sounded weird, but felt even more weird for me because it corresponded with my feeling when people talked to me using my birth name. It felt as if they thought I am someone different, like I need to change my behaviour and the way I act to suit their expectations and their view of me. And there are still people who call me my birth name, and in most cases I get it because it’s family and if you’d always known someone by a certain name it’s hard to suddenly change it, and I still get this feeling when they call me my birth name, I didn’t know why it is so but I always felt a kind of annoyance when someone called me by my birth name, and there was some weird dissonance or something, I guess. Another weird thing here was that apparently when I was born, my gran asked Mum if she’d already picked a name for me. Mum said that she was hesitating, and she suggested Emilia. My gran! I was really surprised when I heard that because, well, my gran has five children, and looking at their names, her naming taste appears to be completely different and I can’t imagine her liking the name Emilia. Of course it was a different time when her children were born, late 50’s-early 70’s, and the name Emilia would be a bit more unusual then, but still… quite unbelievable for me even after a couple years since I learnt about that. Also I’ve never had a particularly close relationship with her, if any at all. That doesn’t mean we don’t like each other or anything, just can’t connect on any deeper level, we’re pretty glaringly different kinds of people, other than that we both seem to like the name Emilia. 😀 She didn’t comment though, or at least not to me directly and not so that I would know, about my name change.

And then there is my aunt, after whom I was named, who says I absolutely don’t fit the name Emilia. And I guess I know why she thinks so. Simply because most of my extended family, who knew me by my birth name, and don’t see me often enough and don’t know me well enough to feel familiar with the change even after about four years, still call me my birth name. And, among them, I don’t feel like an Emilia or not fully. I still feel like I have to play that other girl they want, don’t know why really because I’m not that desperate for their acceptance, maybe it’s just something that I can’t get rid of, or maybe it’s some coping/defensive strategy or whatever. I only feel fully like an Emilia when I’m with people I’m feeling at least a bit of a closer connection and like we get each other, or when I’m on my own, or doing what I love, or with people who don’t know me at all so don’t have any rooted assumptions/prejudices/expectations towards me.

Aside from that, when I was a kid in nursery, I met a woman who constantly called me Anna, and I didn’t correct her, but at some point someone else did, and she was like: “Oh really?! I’m sorry, I must have forgotten. But you look so much like an Anna!”. 😀 I also had a teacher who once renamed me, I assume either on purpose and jokingly or because he forgot my real name but still wanted to call me something, and he called me Maryla. 😀 I am 100% sure he didn’t think that was my real name, because… I don’t know how to explain it really haha… well I guess because it’s one of those names with a really kind of dusty, outdated feel, that aren’t bad or that don’t have any common bad associations but that most people just don’t like. So the likelihood of me or my equal being called Maryla is like if your average kid in an American school was called Muriel for example (I love Muriel but I’ve heard there are also many people in the US who hate it). 😀 A girl standing next to me immediately said in a very serious voice that I am not Maryla, but he was laughing and like: “No? What a pity. But from now on she’ll be. She looks so to me”. That was kinda funny, although, trying to be objective, I couldn’t and still can’t think of anything in myself that could make me seem like an average Maryla. 😀 And the girl beside me was even more confused than me. 😀 The guy was generally quite bizarre though.

Also a girl from our neighbourhood whom I used to play for some time when we were children once said a similar thing, though not exactly that I don’t look like my name. We were playing some make-believe game and I picked the name Helena for myself in it, and she was like: “Oh Helena, you’re really like a Helena!”. I do love Helena to pieces, but I’d go mad if someone called me Hela, if it was my name, and that would be highly likely. And I’m not really convinced Helena would fully suit me, I think you need to be a bit more expressive than I am to be a good example of a Helena and in harmony with this name, not extroverted, but just a bit more expressive, more engaging with other people I’d say, and maybe a bit impulsive too which I’m normally not at all.

OK, so how about you? Have you ever been renamed like that? 😀

Question of the day (5th May).

Would you ever consider naming your child after yourself, so she/he would be a “junior”? What would you think if this custom came back?

My answer:

Back when I was still using my birth name, and didn’t really think seriously about changing it, despite I did already think about myself as Emilia and loved this name, I thought that maybe if I had a daughter, I could call her Emilia instead. But now, even if I wouldn’t change my name to Emilia, it doesn’t seem a good idea for me. I think I would feel like something is not right if I did that. I could give my potential daughter my name as a middle, but probably wouldn’t, despite it is a kind of custom in our family and our region. I find it nice but boring.

Emilia is also a really hot name at the moment, I guess quite a bit more popular than among girls my age, not far below the top 10 and rising, and with Amelia being #9 and other -lia names in close proximity, and that’s off-putting for me for a baby name. As for this custom in general, of naming children after parents, like using a parent’s first name as a child’s first name, it’s not really common in Poland. I remember when I was a child, Olek told me about his class teacher “You know, you would get along with my class teacher, she likes the name Jacek, just as you, her husband is Jacek, and her son is Jacek too!”. 😀 And we were both like WOW! That’s crazy! How does she tell them apart? She really must love that name. So, I’d say it’s not really normal here. If you want to name your child after yourself or your spouse, use your name as their middle name. OK, my Dad wanted to call me Anna, after my Mum, but that’s probably why he didn’t in the end, because it’s her name already and because it’s not normal. But since I am now pretty familiar with lots of weird naming customs all around the world and especially in the English-speaking countries, it doesn’t really impress me and I don’t mind it, if someone wants it, it’s not my business. I just think it’s a little bit boring because there are so many beautiful names out there. Why limiting ourselves to just a handful?! Because I can see that if a parent names their child after themself, and a lot of people start to follow that trend, their children will likely do the same, and then naturally people’s names might suddenly become really boring and repetitive. I even have a problem with this middle names tradition over here, that everyone needs to have their parent’s name as a middle almost obligatorily, even though I do love my middle name after my Mum, I feel like it doesn’t allow creativity, especially that you can have only one middle in Poland if you’re a Polish citizen, not counting confirmation or a few traditional/obsolete hyphenated exceptions. Also, I can’t ignore the baby namer in me shouting “NO!” because as a firm believer in that a name carries a personality, or at least a strong potential influence on a person with itself, I just can’t help but feel that if you call your child after yourself, he or she may feel kind of unconsciously forced to be like you! To fulfill your expectations, follow your footsteps, won’t feel their own sense of identity, or at least that their name doesn’t belong fully to them. I was named after a close family member and my Mum’s best friend at the same time (they both shared a name), and still felt that way, like they want me to be someone I’m not, so how must a person named after their parent feel? That’s how I see it, you don’t have to agree with me and I’m pretty sure many people wouldn’t. So if someone would ask me for an advice regarding this, I’d say yes, you can, but if your name is easily nicknamed, try to find a different nickname for him, even if it’s just one letter or syllable more/less or a slightly altered spelling or let him have a nickname unrelated to the nickname that he likes and can go by daily, you’ll have to try to show your child that you embrace who he comes to be, that you accept him as he is and you’ll have to really stress that in his upbringing and make sure his personality develops harmoniously. I feel though like there really is a risk of some kind of disharmony between your own individuality and the way your family influences you. On a little different note, it’s just a little thought and it doesn’t mean that I have a problem with people naming their kids after themselves or am prejudiced but in a way it kinda feels a bit selfish to me. ‘Cause generally if we name our children after someone, we admire that person, or want to honour them because of something. So it feels slightly as if someone had a bit too large an ego. 😀

How about you? 🙂