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? 🙂

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? 🙂

The Hottest Baby Names In Poland Right Now (my post from Nameberry).

So here is the piece about baby names in Poland I’ve written for Nameberry. It has been published there today and you can find it here.Your feedback about the article would be greatly appreciated, and I’m very curious about your opinions on these names.

 

The Hottest Baby Names In Poland Right Now.

Maybe you have Polish heritage and want to give your child a name relating to Polish culture. Or maybe you’re simply interested in naming trends around the world. Here’s a list of the ten hottest names for boys and girls to give you some idea of what’s most fashionable in Poland today.

Some of these names are traditional, some more modern, but certainly there are several that could be, or already are, used more widely.

girls

Julia

Julia has been the queen of names since 2001, when it reached Number 1 after climbing the charts through the 1990s. Polish parents seem to like gentle, feminine sounding names for girls, and Julia definitely is in this class.

Thanks to Julia, names like Julianna or Julita are rising too, although much more slowly. Julka, Juleczka, Julcia or Julisia are the most common nicknames.

The initial J takes on a vowel sound somewhat like a long E or a Y, taking on its own syllable: ee-OOL-ya.

Zuzanna

Like Julia, Zuzanna has been one of Poland’s favorites since early 90’s. It’s a strong, solid, feminine name, with biblical and literary connection, that ages well and has a range of nicknames.

Zuzanna could be also an interesting option for parents from other countries, a fresh alternative to Susanna/Susanne with a Zzippy feel.

There was a song for kids about a doll called Zuzia that was popular at roughly the same time Zuzanna started rising significantly, which could be one reason for its popularity. Zuzia is the most common nickname, but there are also Zuza, Zuzka, Zuźka, and Zuzanka.

Zofia

Zofia is classy and traditional, strong and feminine, the Polish spin on the internationally favorite Sophia. It sounds very serious and lady-like, but can be adjusted to younger bearers with some charming pet names, such as Zosia (as in Girls actress Mamet), Zośka, Zosieńka, Zocha, or more creatively Zofijka or Zofisia.

Zofia has been often used in Polish literature, most notably in the national epic of Poland, Pan Tadeusz, by Adam Mickiewicz.

Lena

The strict naming laws that ruled for years in Poland forbade (among other things) the use of nicknames as full names, which may be why so many parents like to do just that these days. Lena is a nickname for the also-stylish Helena or Magdalena, or any other name ending in –lena – and we have quite a lot of those in Poland.

Lena may be a nickname name, but it has nicknames of its own, for example Lenka, girly and cute.

Maja

Another nickname-y name, Maja was for years only one of the many pet names for Maria, sometimes used for girls born in May. Pronunciation is exactly like Maya – my-ah.

One contributor to Maja’s popularity was Maya The Honey Bee, a television anime series that was very popular in Poland. Many little Majas are jokingly called Maja the Bee for a joke, sometimes shortened to Majka or Majeczka.

Hanna

The classic Anna, which is the Number 1 name for females of all ages in Poland, is giving way for the next generation to Hanna, a new, more dynamic and energetic favorite. Hanna is still very traditional, in use since the 12th century. Hanna nicknames include Hania, Hanka, Hanusia and Haneczka.

Amelia

As in many other European countries, Amelia is conquering more and more parents’ hearts. It was popularized by a medical series broadcasted in early 2000’s, where one of the fictional babies bore this name. Pet names include: Amelka, Amelcia, Ami, and Mela.

Alicja

An elegant, classy name, with a pretty much the same aristocratic vibe as Alice has in English-speaking countries, Alicja is a timeless classic that’s only recently become widely popular. It is most often nicknamed to Ala, rather sadly, in my opinion, because the full Alicja – pronounced ah-LEETZ-ee-ah — sounds so great.

Maria

Maria is the second most popular name for Polish females of all ages after Anna. Considered a granny name by many, it was overwhelmingly popular for centuries, but now many parents who like Maria’s traditional vintage feel are coming back to it. Maria is also very often used for religious and family reasons, like Mary in the US.

Widely used as a middle names, Maria’s most common nickname is Marysia; others include Maryśka, Maja, Majka, and Mania.

Aleksandra

Aleksandra is a long, regal, powerful sounding name that managed to outstrip the no-less regal Aleksander to become one of the most popular names of the second half of the last century. Popular as a first name among millennials, hardly anyone uses the full form, with the most common nickname Ola.

Some more original Aleksandras may want to be called Sandra, but that can be hard to achieve in Poland, since the name Aleksandra seems to be inseparably connected to the nickname Ola in an average Pole’s mind. Ola is well-used in books, songs, and nursery rhymes. Other nicknames can be Olka, Oleńka, or maybe Ala.

boys

Antoni

The Polish form of Anthony is a perfect example of Polish parents are turning back to the traditional for baby names. Antoni was hugely popular in the first half of 20th century,  then fell out of favor for decades to finally enter the top 50 again in early 2000s. Most common diminutive is probably Antek, other diminutives include Tosiek, Tolek, Tolo, Tunio, or Anti.

Jakub

Like Jacob in the US, Jakub – pronounce ya-kobe — is one of undisputed rulers in Polish names’ popularity rankings in recent years. This name has known in Poland since the 13th century, but it was only in the 1970s that it started to significantly increase in popularity, reaching Number 1 in 2000 and staying in that position until 2015.

A fun fact regarding this name is that its most popular nickname – Kuba – is one of the very few masculine names in the Polish language that ends in -a, an ending that’s usually reserved for girl names. Other nickname options are Kubuś or Jakubek. An older, kind of archaic form of Jakub is Jaksa or Jaxa, which, although still rarely used, seems to be liked by more and more parents.

Jan

Although it’s a feminine name in the English-speaking world, Jan – pronounced yahn – is the usual form of John in countries like Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, and Poland. Jan is said to be the most popular name borne by men in Poland. It has ranked high since the early 2000s and is also a very common name among the older generations. Jan is also a popular, safe and traditional middle name choice. Common nicknames include Janek, Jaś, Jasiu, and Jasiek.

Szymon

Biblical names, particularly those originating from the New Testament, are extremely popular for boys here. Szymon, along with much less used Symeon, is a Polish form of Simon.  Pronunciation is shih-MOAN.

Franciszek

Like Antoni, Franciszek is a very traditional name that had been popular for centuries, then fell out of favor in the second half of last century only to come back in early 2000s. Probably not the easiest name to pronounce for an English speaker – it’s something like frahn-SEE-shek — Franciszek is a Polish form of Francis. Its nickname, Franek, seems a bit more usable abroad.

Filip

Filip had never been as popular in Poland as it has been in recent years. It has all that Polish parents seem to like in a name: It’s solid but not harsh, has extreme nickname potential, is short, and – yes, it’s biblical! I think it could also be an interesting alternative to Philip for American parents seeking something creative, but not too out there. Some nickname possibilities are Filipek, Fil, and Filuś, but it allows really a lot of creativity and options could be never-ending.

Aleksander

Since the late 90s, Aleksander is getting more and more attention, after years of being in the shadow of its feminine form Aleksandra. In fact, all the Aleks- names are in the spotlight now: Aleksander, Aleks, and even quite niche Aleksy are getting more attention. Aleksander’s most common nickname is Olek, because of the archaic form Oleksander. The letter X hardly exists in the Polish alphabet, but many parents find the letter x more appealing in names than ks, which results in Alex and Alexander climbing up fast as well. Other than Olek, Aleksander can be nicknamed Alek, Oluś, Alik, Ksander, Sander, or Sandi.

Mikołaj

Mikołaj, pronounced MEE-ko-lie, is a form of Nicholas. It was very popular amongst the nobility in the middle ages, but was rarely used in modern times until the 90s. Most popular nicknames are Miki, Mikołajek, or Mikuś.

Wojciech

A genuinely Polish, timeless name, Wojciech consists of two Slavic elements – voji meaning “soldier”, and tekha “joy, comfort, solace”. There aren’t many Slavic names that are very popular in Poland right now, so Wojciech seems to be a bit of an exception to the rule. It has been always more or less popular and liked by many generations. While there are many famous Wojciechs that have been contributing to this name’s success, the one who is most important is Saint Wojciech, patron saint of Poland. Nicknames include Wojtek and Wojtuś. Pronunciation, which would undoubtedly prove difficult for English speakers, is something like vo-check.

Kacper

Kacper (or the more anglo-friendly Kasper) is a Polish form of Jasper. Kacper has been strongly associated with one of the Three Kings – Jasper, Melchior and Balthazar – and given particularly to the children born on the 6th January, their feast day. The only nickname that is more commonly used is Kacperek.

Which ones do you like the most? Would you use any of them for your own child?

So so thrilled!!! My post has been published on Nameberry!

Guys, I am just so excited today. ::)

Remember when I wrote that I came back to my idea that I would like to be a baby namer, and then I talked with my Mum about it, etc.? And then that I was writing to a few name experts asking them for some advice?

So I guess I also told you that only one lady responded to me – she is one of the founders of Nameberry – and she offered to me that I could write articles for their blog to get some more experience and visibility. So, quite obviously, I jumped on the chance and soon afterwards I wrote a little piece, about the most popular names in Poland right now.

And it’s up now on Nameberry.

I will republish it in the next post and share the link with you all, and also I ad love to get some feedback from you, and I’m curious which names of those you like the most. 🙂

Yay, finally I am doing something else besides being my Dad’s secretary. 😀 It’s cool and very helpful, but not very challenging, so yeah, I’m happy I can do something else now, even if it’s just a little thing, you always need to start somewhere, right?

 

Question of the day (9th May).

Five names you like, but would never use?

My answer:

Well this is such a complex topic, so let me expand it a little bit. Hm, we can look at this questions in two ways in my case, ’cause I just have so many favourite names from various cultures. I would never use most of them in Poland, while for example if I lived in an English-speaking country, even being Polish myself, I would probably hesitate giving a Polish first name to my child that is difficult to use outside of Poland.

But well, since I live in Poland and don’t plan to change it in the near future, let’s look at this from the Polish perspective.

a few years ago there has been a new law set here, regarding baby names. Before, the baby naming law was pretty strict here, it wasn’t like in English-speaking countries or some others. The name for your child had to indicate their gender (so for girl it had to end with a, as most of feminine nouns end in a in Polish, there are some exceptions that have been widely known or used for ages as feminine names like Beatrycze (Beatrice), Rut (Ruth), Carmen, Ines, Michelle, Doris or Nicole, and yes, no unisex names!, for most people over here even an idea of a unisex name still seems to be a little confusing or even ridiculous), it couldn’t be ridiculing – and the civil registration clerk or however such person is actually called was deciding about whether the name is ridiculing or not, and what may be even more shocking for some, apart from some exceptions they couldn’t be diminutives. Also, because Polish is a phonetic language and actually everything is pronounced how it’s spelled and phonetic rules are always the same, not as changeable as in English for example, there was also a rule that names should be written according to Polish spelling rules so that a child wouldn’t have to explain everyone how their name is spelled and so that everyone seeing it written would know how to say it. So some clerks would have the right to question whether the child can actually be called Nicole, because the way it’s spelled, in Polish it should be pronounced nee-TSAW-le, which sounds weird, doesn’t it? 😀 Besides, giving your child more than two names was also rather not possible. These rules wouldn’t regard children of mixed couples or citizenship.

However, since a few years, the laws aren’t so strict. Now, parents can freely choose almost any foreign name they’d like. You also don’t have to choose the name indicating your child’s gender, so you can freely call your daughter Krzysztof, and your son Anna, if you only fancy. You still can’t choose more than two names though, but you can use nicknames.

That being said, although I think it’s good that people now have more freedom in naming their children, as it paradoxically seems to decrease the amount of weird names given to children, I personally would rather stick to some rules, just to make my child’s name fit here.

While I believe in erudition and intelligence of my compatriots and that they know that Jessica should be spelled JES-i-k? and not yes-SEE-tsah, I also think that not everyone has to be a name/linguistics nerd and know how to pronounce such names like Kärstin. There are lots of beautiful names, so why make your child unhappy naming them with a name that no one around can spell/pronounce correctly? That can be really frustrating, I believe. Unisex names can be something really cool, but since they’re still not really popular here, I wouldn’t rather think about naming my child with a name used for the opposite gender, the more that although there are some English unisex names I like for either both genders or for the gender that it’s rarely used, I still prefer to use names traditionally, rather not calling boys Elizabeth and girls Richard. 😀 Also, my personal opinion is that often such very extravagant, very foreign names with Polish surnames sound a little pretentious or even snobbish. My surname isn’t indigenously Polish, but anyway, I wouldn’t like my child to be perceived snobbish, even though I like for example the name Liselotte. I could use it for a book character, not necessarily my own baby.

Then there’s the thing with nicknames. I love lots of cute nicknames, but most often it is so that I much prefer them as a nickname of a longer name, than a name itself. It just looks more classy. And gives us more possibilities. Look at one of my favourite English nicknames – Lizzie. You give it to your daughter as a full name. And how can you call her? Lizzie, Liz, maybe Liza… but that’s pretty much all about it. You can get bored of it quickly, plus if your Lizzie will want to think about some really serious job, like, dunno, being a scientist, just Lizzie will look a little bit unprofessional. That’s my opinion. ANd now look at ELizabeth. At home she can be Lizzie, at school – Ellie, Ella for her boyfriend, ELizabeth at her job, Lisa for people from other countries, Betsy for her grandparents, etc. whatever comes to mind. Isn’t that much much more creative?!

Plus, the rule about ridiculing names was very reasonable imo. That takes a lot of responsibility off the shoulders of people who are unexperienced with names and don’t really know what they want from the name of their kid. Often people think that giving their child a distinguishing name will make the child successful, but the effect might be just the opposite, and very distinguishing names can be also ridiculing. There is a website of The Council Of Polish Language, they just give opinions about names, or were giving when the laws were more strict. And oh gosh if you could see loads and loads of just so ridiculous names that people were asking for opinions on. TO give you a few examples – Kermit, Strawberry, Legia (Legia Warsaw is the name of a Polish football team)…

So finally, I think I would try to not be too strict or narrow-minded in choosing names for my kids, but also would still try to adjust to the Polish culture and I think I’d like to go at least a bit with the tradition.

I was mentioning some names, most of which were just examples, I do like Kärstin and Liselotte, but they’re not my most favourites. So here’s the list of the 5 non Polish names I would never use living here for my baby, but could take into consideration in different conditions.

1. Jack (because we have Jacek here, which isn’t the same etymologically, but looks and feels quite the same, plus, because people here have a very annoying and for me weird habit of pronouncing it as Jeck. Grrrrrrrrrrrr I hate it! I can’t understand it at all.)

2. Melissa (it could be perfectly usable and ait’s beautiful, but it doesn’t have any history here and the only thing it would be associated is the plant and its sedative effects, plus I have an inkling most people would think it’s very snobbish. Not like I would care so much personally, but wouldn’t like people to think this way about my kid).

3. Evangeline (too strong association with the Gospel, which is called Ewangelia in Polish, it would look a little bit sanctimonious on a daily basis, I’m afraid, no matter if spelled Evangeline, Evangelina or Ewangelina, plus pronouncing issues, as there are actually two ways to pronounce it here, with hard or soft G, and both are correct).

4. Misha (I guess obvious 😀 but really, I wanted to call my child so, Misha is such a cool name. For either gender, but paradoxically more usable for a boy here, because of Russian associations, Misha Barton doesn’t seem to be popular over here, I suppose, although I’m not an expert as for that).

5. Oisin (also pretty obvious, it’d be troublesome in any part of the world except for Ireland, or so I guess. And there are so many Irish, Scottish, Welsh and Cornish names for both genders I’d love to use, but that would be completely inappropriate here).

Very curious to see your favourite but not usable names. 🙂