Names of the Week: Gem and Sora

So I did finally think up of a name to pair with Sora, and it occured to me whilst listening to the radio one morning. How is this so? Because there’s a radio station in my area called Gem 106.
It’s only recently though that we’ve had a radio station called Gem, as it was launched on the 1st January 2011 – so is a few weeks older than 1. Prior to being called Gem 106, the radio station existed with a previous name: Heart 106. For those wondering about the 106 at the end, that denotes the radio frequency – Gem Radio can be found at 106 FM. We used to have a radio station called 96 Trent FM, whose name followed a similar format; infact, Trent FM was relaunched on the same day Gem was as Capital FM – following a merger between Trent FM, Leicester Sound and Ram FM.
The reasoning behind the naming of Gem FM is worthy of some eye-rolling, as GEM stands for Great East Midlands – and one of the favourite catchphrases on the radio is Great Music for the Great East Midlands.
Aside from badly named radio stations, a variety of moth carries the name Gem – also known as orthonama obstipata. It is commonly found in Continental Europe and bordering lands, but does not range much further beyond the Baltic regions, nor indeed into Russia. Thanks to the moth’s quality of being prone to vagrancy, you can also find them in Britain – although mainly down south.
Gem is also sometimes used to refer to one of the constellations of the zodiac. It was first described by Ptolmey in the first 48 described in the 2nd Century. These days there are now more like 88 constellations to sort through. As mentioned previously, Gemini comes from Latin and means twins. The constellation is associated with the twins from Greek Mythology, Castor and Pollux.
The alternate spelling of Jem is worth a mention too – he’s a nickname for James, Jeremiah, Jeremy or even the female name Jemma/Jemima. You can sometimes see the name as an anglicised version of the Turkish name Cem.
Probably the best known Jem would be the brother of Jean Lousie Finch aka Scout – Jeremy Atticus Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird. I’ve definately seen an uptake in usage of the name Atticus, and both Scout and Harper are becoming somewhat fashionable.
There is a problem with the name, in that there are two rebel groups from Asia/Africa who bear the name Jem. The first one isn’t so bad since it’s the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) which is concerned with the Darfur conflict in the Sudan. They are fighting against the Sudanese Government, and are a member of the Eastern Front – which is a rebel coalition formerly active in the east of Sudan along the Eritrean border. After the Eastern Front signed a peace deal with the central government, the JEM lost access to its funding from Eritrea.
The second group is called Jaish-e-Mohammed, which literally translates to The Army of Mohammad. It is based in Pakistan, and is a known terrorist Islamic group, established in March 2000. It’s probably not one you’d have heard of, given that their aim involves India. They wish to end Indian rule in the disputed area of Jammu and Kashmir – to expel Indian security forces from the area and then unite Jamu and Kashmir with Pakistan.
As for our female name, not much time has lapsed since I covered Sora a few weekend posts ago, but I’ve been itching to cover her. Aside from being the Japanese word for sky, you can find the name Sora elsewhere.
First off is that Sora is the name of a tribe in Northern Indian. Sometimes their name may be spelled as Saora, Soura, Savara or Sabara. This tribe is the second most prominent tribel community in the Rayagada district of Orissa, and in specific areas in Koraput and Gajapati.
The people of this tribe speak a Munda language, but the written language is not followed by all. They practice was is called shifting cultivation, rather that what we know as settled agriculture. This means that they farm one land, then move onto another piece of land after a few years and thus leave the land to recover from cultivation. My geography teacher used to call it the Slash&Burn method. Some of them are taking up the settled agriculture these days.
There is also a language called Sora which is a Munda language of India, which has roughly 300,000 speakers. It is mainly spoken in the Ganjam District, but can be heard elsewhere such as Koraput and Phulbani regions. Despite the name of Sora generally being pronounced in this area as Savara, it has no relations to a Dravidian language also called Savara. The Sora language is written in the Latin alphabet and the Telug script, and in 1936 the Sorang Sompeng script was devised for the language.
Stepping away from India, you may also like to know about the type of small waterbird called the Sora. They can be mostly found in the Americas, but you can occasionally find them in Western Europe – when they are usually mistaken for the Spotted Crake, which has a different wing pattern.
The fnal thing I want to talk about is the fictional character called Sora, who is male. He appears in the best-selling Kingdom Hearts series, first introduced in the first game of the series in 2002. He’s a cheerful teenager, and is best friends with Riku and Kairi. Sora has also made supporting appearances in a few games from the series, and reprised his role in manga and novel adaptations of the games.
That perhaps a best palce to end, since it shows us that both names have the potential to be used for both genders, but the ones I’ve sort of assigned them in this post seem to be my preference.
Categories: Names of the Week | Tags: , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Names of the Week: Gem and Sora

  1. Sora is going on my favourites list! How pretty but non-frilly.


  2. We have a television station named Gem, but as far I know, it’s not an acronym for anything. That’s one of the reasons I thought the baby name Gem Tongue was a bit odd – kind of like calling your kid Channel 9.

    I’ve seen Sora translated as “songbird”, supposedly from Native American, but cannot get any definite information on it.


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