Posts Tagged With: Amandine

5 Names From Eurovision 2013

Eurovision 2013 winner, Emmelie de Forest, from

Eurovision 2013 winner, Emmelie de Forest, from

In my absence, I completely missed out on talking about the always-fun-to-watch Eurovision. Never fear friends, because that’s what we’re exactly talking about today.

To the uninitiated, the Eurovision Song Contest happens every year sometime in May and is jam-packed with cheesy love songs and down-right craziness. Apparently the show is taken quite seriously on continental Europe, whilst it remains seen mostly as a joke in the UK, with our commentary for the night headed up by the King of Sass himself, Graham Norton. Some of his more memorable quotes of the night included:

‘I know it’s tragic that we’re thrilled with getting 5 points’

‘Finland was tipped to do well..but even we’re beating it’

‘Oh it’s Sideshow Bob, nice of him to show up’

‘The end of this performance has two girls kissing. If two girls kissing offends you, you need to grow up’

The last quote above referenced the Finnish entry, and was one of the many sources of discontent this year as Turkey refused to broadcast the show because of the kiss. Other incident involved the German entry being accused of plagiarism for it’s similarity with last year’s winning song, Euphoria, performed by Loreen.

This year’s song contest took place in Malmö, Sweden and the winner was notable for the spelling of her name: Denmark’s Emmelie de Forest with Only Teardrops. Other notable names from the night included:

1. Alyona/Aliona

There was both an Alyona and an Aliona competing this year, for Belarus and Moldova, respectively. The name derives from the Russian named Yelena, which comes from the familiar Helen. The meaning of the name Helen is somewhat debated, with the common theories stating she means torch.

2. Esma

The Macedonian entry included a lady named Esma Redžepova, which ultimately failed to qualify for the final. Whilst Esma may look like a variant of Esme, she’s more likely to be a form of Asma, which means supreme in Arabic.

3. Amandine

First up on the night was what Graham Norton called France’s answer to Courtney Love, Amandine Bourgeois. The name Amandine is well known and regularly used in France, and is the French form of Amanda, a name that means loveable.

4. Despina

The Cyprian entry was led by singer Despina Olympiou. Her name is the modern Greek form of Despiona, which means mistress/lady in Greek. Like Esma, she failed to qualify for the final.


5. Stelios

The last name is a male one, being that of Stelios Siomos, who was the guitar player for Greece’s dancing referees entry this year, Koza Mostra. who hit the stage with a catchy tune entitled Alcohol is Free. The name is a variant of Stylianos, which is of Greek origins and means pillar.

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Not too French

Christophe Maé, from

We kicked the week off looking at a very modern sounding French sibset, so it seems fitting to return to the topic of French names to end the week. Not French words, just French names. Specifically French names that are not too French, like Thibault is. I love the name Thibault, but chances are that you haven’t a clue how to say him, and neither will the majority of the English-speaking population. He’s likely too French for those who don’t have a grasp of the language. If you’re still musing about how to say Thibault, it’s tee-bo.

At the other end of the spectrum is the second most popular girls name in England&Wales: Sophie – the French form of Sophia. And I recently met a Manon/Matisse sibset at a very British cricket club. Other French forms of popular English names include:



Bastien (short form of Sébastien)






But it’s the middle ground of popularity we’re looking at. Something distinctly French. Like Clement. Meilleur Prénoms put him at #19 in 2009 for France. You may have heard Clementine mentioned more and more often, but it’s the masculine name which has really taken off in France of late. On the same list, Clemence ranked at #34 for girls.

Another male name example is Jules. The only Jules I know who aren’t Julians are French. French singer Christophe Maé and his partner Nadège welcomed a son named Jules in 2008. We seem to spell it differently here in Britain as British chef Jamie Oliver is married to a Juliette ‘Jools’ and we also have the widely popular Jools Holland here in Britain, who was born Julian Miles. Jools Miles sounds quintessentially jazz, doesn’t it?

The name Enzo is hugely popular in France, too. I’ve seen people call him the male equivalent of called your child Porsche. The name reportedly became popular in France following Zinedine Zidane using it for his son. Yes, the Zinedine Zidane who famously headbutted an Italian player in the 2006 World Cup final. Enzo is a somewhat controversial name in France, given that it’s Italian, not French. Moreover, the Italian short form of Vincenzo and Lorenzo. Enzo is a zippy little name, especially good if you think Ezra is going to the girls – a name Abby recently featured as a re-run.

Another zippy short name popular in Frenchy-land is Axel. To English ears, this may sound like a somewhat rugged name – and that may add to his charm for you. My other favourite French male name beginning with an A is Aurelian, and we can’t forget to mention Rémi. Yes, he has an accent but I’ve seen plenty parents forgoe this. Infact whilst on the subject of accents, I have a friend named Chloé because her Dad became mixed up when he went to register her – she should be a Chloë.

One of the more popular female names in France right now is Clara – currently at #201 in England&Wales, and not strictly a French name per se. A very French invention cooking up a storm in France is Lilou. Yes, I love Lilou, she’s like a Lily/Lucy smoosh that just seems to work. In a similar vein, the French also love Luna, or their slight variant spelling of Louna. They also recognise the rocking-awesomenous of Lou.

Romain and Romane are popular for boys and girls, respectively; Same goes for Leo and Leonie; Valentin and Valentine. Whilst we may consider Agatha still slightly aged for our babes, the French are embracing their version: Agathe. Another A name they love is Amandine: their version of the once popular name Amanda. There’s also Amine for the lads which has origins in Arabic, and means truthful. For me, I think of the organic compounds known as Amines, but that’s by-the-by. The French and Dutch variation of Anna is also popular: Anouk.

Finally, there’s the Mae– group of names to consider: Maëlys;Maëlle;Maeva;Maeline; Maelie. They all sound distinctly French, but the pronunciation may not come naturally to you. For Maëlys, it’s mah-el-EES; for Maëlle, it’s mah-el.

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