Posts Tagged With: Mireille

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Du pain.

I spent a good deal of my France trip snowed-in, but that didn’t hold me back when it came to spotting some interesting tidbits and names to share. Truth be told, I actually got home last night, but opted to save this post until today.

One of the first names I want to mention is Cocatrix. In between snowstorms I managed to make it to a chateau, in which a mini-artsy area resides. One of the rooms revolves around a creature called the Cocatrix. It’s meant to be an investigation into seeing how much information one needs to throw at someone before they come to believe in an imaginary creature. It was an interesting concept, although I’m still a fan of the whole pretty-paintings style of art. As a name, it’s worthy of thought. Nameberry ran a post this week featuring Cora. In this name she is very much smooshed with another darling-of-the-moment: Beatrix.

Then we have Beyly. Before you all rush to comment on how horrified you all are to see Bailey mutilated in such a way, I ask you to consider the following information: I saw it as someone’s surname, not firstname. Speaking of differing spellings, I also came across a Jheni, a Devid and a Dorine – the latter had a sister named Clémence and both were under 6 years of age.

Moving swiftly to French names, since they’re at their most abundance in France. I managed to meet no less than 4 ladies named Mireille; a Cécile; an Alfre; a Muriel; a Nathalie; a Gilles; an Olivien and a Sandrine. Actually Alfre doesn’t really belong to this set of names since I’m thinking it could be a slight variant of Alfr, which is a name from Norse mythology and means elf. The name Alfie derives from Old English, but too shares the elf meaning. Either way, to me Alfre feels French, but that may be because I’ve spent all week speaking French, where one of the major groups of French verbs are ones ending -re (the other two being -er verbs and -ir verbs): mettre (to put/place), prendre (to take), vivre (to live), suivre (to follow) – to name just a few popular verbs oft heard. There’s an actress called Alfre Ette Woodard.

Not so much a name, but in the time there I came across the French word Pomélo – rather reminds me of Pomona and Pomeline, but it has no relations to apples, rather it’s the French word for a type of grapefruit.

A few more notable names I noticed:

  • Bafétimbi. The name of a French footballer, currently playing for Lyons and the national team.
  • Clovis. Admittedly, the name of the neighbour’s poodle.
  • Edda. The name of a small child’s doll from a supermarket trip.
  • Hannelore. Tween/Teen-aged girl – referred to as Laure.
  • Ludovic. Nicknamed Ludo.
  • Maberly. The name of a lady who served me in a shop.
  • Melhi. Bus driver.
  • Sidse. A half-German female.
  • Thekla. A toddler.
  • Timandra. The name of a lady in the editorial credits for a magazine I read in France. The title of said magazine eludes me.
  • Vicco. 30-something male.
  • Widget. Author of an article I read whilst in France, this was the name given but I could see the argument of it being a nickname.
Categories: Name Spot of the Wek | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Slightly More French

Julien Quentin, from Au Revoir Mes Enfants, from yggnoise.com

Last week we talked about French names which could work just as well in the English-speaking world. Now it’s time for a look at the flip side of the coin at which popular French names are less likely to work well, whether it be due to cultural settings or pronunciation problems. This list is subject to opinion, however, as what I’m not saying is that you should avoid all names mentioned here. What I am saying is that these names have the potential to cause fret if used outside a French-speaking region. In the last post I highlighted the name Thibault, with the less than obvious pronunciation of tee-bo – but there are plenty of other French names which could trip you up when it comes to trying to say them correctly:

That’s one of the biggest issue when it comes to using names from other cultures: the pronunciation problems. Mireille certainly looks pretty, and sounds pretty when said the way the French do: mee-ray. It’s also worth warning that the French pronounce Camille differently to the English – the ls are silent, plus the name is also considered very much unisex over there. Same goes for Sacha, and Jocelyn is strictly male. As for Quentin, he’s said something like CAWN-ten. The other classic example is Guillaume – the French form of William – which they pronounce as gee-om.

The sole female name I find myself strongly advising against you want to use a legitimately French name, but live in the States, or worse yet England? Fanny. It’s actually quite reasonably well-used in France to this day, and certainly used to enjoy a reasonable amount of popularity back in ye olde days, but given what it’s become slang for in the English-speaking world – especially England – it’s a name that will likely never take off as fellow Frances-derivative named Frankie is. If you want to use Frances, but don’t want you’re daughter to become Frankie, might I suggest Annie or Effie as alternatives.

I also mentioned in the last post how the French use Bastien as a short form of Sebastian – but like Fanny could lead to associations to less-than-wonderful words. It’s a slight shame really, and Bastien could work if you wanted it to. Bastien has popular use in his own right in France. Two other male names which takes on a whole new meaning in France are Come and Loan.

Capucine is a female name in France, and it distinctly similar to our word capuccino. Is it slightly too French? I hesistated when it came to including this name in this post, but feel it’s worth highlighting the name either way.

Whilst not strictly a French name, they do love the name Thais – said tah-eese – which strictly speaking comes from Ancient Greek. It’s popular following it’s use by French composer Jules Massenet. French film Les Enfants du Paradis has been attributed to the popularity of the female name Garance.

In France, Etienne is clearly masculine as he’s their form of Stephen, but I’ve had plenty friends mistake him as a female name. You can understand why, given that many French female names end -enne, think: Adrienne;Vivienne et al. Elouan also falls slightly foul of this, as does Rayane. In France, Valentin is more popular for lads than Valentine is for females, although both are relatively well-used in their own rights. My sister’s favourite name in this category which we shall end with is Sofiane, which is a popular name for males, not females.

Categories: French Names | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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