Posts Tagged With: Persephone

Weekend Post: Good, Fresh, Uncomplicated Names

Eat’s ethos

Since I shared this photo in last week’s Spot post, I’ve been thinking about the Eat ethos, which is good, fresh, uncomplicated food.

What would be the naming equivalent?

Let’s break it down.

FRESH

Fresh is often used (and I’m particularly guilty of this one) as another way to say unusual, but one could also see it as a name that hasn’t been overexposed.

In the end I settled for 4 set criteria for a name to pass this category and go on to the next category. For a name to be fresh in my eyes, it must not be:

  • A name that has been in the Top 100 for 10 years at some point in time
  • A name that ever been #1
  • A name that has been given to a high profile celeb offspring
  • A name that has risen more than 100+ places in the Top 500 since 2000

Taking this into consideration, names that fail this category include:

  1. Amber
  2. Amelie (up 1420 since 2000)
  3. Chloe
  4. Harry
  5. Jack
  6. Kayden (up 1326 since 2000)
  7. Lexi (up 1949 since 2000)
  8. Oliver
  9. Suri
  10. Thomas

GOOD

For a name to be good, I believe it has to have little negative connections such as an evil forebearer (whether fictional or not) or less-than-lovely meaning.

8 names that would fall down at this hurdle, but would’ve passed the previous category include:

  1. Adolf – self explanatory
  2. Azrael – aka The Angel of Death
  3. Bellatrix – think Harry Potter
  4. Dolores – means sorrows + think Harry Potter
  5. Gretel – Hansel&Gretel tale
  6. Louhi – name of a death goddess in Finnish mythology
  7. Memphis – the US city known for crime
  8. Mordred – rival of Arthur in Arthurian legend
  9. Nuala – the Nuala in Irish mythology was less-than-nice
  10. Persephone – means murder /to destroy

UNCOMPLICATED

What makes a name complicated? One could say it is a name which causes little spelling/pronunciation issues, such as James and Ruby.

8 names that fail this test, but passed the previous two include:

  1. Caoimhe – pronounced KEE-va
  2. Ceridwen – pronounced ke-RID-wen
  3. Eluned – pronounced EH-lee-ned
  4. Heliodoro – just generally a mouthful of a name
  5. Joachim/Joaquin – just generally a name that causes me a headache when it comes to pronunciation
  6. Schuyler – pronounced SKY-ler
  7. Solveig – pronounced SOL-vay
  8. Xanthe – pronounced ZAN-the

So, without further ado, here’s the list of  some of the names I think  pass all three tests:

BOYS

  1. Angus
  2. August
  3. Barnaby
  4. Bruno
  5. Caspian
  6. Cosmo
  7. Ever
  8. Ezra
  9. Fergus
  10. Gray
  11. Indigo
  12. Ivor
  13. Rio

GIRLS

  1. Avalon
  2. Blossom
  3. Coral
  4. Gwen
  5. Hero
  6. Ingrid
  7. Josie
  8. Lux
  9. Nova
  10. Orla
  11. Roma
  12. Rosemary
  13. Vera

Do you dispute any of these choices? Are there any names you think qualify too?

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Skylanders

My Spyro figurine

Now, I’m a huge fan of the Spyro video games, moreover, the original PS1 set of games that to this day see plenty of use. Recently I cracked, and joined the Skylanders hype. What is Skylanders? It’s the new Spyro game which integrates toys with video games – you basically take this plastic figurine of Spyro or friend, stick it on this ‘portal’ thing plugged into the console and voilà, the character is introduced into the gameplay. So far, my brother and I have found this of great use for when we’ve almost killed Spyro as we can quickly swap to another figurine with full health.

There are 30 of these figurines which are all called Skylanders, and I thought I’d shared with you some of their names:

Boomer – a troll character, of the tech elemental

Camo – a plant/dragon hybird, of the life elemental

Cynder – a once dark dragon, of the undead elemental

Dino (-Rang) – a dinosaur, of the earth elemental

Gill – a gill-man, of the water elemental

Hex – a female dark elf, of the undead elemental (hey, if people love Rex)

Terra(fin) – a shark, of the earth elemental

A couple of other names of characters which appear in the Skylanders game:

Arbo – a talking-tree-creature-thingie who guides you through some of the levels

Auric – a bear, who appears to be based off Moneybags from the original games

Cali – a cat you rescue early on in the game

Fargus – a Mabu character

Flynn – the hot-air balloon-piloting character from the earlier levels

Hugo – the assistant who guides you through the game

Mabu – the name of a race of bear-like creatures from the first level

Persephone – the fairy, who seems to be based off Zoe from the original games

Rasmes – a dragon character

Wendel – son of Fargus

Categories: Video Game Names | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Names From Children’s Literature

The Gruffalo from a recent animation of the book, from guim.co.uk

As a kid, I read in most of my free moments. Nowadays, I haven’t properly sat down with a book for nearly a year now. I remember as a child being worried about the local library moving me to the adult’s library when I turned 14 and thus preventing me from taking out books I wanted to read. Of late, our library has added a teen fiction section to their adult section of their library; it’s a tiny cubbyhole, though. Given yesterday’s post, I seem to be getting a kick out of kid’s fiction at the moment so you never know, may go and implusively buy a book tommorow.

Whilst I may not be particularly interested in reading much anymore, there are several names I first came across in the world of make-believe:

Axel (The Gruffalo, Julia Donaldson)

The Gruffalo is a modern classic, and whilst Axel Schiffer didn’t author the book, he did illustrate it. I find The Gruffalo an endearing tale, which seems to rub off on the name Axel. Some may accuse him of being in the same clase as Gunner and Cannon, but I find him charming enough. Far from deriving from a vital part of a car, Axel comes from the Biblical name Absalom which means my father is peace. A key wearer of the name who no doubt influenced the tough guy image of the name is Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose, who was born a William. In 2010, 43 little Axels were born in England&Wales giving the name a ranking of #706.

Briar&Lark (Circle of Magic, Tamora Pierce)

There’s a very interesting point to make with these names, and that is that Briar is a male character who chose the name for himself. He wanted a nature name, but nothing too feminine. Since this was the first time I really met the name Briar, I mostly think of him as a male name. Yes, there is Sleeping Beauty, who was known as Briar Rose but I never really watched that particular Disney Classic as a child. Incidently, Briar’s chosen surname was Moss. I’m probably one of the few to see Briar as male, since he does not rank as a male name in England&Wales; however, on the female list, Briar ranked at #5707 with only 3 girls given the name – with a further 5 named Briar-Rose.

Lark was female, and I’m still not wholly won over by the name since I use lark in a verb sense on a fairly regular basis as slang for joke. In terms of popularity, she was also given to 3 girls born in England&Wales in 2010.

Clarice (Clarice Bean, Lauren Child)

Clarice is the third child in a rather interestingly named sibset: Marcie, Kurt, Clarice and Minal Cricket. If you recognise the name of the author, Lauren Child is also the lady behind Charlie&Lola. Both books are aimed at the under 9s market. The name Clarice is part of the Claire family of names, which come from Latin and mean light. In 2010, there were 9 girls named Clarice in England&Wales in 2010.

Keturah ‘Ketty’ (Medusa Project, Sophie McKenzie)

Ketty is only ever called Ketty during the novel – after reading the book I took to the internet to find out what exactly Ketty was short for, if it were short for anything at all. Whilst reading the book, I had my bets penned on Katherine, which seemed the most likely given one can derive Kitty from Katherine – so why not Ketty? On the website for the books it is revealed that Ketty is, infact, a Keturah. She has a brother named Lex, which is short for Alexander.

The name Keturah is of Biblical origins and means incense, with only 3 girls given the name in 2010 in England&Wales.

Persephone ‘Sephy’ (Noughts&Crosses, Malorie Blackman)

Perhaps the most controversial book on this list, I actually won a signed copy of this a few years ago. It deals with the topic of racism, but the situation is flipped, thus those with dark skin (Crosses) have higher social status than those with white skin (Noughts). Sephy was of the former group and the daughter of a wealthy politician. I’ll be honest, I accidently read the third book first, then went back to the third and that’s about as far as I got with this particular series of books.

Persephone was given to 7 girls born in England&Wales in 2010. Most people first come across this name in Greek mythology, where she was the daughter of Demeter and Zeus. She was abducted by Hades, and eventually allowed to return to the surface from the underworld for a period of time each year.

Rosen (We’re going on a bear hunt, Michael Rosen)

I was read this book constantly as a child, and after the first time prompty renamed ones of my toys with the name Rosen. There are plenty of Rose-themed names out there, and aptly Bree has recently covered a selection of them, whilst only today has Abby gone in depth with Rosamund. In terms of Rosen, I see the name as somewhat unisex – kind of like Rowan is. Rosen also happens to be the German words for roses – kind of reminds me also of the German word for ruby: Rubin; looks an awful lot like Reuben, doesn’t he?

Wren&Hester (Mortal Engines, Philip Reeve)

Hester is the mother of Wren. I actually hated the character of Wren – so initially cared not for the name; I did really like Hester, though, and thus like her name. Nowadays I do like Wren to an extent, but probably more for a lad since the character did somewhat tarnish the name as a female one for me. The name Hester is a variation of the name Esther.

The names totted up as such in the popularity stakes in England&Wales in 2010:

  Rank Births
Wren (b) #2941 6
Wren (g) #2589 9
Hester #1815 15
Categories: Book Names | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

When Penelope Gets Popular

Paloma Faith may inspire you, from metro.co.uk

When I originally penned the Clementine post, I never imagined doing a sequel post or even turning it into a series, but the fact of the matter is that the name Penelope is getting popular, and I’ve started to wonder about what alternatives are out there. This post started off as me pondering about what other names I could get Penny from (the final three being Typhena, Peony and Euphemia), but the original draft of such a post seemed like more should be said. An elaboration was in order, and a sequel was born. So, what other names could we use when Penelope gets too popular for our liking? Just to illustrate the fact that she has grown in popularity, here’s how she’s fared in the past few years:

2003 2004 2005 2006
Rank 583 565 562 678
Births 50 55 59 46
2007 2008 2009 2010
Rank 515 427 328 272
Births 72 99 135 181

A ranking of #272 is something to take note of, since she’s shot up from #678 in 2006 to where she is today. To start off with, it seems best to first approach this topic by asking what exactly are the kinds of names people are pairing the name Penelope with, either as sibling or middle names? A trip to the London Telegraph Birth Announcements was in order to find just that out, and it was an eclectic bunch of names to say the least; here is a cut-down version:

  • Annabel
  • Aurelia
  • Bróna
  • Clementine
  • Esther
  • Evelyn
  • Dorothea
  • Felicity
  • Florence
  • Georgina
  • Harriet
  • Hettie
  • Horatia
  • Jemima
  • Lucinda
  • Marissa
  • Muriel
  • Nancy
  • Orla
  • Scarlett
  • Serena
  • Willa

The names Clementine and Florence came up severeal times, whilst Lucinda also came up at least twice. There are some conflicting styles in the names, from the seldom heard Horatia, to the very Irish name Bróna. Since Florence is a clear favourite, it seems apt to kick off a list of suggestions with the younger Nightingale sister’s name: Parthenope. Like her sister before her, Parthenope was named after an Italian city, and like Penelope, she’s four-syllables. If long names are your preference, another four-syllable P name is Philomena, which shares Penelope’s Greek roots. Dorothea from the above list also shares this trait. Other four-syllable Greek names include:

  • Angeliki
  • Calliope
  • Cassiopeia (technically five-syllables)
  • Elisavet
  • Eugenia (modern Greek form: Evgenia)
  • Konstantina
  • Louiza
  • Ophelia
  • Paraskeve (Pah-rah-ske-vee)
  • Persephone
  • Theodora
  • Timothea
  • Zenovia/Zenobia

But you may have no Greek heritage, which means the above list may means nothing at all to you. Fear not, for there are other, more English-based, options out there. The current leader of the pack for me is Peony. She’s floral, like Lily, and could also shorten to Penny if your heart so desires. I’m astonisahed that only 9 of them were born in England&Wales in 2010, because she is such a pretty name. I first came upon her, myself, when reading a book which I can’t for the life of me remember. But what I can remember was that Peony wore trousers with different coloured legs. She was an eccentric child, to say the least. Another seldom used name in England&Wales in Tolulope, given to just 4 girls in 2010, whilst Temitope was given to 10 girls.

Another P name that I reckon will be rising fast here in the UK in the next few years is Paloma. We’ve already had pop act Florence&The Machine attributed to the rise of Florence, and there’s another similar artist in the UK right now called Paloma Faith. She was the goth girl, Andrea, in the first of the rebooted St.Trinians films, but has since embraced colour to the max. Her name is Spanish for dove. Another British pop act, Mika, has three sisters named Yasmina, Paloma and Zuleika.

Going back to 2000, Penelope was given to 35 girls that year, as was Henrietta. Other names ranking similarly to her, and also containing four syllables (within 45-25 births) in 2000, with their 2010 ranking/birth number in brackets after are:

  • Angelica (#531, 75 births)
  • Henrietta (#730, 50 births)
  • Ophelia (#559, 71 births)
  • Valentina (#521, 77 births)
  • Veronica (#452, 92 births)

As you can see, non of them have broken the Top 300 as Penelope has done, but they have all risen since 2000 and could rise further but maybe not as quickly as dear Penny. That leads us onto another point, one could simply use a nickname of Penelope instead. Aside from Poppy, which resides firmly in the Top 100, the nicknames are generally not as popular as their long form:

  • Nell – #390
  • Nelly – #747
  • Penny – #396
  • Petal – #3156
  • Piper – #719
  • Polly – #300
  • Posy – #4688

I would also suggest Pippa as a nickname for Penelope, but she’s also on the express train to popularity at the moment. I guess one could argue that Philippa is another great alternative choice, who has actually been going backwards in the past few years. Other vintage-sounding P names include Patience, Prudence and Pearl, and Pomeline is a name with Royal heritage.

To conclude, Penelope is a great name with some great alternatives should her popularity put you off. My line on popularity is the same as always, though: if your heart says go for it, just go for it regardless of how popular the name may be.

Categories: Girl Names, Nicknames | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Straining Bookshelfs

The Thief Lord cover, from amazon.com

One of the best places to root around for names inspirations is books. The fictional world is where anything goes really – I once read a book named Storm’s Child where the main characters were called Rail (male) and Moa (female). Whilst I never got into Garth Nix’s main successes, I did love his book Shade’s Children – where the main characters were called Drum (male), Gold-Eye (male), Ninde (female) and Ella. Eoin Colfer once wrote a book called Supernaturalist, with characters Cosmo, Stefan and Mona. I digress, I read too much as a mid-teen and now my bookshelfs strain under the weight of all the books I own.

Since both Abby and Elea have both covered names of fictional characters this week in their own ways, I’m instead going to bring you inspiration from the names of the author’s which I read back when every waking moment of my life curled up with a book, along with the name of one of my favourite titles by them and some names from said title:

Benjamin Zephaniah (Teacher DeadJackson)

Benjamin Obadiah Iqbal Zephaniah is his full name, and I’m in awe of the mix of styles he’s been bestowed. I’ve met two young Zeph’s recently – one was a Zephyr and twin of Asher, whilst the other was a Zephaniah.TV’s Julia Bradbury welcomed a son named Zephyr earlier on this year in August.

The name Benjamin is of Hebrew origins and means son of the south/right hand, whilst Zephaniah is also of Hebrew origins and means Yahweh has hidden. For the sake of completion, Zephyr means west wind, whilst Asher means happy or blessed.

And a quick breakdown of each name’s popularity in 2010 in England&Wales:

Benjamin Zephaniah Zephyr Asher
Rank 22 1407 3332 364
Births 3005 17 5 112

Blue Balliett (Chasing VermeerPetra and Calder)

Balliett purposefully chose unusually names, believing that’s exactly what would appeal to her readers. When I initially read Chasing Vermeer about 3 years ago I didn’t like the name Petra all that much, but she’s grown on me. She’s the female form of Peter, which means rock, although the character was named with reference to the ancient city of Petra and as part of family naming tradition.

Now, for some hard data from the 2010 data for England&Wales. Blue doesn’t rank for girls (the author is female), but does for the boys:

Blue Calder Petra
Rank 1801 n/a 1472
Births 12 n/a 20

Cornelia Funke (The Thief LordProsper, Boniface ‘Bo’, Scipio, Esther and Ida)

I adore the name Prosper, and it’s from this book that my love for him was first sparked. I acknowledge that Funke’s other work, the Inkheart trilogy, is better known, but this one has a special place in my heart.

As for the name of the author, first we must note that the author is German, and then note the name is the female form of the Latin name Cornelius. The name comes from the Latin element cornu, which means horn. 4 girls were named Cornelia in 2010 in England&Wales, putting it at #4688. On the flip side, 6 lads were named Cornelius last year, and thus at a ranking of #2941. And for the names of her characters I mentioned above? (The ranking for Bo is the male ranking)

Prosper Boniface Scipio
Rank n/a n/a n/a
Birth n/a n/a n/a
Esther Ida Bo
Rank 156 878 1483
Birth 334 40 16

Cressida Cowell (How To Speak DragoneseHiccup, Fishlegs and Camicazi)

I know that I’m probably too old for Cowell’s books these days, but I am still eagerly awaiting the next installment of the Hiccup franchise next month (the film adaption of the first book dissolved me into tears-the only film to ever do so). I love the name Cressida, and she’s the medieval form of another name I love: Chryseis and also means gold. In Greek legend, Chryseis was the daughter of Chryses, a priest of Apollo. Since Hiccup and friends don’t rank, but Cressida does at #4688, with 4 births – same as Cornelia.

Enid Blyton (The Mystery of the Burnt CottageFrederick ‘Fatty’, Margaret ‘Daisy’, Lawrence ‘Larry’, Philip ‘Pip’ and Elizabeth ‘Bets’)

Enid is almost synonymous nowadays with the author, and the name comes from Welsh and means either soul or life. As an author, she chose rather classic names, all of which are not as popular nowadays as they were back when the books were first published, the one mentioned above came out in 1943:

Enid Frederick Lawrence
Rank 2104 95 355
Births 12 688 117
Philip Margaret Elizabeth
Rank 296 505 49
Births 152 80 1356

Compare the rankings of 2010 with that of 1934 when  all six names were in the Top 100:

Enid Frederick Lawrence
1934 68 24 72
2010 2104 95 355
Philip Margaret Elizabeth
1934 56 1 14
2010 296 505 49

Malorie Blackman (Noughts & CrossesPersephone ‘Sephy, Jasmine and Meggie)

The Noughts&Crosses trilogy was the one which first introduced me to the name Persephone, although I wasn’t sure of the pronunciation until I watched the television show Firefly. My copy of the first book is also signed by the author, Malorie Blackman, which I won, rather than stood in a line for.

The name Malorie is a variant spelling of Mallory, a name that comes from Norman French and means unfortunate. Rather makes me think of the CBBC show Trapped, where the contestants are known as unfortunates. Persephone’s meaning is not established, although she has been linked to Greek words which means murder or to destroy, whilst Meggie is a short form of Margaret and Jasmine is a lovely botanical name. They rank, as such:

Malorie Mallory Persephone
Rank n/a 4688 3156
Births n/a 4 7
Jasmine Meggie
Rank 41 5707
Births 1466 3

Tamora Pierce (The Magic In The WeavingSandrilene ‘Sandry’, Trisana ‘Tris’, Daja, Briar (male) and Lark)

I actually took this book out of my local library by mistake more than anything, but found myself reading it anyway. Whilst a little difficult to follow to begin with, I loved it enough to read all it’s sequels. This is the first real occasion I came across the name Briar, since I was never really shown Sleeping Beauty as a child, and I actually like it. The character himself chose the name, wanting something botanical, yet masculine. I think he achieved that, since I’ve often misread the name as Bear.

As for the name of the author, Tamora, she’s a variant spelling of the name Tamara, which is a variant of the name Tamar, which means palm tree in Hebrew. Predictably, none of the names have really made an impact in the popularity data for England&Wales (the data for Briar is the female one, since there is no male ranking):

Tamora Tamara Sandry Lark
Rank n/a 458 n/a 5707
Births n/a 90 n/a 3
Trisana Daja Briar
Rank n/a n/a 5707
Births n/a n/a 3

Tom Becker (DarksideCarnegie, Vendetta and Marianne)

I listed him because of his surname, rather than his first name. Becket is a nouveau name getting some attention right now, and I think I like Becker a tad more. He’s a German surname and variant of another surname, Becke, which means baker. The Carnegie Award is given out annually to a single children’s book which has impressed, and named after Andrew Carnegie.

Out of all the names, only Marianne ranks in the England&Wales data – at #946 with 36 uses.

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