Remember how I mentioned Ralph a few weeks ago? In the same post Mark Kermode got a mention and now he’s back because I was listening to one of their old podcasts when they suddenly got onto the subject of the pronunciation of Ralph, here’s the excerpt:
Not a particularly in depth discussion, I’ll give you that. What it does prove however is that the RALF pronunciation of the name appears to be the most popular one these days here in the UK, despite it traditionally being pronounced RAYF.
I don’t suppose any readers still maintain the RAYF pronunciation? There’s an upcoming Disney film called Wreck-It Ralph, which will likely be using the RALF pronunciation.
Here’s another fascinating tidbit about the film: one of the lead females is called Vanellope.Penelope, eat your heart out.
The name Ralph ranked at #258 in England&Wales in 2010. He is of Old Norse origins, and means wolf counsel.
Clearly, this is a topic that I remain enthralled by. I do feel a Pronunciations Video Part Deux coming on. Stay tuned.
So today, I’m partaking in a little experimentation, because it’s always fun to change around formats and try new ones, this is an example of the latter. A word of warning: it was a mostly spur of the moment decision to record this video.
Some more about the names covered:
Dolores – 2010 E&W ranking: #3156
A Spanish name taken from the title of the Virgin Mary, it means sorrows. Has been widely used in the English speaking world since the 19th century.
Ralph – 2010 E&W ranking: #258
Of Old Norse origins meaning wolf counsel.
I did check up on this, ‘ralf’ is the American pronunciations, whilst ‘rayf’ is the traditional way to say it in England, although nowadays the name is usually said ‘ralf’.
Imogen – 2010 E&W ranking: #26
A name created by William Shakespeare for his play, Cymbeline, although the name was originally meant to be Innogen. Likely to derive from the Old Irish ingen, which means daughter, girl, maiden.
Bernard – 2010 E&W ranking: #1082
Of Old English origins, meaning hardy bear.
Anthony – 2010 E&W ranking: #148
From the Latin name Antonius, which is likely to be connected to the Latin word ante, which means before. The spelling with the h was likely to be influenced by the Greek word anthos, which means a flower.
Molly – 2010 E&W ranking: #42
An old nickname of Mary, which has evolved to become a name in its own right.
Marley – 2010 E&W ranking: #593
Originally an English surname, meaning pleasent wood, although I have seen it linked to the meaning of weasel.
Harry – 2010 E&W ranking: #3
An old nickname of Henry, which has evolved to become a name in its own right.
Of Greek origins, meaning peace.
I also looked this one up; this name was originally said with three syllables, but has since adopted a two syllable pronunciation used by most.
Alice – 2010 E&W ranking: #43
From the Old German name Adelheidis, meaning noble.
Lucy – 2010 E&W ranking: #21
Derives from the Latin, lux, meaning light.
Douxy – 2010 E&W ranking: n/a
Most likely from the French word doux, which means sweet.
Gabriel – 2010 E&W ranking: #78
From Hebrew, meaning strong man of God.
Benjamin – 2010 E&W ranking: #22
From Hebrew, meaning son of the south.
Oh, and the film review I mentioned about half way through can be found here.
One of the first Horrid Henry books, from scholastic.co.uk
I still have a slight penchant for young children’s books, I don’t read them per se, but they’re always great for a quick through when one’s waiting for someone and time is short, or, and I may be in the minority on this one, but I always like to challenge myself to see how many things I can get done in the time it takes for the microwave to ping – and today’s activity in the 3 minutes I had was to flick through a Horrid Henry.
Created by Francesca Simons and illustrated by Tony Ross these beauties first hit the shelves in 1994 – meaning that I was amongst the first small children of Britain to become familiar with the story – especially when a TV series followed. The book I flicked through today happened to be one of my old copies that I gifted to my sister several years ago. If that wasn’t enough, a live-action version hit cinemas in July 2011 – but I’ve yet to go and see it.
The premise of the books is startlingly simple: Henry is a young boy who isn’t particularly nice. I like to think of him as a younger version of Sid from the first Toy Story film, you know, the one who taped Buzz to a firework?
Either way, there’s a wonderful selection of names mostly of a British vein to look through from the books in question, although they are all stylised the same was as Horrid Henry:
(Fiery) Fiona, often taken as the feminine form of the name Fionn, which means fair.
(Goody Goody) Gordon (friend of Peter), commonly believed to mean great fort, although there are other theories.
(Great Aunt) Greta, a diminutive of Margaret. This character believes Henry is actually called Henrietta.
(Magic) Martha, derives from the Aramaic and means lady.
(Perfect) Peter (Henry’s younger brother), derives from Greek and means rock/stone.
(Prissy) Polly, derived as a nickname for Mary.
(Rude) Ralph (friend of Henry), from Old Norse meaning wolf counsel.
(Singing) Soraya (class-mate of Henry), an Arabic name meaning the Pleiades.
(Vomiting) Vera (baby cousin of Henry), means faith in Russian, also associated with the Latin verus, meaning true.
I could only cover one family this week – I almost posted this on Friday after finding out about some of the names but held back a few days, I even resisted the temptation to post some of the names on Twitter.
Mark Fiennes was an English photographer and illustrator. He is a cousin of the noted explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes. He met and married a lady named Jennifer Lash in the 1960s. As an aside, his wife was more often known as Jini, and was a noted artist and novelist. Sadly, these days neither are still with us, but together they welcomed no less than seven children:
Joseph Alberic (twin of Jacob)
Jacob Mark (twin of Joseph)
We could stop here, but if you dig a little deeper, there are plenty more wonderful names to discover. Let’s start with Jacob, who is married to a lady named Melanie. Together they have two children, born in the early 2000s:
Whilst both Isabella and Nathaniel are relatively heard of, the choice of Teale as the name for their eldest child is certainly unexpected. Nathaniel could simply be a family name, given that young Nathaniel shares his name with Uncle Ralph, for whom the name is a middle name and with one of his cousins whom I shall mention shortly.
I also wanted to mention the children of Magnus, with his wife Maya, born in the late 1990s:
The name Shanti was recently championed over at Name Fancy, and I certainly was surprised to see it used on a child so soon after reading the post. But alas, it is the last sibset which really inspired this post. It was inspired by a rather humourous email from a friend asking whether I was aware the the actor who played a young Lord Voldemort was called Hero. How ironic, I remember thinking.
Martha is married to George Tiffin, and together they have three children:
Hero Beauregard (m)
Mercy Jini Willow
Some scoff at using Hero as a girls name, despite the historical usage, so I kindly present them with a male Hero, born in the late 1990s. It’s worth noting that Hero’s uncle, Ralph Fiennes, plays Voldemort in the films.
Ariel and Jasmine are the classic examples of names which can both attribute some of their popularity to a Disney film. Logically speaking, therefore, upcoming Disney films could feature future starlets of the name world.
And the most recent release of Tangled has shown just that – the male lead character was called Flynn. Well, nicknamed Flynn for Eugene. At the same time, the Disney Channel Original Series Good Luck Charlie is about to welcome child no.5. The names of the currently four of them are:
Teddie is female, and I’m fairly certain it’s short for something; I haven’t the foggiest what, though. As for the name of no.5, if I’m honest, none of the names on the poll really stood out for me when I went to cast my vote, but here are the ones in contention:
Wreck-it Ralph is due to be released in November 2012, featuring the eponymous character and there’s a fellow character called Fix-It Felix. Ralph and Felix? Both names I’m hearing more and more often, so Disney could be bang on here. For England&Wales in 2010, the names ranked at:
Ralph – #258 (2009 ranking: #294)
Felix – #122 (2009 ranking: #122)
Ralph comes from Old Norse roots, and means wolf counsel, whilst Felix is well-known for meaning lucky in Latin.
Moving closer to now we get to The Secret World of Arrietty is yet another take on the classic tale of The Borrowers. It was actually released in Japan in 2010, but is due to be released by Disney in the US at the start of 2012. Other members of the Clock family include Pod, Homily and Peagreen. According to the Disney page, it’s AIR-ee-ett-ee, and one could presume that neatly side-steps the issue Harriet and Harry seem to suffer in the States – that being people pronouncing it as they do hairy. One set of parents from 16 and Pregnant have recently welcomed child no. 2, a daughter: Arri.
As much as I loved The Borrowers when I was a kid, the film I’m really looking forward to? Brave. The lead character is to be a redhead, so it can only do wonders for my kind. I did initially believe that the lead female was called Brave, but alas, she’s actually called Merida. Sounds rather mythical, but the film really gets down to choosing whimsical Scottish-esque names when it comes to most of the other already-announced characters:
I tip my hat to ye Disney. All perfectly wonderful names. But something we should not forget is that Disney don’t just make films for theatrical release, they make plenty for their TV channels, which remain full of inspiration. Frenemies is due to be aired in January 2012, names from which includes:
Both Geek Charming and Lemonade Mouth have already been released this year, so aren’t upcoming releases per se, but there are some names featured in them which are worth a mention; from the film Geek Charming:
Ari, Arri and Arrietty in one post from three different sources? It’s certainly not a trend I’d have intended to mention. I guess it makes sense, for me, given the immense popularity of similar sounding Harry and Harriet here in England&Wales – both are Top 100. I guess this is yet another potential trend for me to keep an eye on.
And some names from Lemonade Mouth (which has an upcoming sequel):
Wendell ‘Wen’ (male)
Mohini ‘Mo’ (female)
To be honest, if I’d seen only the nicknames and had been told one was male and the other female, I’d have guessed the opposite to what they actually are. Does that qualify Wen and Mo for our Girlish Nicknames on Boys post? It probably does.
As a final thought, the Disney Channel Original Series, Shake It Up, has an upcoming film in the works, thus the names of it’s characters qualify for this post:
Flynn (brother of Cece)
Ty (brother of Rocky)
All very modern-mama sounding names, and it’s yet another mention of Flynn. Something that has to be said, though, is that Flynn fell between 2009 and 2010: from #216 to #289. It will be interesting to see next year’s list to see where he’s heading next.