A primer on Turkmeni names

Turkmen belongs to the East Oghuz branch of the Turkic language family, and is most closely related to Turkish and Azeri. Besides the Central Asian republic of Turkmenistan, it’s also spoken in diaspora communities in Iran, Afghanistan, Russia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, and Ukraine. Historically, Turkmenistan has been at the crossroads of civilisations, and the now-destroyed city of Merv was an important stop on the Silk Road and one of the great cities in the Islamic world.

Some of the children in Mrs. Brezhneva’s Kyiv orphanage in my first three Russian historicals are Turkmenis, kidnapped from their families during the Civil War and early years of the USSR. When the orphanage partially relocates to Isfahan, Iran, during the Great Terror in 1937, one of the forty children is Turkmeni.

Alphabet:

Turkmeni was written in Arabic script from the early 20th century until 1929, and then replaced by the Latin alphabet until 1938. Due to the cruel forced Russification policies of Stalin (who wasn’t even Russian himself), the Cyrillic alphabet replaced Latin in 1938, and stood until 1991. After the fall of the USSR, the Latin alphabet was reintroduced, though the transition has been quite slow.

Turkmeni used to have some symbols in place of letters ($ ¢ for Ş ş; £ for Ž; and ¥ ÿ for Ý ý), but these were all replaced by more familiar, common letters in 1995.

The Turkmeni alphabet is based upon Turkish, though it uses a J instead of C; W instead of V; Ž instead of J; Y instead of I; and Ý instead of Y. Ä and Ň have also been added. Other characters are Ç, Ö, Ş, and Ü.

Surnames:

Due to having been under Russian domination since 1881, many Turkmeni surnames take the Russified endings -ov(a), -in(a), and (y)ev(a), but with Turkic, Persian, and Arabic twists. Since 1991, the -ov(a) ending is now -ow(a). Surnames include Ibragimov, Abdulov, Muhadov, Niyazov, Abdulin, Abdulayev, Garayev, Ismayilov, Kerbabayev, and Ovezov.

Sample names:

Male:

Agageldi
Akmyrat
Alibek
Altimurat
Alty (Six)
Amangeldy, Amangeldi (Aman)
Annaberdi
Annaguly
Annakurban
Arslan (Lion)
Arslanbek
Awdy
Azat (Free)

Bahargül (Spring flower)
Bashim, Beşim, Byashim (Five)
Batyr
Begenç (Happiness)
Berdi, Berdy (Gave)

Çariýar
Çarymyrat
Dangatar
Daniyar (Denmark)
Döwlet
Durdy (Stopped)
Durdymammet, Durdymamet (Durdy)

Elnur
Esenmyrat
Eziz (Beloved, respected, powerful)

Gurban
Gurbanguly
Gurbanmyrat
Gurbannazar
Guwanç

Hojamamed
Hojamuhammet
Işanguly
Izzat

Jakhan, Dzhakhan
Jamaldin, Dzhamaldin, Djamaldin
Jasurbek

Kakayev
Kasymguly
Khadyr
Khalnazar
Khodjamyrat
Khodzhakuli, Khodjakuli

Magtymguly
Makhammetgeldi
Maksat
Marat, Meret
Mekan (Place)
Merdan
Mergen (Sharp-eyed)
Muhammet
Muhammetnazar
Murgen (Sharp-eyed)
Myratgeldy

Nazar
Nedirbay
Nepes
Nurmuhammet
Nurmyrat
Nursahat
Nury (Light)
Nyazik (Graceful)

Oraz (Fast)
Orazgeldi (Ramadan came)
Öwez

Rahat (Comfortable)
Rahym (Compassionate, kind)
Raşit (Rightly guided)

Sapardurdy
Saparmamed
Saparmurat, Saparmyrat
Serdar
Shohrat (Fame)
Smagul
Sohbet (Conversation)
Süleýman (Solomon)

Täçberdi
Tagan (Trivet)
Tolkunbek

Umurbek
Veli
Yklymberdi
Yusup

Female:

Aibolek, Aybolek
Akja, Akdzha (“Little and white” or “Blonde”)
Akgül (White flower)
Akgyz (White-coloured girl)
Aksoltan
Amangül
Annagül (Friday flower)
Arzy (Desire)
Arzygül (Flower of desire)
Aygyl
Ayjan (Moon soul)
Ayna
Aýnabat (Sweet Moon)
Aynagözel (Ayna)
Aysoltan

Çynar (Plane tree)
Dürli (Species)

Gözel (Beautiful)
Gülalek (Gulya) (Poppy)
Gülayim, Gülayym (Gulya)
Gulbadam (Gulya)
Gulnabat (Gulya)
Gulnar (Gulya) (Pomegranate flower)
Gülşat (Gulya)
Gurbanbibi (Bibi)

Hatyja (Khadijah) (Premature child)
Jahan (World)
Jemal (Beautiful)
Jennet (Paradise)
Jeren (Young gazelle)

Keyik (Deer)
Laçyn
Läle (Tulip)

Mähri (Skilled)
Maral (Deer)
Maya
Maysa (Blooming summer flowers)
Merjen, Merdzhen (Coral)

Nabat
Nafisa
Nasiba
Nurgözel (Beautiful light)

Ogulgerek (“Needs to be a son”; what a terrible meaning!)
Ogulsapar
Orazgül (Fast flower)
Pamyk (Cotton)
Patma (Fatima) (To abstain)

Rahat (Comfortable)
Rushana (Roxana)
Sadap (Mother of pearl)
Sapartaç
Şemşat (Sky tree)
Sona
Sülgün (Pheasant)
Suray

Tylla (Gold)
Tyllagözel (Tylla) (Gold flower)
Züleyha (Brilliant beauty)

Advertisements

One comment on “A primer on Turkmeni names

  1. Hywela Lyn says:

    Fascinating excerpt. (Love the picture too.) I’d like to know what the semi-fast was for too!

    Like

Share your thoughts respectfully

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s