A primer on Provençal names

Provençal is a dialect of Occitan, spoken in southern France. Almost all of its speakers are in the Provence region. This dialect in turn has several sub-dialects, one of which, Rodanenc (Rhodanien), branched out into Judeo–Provençal, also called Shuadit, Chouhadite, Chouhadit, Chouadite, Chouadit, and Shuhadit. Sadly, its last known speaker, writer Armand Lunel, passed away in 1977.

Judeo–Provençal went into sharp decline after emancipation was granted in the wake of the French Revolution, just as Yiddish fell into disfavor in countries like Hungary, Germany, France, Austria, and the former Czechoslovakia. When one has legal emancipation and is allowed entry into wider society, the purpose of a separate language or dialect diminishes, as tragic as it is to see any language dying out.

The connection to my writing is the same as Occitan and Gascon, seeing as most of Part V and the end of Part IV of The Strongest Branches of Uprooted Trees are set in Béziers and Montpellier, a region where all these languages are spoken.

Today, there are an estimated 350,000 Provençal speakers.

Alphabet:

Provençal uses the Roman alphabet, though K, W, and Y are typically only found in loanwords and foreign names. Like French, it also features the cédille (Ç), accent grave on A, E, and O, accent aigu on all vowels, and an umlaut on I and U.

Sample names:

Female:

Adelaïda (Delaïdo, Laïdo)
Agato
Alaïs (Alice)
Alaizina
Aliénor (Eleanor)
Alyonne, Alayonne
Anaïs (Naïs)
Andriano
Astruga (Lucky)
Aulaire (Eulalia)
Azalaïs (Alaïs)

Beatritz
Bellanette
Bergido (Bridget)
Blanquette
Bonafilia (Good daughter)
Bonastruga (Good and lucky; the Judeo–Provençal equivalent of the expression “Mazal tov”)
Bonoa (Good)

Catarino (Ninoun)
Celino (Selene)
Chantaloun (Chantal)
Chera (Cara)
Claro (Clareta, Clareto, Claroun)
Cloutildou (Tildeto, Teldou)

Dayena
Delfino (Fino)
Deulocresca (God increase her)
Dolça

Eisabèu, Lisabèu (Babeleto, Babèu, Eliso, Lisoun) (Elizabeth)
Eloudìo (Lodi, Loudi) (Élodie)
Enrieto (Rieto) (Henrietta)
Estefano, Estèva (Fanfan) (Stephanie)
Esterelle (A fairy who protects pregnant women)
Eulalìo (Lìo, Lali, Lalìo, Laloun)

Flour (Flora)
Genevivo
Glaudio (Claudia)
Goiona
Ioulando (Yolanda)
Isabèu (Babeleto) (Isabelle)
Izelda
Jano (Janetoun) (Jeanne)
Jòusefino (Jóuselet, Fino, Zetou, Zeto)
Laïs (Louisa)

Magari, Magali (Margaret)
Maguelone, Madaleno (Madaloun) (Magdalena)
Maissa (Jaw)
Marianno
Marìo (Maïoun, Marioun)
Mazalta (Good sign)
Melio (Emilia)
Miquela
Mirèio (To admire)

Nadaleto
Natalìo (Lìo, Talìo)
Nino (Ninoun)
Reginette
Reina
Rosalìo (Lìo)
Roso

Sança (Holy, saintly)
Sareta (Sarah)
Soufio (Sophia)
Soulanjo (Solange)

Titouane, Titoana
Vitòri (Victoria)
Zouè (Zoe)

Male:

Abramet
Aloys (Aloysius)
Amiel (Émil)
Andrièu
Astruc (Lucky)
Audouard (Edward)

Bartoumiéu (Bartholomew)
Batit (Titoù) (Baptiste)
Benezet
Berenguié
Bonastruc (Good and lucky; the Judeo–Provençal equivalent of the expression “Mazal tov”)
Bondion (Good day)
Bonisac (Good Isaac)
Bonjudas (Good Judah)
Bonjuif (Good Jew)
Bonsenhor (Good Sir)

Calendau (Christmas)
Carecausa
Charle (Charloun)
Ciprian (Ciprianet)
Cresques (Growing; also a Judeo–Provençal equivalent of Tzemach)
Crétin (Christian)
Cugat

Dàvi
Deulosal (God save him; used as a Judeo–Provençal equivalent of Isaiah)
Emmanuèl
Estève, Estiène (Steven)
Fagim (Judeo–Provençal equivalent of Chaim)
Ferrand (Ferdinand)
Frederi, Federi (Deri)

Gabin
Gabrieù
Giraud (Gerald)
Glaude, Glàudi (Claude)

Jacme (James)
Jaufret (Jeffrey)
Jaziquet (Isaac)
Jòrgi
Joùseù (Zé) (Joseph)
Jucef

Kalonymus (Beautiful name)
Leoneto
Loïc (Louis)
Lu (Luquet) (Luke)
Ludovi (Dovi) (Louis)

Maïus
Manuèl
Mas (Max)
Miquèu (Michael)
Mordecaix
Mossé, Moïses (Moses)

Nadal
Nadau
Oulivié (Oliver)
Pascau
Pèire (Pierroun) (Peter)

Rafèu (Raphael)
Ramir (Famous advice)
Roubin

Saconet (Isaac)
Salamonet, Salomó
Savié, Zavié (Xavier)
Silvan
Simoun

Teoudor
Titoù, Titouan (Titus)
Toumas

Ugues, Ugue (Hugo)
Vincèn
Vitour (Victor)

A primer on Virtue names

As I’ve mentioned a number of times, Virtue names from the Pilgrim and Puritan era are my onomastic guilty pleasure. I’ve been fascinated by them since I was a preteen, and have used some on my characters over the years. I had a character named Fear in a discontinued story about one of the Western migrations in the U.S. (maybe the Santa Fe Trail?). Her little sister was Thanksgiving, and her older brother was Courage.

My character Lovella Green in my Atlantic City books, who goes by Love, so likes her own Virtue name, she gives her kids the very Puritan/Pilgrim names Honesty, Courage, and Myles. Honesty and Courage in turn give their own kids Virtue names—Amnesty, Blessing, and Reliance (Courage’s kids), and Charity, Harmony, and Increase (Honesty’s kids).

Nowadays, the only commonly-used Virtue names in the English language seem to be Hope, Faith, Grace, Charity, Chastity, Harmony, and Joy. While I understand a name like Happiness or Fearful sounds very out of place in the modern era, I really think they’re neat. Many of these old Virtue names are also unisex, though we probably all have our own opinions about which sex they might sound best on. When in doubt, I filed a name under Unisex.

Here’s a list of Virtue names to choose from if you’re writing about Pilgrims or Puritans, or if you just like the names and aren’t afraid to be different. However, I do stress that many of these names should probably be left in the history books, like Be-Faithful, Lechery, Humiliation, and From-Above. Some of these names weren’t recorded as being used by the Puritans and Pilgrims, but they have the same general concept.

Unisex:

Admire
Adore
Allegiance
Amaze
Approved
Arise
Atpeace

Be-Faithful
Beloved
Benevolence
Be-Thankful
Blessed
Blessing (though I think this works better on a girl)

Called
Cherubin
Clemency
Comfort
Compassion
Condolence
Consider
Constancy
Contemplation
Courage
Credence

Defiance
Delight
Delivery
Desire
Diligence
Discretion
Endure
Evanescence
Experience

Faithful
Fear-Not
Fidelity
Fight-the-Good-Fight-of-Faith
Free-Gift (i.e., salvation)
Free-Grace
Freewill
From-Above

Gift
Give-Thanks
God-Help
Gracious

Happy, Happiness
Has-Descendants
Have-Mercy
Helpful
Helpless
Honest
Hope-For
Hope-Still
Humanity
Humiliation, Humility

Imagination
Increase (I prefer this on a boy), Increased
Infinity
Ingenious
Innocent
Integrity

Joy-Againe (Traditionally used on so-called “rainbow babies,” children born after a miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss)
Joye-in-Sorrow
Jubilation

Knowledge
Lechery
Leniency
Lively
Lovejoy
Loyal, Loyalty
Lucidity

Magnify
Make-Peace
Meek
Memory
Merciful
Merriment
More-Fruit
More-Triale
My-Sake
No-Merit

Obey
Original
Piety
Pity
Pleasance, Pleasant
Preserved (Traditionally given to a child who survived a difficult birth)
Prosperity
Proud
Proverb
Providence
Psalm
Purifie, Purify, Purity

Radiance
Rapture
Reality
Reason
Recompense
Redeemed, Redemptus
Reformation
Regal
Reliance
Remember (prefer this on a girl)
Renewed
Repent, Repentance
Replenish
Resilience
Respect
Restore
Reverence

Sabbath
Safe-Deliverance
Safe-on-High
Salvation
Sanctity
Search
Search-the-Scriptures
Seek-Wisdom
Serendipity
Sincere
Small-Hope
Solace
Solemnity
Solidarity
Stability
Standfast
Stand-Fast-on-High
Steadfast
Steadfast-Love
Submit (Mitty)
Success
Sympathy

Tenacity
The-Peace-of-God
Tolerance
Tranquil, Tranquility
Transience
True, Truth
Trust

Valor, Valour
Vanity
Vyctorye, Victory
Waitsill (Waity)
Weep-Not
Welcome
Wistful
Wonder

Male:

Accepted
Acts-Apostles
Agony
Aid-on-High
Anger
Ashes
Assurance

Battalion
Be-Courteous
Belief
Be-Steadfast
Bread-of-Life
Buried-Sence

Centurian
Concord
Continent
Cotton

Damned (Diminutive of If-Christ-Had-Not-Died-for-Thee-Thou-Hadst-Been-Damned)
Depend, Dependance
Die-Well
Discipline
Divine-Authority
Go-Good
Donation
Do-Right
Do-Well
Dust

Elected
Fear (always preferred this on a girl)
Fear-God
Fearing
Fear-the-Lord
Flee-Debate
Flee-Fornication
Flye-Debate
Forsaken

Giant-Despair
Godlye (i.e., Godly)
God-Reward
Good-Gift
Good-Work

Hate-Bad
Hate-Ill
Hearsay
Heavenly-Mind
Help-on-High
Humble

If-Christ-Had-Not-Died-for-Thee-Thou-Hadst-Been-Damned
If-Jesus-Christ-Had-Not-Died-for-Thee-Thou-Hadst-Been-Damned
Inward

Jesus-Christ-Came-into-the-World-to-Save
Job-Rakt-Out-of-the-Asshes
Judas-Not-Iscariot
Just, Justice

Kill-Sin
Lament, Lamentation, Lamentations
Live-Well
Love-God
Love-Well
Magnyfye (i.e., Magnify)
Merit
Modest, Modesty
Moreover

Pardon
Peaceable
Persecution
Pharaoh
Pilgrim
Praise-God
Pray

Regard
Relictus (i.e., Relinquishing)
Remarkable
Resolute
Resolved, Resolve
Restraint
Return, Returne
Revolt
Riches
Royal

Safe-on-Highe (Traditionally given to children expected to die)
Seaborn
Sea-Mercy (Often used on children who survived a sea journey)
Search-Truth
See-Truth
Seraphim
So-Loved
Sorry-for-Sin
Supply

Tell-No (in reference to not telling lies)
Tenacious
The-Lord-Is-Near
Trial
Tribulation
True-Heart

Unfeigned
Upright
Watchful
Weakly
Wealthy
What-God-Will
Wholesome
Wrath
Wrestling

Zeal
Zeal-for-God
Zeal-of-the-Land

Female:

Abstinence
Abundance
Abuse-Not
Adore
Amity
Amnesty

Be-Strong
Charisma
Charity
Chastity
Cherish
Clarity
Concordia
Confidence
Constance
Content
Cressens (i.e., “to grow”)

Deliverance
Diffidence
Earth
Empathy
Essence
Exercise

Faint-Not
Faith-My-Joy
Favor, Favour
Faythe, Faith
Felicity
Fortune

Given
Glory
Grace
Handmaid
Harmony
Hate-Evil
Honesty (love this name!)
Honor, Honour
Hopeful, Hope, Hopewell
Hosanna

Independence
Joy
Learn-Wisdom
Liberty
Life
Love
Mercy
Much-Mercy
Obedience

Patience
Peace, Peaceful
Perseverance
Placidia (i.e., “calm, peaceful”)
Pride
Promise
Providence
Prudence

Rediviva (i.e., “revived”)
Refrain, Refrayne
Rejoice, Rejoyce
Relicta (i.e., “relinquishing)
Relief (Leafy)
Remembrance
Revere

Serenity, Serene
Silence (Sill)
Sin-Deny
Tacy (i.e., “be silent”)
Temperance (Tempy)
Thankful, Thankfull
Thanks
Thanksgiving

Unity
Verity
Virtue
Wisdom

A primer on Irish names

Though I have very unpleasant associations with St. Patrick’s Day, owing to that being my uncle’s Jahrzeit (death anniversary), it’s fitting to cover Irish names today. Being Jewish, I feel a deep kinship with the Irish people, as I do with all other peoples who have the historical experience of being persecuted, discriminated against, and denied their own homeland. There’s also a possibility my nine-greats-grandpap was Irish, and I have a number of characters of Irish descent.

Most notably are the four Ryan siblings in my contemporary historical family saga, who grow up as simply Girl, Boy, Baby, and Infant, before taking the names Deirdre Apollonia, David Edgar, Fiona Líobhan, and Aoife Saoirse. They’re extremely proud of being Irish, particularly spitfire Deirdre.

There’s also lawyer Lucifer O’Malley in my Atlantic City books, who marries Violet’s daughter Carmine (a name I was introduced to as female and had no idea was male for many years!). Lucifer is a Wiccan, and was given that name because it doesn’t have a negative association in his religion. Their three kids, Liam Rory, Flidais Sorcha, and Nemetona Riona, are raised Wiccan.

Alphabet:

Irish uses the Roman alphabet, minus J, K, Q, V, W, X, Y, and Z and with the addition of Á, É, Í, Ó, and Ú. The absent consonants may appear in loanwords, and V appears in a small number of native Irish words and alternate colloquialisms. V is also the only non-Irish letter used to render foreign names and words adapted into Irish.

Irish is also notorious for having vowel and consonant clusters which many non-Hibernophones don’t even want to attempt pronouncing. For this reason, many names have been Anglicized, or at least simplified. However, once you’ve learnt how to pronounce a few names or words, you recognise those sounds when they appear in other words and names.

E.g., since Aoife is EE-fa, it’s easy to figure out Saoirse is SEER-sha. Siobhán is She-VAHN, so Líobhan is LEE-vahn. Niamh is NEEV, so Caoimhe is KEE-va. Catriona is Ka-tree-na, so Alastríona is Al-as-TREE-na.

Surnames:

As we probably all know, many Irish surnames are patronymical and start in O’ or Mc. Though many people believe Mac is Scottish and Mc is Irish, Mac is also an Irish surname prefix. It’s just that Mc is a much more commonly used Anglicization in the modern era.

Other Irish surnames include Brennan, Kennedy, Ryan, Sullivan, Doyle, Fitzgerald, Fitzpatrick, Flanagan, Kelly, Monaghan, Murphy, Mulligan, Quinlan, Reagan, Lennon, Teague, and Cavanaugh.

Sample names:

Female:

Aifric, Africa (Pleasant)
Aignéis (Agnes)
Ailbhe, Elva (White)
Ailís (Alice)
Áine (Radiance)
Aingeal (Angela)
Aisling, Aislin, Aislinn, Ashling (Dream)
Alannah (O child)
Alastríona (Alexandra)
Aoibheann, Aoibhín, Eavan (Beautiful sheen)
Aoife, Aoibhe (EE-fa) (Beauty)
Aran (After the Aran islands off the west Irish coast)
Assumpta (Assumption, in reference to the Virgin Mary ascending into Paradise)

Báirbre (Barbara)
Bébhinn, Bébhionn, Bevin (Fair lady)
Bláthnat, Bláthnaid, Blanid, Bláithín (Little flower)
Brighid, Brigid, Bríd, Breda, Bridget (Bidelia, Biddy, Bridie)
Brígh, Bree (High, power)
Brogan (Little shoe)
Brónach, Bronagh (Sorrow)

Caitlín (Cot-LEEN, Coyt-LEEN)
Caitríona, Caitria, Catriona (Cáit, Ríona)
Caoilfhionn, Caoileann, Caoilinn, Keelan, Keelin (Slender and fair)
Caoimhe, Keeva (Kind, gentle, beautiful)
Ciannait (Ancient)
Ciara, Kiera (KEER-a) (Black)
Clíodhna, Clíona, Cleena (Shapely)
Clodagh (The name of a river)
Concepta (Concepta, referring to the Virgin Mary)

Dáiríne, Darina (Fertile, fruitful)
Damhnait, Dymphna, Devnet (Fawn)
Dearbháil, Derval, Dervila, Dervla (Daughter of Fál)
Deirbhile, Derval, Dervila, Dervla (Daughter of a poet)
Deirdre (Possibly means “woman”)
Doireann (Tempestuous, sullen)

Éabha (Eva)
Eibhlín, Aileen, Eileen (Aveline)
Eilís, Eilish (Elizabeth)
Éimhear, Eimear (Swift)
Eireen (Irene)
Eithne, Aithne, Edna, Ena, Enya, Ethna, Ethne, Etna (Grain, kernel)
Étaín, Aideen, Eadan, Éadaoin

Fidelma, Fedelma, Feidhelm (Delma) (Beauty or Ever good)
Fionnuala, Finnuala, Fionnghuala, Finola, Fionola (Nola, Nuala) (White shoulder)
Fíona (Vine)
Flidais

Gobnait, Gobnet, Gobinet (Little smith)
Gormlaith, Gormflaith (Blue princess or Illustrious princess)
Gráinne, Grania, Granya (Grain)

Íde, Ita (Thirst)
Immaculata (Immaculate, in reference to the Virgin Mary)
Isibéal, Sibéal (Isabelle)
Iúile (Julia)

Laoise (Light, or an Irish form of Louisa)
Léan (Helen)
Líadan, Líadáin (Grey lady)
Líle (Lily)
Líobhan (LEE-vahn) (The beauty of women)
Luíseach (Light)

Madailéin (Magdalena)
Máire, Maura, Moira (Máirín, Mairenn, Maureen, Maurine, Mallaidh, Molly) (Mary)
Mairéad (Margaret)
Mavourneen (My darling)
Méabh, Medb, Maeve
Muadhnait (Little noble one)
Muirenn, Muireann (White sea)
Muirgen, Muirín (Born of the sea)
Muirgheal (Bright sea)
Muirne, Murna, Myrna (Festive)
Muriel

Nainsí (Nancy)
Naomh (NEEV) (Holy)
Neasa, Neassa, Nessa
Nemetona (Sacred area)
Niamh, Neve (Bright)
Nollaig (Christmas)
Nóra

Odharnait, Orna, Ornat (Little pale green one)
Onóra, Honora (Nora, Nóirín, Noreen, Norene)
Oona, Oonagh, Una
Órfhlaith, Órlaith, Orlagh, Orla (Golden princess)
Pádraigín (Patricia)

Raghnailt (Battle advice)
Ráichéal (Rachel)
Rathnait, Ronit (Little grace)
Ríona, Ríonach, Ríoghnach (Queen)
Róis (Róisín, Rosheen) (Rose)
Rowan

Sadb, Sadbh, Sadhbh, Saibh, Sive (SIEV) (Goodly, sweet)
Saoirse (SEER-sha) (Freedom)
Saraid (Excellent)
Séarlait (Charlotte)
Síle, Sheila (Cecilia)
Síne (Jeanne)
Sinéad (Jeannette)
Siobhán (Jeanne)
Siofra (Gift)
Síomha, Síthmaith (Good peace)
Sláine (Health)
Sorcha (Radiant)

Talulla (Abundance princess)
Toiréasa (Theresa)
Treasa (Strength)
Úna (Lamb)

Male:

Abbán (Little abbot)
Ádhamh (Adam)
Ailbhe, Alby (White)
Ailill (Elf)
Ailín (Allen)
Aindréas, Aindriú (Andrew)
Alaois (Aloysius)
Alastar (Alexander)
Amhlaoibh (Olaf)
Aodhán, Aodh, Aidan (Aodhagán) (Fire)
Aonghus, Aengus, Angus (One strength)
Anraí (Henry)
Aran (After the Aran islands off the west Irish coast)
Ardghal, Ardal (High valour)

Barrfhionn (Bairre, Barra, Barrie, Barry) (Fair hair)
Berach, Bearach (Sharp)
Brádach (Large-chested)
Bran (Raven)
Breandán, Brendan (Prince)
Brennan
Brian (Possibly means “noble, high” or “hill”)
Brogan (Little shoe)

Cadwgan, Cadogan (Glory in battle)
Cainneach, Kenneth (Handsome)
Cairbre, Carbrey, Carbry (Charioteer)
Calbhach, Calvagh (Bald)
Caoimhín, Kevin (Gentle/kind/handsome birth)
Caolán, Kelan (Little slender one)
Cárthach (Loving)
Cathair, Cathaoir, Cahir (Battle man)
Cathal, Cahal (Battle rule)
Cathán, Kane (Little battle)
Ceallach, Ceallagh (Ceallachán) (Bright-headed, War/strife, or Church)
Cearbhall, Carroll (Hacking with a weapon)
Cennétig (Misshapen head or Armoured head)
Cian, Keane, Kean (Cianán) (Ancient)
Ciar, Ciardha (Ciarán, Kieran) (Black)
Cillian, Cillín, Killian (Little church)
Cionaodh, Cináed (Born of fire)
Coilean, Colin (Young dog)
Colum, Colm, Columban (Colmán, Coleman) (Dove)
Comhghall, Comgall, Comgal, Cowal (Joint pledge)
Comhghán, Comgan (Born together)
Conall (Strong wolf)
Conan (Little wolf)
Conchúr, Conor (Dog-lover or Wolf-lover)
Conleth, Conley (Chaste fire)
Conn (Chief)
Conrí (Wolf king)
Cormac
Críostóir (Christopher)
Cuán (Little wolf)
Cuimín (Crooked, bent)

Dáibhí (David)
Dáire, Dara, Darach, Darragh (Fertile, fruitful)
Dáithí (Swift)
Dálach (Assembly)
Damhán (Fawn)
Dara, Darach, Darragh (Oak tree)
Deaglán, Declan
Deasún (Desmond)
Diarmaid, Diarmait, Diarmuid, Dermot (Derry) (Without envy)
Domhnall, Domnall, Dónal (Donald)
Donagh, Donnchadh (Duncan) (Brown warrior)
Donovan
Doran
Dubhán (Little dark one)
Dubhghall, Dougal (Dark stranger)

Eachann (Brown horse)
Eadbhárd (Edward)
Éamonn, Éamon (Edmund)
Éibhear, Éibhir, Heber
Éimhin (Prompt, swift)
Einrí (Henry)
Énna, Éanna, Enda (Bird-like)
Eoghan, Owen (Born from the yew tree or the Irish form of Eugene)
Eoin (John)
Erskine (Projecting height)

Fachtna (Hostile)
Faolán, Fillin, Phelan (Little wolf)
Fearchar, Farquhar (Dear man)
Feardorcha (Dark man)
Fearghal, Fergal (Man of valour)
Fearghas, Fergus (Man of vigour)
Fechín, Feichín (Little raven)
Feidhlim, Feidhlimidh, Feidhlim, Felim, Phelim (Beauty or Ever good)
Fiachna, Fiachra (Raven)
Finnian (White)
Fintan, Fionntan (White bull or White fire)
Fionn, Fion (Finnagán) (White or Fair)
Fionnbharr, Finbar, Finbarr (Bairre, Barra, Barrie, Barry) (Fair hair)
Fionnlagh, Finlay, Finley (White warrior)
Flaithrí, Florry, Flurry (King of princes)
Flann (Flannán) (Red)

Garbhán, Garvan (Little rough one)
Gearalt, Gearóid (Gerald)
Gobán (Little smith)
Gofraidh (Godfrey)
Gréagóir (Gregory)

Iarfhlaith, Iarlaith, Jarlath
Íomhar, Ivor
Ionatán (Jonathan)

Labhrás (Lawrence)
Lachtna (Milk-coloured)
Laoghaire, Leary (Calf-herder)
Lochlainn, Lochlann
Lommán, Lomán (Little bare one)
Lonán (Little blackbird)
Lorcán (Little fierce one)
Lúcás

Mághnus, Manus (Great)
Mainchín (Little monk)
Máirtín (Martin)
Maitiú (Matthew)
Malachy
Mícheál
Muireadhach, Murdoch, Murtagh (Lord)
Muiris (Maurice)
Murchadh, Murrough, Murtagh (Sea warrior)

Naoise
Naomhán, Nevan (Little saint)
Niall, Neil
Nioclás (Nicholas)
Nollaig (Christmas)

Odhrán, Odran, Orrin, Oran (Little pale green one)
Oisín, Osheen (Little dear)
Oscar

Pádraic, Pádraig (Patsy, Paddy) (Patrick)
Pilib (Philip)
Pól (Paul)
Proinsias (Francis)
Quinn

Raghnall (Power advice)
Réamann, Redmund (Raymond)
Riagán (Impulsive)
Rían, Ríoghnán, Ryan (Little king)
Risteárd (Richard)
Roibeéard (Robert)
Rónán (Little seal)
Rórdán, Rearden, Riordan (Little poet king)
Rowan
Ruadh (Ruadhán) (Red)
Ruaidhrí, Ruaidrí, Ruairí, Rory (Red king)

Seachnall, Seachlann
Séafra, Siothrún (Jeffrey)
Séaghdha, Shea, Shay (Hawk-like or Admirable)
Séamus, Séamas (James)
Seán (John)
Séarlas (Charles)
Senán, Seanán (Little old person)
Seoirse (George)
Seosamh (Joseph)
Somhairle, Sorley (Summer traveller)
Stiofán (Steven)
Suibhne, Suibne, Sweeney (Well-going)

Tadhg, Teague, Tighe (Tadhgán) (Poet)
Tighearnach, Tigernach, Tiarnach, Tierney (Lord)
Tighearnán, Tigernán, Tiarnán, Tiernan (Little lord)
Toirdhealbhach, Turlough (Instigator)
Tomás
Torin (Chief)
Treasach (Warlike or Fighter)

Uaithne (Green)
Uilleag
Uilliam (Uilleag, Ulick, Liam) (William)
Uinseann (Vincent)
Ultán

A primer on Kyrgyz names

The Kyrgyz people are a Turkic group living in Central Asia. Outside of their homeland of Kyrgyzstan, with its hard-won independence, there are large diaspora communities in Uzbekistan, China, Russia, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan. Afghanistan and Ukraine also have small diaspora communities. Among the most famous Kyrgyzis are author Chyngyz Aytmatov and Kasym Tynystanov, a poet, politician, and scientist.

Some of the children at Mrs. Brezhneva’s Kyiv orphanage in my Russian historicals are Kyrgyz, kidnapped from their parents during the Russian Civil War and early years of the USSR. Five of the forty children surreptitiously taken to Isfahan, Iran during the Great Terror in 1937 are Kyrgyz.

After WWII, Inga Savvina’s grandparents, young aunt Nelya, and adopted cousin Karla take a trip to the beaches of Issyk-Kul in Kyrgyzstan. Inga, who defects in 1942, mourns the fact that she won’t be able to take the trip with them, but she has little choice but to leave for first Shanghai and then America while that small window of opportunity exists.

Alphabet:

Kyrgyz is written with Cyrillic, as is to be expected after so many decades of Russification and occupation. Traditionally, the Arabic alphabet was used, and then in 1927, the Roman alphabet replaced it. In the 1930s, Cyrillic was forced upon the Kyrgyz people. However, in China, Kyrgyz is still written in Arabic script.

Kyrgyz Cyrillic uses all the letters found in Russian Cyrillic, with the addition of Ң (NG), Ү (Ü), and Ө (Ö). The letter Ж is also transliterated as J instead of ZH, and the letter X used to be transliterated as H instead of KH. Since 1938, it’s been rendered as X. Additionally, Ц may be transliterated as Ţ instead of TS; Ч may be Q (in Chinese), C, or Ç; Ш is Ş instead of SH; Щ is Şç instead of SHCH (XQ in Chinese); and Ы is I instead of Y.

Surnames:

Due to the long period of Russification, Kyrgyz surnames frequently have the familiar -ov(a), -in(a), and -(y)ev(a) endings. Like the surnames of other Russified peoples, they tend towards a native twist, with influence from Turkic, Persian, and Arabic names. Sample surnames include Abdulov, Abdulin, Aytmatov, Beshimov, Usenov, Nogoyev, Ibragimov, Maldybayev, Bakiyev, Begaliyev, Isanov, Akayev, and Otunbayev.

Sample names:

Unisex:

Adilet (Justice)
Jyrgal, Zhyrgal (Happiness)

Female:

Altynai, Altynay (Golden Moon)
Amangul
Anara (Pomegranate)
Ayda, Aida
Ayjan, Aijan, Ayzhan, Aizhan (Moon soul)

Bermet (Pearl)
Bubusara
Burul
Cholpon (Venus [the planet])
Damira (To give peace)

Gülayim
Gulbadam
Gulbara
Gulnara (Rose pomegranate)
Gülzura

Jibek, Zhibek
Kalima
Kurmanjan, Kurmanzhan
Maryam
Nazira
Okeana (Ocean)
Ruhsora
Salamat
Tattybübü
Tazagul (Pure rose)
Tolekan
Toktayym
Tursuhon
Ulara (Snowcock [a type of bird])
Zamira

Male:

Aaly
Abdukadyr
Absamat
Akbaraly
Aktan
Almazbek (Diamond master)
Alykul
Amangeldy
Apas
Arstanbek (Lion master)
Asankhan
Asilbek, Asylbek
Askar
Askarbek
Aybek, Aibek (Moon master)
Azamat (Majesty, glory)
Azim

Bakyt (Happiness)
Bakytbek (Happiness master)
Chynghyz, Chingiz, Chinghiz (Universal) (Genghis)
Daniyar (Denmark)
Dastan (Capable)
Djoomart, Dzhoomart

Ednan
Erkin
Ishenbay, Ishenbai
Ismail
Jantoro, Zhantoro
Jolon, Zholon
Jumabek, Zhumabek (Friday chieftain)
Jyldyz, Zhyldyz

Kanat
Kasym, Kasim
Kubanychbek
Kubatbek
Kurmanbek
Kurmanjan

Manas (The eponymous hero of Kyrgyzstan’s national epic, 20 times longer than The Odyssey and one of the world’s longest epics)
Meder
Medet
Medetbek
Moldomusa
Muratbek
Musa
Myrzakan (Prince sovereign)

Nariman
Nasirdin
Nuradil
Nurlan
Okean (Ocean)
Omurbek
Orzubek

Rafik
Rahmatillo (Mercy of God)
Rahmonberdi
Ravshanbek
Ruslan (Lion)
Rysbek

Salijan, Salizhan
Sayakbay
Shukurbek
Sooronbay
Sopubek
Suimenkul, Suymenkul
Sukhrab (Red water or Shining, illustrious)
Sultan
Sultanbek

Taalay (Happy, lucky)
Talant
Tamirlan, Timurlan
Temir (Iron)
Togolok
Toktogul
Tolomush
Tursunbai, Tursunbay
Tursunbek (Long life; traditionally given to a child whose parents want to live to old age)
Tynychbek

Urinboy (definitely not a name I’d recommend in an Anglophone country!)
Yasyr (To be rich)
Yusuf

A primer on Finnish names

Finnish is one of the Finno–Ugric languages, among the few non-Indo–European languages widely spoken in Europe. It’s very similar to Estonian, though with some significant differences. Estonian features many German and Russian cognates, due to its long periods of occupation by those powers, whereas Finnish features many Swedish cognates. It might be hard to believe in the modern era, but Sweden was once a major world power.

Finnish, like its sister language Estonian, can be very difficult to learn. It has fifteen noun cases, one more than Estonian and three less than Hungarian. For me, the trick is learning to think of these suffixes as standing in for prepositions.

Some of my Russian characters take State-approved holidays to Finland, and some of them later defect via this route.

Alphabet:

Finnish uses the Roman alphabet, and like many European languages, pronounces the J like a Y. It also features A and O with an umlaut, and rarely Š, Ž, and the Swedish Å. The lattermost letter is used almost exclusively for proper names in Finland–Swedish (i.e., the variety of Swedish spoken in Finland). No native Finnish words contain this letter.

The letters C, X, W, Z, and Q are very rare. Unless they appear in foreign names, they tend to be replaced by Finnish sound equivalents—K or S in place of C; KS in place of X; V in place of W; and K in place of Q. QU is replaced by KV. Z is frequently pronounced TS, like the German Z.

Surnames:

Many Finnish surnames end in -nen, a diminutive suffix meaning “small.” Though this can function like a patronymic, it can also refer to anyone descended from that individual, not just a child. It can also refer to something like a farm or piece of land.

Other common suffixes are -a/ä (“place of”), -la, -io/iö, and -sto/stö.

Sadly, in the past, some Finns felt compelled to adopt German or Swedish surnames after moving up in society, and soldiers had their names changed whether they wanted it or not. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, this trend was reversed, as Finnicization swept the land.

Surnames became legally mandatory in 1921. People who had no tradition of a family name had to invent them from scratch, and frequently took inspiration from nature. Examples include Virtanen (stream), Nieminen (cape), Laine (wave), Järvinen (lake), Mäkelä (hill), and Nurminen (grassland).

Sample names and their nickname forms:

Female:

Aamu (Morning)
Aava (Open, wide)
Adele (Aada, Ada)
Aila, Aili (Helga)
Aina (Always)
Aino (The only one)
Aliisa, Alisa (Alli)
Anna (Anneli, Anni, Anniina, Annikki, Annukka, Anu)
Ansa (Virtue or Trap)
Arja, Irja, Erja
Aune (Agnes)
Aurora

Birgitta, Piritta (Brita, Pirjo, Pirkko, Priita, Riitta)
Cecilia (Silja)
Dagmar
Dorotea (Tea, Teija)

Eerika
Eeva, Eevi
Eija
Eleonora, Eleonoora (Elli)
Eliina
Elisabet (Eliisa, Elisa, Elsa, Liisa, Liisi)
Emilia (Emmi)
Enni (possibly derived from Einar)
Esteri (Essi)
Eveliina

Frederika (Riikka)
Hanna
Heleena (Heli, Leena)
Helka
Hellä (Tender, gentle)
Helmi (Pearl)
Henna (Henrietta)
Henriikka
Hilja (Silence)
Hillevi (Happy/healthy/hearty war)

Iida
Iines (Agnes)
Iiris
Ilma (Air)
Ilona
Ilta (Evening)
Impi (Maiden)
Inka
Inkeri (Ingrid)
Irina (Irja)

Janina
Janna
Johanna (Hannele, Hanna, Jonna)
Josefiina
Julia

Kaarina, Katariina (Iina, Kaija, Kaisa, Kata, Kati, Katri, Katriina, Riina)
Karoliina (Liina)
Kerttu (Gertrude)
Kielo (Lily of the valley)
Kiira
Kirsi (Frost) (also a form of Christina)
Kirsikka (Kirsi) (Cherry)
Kristiina, Kirsti (Krista, Stiina, Tiina)
Kukka (Flower)

Lahja (Gift)
Laila (Helga; unrelated to the Arabic name Laila, meaning “night”)
Laura
Lea
Lempi (Love)
Lilja, Lilli
Loviisa (Louisa)
Lumi (Snow)
Lyydia

Maaria, Maija, Mari, Maria, Marja, Marjo (Maarika, Marita, Maritta, Marjatta, Marjukka, Marjut) (Marja also means “berry”)
Maarit, Marketta (Margaret)
Maire (Sugary, gushing)
Marjaana, Mirja, Mirjam, Mirjami (Jaana)
Martta
Matilda (Tilda)
Matleena (Magdalena)
Meri (Sea)
Merja
Mikaela
Minttu (Mint)

Noora
Oili (Olga)
Oliivia
Oona (Una)
Orvokki (Pansy)

Päivä (Day)
Paula, Pauliina
Petra
Pihla (Rowan tree)
Piia
Pilvi (Cloud)
Pinja (Stone pine)

Raakel (Rachel)
Rauha (Peace)
Rebekka
Ritva (Birch branch)
Ruut

Saana (the name of a mountain)
Saara, Sari (Saija)
Säde (Ray of light)
Satu (Fairytale)
Seija (Serene, tranquil)
Senja (Xenia)
Sini, Sinikka (Blue)
Sirpa (Fragment, small piece)
Sisko (Sister)
Sohvi (Sophia)
Soile, Soili (Blaze, glimmer)
Suoma (Finland)
Susanna (Sanni, Sanna)
Suvi (Summer)
Sylvi (Solveig)

Tähti (Star)
Taika (Spell, magic)
Talvikki (Winter)
Tarja (Darya)
Taru (Tarja) (Myth, legend)
Tatjana (Taina, Tanja)
Teresa
Terhi (Mist)
Terttu (Cluster, bunch)
Toini (Antonia)
Tuija (Cedar)
Tuuli, Tuula (Wind)
Tyyne (Serene, calm)

Ulriikka, Ulriika (Ulla)
Ursula
Valpuri (Vappu) (Ruler of the fortress)
Vanamo (Twinflower)
Varpu (A type of berry bush)
Veera
Venla
Vieno (Gentle)
Viivi (Viviana)
Vilhelmiina (Helmi, Miina, Mimmi, Minna)
Vilja (Grain, cereal)
Vilma
Virva (Will o’ the wisp; in Finnish folklore, this refers to a floating ball of light which appears over water)
Vuokko (Anemone)

Male:

Aabraham, Aapo
Aapeli (Abel)
Aarne
Aatami (Adam)
Aatos (Thought)
Aatto, Aatu (Adolf) (also means “eve,” as in the evening before a holiday)
Ahti (Finnish god of oceans, rivers, and fishing)
Aimo (Generous amount)
Akseli (Axel)
Aleksanteri (Ale, Samppa, Santeri, Santtu) (Alexander)
Aleksi (Ale)
Alpertti, Altti (Pertti) (Albert)
Anselmi (Anssi)
Antero, Antti (Atte, Tero) (Andrew)
Anttoni (Toni)
Ari (Eagle)
Armas (Belovèd)
Armo (Mercy, grace)
Arttu, Artturi (Arto)
Arvo (Worth, value)
Aukusti (Aku, Kusti) (Augustus)
Aulis (Helpful, willing)

Edvard, Eetu
Eelis, Eljas (Elijah)
Eemeli, Eemil
Eerik, Eerikki, Eero, Erkki
Eino (possibly derived from Einar)
Ensio (First)
Erno (Ernest)
Esa (Isaiah)

Ferdinand (Veeti, Vertti)
Filip, Vilppu
Frans
Fredrik (Veeti)

Harri
Heikki, Henrikki
Heino
Hermanni

Iisakki (Iikka, Iiro) (Isaac)
Into (Enthusiasm)
Ismo (Ishmael)

Jaakkima, Joakim (Aki, Kim, Kimi)
Jaakko, Jaakob, Jaakoppi (Jasko)
Jalmari (Jari) (Hjalmar)
Jalo (Gracious, noble)
Jarmo, Jorma, Jeremias (Jarkko, Jere)
Johannes, Janne, Joni, Juha, Juhana, Jouni, Juho, Jukka, Jussi (Hannes, Hannu)
Joona, Joonas
Jooseppi (Juuso)
Jyri, Jyrki, Yrjö, Yrjänä (George)

Kaapo, Kaapro (Gabriel)
Kaarle, Kaarlo, Karl (Kalle)
Kai
Kaleva, Kalevi (Mythological ancestor of the Finns)
Kari (Macarius)
Kauko (Far away)
Kristian
Kristoffer (Risto)
Kustaa, Kyösti (Kusti) (Gustave)

Lars, Lasse, Lassi, Lauri (Lari) (Lawrence)
Leevi
Luukas
Mainio (Excellent)
Markku, Markus
Martin, Martti
Matias, Matti
Mauno, Maunu, Manu (Magnus)
Mauri (Maurice)
Mikael, Mikko (Mika, Miska)

Nestori
Niilo, Niko (Nicholas)
Nooa (Noah)

Oiva (Splendid)
Olavi, Uolevi (Olaf)
Oliver (Olli)
Onni (Luck, happiness)
Oskari (Osku)
Otso (Bear)
Otto

Paavali, Paavo, Pauli
Pasi (Basil)
Pekka, Petteri, Pietari, Petri
Pentti (Benedict)
Perttu (Bartholomew)
Pyry (Blizzard, snowstorm)

Raimo, Reima (Raymond)
Ransu (Francis)
Reijo, Reko (Gregory)
Reino (Reynold)
Rikhard (Riku)
Roope, Roopertti (Pertti) (Robert)
Ruuben

Sakari (Sakke, Saku) (Zachary)
Sampo
Samuli (Samu, Samppa, Sami)
Sauli
Sebastian (Sepi, Seppo)
Seppo (Sepi) (Smith)
Simo (Simon)
Sisu (Determination, willpower)
Soini (Sven)
Sulo (Grace, charm)

Taavi, Taavetti (David)
Tahvo, Tapani (Teppo) (Steven)
Taisto (Battle)
Taneli (Tatu) (Daniel)
Tapio (Finnish god of forests, animals, and hunting)
Tarmo (Energy, drive, vigour)
Tauno (Modest, peaceful)
Teemu (Nicodemus)
Terho (Acorn)
Teuvo (Theodore)
Timo (Timothy)
Toivo (Hope)
Topias (Topi) (Tobias)
Torsti
Tuomas, Tuoma (Tomi, Tommi)
Tuure (Tuukka)

Ukko (Finnish god of thunder and the sky)
Urho (Brave)
Usko (Faith)

Valdemar (Valto)
Valtteri (Walter)
Veli (Veikko) (Brother)
Vesa (Sprout, young tree)
Vieno (Gentle)
Viljami, Vilhelm, Vilhelmi (Jami, Vilho, Vili, Viljo, Ville)
Voitto (Victory)