Saturday, December 3, 2016

Alaric

Alaric is a Germanic boys name meaning "everyone's ruler/ruler of all." While most pronounce the name AL-uh-rik, many pronounce it uh-LAHR-ik or uh-LAIR-ik.

There are three accounts for the Alarick spelling: 12 in 2015, 5 in 2013, and 5 in 2001. For the Alarik spelling there has been a little more consistency: 6 in 2003, working its way up to 20 in 2015. Lastly, the Alaric spelling is much more popular, used since at least 1949 (7 births that year) to its all-time high of 181 boys given the name in 2015. Alarich, a form sometimes used in Germany, has not been seen on the U.S. graphs, nor has Italian Alarico. Aleric is also sometimes recorded. The name had already been slowly rising, but note a jump between 40 births in 2010, 50 in 2011, and then 88 in 2012. This is likely thanks to The Vampire Diaries, which began airing in 2009. The character Alaric Saltzman is a history teacher and vampire hunter who befriends a vampire and impacts all of the characters for the better.

Alaric I and Alaric II were Visigoth kings who ruled between c. 370 and 507. Another Alaric was king of the Swedes, who shared his kingship with his brother Eric. His name is also spelled Alrek, Alrik and Alric in certain accounts. Alrekr is the Old Norse form, while Alareiks is the original Gothic form.

In modern times, namesakes include Medal of Honor recipient Alaric Chapin, British journalist Alaric Jacob, Liberian politician Alaric Tokpa, American composer Alaric Jans, and British poet and journalist Alaric Alexander Watts. A film director from Singapore born Tay Liang Hoong goes by Alaric, and an English writer born Harold Jacob was known as Alaric.

As for literary references other than Alaric Saltzman, P. G. Wodehouse had a character named Alaric in Blandings Castle, Alexander Theroux's main character in Darconville's Cat was an Alaric, there is a character by the name in Katherine Kurtz's Deryni series, an Alaric in The Bird Artist by Howard Norman, and Stephen King even used the name in the Dark Tower series. Possibly the oldest literary namesake is Alaric Tudor, a clerk in Anthony Trollope's The Three Clerks, published in 1857. You might also like Sir Alaric, Keeper of the Kings Records, a Dr. Seuss character in "The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins. Also, Alaric is in the title of a book, sort of, in the Tales of Alaric the Minstrel - a couple of books with individual titles by Phyllis Eisenstein.

Ulric, Ullrich and Ulrick are not other forms of the name Alaric. They are originally from Odalric, a Germanic name meaning "prosperity and power."

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Yarden

Like yesterday's post on Yardley, Yarden is extremely similar in every way - nature name, place name, rare, but it seems to work as a boy's name just a tiny bit more than Yardley thanks to it's trending -n ending. However, the similarity in sound to "garden" makes it seem a bit whimsical-meets-tomboy for a girl. The perfect unisex name.

The statistics say Yarden is for girls, though. While Yardley was given to 9 girls in 2014 and none in 2015, and not given to boys at all, the name Yarden was given to 7 girls in 2014, then 5 in 2011 and none between those dates. Yarden previously had a run between 2002 and 2008, missing some years between, and not given more than 11 times in a year. It started being used on girls in 1984 with 6 births (probably five and less than five births for any number of years beforehand) and started being used on boys in 1990 with 5 births. Interestingly, Yarden seems to switch sides: given to boys in the years it's not used on girls and vice versa, but not strictly so. For example, Yarden was used on both genders in the early 90's, but more so on girls. Then between 1996 and 2001 it was more used on boys - in fact only once on girls in 2000, but then after 2002 it wasn't used on boys again until 2009.

Yarden is a Hebrew name, unlike Yardley which is English. It means "to flow down, to descend" in reference to the movement of a river - specifically the Jordan river. Indeed, this was the original word/name that Jordan derived from (like most European names, j and y are frequently switched and/or misspoken by English speakers). Yarden is considered unisex but sometimes Yardena is given to girls. Given that Jordan and Yarden have the same meaning, this could make an excellent alternative to parents that like Jordan but fear it's popularity or think it might be dated.

A couple of famous namesakes include Yarden Gerbi, judoka world champion from Israel and Olympic bronze medalist, and Yarden Cohen, an Israeli footballer.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Yardley

Yardley, also sometimes spelled Yeardley or Yeardlea (less often Yeardlee, Yeardleigh and Yeardlie), is an English surname occassionally found as a given name. It means "enclosed (fenced) meadow," and is pronounced YARD-lee.

There are a few namesakes for Yeardley: George Yeardley, plantation owner and a former governor of Virginia whose wife was Temperence Flowerdew Yaerdley; voice actress Yeardley Smith, who was born Martha (Marge, The Simpsons); lacrosse player Yeardley Love, who was murdered; also Quaker missionary John Yeardley. The spelling Yardley is largely used as a place name, and it can be seen on several people as a surname, but as a given name this is the name of patent attorney Yardley Chittick, born Charles Yardly Chittick, and news reporter Megyn Kelly's daughter. The cosmetics brand Yardley of London was established in 1770. In the news last year (2015) a baby was named Yardley and her brother was named Camden for Orioles home field Camden Yards.

Other rare names derived from Old English leah include Elmsley, Oxley, Brinkley, Hinckley, Langley, Greenley, Ainsley, Audley, Bentley, Tinsley and Blakeley along with the more common Ashley, Hayley, Bradley, and Presley.

The spelling Yardley has never been popular - in fact it's been very rare, only given to 9 girls in 2014 (none in 2015) and 11 girls in each of the years 2013, 2012 and 2011, with only a handful sporadically before then, starting 1977. For boys, only a few handfuls here and there between 1968 and 2010. Yeardley and the other spelling options seem to be nonexistent in the U.S.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Moana

While Kai, a Hawaiian name that means "sea," has been increasing in popularity, Moana may just catch up. Moana (moh-AH-nah) means "ocean" in Hawaiian, Polynesian and Maori (New Zealand). Both Kai and Moana are unisex. Moana first appeared with the SSA in 1941, given to 8 girls, and there are no recordings for boys. It's been used very sporadically, but it wasn't until 2000 that it picked up to steady, albeit rare, usage.

Moana is also the newest Disney princess name: Moana is a Polynesian chief's daughter who uses the help of the demi-god Maui to finish a family quest and perfect her skills of navigation. In Polynesian mythology, Maui was responsible for raising the Hawaiian islands from the ocean floor. ... Moana's mom in the movie, Sina, may have also been based on a Polynesian goddess of the same name, but we won't know for sure until the movie comes out.

The Disney movie is not the first film titled Moana - in 1926 a documentary titled Moana came out by director Robert Flaherty. Set in Samoa, it follows a man named Moana and his Samoan village.

The House of Moana is a Hawaiian noble family which started with Moana kāne, whose granddaughter was named Moana Wahine. Many of their descendants were rulers in the House of Kamehameha. Sometimes the name is used as a word to describe "ocean blue," or lanu moana.

There are two namesakes for Moana, however, neither are Hawaiian. Moana Rosa Pozzi is an Italian adult film actress (and the reason why the main character in the Disney movie will be renamed Vaiana in Italy), and Moana Maree Maniapoto is a New Zealand singer.

Moana Radio is a broadcast in New Zealand. In French Polynesia, "moana wrestling" is a traditional folk wrestling style, also practiced in Tahiti.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Ailani

Ailani (EYE-law-nee) is a Hawaiian girl's name meaning "chief," which makes it a very powerful yet feminine name. If you're thinking about nicknames, you could call her Ali, Aia, Lani, Aila (sounds like Isla) or even Annie. This name does not rank in the U.S. top 1000, but it's not too far away - in 2015 Ailani was given to 206 and it is only going up. Perhaps with the new Disney movie Moana, this and other Hawaiian names will gain interest.