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Old 11th October 2010, 08:34 AM   #1
lucy.annabel
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Default Know anything about names?

I've always been extremely fascinated by names and naming practices, so naturally, since I'm also infatuated with Spain, the lines get blurred.
I'm wondering about 'dated' names in Spain.

I was looking through the INE name page and looked up the stats for Feliciano. It was especially popular in the '40s (compared to now, at least) and has now practically fallen off the grid. I think "Feli" as a nickname is very appealing but Feliciano's popularity stats make me wonder. If anyone has insight in to why this popularity decline is (am I missing something cultural? Is it just plain old 'old man' or dated?), I'd be very interested to hear the explanation.
Or if you have any advice/ recommendations (I feel like "consejos" is the best word to use here) about names, trends, laws (especially laws!), the 'norms' around choosing names, please reply!
Even if it's just opinion, I'd love to hear it- please and thank you!

I'd really appreciate any links, opinions, experience stories, information you might have
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Old 11th October 2010, 09:17 AM   #2
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It is fascinating but these things change with the times just like clothing and hairstyles do. In English there are many names which are no longer in use or are considered too old-fashioned or "old" sounding to give to newborns. Names like Gertrude, Harriet, Albert, Harold, and many others. I'm not saying that people no longer name their children these names, but such names would stand out in a sea of Britneys, Emilys, Madisons, Jaydens and Ethans.

I don't have any stats or any references to point you to, but it's my understanding that for a long time in Spain the most popular names were tied to the Bible and the Catholic religion. Jesús, José, María (Jesus, Joseph, Mary) and then variations of those names María Jesús, José María, María José, etc. Names of saints and aspects of the religion (pain, loneliness, miracles, ascension, etc.) were also popular. (Soledad, Milagros, Dolores, etc.)

Today it's unlikely you would meet someone under the age of 30 with one of those names. It would seem kind of quaint and out-of-step with the times to name your child one of these names. Names like Alejandro, Daniel, Sofia and Lucia are more popular these days with the occasional English name, like Kevin, thrown in. Blame it on the influence of film, TV, pop culture and wanting to seem more modern.

Last edited by Beckett; 11th October 2010 at 09:19 AM.
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Old 11th October 2010, 10:47 AM   #3
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Being stark raving English, but having lived here in Spain for 6 years, the Mrs and I wanted to choose a name for our baby daughter that represented both countries and would be equally recognised and popular.

The reason we wanted to do this is both so her name wouldn't stand out in the Playground in Spain and so that everybody could pronounce it. Also, for similar reasons if we ever had to return to the UK in future.

We looked into it, and decided on a name that we initially believed to be Latin (and therefore representative of most of Europe as a whole) and it was only after she was born that most of the Older Spanish generation told is that it was an old and somewhat 'unfashionable' spanish name that they were really pleased to see revived (which has resulted in many of them giving my daughter a lot of attention - everybody in the Town seems to know her name ) : Aurelia
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Old 11th October 2010, 02:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tumbit View Post
Being stark raving English, but having lived here in Spain for 6 years, the Mrs and I wanted to choose a name for our baby daughter that represented both countries and would be equally recognised and popular.

The reason we wanted to do this is both so her name wouldn't stand out in the Playground in Spain and so that everybody could pronounce it. Also, for similar reasons if we ever had to return to the UK in future.

We looked into it, and decided on a name that we initially believed to be Latin (and therefore representative of most of Europe as a whole) and it was only after she was born that most of the Older Spanish generation told is that it was an old and somewhat 'unfashionable' spanish name that they were really pleased to see revived (which has resulted in many of them giving my daughter a lot of attention - everybody in the Town seems to know her name ) : Aurelia
Beautiful name, congrats on your daughter.
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Old 11th October 2010, 05:21 PM   #5
lucy.annabel
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Thanks very much so far, everyone!

Beckett: thanks for the point of view! I'm definitely the type of person who loves "old people" names in English (well, not so much Gertrude and Harold, but Iris and Edmund are two of my favourites), and it doesn't bother me when other people don't like them because I don't think that there are negative issues which arise when you name your kid an old name (in terms of people judging the child or the parent).
My prof last year said that when someone in Spain is named something 'weird', they are probably from Latin America or their parents are 'hippies'. I'm not sure if 'hippies' is a super negative thing, but it seemed like the consensus is, "If you have Spanish children, don't name them something crazy".
The only Spanish kids I know are named Pau, María, Ariadna, Alicia, and Carlota, so I have absolutely no frame of reference.

Tumbit: I LOVE the name Aurelia! Congrats on your little girl! I think I would follow along the same lines as you did- pick a name that works in both Spanish and English, just in case we might have to move. And I wouldn't want him or her to stand out as "obviously your parents aren't from here", and I hope my eventual-husband would be able to walk me through the dos-and-don'ts of naming in Spain... but this is just the kind of thing I think about.
Thanks for sharing your story!
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Old 11th October 2010, 05:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tumbit View Post
Being stark raving English, but having lived here in Spain for 6 years, the Mrs and I wanted to choose a name for our baby daughter that represented both countries and would be equally recognised and popular.

The reason we wanted to do this is both so her name wouldn't stand out in the Playground in Spain and so that everybody could pronounce it. Also, for similar reasons if we ever had to return to the UK in future.

We looked into it, and decided on a name that we initially believed to be Latin (and therefore representative of most of Europe as a whole) and it was only after she was born that most of the Older Spanish generation told is that it was an old and somewhat 'unfashionable' spanish name that they were really pleased to see revived (which has resulted in many of them giving my daughter a lot of attention - everybody in the Town seems to know her name ) : Aurelia

I have a friend who is Serbian and did a similar thing (not the same): they looked for a name that would be Serbian and Spanish, so it wouldn't stand out in either country. There was only one: Isidora. Well, it is also quite old fashioned in Spain, so she gets a lot of attention.
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Old 11th October 2010, 05:58 PM   #7
Pippa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucy.annabel View Post
I've always been extremely fascinated by names and naming practices, so naturally, since I'm also infatuated with Spain, the lines get blurred.
I'm wondering about 'dated' names in Spain.

I was looking through the INE name page and looked up the stats for Feliciano. It was especially popular in the '40s (compared to now, at least) and has now practically fallen off the grid. I think "Feli" as a nickname is very appealing but Feliciano's popularity stats make me wonder. If anyone has insight in to why this popularity decline is (am I missing something cultural? Is it just plain old 'old man' or dated?), I'd be very interested to hear the explanation.
Or if you have any advice/ recommendations (I feel like "consejos" is the best word to use here) about names, trends, laws (especially laws!), the 'norms' around choosing names, please reply!
Even if it's just opinion, I'd love to hear it- please and thank you!

I'd really appreciate any links, opinions, experience stories, information you might have
One of the Spanish habits is to name the first boy like the father and the first girl like the mother. It does not happen as often as it used to, but often enough. The only young Feliciano I know of is the tennis player, and his father is called Feliciano.

One of the most strange names I have ever encountered is Agricultino. (small agriculture something??).

There was a previous thread about this.

I also remember that in GB, in 1997, the most popular name to call a boy was Matthew and then Alexander. And whenever I saw an Edith or Ethel they had been born in the 1920's or 30's.

There are an awful lot of small girls called Carlota and Jimena at present in Spain. But I do not know what is the most popular name nowadays.
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Old 11th October 2010, 09:28 PM   #8
Beckett
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Lucy.Annabel,
Here are two articles containing a wee bit of history and info about the trends in names in Spain. It is a fascinating subject. (The articles are from different web sites, but when you read their titles together it makes for an amusing question and answer.)

¿Cómo se llaman los niños españoles?

"Los nuevos españoles se llaman Mohamed"

Last edited by Beckett; 11th October 2010 at 09:31 PM.
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Old 11th October 2010, 10:54 PM   #9
lucy.annabel
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Pippa: I also love Isadora! It's nice to know that old fashioned names seem to be noticed (in a good way, yes?) in Spain. I find it interesting to see what people use as "cross-over names" between languages.
Feliciano López is actually the only Feliciano I know of as well. I didn't know he was named for his father, though! Thanks very much to the link to the previous thread I'll have to poke through that.

Beckett: Thanks for the links! I'm very excited to read them! Heeheehee, great titles for sure, you almost don't need to read the articles


I'm going to put this out here now, actually- would anyone be interested in being interviewed on the topic of names, naming practices and name laws? (through email, skype, msn, whatever form of communication works best for you; I speak English, French and Spanish as well, so if you're more comfortable with one over an other, I'm definitely up for conversing in a language other than English)
I initially started this post just out of my own curiosity on names I like, but I'm also writing an enthography for one of my anthropology classes on the topic of names. I think it would be great for the research if I could talk to people who aren't necessarily from my geographical area.
If you're interested, please just reply here, or send me a pm.

Thanks for the links and replies, everyone!
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Old 12th October 2010, 02:29 AM   #10
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I don't know if this make sense at all, but I can refer to some names with their last letters being 'ano' that are disappearing or disappeared at all.

Maximiliano aka Maxi
Emiliano
Feliciano
Marciano (weird but true)
Luciano
Mariano

I think the names with 'ano' at the end, were very popular years ago, maybe that could explain the words 'fulano', 'mengano' and 'zutano' used to name someone whose name you don't know or you don't want to say.

The people I know with the least common names in Spanish:

Oseas
Áureo
Primitivo
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Old 12th October 2010, 02:33 AM   #11
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Names such as Feliciano, Obdulia, Torcuato... were relatively frequent until the 1960s. Up to those years, Spain was mostly an agrarian society, and in the rural environment families tended to be very large. When the parents run out of their favorite names (usually their own or their own parents names), they would just name their children after the saint of the day.

Since then, it seems that the most popular names seem to be a matter of fashion, especially since non Christian names were allowed - including foreign and even invented names. In many places, however, there is still a strong tradition of naming children after the local saint. In Valencia, for instance, there is an amazing number of Amparos and Vicentes - a lot of Covadongas in Asturias, Franciscos Javieres in Navarra, etc.

A funny trend right now in the Basque Country is to give children supposedly ancestral Basque names, such as Aitor, Iker, Garikoitz. Most of these parents are actually unaware that these names are all relatively new, as they were invented by Sabino Arana in the 19th century.
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Old 12th October 2010, 03:15 AM   #12
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I have an unusual name and everyone has always found it enchanting, so I would never go with what's popular right now, because those Lexis and Britneys will one day be as dated and unfashionable as Ethel and Helga -- go with something that feels special to you.
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Old 12th October 2010, 10:24 AM   #13
Beckett
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Originally Posted by Norberto View Post
Primitivo
¿Primitivo? ¡Menudo nombre!

¿Cómo te llamas?
Me llaman Primitivo.
(They call me "Primitive.")


Obviously the Latin root is "primo," which means "first," but calling someone "primitivo" sounds like an insult!
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Old 12th October 2010, 10:28 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Beckett View Post
¿Primitivo? ¡Menudo nombre!

¿Cómo te llamas?
Me llaman Primitivo.
(They call me "Primitive.")


Obviously the Latin root is "primo," which means "first," but calling someone "primitivo" sounds like an insult!
I have known two. One was a maths teacher and they used to call him Primi.
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Old 12th October 2010, 02:44 PM   #15
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One of the old dear's in our Village is called 'Puri' - or Purification.... I'm guessing her family were Catholics
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Old 12th October 2010, 03:18 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Pippa View Post
I have a friend who is Serbian and did a similar thing (not the same): they looked for a name that would be Serbian and Spanish, so it wouldn't stand out in either country. There was only one: Isidora. Well, it is also quite old fashioned in Spain, so she gets a lot of attention.
What about Ana?, I know a Serbian girl named Ana.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Norberto View Post
I don't know if this make sense at all, but I can refer to some names with their last letters being 'ano' that are disappearing or disappeared at all.

Maximiliano aka Maxi
Emiliano
Feliciano
Marciano (weird but true)
Luciano
Mariano
It makes sense, all those names come directly from latin (Aemilianus, Maximilianus...) no wonder why they sound "dated", but you can bet they will return to be fashinable when (if) claiming Roman ancestry is "good" again.

There are usually five ethymological sources for Spanish names: Roman names, Greek names, Aramic names, and Germanic ones. Roman names come obiously during the Roman empire, the same may be true for Greek names, Aramic names came with Christianims, and Germanic ones come the Visigoth Kingdom.
There are others, like phoenician, goegraphy, things or concepts and, in Latin America, pre-columbian names.
Pre-roman origins for some names are possible, but are quite contested.
Muslim (and non-hispanized Hebrew) origins seem to have been wiped out due to the "limpieza de sangre" policies in the time started by the Catholic monarchs. But the two surnames thing is said to be something of Arabian origin.

I was under the impression that during francoims non-christian names were allowed as long as they were "traditional", I can think of some male names of Germanic origin (Rodrigo, Ataulfo, Álvaro, Alfonso, Ricardo, Roberto, and a lot more), some of Roman origin (Julio/a, Octavio/a, César, Áureo/a, Adrián, Virgilio...), Greeks (Basilio), some femenine names after places (Lorena, África, Ámerica, Amaya...) and even more "exotic" origins for example phoenician (Aníbal, Asdrubal) and names after things or qualities (Rocío, Azuzena, Blanca, Violeta, Reyes). But, of course, there has been a lot of saints over the centuries and some may have beared one of those names (I'm no expert at saints names).

On the exotic naming, I'm always puzzled by some strage name-surname combinations: I have heard of: Dolores Fuertes de Cabeza and Gonzalo González González.
I had a classmate at highschool named Fidel Castro, and he had a sister Rosalía Castro. Sometimes you have to choose the names of your offpring with the surname in mind.
One of my friend's surname may be interpreted as a sexual reference and her boyfriend's is a quite common one, but when combined, no matter the order, it turns to be a strong sexual reference. I have no idea how they plan to act in case of a baby arriving

@lucy.annabel I wouldn't mind to answer your questions, I'll pm you my email adress.
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Old 12th October 2010, 03:23 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Tumbit View Post
One of the old dear's in our Village is called 'Puri' - or Purification.... I'm guessing her family were Catholics
Why? I'm yet to see a religion without some sort of purification ritual, it could be any...
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Old 12th October 2010, 03:26 PM   #18
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¿Has oído hablar del pueblo de los "nombres raros"?

Te dejo el enlace: http://www.huertaderey.com/nombres-raros.aspx
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Old 13th October 2010, 05:53 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PobrecitoHablador View Post
What about Ana?, I know a Serbian girl named Ana.


It makes sense, all those names come directly from Latin (Aemilianus, Maximilianus...) no wonder why they sound "dated", but you can bet they will return go back to being fashionable when (if) claiming Roman ancestry is "good" again.

There are usually five ethymological sources for Spanish names: Roman names, Greek names, Aramaic names, and Germanic ones. Roman names came obviously during the Roman empire, the same may be true for Greek names, Aramaic names came with Christianims, and Germanic ones come from the Visigoth Kingdom.
There are others, like Phoenician, geography, things or concepts and, in Latin America, pre-columbian names.
Pre-Roman origins for some names are possible, but are quite contested.
Muslim (and non-hispanicized Hebrew) origins seem to have been wiped out due to the "limpieza de sangre" policies started in the time started by of the Catholic monarchs. But the two surnames thing is said to be something of Arabian origin.

I was under the impression that during francoims (the Franco years?) non-christian names were allowed as long as they were "traditional", I can think of some male names of Germanic origin (Rodrigo, Ataulfo, Álvaro, Alfonso, Ricardo, Roberto, and a lot more), some of Roman origin (Julio/a, Octavio/a, César, Áureo/a, Adrián, Virgilio...), Greeks (Basilio), some feminine place names after places (Lorena, África, Ámerica, Amaya...) and even more "exotic" origins, for example Phoenician (Aníbal, Asdrubal) and names after things or qualities (Rocío, Azuzena, Blanca, Violeta, Reyes). But, of course, there have been a lot of saints over the centuries and some may have beared borne one of those names (I'm no expert at saints' names).

On the subject of exotic naming, I'm always puzzled by some strange name-surname combinations: I have heard of: Dolores Fuertes de Cabeza and Gonzalo González González.
I had a classmate at highschool named Fidel Castro, and he had a sister Rosalía Castro. Sometimes you have to choose the names of your offspring with the surname in mind.
One of my friend's' surname may be interpreted as a sexual reference and her boyfriend's is a quite common one, but when combined, no matter the order, it turns to be a strong sexual reference. I have no idea how they plan to act in case of a baby arriving

@lucy.annabel I wouldn't mind to answer answering your questions, I'll pm you my email adress.
A common surname here is Cabeza de Baca, sometimes shortened to just C' de Baca (yup, head of cow, and pronounced Cee de Baca). De La O is another one that always cracks me up (apologies to my ex-boss). Of the "O"? Apparently yes -- a reference to some saint's vocal utterance of ecstasy. I couldn't make this stuff up!
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Old 14th October 2010, 09:56 AM   #20
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We have a few odd names in our pueblo - Liberio, Pompeyo, Damaso and a few called Mariano. One of Spain's oddest names is Segundo. My own, Lenox, is pretty rare as well...
There's a town in Burgos proud of its peculiar names:
http://nombres-propios.blogspot.com/...res-raros.html
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