Monday, 12 November 2012

What a Difference a Letter Makes: Part 2

File:Idunn and Bragi by Blommer.jpg

Back in April I did a post about a few names that were separated by just a single letter. There were so many other names to include that only one post wasn't enough to cover even a small percentage of them. So, I thought I would go back and fill a few more gaps. Like with the previous post, the rankings were taken from the England & Wales chart, but this time from 2011. If a name is not followed by a ranking, it means it was given to less than 3 children.

Sidony & Idony
Sidony has slipped from many people's radar, but she is seeing use in France where her alternative spelling, Sidonie, is doing quite well and ranking in the 300s. She was in use in medieval England (as was Sidonie in France), but her origins stretch to modern day Lebanon. Sidony is the feminine form of the Late Latin name Sidonius, which comes from the name of a Phoenician city, Sidon. Idony was also in use in medieval England, as a form of Idonea. Both Idony and Idonea stem from a name I have mentioned previously, Iddun, the Norse goddess of Spring and immortality, whose name means 'to love again'. Both Sidony and Idony are currently absent from the England & Wales chart, but they seem like the types of names that are prime for a come back.

Ilta & Ilsa
Ilta is one of those beautiful words that works well as a name in another language. It comes from Finnish and means 'evening'. Parents are embracing word names that may evoke nice feelings or lovely images, such as Winter, Gale, Ever, Story, Clover... there are many to choose from. Itla fits in nicely with this groups and adds an extra international flavour, not to mention that it is less obvious than calling your child Evening. Ilsa (#5789), on the other hand, is one of the seemingly never ending diminutives for Elizabeth. She shares her origins with more mainstream Elsa, but would be a nice option for someone wanting a slightly different nickname for formal Elizabeth.

Sana & Suna
Sana (#332) is getting used a lot more than it might be expected, but Suna continues to hide in obscurity. Sana is an Arabic name with a meaning that may draw many parents to it - who wouldn't want their child's name to mean 'brilliance, radiance, splendour'? Not to mention that, although Sana is on the unusual side, it is also very easy to pronounce and spell. Suna, which is of Turkish origin, shares many of Sana's accessible qualities, as well as a pleasant meaning, that of 'swan'. 

Harland & Garland 
They may be a bit much to take on, but Harland and Garland would make for two very handsome names. Both originally started life as surnames but have been used as first names for quite some time. Harland ('hare land') is a tough guy name, no doubt, but he'll be at home next to Harley, Harding and Ryder. Garland's status is more complex. He sounds like a masculine name but he could just as easily be used as feminine one. As a word name, Garland conjures up images of Christmas and special holidays, which might be a perfect and quirky way to celebrate a child's birth at a particular festive time of the year.

Oran & Goran
Oran (#1447) is the Anglicized form of the Irish Odhrán, meaning 'little pale green one'. Oran's Irish roots and modern sound could certainly appeal to many. Although he isn't a big name player here in England & Wales, Oran is doing well in his native Ireland, where he is a top 100 name, sitting at #80. Another legitimate spelling of the name is Orrin (#2613), which is the one I've seen more of. Leaving Ireland behind and taking a step towards Eastern Europe, we find Goran, a Slavic name used in a number of countries. His meaning, 'mountain man', is perfect for nature-loving parents. Göran can also be found, although he has entirely different roots - he is a Swedish medieval form of classic, sturdy George.

Image: Bragi sitting playing the harp, Iðunn standing behind him