Friday, 7 December 2012

A City, A Town, A Name

File:Assisi, travel poster for ENIT, ca. 1920.jpg I must thank Dellitt for the idea for today's post. Location names are everywhere - Brooklyn, China, India, Boston, Dakota, Israel...There are many, many to pick from. Some have become bonafied names, others are still considered 'wacky'. Here are a few that I think could work quite well as given names. If you want something that isn't too out there but still unusual, these would be good options to consider. None of them featured in the England and Wales 2011 name list.

Arles - Many would pronounce it incorrectly, and he would often get confused for Charles, but the name of this Southern French town is a great find. Think Arlo or short, simple and slightly dated Al. He has a nice masculine sound without being over the top macho. 

Assisi - I have a tendency of spelling the name of this famous Italian town as Assissi - I like the balanced look of two sets of double Ss - but it's nice either way. She sounds like she could be Sienna's younger sister,  maybe there's even a third sister, Sistine. Okay, I'm getting carried away (but how fab would that sibset be, right?). The fact is, Assisi is perfect for anyone who likes frilly, very feminine names.

Benin - The Republic of Benin is a Western African country. It reminds me of Berlin without as many connections and far less recognisable, not to mention that it feels like a name - maybe an alternative way to get to Ben without having to go through Benjamin or Bennett.

Esher - Pronounced Ee-sher, it is a town in South East England. For those who like Alisha or Alicia, Esher could be another option to consider. She sounds trendy but feels like a legitimate name. For a similar name without the Ee sound, try Escher. It's not a location name - rather the surname of a Dutch artist whose drawings tend to give me a headache if I stare at them for too long - but it's worth a mention.

Isère A department in Eastern France, named after the river Isère. With this name you get two for one, location and nature. Isadora and Isaure come to mind, but I think pretty Isère may even trump them both. It seems to me that this is a name that has been well hidden from the masses but that deserves more exposure.

Junnar - An Indian city with a fantastic name. Its similarities to trendy Juno and quaint June make this a name ripe for the picking. Be it for a boy or girl, Junnar works.

Kinnitty - A hybrid between Kennedy and a litter of fluffy kittens. Yes, that's how I see it. It's the name of a village in Ireland, where the head of a princess is said to be buried. I find it charming and playful, a nice way to get to adorable Kitty.

Lazio - A region of Italy, Lazio doesn't even look like a location name. He could easily feature in name charts around the world. He fits in next to Enzo and Biblical Lazarus. He's cool, understated and modern.

Merida - I couldn't quite pick between Lerida and Merida, both which can be found in Spain. I went with Merida simply for personal tastes (and because she's the heroine in Brave, which my goddaughter loves). It isn't as soft or ethereal as Meridith, but it certainly is stronger. I love how easy it is to get to the nickname Merry from it. Plus, the city even had a great name when it was founded in 25 BC, Emerita Augusta. If that's not fabulous, I just don't know what is.

Vienne - Austrian capital Vienna is far more well known, but the name of this French department is equally as lovely and pretty. She's reminiscent of elegant Vivienne in a more simple way. She's fresh, delicate and wouldn't feel too out of place next to more mainstream names.

What's your favourite place name?

Image: Assisi Travel Poster 1920 by Vittorio Grassi.