Heat wave! I hope you've been enjoying the sunshine of July. Here are some of the names that have caught my notice this month:
Thanks to a tip of from Clare via her Name News page, this July I discovered that, in most of the rest of Europe, Disney's Moana is named Vaiana. Apparently this is mostly due to copyright issues and various products across Europe sharing the name Moana.
This posed issues for Disney as they had to record separate English-language dialogue anywhere the name Moana was mentioned. Here we can hear how the song I am Moana sounds as I am Vaiana:
Moana is the Maori and Hawaiian word for "ocean, deep sea" and Vaiana (VYE-ah-a) seems to have been invented by Disney based on the Tahitian word vai "water" and possibly ana "cave."
Overall, I think with its fashionable V and a ending, Vaiana has more chance of being a name-hit than Moana with more exposure.
Speaking of tip-offs, I have Nancy to thank this month for the heads up about the release of the top 100 names in New South Wales, Australia for 2017. The list is generally a mix of popular British (Isla, Florence, Archie, Arthur) and American (Addison, Mackenzie, Lincoln, Cooper) trends but there are a few surprises: Indiana, Billie, Phoenix and Bodhi to name a few.
The one that most surprised me is Nixon at #99. It has the fashionable x, -on ending and surname style that are vogue in most English-speaking countries but this one has been tied to American president Richard Nixon for so long. In 2016, Nixon was at its highest rank to date -- but that was still only #1570 with 16 births. In America, Nixon is also on the rise, re-entering the top 1000 at #899 in 2011 to ranking a modest #482 in 2017.
So Nixon is on the rise, and Australia is way ahead of the curve.
Truly is famous as the name of the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang character Truly Scrumptious, played by Sally Ann Howes in the 1968 film. This July, British actor Tom Hopper (Merlin, Black Sails and Game of Thrones) announced that he and wife Laura have named their newborn daughter Truly Rose. She joins big brother Freddie Douglas.
Truly is rare in England and Wales but it has had regular use in recent years. Since 1996, it has officially raked in the data (i.e. had 3 or more births) in eight years and peaked in 2010 and 2014 with 6 births.
One of the last Telegraph birth announcements for July was for triplet sons of Somruedee and Bruce: William, James and Maximus (check back on Sunday for the full announcement). What caught my eye was the name of their big sister Valentina Apsara Evalyn.
In Hindu mythology, an apsara was a water or cloud nymph and celestial dancer at the heavenly court of Indra.
Since 1996, Apsara has officially raked in the England and Wales data (i.e. had 3 or more births) only once: in 2005 when 4 girls were given the name. It may be that other girls have received the name during this period, but if it was fewer than 3 in any given year then it hasn't been visible in the data.
July usually means the Tour de France for cycling fans and this July saw Britain's third winner: Geraint Thomas. I'm pleased as a Brit, but also because it gives more exposure to his fabulous Welsh name.
Geraint (pronounced GEH-rīnt - rhymes with pint) is a Welsh names which goes right back to early Welsh mythology and Arthurian legend. It was made particularly famous by Tennyson's Idylls of the King in which Geraint was the husband of Enid.
More common in the 1980s when Geraint Thomas was born, Geraint has since been on the decline. By 1996 it was down to #435 (46 births) in England and Wales to #4747 (3 births) in 2015.
Maybe Geraint Thomas' recent win will revive the name.
Speaking of the Tour de France, there were plenty of other interesting names to be had from the list of riders: Egan, Sep, Laurens, Amaël, Nairo and Damiano to name a few.
One that peaked my interest was that of German cyclist Nikias Arndt. An Ancient Greek name, borne by a famous Athenian general, Nikias derives from nike "victory."
Nikias has not been registered in England and Wales since 1985 and has always been rare.