Another of my favourite onomastic letter swaps is that of I for Y. This occurs in many Polish and Ukrainian names, and is an easy way to spot a Polish name in particular. I also love when this switch occurs at the beginning of a name. It’s so unexpected, and really adds a special something to make a name truly stand out. When Y occurs as the first letter, it tends to be in older Spanish and French names, though a few are also Dutch and Scandinavian.
Some fellow name nerds, who often act more like name snobs, might think this looks illiterate and/or like a kreatyv spylyng, but that attitude just reveals how narrow their view is. A legitimate spelling variation may have been chosen because the parents wanted to honour their ethnic heritage or a particular person by that name. Perhaps they also just liked how it looked.
Besides, many of these names aren’t exactly in the Top 100. I don’t think anyone choosing them, in any spelling, is trying to be trendy.
Beatrycze is the only female Polish name ending in E.
Kateryna, Katarzyna, Kataryna
Krystyna, Khrystyna, Krystiana
Ydoya is a variant of the Spanish Idoya, which may mean “pond” in Basque.
Ygraine is a variant of Igraine, King Arthur’s mother. It was used in the BBC series Merlin (2008–12).
Ymbjørg is a regional Norwegian form of Ingeborg, which means “Ing saves/helps/rescues.”
Ynez, Ynes, Ynès
Yngvil, Yngvill (Ing’s battle)
Yngvör, Yngvor (Ing’s spring)
Ysabelle, Ysabel, Ysbal
Ysentrud means “iron strength” in Ancient Germanic.
Yseult, Ysolt, Yseut
Kryspin, Kryspinian, Kryspus
Mykhayil, Mykhaylo, Mykhailo
Mykola is the Ukrainian form of Nikolas.
Mykyta is the Ukrainian form of Niketas.
Pylyp is the Ukrainian form of Philip.
Volodymyr is the Ukrainian form of Vladimir.
Ysbert is the West Frisian form of Isbert, which means “bright ice” in Ancient Germanic.
Ysbrand means “iron wolf” and “ice wolf” in Dutch. The West Frisian forms are Ysbrân and Yssebrand.