When Y replaces I

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.

Female:

Albertyna

Augustyna

Beatrycze is the only female Polish name ending in E.

Benedykta

Brygida

Cecylia

Celestyna

Edyta

Ernestyna

Eryka

Felicyta

Florentyna

Fryderyka

Geraldyna

Halyna

Henryka

Iryna

Izydora, Isydora

Judyta

Justyna

Kateryna, Katarzyna, Kataryna

Klarysa

Klementyna

Krystyna, Khrystyna, Krystiana

Larysa

Lucyna

Marharyta

Martyna

Maryna

Matylda

Mykhayla, Mykhaila

Myroslava

Otylia

Patrycja

Rozyna

Sybilla

Sydonia

Ulryka

Valentyna, Walentyna

Vasylyna

Władysława

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).

Ylane

Yleana

Ylenia

Ylse

Ymbjørg is a regional Norwegian form of Ingeborg, which means “Ing saves/helps/rescues.”

Ynez, Ynes, Ynès

Yngva

Yngveig

Yngvil, Yngvill (Ing’s battle)

Yngvör, Yngvor (Ing’s spring)

Ysabeau

Ysabella

Ysabelle, Ysabel, Ysbal

Ysabet

Ysaline

Ysanda

Ysanne

Ysemay

Ysentrud means “iron strength” in Ancient Germanic.

Yseult, Ysolt, Yseut

Ysidra

Ysmaine

Ysoria

Yvaine

Yveline

Yveta, Yvetta

Yvette

Yvonne

Yvonni

Ywona

Yxta

Yzavela

Zozyma

Zygfryda

Zyta

Male:

Alaryk

Augustyn

Benedykt

Borys

Bożydar

Celestyn

Cyryl

Davyd

Denys

Dmytro

Eryk

Ferdynand

Floryn, Florentyn

Fryderyk

Gavrylo

Henryk

Izydor

Justyn

Klymentiy

Korbyn

Kostyantyn

Kryspin, Kryspinian, Kryspus

Krystyn, Krystian

Krzysztof

Kyrylo

Maksym

Maksymilian

Martyn

Maurycy

Mykhayil, Mykhaylo, Mykhailo

Mykola is the Ukrainian form of Nikolas.

Mykyta is the Ukrainian form of Niketas.

Narcyz

Patryk

Pylyp is the Ukrainian form of Philip.

Roderyk

Ryszard

Seweryn

Spyrydon

Szymon

Tymon

Tymoteusz

Tytus

Ulryk

Valentyn

Vasyl

Volodymyr is the Ukrainian form of Vladimir.

Władysław

Ygnacio

Ylan, Ylann

Ymbert

Yngvar

Yngve

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.

Ysidro

Yves

Yvo

Yvor

Zygfryd

Zygmunt

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The great and powerful Ing (and the names he spawned)

Ing was a Germanic god, whose name derives from the Proto-Germanic *Ingwaz. It possibly means “ancestor.” He was a fertility god and the legendary ancestor of the Ingvaeone people (historically, erroneously called the Ingaevones). This West Germanic tribe lived along the coast of the North Sea, in areas which are part of modern-day Denmark, Germany, and The Netherlands.

Modern scholarship indicates Ing was the original name of the Old Norse god Yngvi, and thus the original name of the god Freyr, a legendary ancestor of the Swedish Royal Family. Freyr was the god of virility, prosperity, sacral kingship, sunshine, and fair weather. He’s also frequently depicted as a phallic fertility god, and bestows peace and pleasure upon mortals.

He appears widely in Old Norse mythology, particularly in stories in which he falls in love with Gerðr, a jötunn (an ambiguously-described type of figure).

In the modern era, Ing has lent his godly etymological root to many names, among them:

Male:

Ingálvur means “Ing’s elf” in Faroese.

Ingemar means “famous Ing” in Swedish, with the nickname Inge. The original Old Norse form was Ingimárr.

Ingemund means “Ing’s protection” in Swedish and Norwegian.

Ingibjörn means “Ing’s bear” in Icelandic and Swedish, from the Old Norse root Ingibjǫrn. The Norwegian form is Ingebjørn.

Ingimar is the Icelandic form of Ingemar.

Ingimund is the Faroese form of Ingemund.

Ingmar is a variation of Ingemar.

Ingmars is the Latvian form of Ingemar.

Ingo is German.

Ingolf means “Ing’s wolf” or “wolf of Ing” in German and the Scandinavian languages. It derives from the Old Norse Ingólfr and the Old Germanic Ingulf.

Ingomar is a rare German name, a form of Ingemar.

Ingvar means “warrior Ing” or “Ing’s warrior” in Icelandic, Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian. It derives from the Old Norse Yngvarr.

Ingvars is the Latvian form of Ingvar.

Yngve is Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish.

Female:

Inga is Scandinavian, Icelandic, Russian, Latvian, German, and Lithuanian. In German, Scandinavian, and Icelandic names, this can be a nickname for more elaborate Ing- names as well as a name in its own right.

Inge is a nickname form in German, Danish, and Dutch, with the Greenlandic variation Ínge. This spelling is traditionally male-only in Swedish and Norwegian.

Ingebjørg means “Ing saves/rescues/helps” in Danish and Norwegian. It derives from the Old Norse Ingibjörg.

Ingeborg is the German and Swedish form of Ingebjørg, as well as an alternate Danish and Norwegian form.

Ingeburg is a rare German form of Ingeborg.

Ingegärd means “Ing’s enclosure” in Swedish. It derives from the Old Norse Ingigerðr.

Ingegerd is the Danish and Norwegian form of Ingegärd, and an alternate Swedish form.

Ingegjerd is a Norwegian variation of Ingegerd.

Ingibjörg is the Icelandic form of Ingeborg. The Faroese form is Ingibjørg.

Ingfrid is a Norwegian variant of Ingrid.

Ingfrida is another Norwegian variation.

Ingheiður means “bright, cloudless, clear Ing” in Icelandic.

Inghild means “Ing’s battle” in the Scandinavian languages. The Old Norse roots are Yngvildr and Ingvildr.

Inghildur is the Icelandic form of Inghild.

Îngile is the Greenlandic form of Ingrid.

Íngipôĸ is the Greenlandic form of Ingeborg.

Ingisól is a rare, modern Icelandic name meaning “Ing’s sun.”

Ingka is the Greenlandic form of Inga.

Ingrid means “Ing is beautiful” in German and the Scandinavian languages. It derives from the Old Norse Ingríðr.

Ingrún means “Ing’s secret” in Icelandic and Faroese, from the Ancient Scandinavian root Ingirún.

Ingveig means “Ing’s power/strength” in Norwegian.

Ingvild is a Norwegian variation of Inghild.

Inka is the Frisian and Finnish form of Inga/Inge, and an alternate German form.

The various forms of Roger (Happy Duran Duran Appreciation Day!)

To mark this special holiday (which is very much real), and because Roger is my favourite member of the band, I thought I’d do a post about the name Roger. This isn’t a name I used to have a high opinion of (since at least when I was younger, it frequently seemed to be given to characters who were bullies and thugs), but I’ve really grown to love the name.

Roger was on the Top 100 in the U.S. from 1921–75, and the Top 50 from 1932–62 and again in 1964 and 1965. It attained its highest rank of #22 in 1945. The name has steadily plummeted in popularity, and was down to #643 in 2016. The alternate spelling Rodger, always less popular, last charted at #921 in 1985.

Roger is used in English, French, the Scandinavian languages, Catalan, Dutch, and German. It means “famous spear,” from the Old Germanic elements hrod (fame) and ger (spear). The name came to England after the Norman conquest of 1066 and the resulting occupation. It replaced the Old English Hroðgar (Hrothgar), which was the name of the legendary Danish king featured in Beowulf.

During the Middle Ages, Roger was a common name in England, though had become rare by the 18th century. Later on, it enjoyed a resurgence in popularity.

Other forms include:

1. Ruggieri is Medieval Italian.

2. Ruggiero is modern Italian.

3. Ruggero is an alternate Italian form.

4. Rogel is Spanish.

5. Rüdiger is German. The parents of my character Roger Brandt-van Acker wanted to name their son this name instead, after his great-great-uncle, but they were pressured into choosing the English form.

6. Rutger is Dutch and Limburgish. The Limburgish nickname is Ruth.

7. Rogier is also Dutch.

8. Rogério is Portuguese.

9. Roar is Norwegian, and obviously not a name I’d recommend in an Anglophone country.

10. Hrodger is the original Ancient Germanic form.

11. Hróarr is Old Norse.

12. Hróðgeirr is also Old Norse.

13. Dodge is a Medieval English nickname.

14. Hodge is another Medieval English nickname, spelt such because of the way in which the English mispronounced the occupying Normans’ R.

15. Roschi is Alsatian.

16. Ruđer is Croatian.

Francesca and Frederick

F

Francesca da Rimini, by William Dyce

Francesca da Rimini (1255–85) appears in Canto V of The Divine Comedy, as she tells Dante her tragic story. She and her lover Paolo Malatesta are condemned to the Second Circle of Hell, for carnal sinners.

Francesca was the daughter of Guido I da Polenta of Ravenna, who forced her to marry Giovanni Malatesta for political reasons. Their families had been at war, and Guido felt this marriage would solidify the peace which had recently been negotiated. After Francesca moved to Rimini upon marriage, she fell in love with Giovanni’s younger brother Paolo, who was also married.

Francesca and Paolo carried on a love affair for ten years, until Giovanni discovered what was going on somewhere between 1283–86, though probably about 1285. Giovanni surprised the couple in Francesca’s bedroom and murdered them both. Over the years, many legends about them sprung up. In Dante’s imagining of Hell, they’re trapped in an eternal whirlwind, symbolic of the passion they were swept away by. Dante is so moved by their story, he faints.

Francesca is the Italian and Catalan feminine form of the Late Latin name Franciscus (Francis), which means “Frenchman.”

Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor (26 December 1194–13 December 1250)

Three Emperor Fredericks feature in The Divine Comedy—Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor (Frederick Barbarossa) (1122–10 June 1190); Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor; and King Frederick III of Sicily (13 December 1272–25 June 1337).

Frederick is the English version of a Germanic name meaning “peaceful ruler,” from the elements frid (peace) and ric (ruler; power). I’ve always absolutely loved this name, and all the foreign versions—Friedrich, Frederik, Frédéric, Fredrik, Federigo, Frigyes, Fredrikh, Fryderyk, Friderik. I’m particularly fond of the nicknames Fritz and Freddie, though the nickname Fred feels kind of dated.

There have been so many awesome Fredericks through history (with the name’s various forms), from all sort of fields—politics, philosophy, music, kings, emperors, science. As a classic rock lover, there’s also the association with Freddie Mercury, who still sang like a god as he was dying. (And yes, I know his real name was Farrokh, not Frederick!)