Regular readers of both this blog and my main blog may have noticed I consistently use the spelling Jakob instead of the more common Jacob. While I personally think the K makes it stand out and gives it an added boost of personality (particularly considering how super-popular it’s been for so long), my main reason is that the first Jacob I knew was a terrible bully. Even after meeting wonderful Jacobs who were nothing like the first, that association stayed. Using the K spelling takes the sting out of the name for me. It doesn’t make me think of him.
The conventional English spelling Jacob has been in the Top 10 in the U.S. since 1993. From 1999–2012, it was #1. As of 2015, it was #4, and also enjoying high popularity in Canada (#6), Australia (#11), New Zealand (#10), Northern Ireland (#12), England and Wales (#5), and Scotland (#11). My spelling, Jakob, was #3 in Austria, #15 in Norway, and #6 in Slovenia.
The spelling Jacob is used in English and Dutch. Other variants, starting with the one I prefer, are:
1. Jakob is German, Scandinavian, Slovenian, and Icelandic, as well as an alternate Dutch spelling. It still rankles when I remember one of the know-it-all agents who dogpiled me in a pitchfest some years back, insisting (based on something like three lines of a pitch!) I hadn’t done my research and didn’t know jack due to my usage of the spelling Jakob on a Dutch character. Um, no, it’s a legit Dutch spelling variation, and the reason for it is explained in the story. Odd how everyone else has praised my attention to historical accuracy and detail, including the names I choose. Yet another reason why I went indie.
Jockel is the German nickname; Jaša and Jaka are Slovenian; Jeppe and Ib are Danish; and Jaap, Jaapje, Jaapetje, Jop, Koos, Kobus, Kobe, Coos, and Cobus are Dutch.
The slight variation Jákob is a lesser-used Hungarian form, though the more widely-used Hungarian form is…
2. Jakab. Nicknames for both include Jaksi, Jákó, Jaksa, Jaki, and Koba.
3. Jakub is Polish, Czech, and Slovak, with the cute Polish nickname Kuba. Slovak and Czech nicknames include Jašek, Kuba, Kubík, Kubíček, Jakoubek, and Jakes.
4. Jakov is Serbian, Macedonian, and Croatian. The Serbian and Croatian nickname is Jakša.
5. Japik is Frisian.
6. Jokūbas is Lithuanian.
7. Jēkabs is Latvian.
8. Jakes is Basque.
9. Jaakko is Finnish.
10. Jaakoppi is also Finnish.
11. Jaakob is a third Finnish form, and Estonian. The nickname for all three is Jaska.
12. Jaagup is Estonian. The nickname is Jaak.
13. Jákup is Faroese.
14. Jacobo is Spanish.
15. Jago is Cornish.
16. Jaume is Catalan. The nickname is Jaumet.
17. Jacques is French.
18. Jaques is Jèrriais. Nicknames include Jacot and Jaquinot. An alternate Jèrriais form is Jâcob.
19. Iago is Galician and Welsh, and of course the familiar name of the antagonist of Othello.
20. Jacó is Portuguese.
21. Iakob is Georgian, with the nickname Koba.
22. Yakov is Russian and Bulgarian, with the nickname Yasha. This is one of the irregular patronymics, with the male form Yakovlevich and the feminine Yakovlevna.
23. Yakiv is Ukrainian and Belarusian.
24. Yakub is an alternate Belarusian form, as well as Arabic. The Belarusian and Ukrainian nickname for both Yakiv and Yakub is Yakush.
25. Ya’akov is Hebrew.
26. Akiva is a variant Hebrew form. Rabbi Akiva was a famous First Century scholar who was an illiterate shepherd till he was 40. His wife Rachel saw something special in him, and pushed him to start learning and go off to study. He became a great sage, in spite of having no formal Jewish background or even the ability to read and write.
27. Yankel is Yiddish.
28. Kapel is also Yiddish.
29. Koppel is a third Yiddish form.
30. Jacopo is Italian.
31. Giacobbe is an alternate Italian form.
32. Iacopo is also Italian. The nickname for all three is Lapo.
33. Yaqub is a variant Arabic transliteration.
34. Hagop is Armenian.
35. Hakob is an alternate Armenian form. Eastern and Western Armenian pronounce certain letters differently, and have other significant linguistic differences.
36. Yakup is Turkish.
37. Seumas is Scottish.
38. Iakopa is Hawaiian.
39. Hemi is Maori.
40. Yago is an alternate Spanish form.
41. Iacob is Romanian.
42. Iacov is also Romanian.
43. Iakovos is Greek.
44. Jaimé is Filipino.
45. Yakaŭ is an alternate Belarusian form.
46. Jakobo is Esperanto.
47. Jappe is West Frisian.
48. Jeikobu is Japanese.
49. Küba is Vilamovian, a Germanic language spoken in Poland.
50. Ukba is Aramaic.
51. Xacobe is Galician.
52. Yaghoub is Persian.
53. Yakobo is Swahili.
54. Yaqup is Bashkir, a Turkic language spoken in Russia.
55. Yoqub is Uzbek.
56. Séamus is Irish.
57. Séamas is also Irish.