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It’s All In a Name – Arab Names

The Arab world covers a band of North Africa and the Middle East where 20 countries have Arabic as the main language. Overwhelmingly Arabic names are vocabulary words whose meaning is obvious and clear. Although some names are taken from the pre-Islamic tradition, the most common Arabic names are derived from Islam which has been the dominant religion since the 7th century. Pre-Islamic names include... 

It’s All In a Name – Americas

Each Mother’s Day in the United States, the Commissioner of Social Security publishes the most popular baby names based on all social security card applications for children born the previous year. The latest available lists of the top ten boys’ and girls’ names, relating to the year 2005, are as follows: Position Boys Girls 1 Jacob Emily 2 Michael Emma 3 Joshua Madison 4 Matthew Abigail 5 Ethan Olivia 6 Andrew Isabella 7 Daniel Hannah 8 Anthony Samantha 9 Christopher Ava 10 Joseph Ashley Links: ... 

It’s All In a Name – Rest of Eastern Europe

In Eastern European countries, it is much more common than in Western European countries for children to have the same first name as the parent of the same gender. In the Slavonic countries of Central and Eastern European, such as Russia, Poland, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, as in Western Europe a great many names have a Christian origin. Indeed, in Russia, the Orthodox Church forbade... 

It’s All In a Name – Rest Of Western Europe

Some first names commonly used in English-speaking countries have equivalents in almost all European nations – notably John and George for boys and Mary and Ann for girls. However, each country has its own rich source for first names. In neighbouring Ireland, naming sources include the Catholic saints, the Celtic legends and Anglicized versions of Gaelic names. There are also many vocabulary... 

It’s All In a Name – British Names

First names In some cultures, the relationship between first names and vocabulary words is transparent, that is the names are just special uses of oridinary words. This is not the case for English names (or for those in most Western European languages). English names are mostly opaque, that is the ‘meaning’ is not obvious and is to be found in languages other than modern English, often... 

What’s In A Name – Introduction

I have a Chinese friend called Zhihao who lives in London with his wife Hua. We first met Hua on the return flight of our trip to China and, since they came to Britain, Zhihao and Hua have been very good friends whom we see regularly. Each time we meet, we find ourselves comparing and contrasting British and Chinese cultures. Zhihao has become particularly fascinated by the use of personal names in... 

What’s In a Name – Australia

As former British colonies, Australia and New Zealand largely have the same naming practices as Britain, except that some first names are more common in these countries than in Britain. Consider the most popular names in Australia in 2003: Position Boys Girls 1 Joshua Chloe 2 Jack Jessica 3 Thomas Emma 4 Ethan Grace 5 Liam Sarah 6 Jacob Shakira 7 Matthew Emily 8 Mitchell Amy 9 Lachlan Hannah 10 Daniel Hayley Most... 

It’s All In a Name – Rest of Asia

In Israel, as one would expect of a Jewish population, first names are frequently taken from the Old Testament of the Bible – for instance, Abraham, David, Ya’akov (Jacob), Yitzak (Isaac), Moshe (Moses) for boys and Rivka (Rebecca), Ruth, Sarah for girls. Even names which occur only once in the Bible – for example, Medad and Eldad – can become popular. The letters ‘el’... 

It’s All In a Name – Rest of Africa

Names in Africa reflect the diverse nature of this huge continent, so the Arab countries of the north and Muslim families elsewhere follow the Muslim traditions of naming, while many of the countries which were colonised by European states continue to use many names derived from the colonising country and its language such as English, French and Portuguese. In other cases, more traditional or tribal... 

It’s All In a Name – Japanese Names

In Japan, first names are written in kanji or Chinese characters, though some names are written in hiragana or katakana characters, meaning that there are thousands of possible names. Hiragana are mainly used for girl’s names because of its soft impression. Since there are thousands of kanji to choose from, even the same name usually can be written in many different kanji combinations. For example,... 
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