Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Saskia & Friends: A Dutch/Afrikaans Name for Merica

Dear Laura & Sarah,
I am 20 weeks pregnant I am having a girl. I really need some inspiration on unique and unusual names. I am from South Africa and my first language is Afrikaans. Afrikaans is a Germanic language originating from the Dutch spoken by settlers in the seventeenth century. I really want to stick to an Afrikaans name even though I live in the UK. I like simple names but also biblical names or maybe longer unique names.
A few names I like of some of my family members and friends:
I hope you can help me. Looking forward to hear from you.

Hi Merica,

Congratulations on your pregnancy. It is such a special time in your life (especially if it is your first) so just enjoy it now whilst you can and I think it is admirable that you want to honour your heritage with an Afrikaans name for your little girl (when she comes). The only advice I have for that is to make sure that you are choosing a name because you love it. If there is a name you really, really love don't discount it just because it isn't Afrikaans. Likewise, don't choose an Afrikaans name that you aren't absolutely in love with.

From your list I am loving Fleur. She is so pretty and delicate - however french she might be. Perhaps you might consider choosing a name you love as the first name regardless of origin, and bestowing a middle name upon your little girl with origins in Afrikaans?

I have complied what I think is a pretty solid list of Dutch/Afrikaans names for your little girl. In fact, I might have to pinch a few of them for myself (Wilhelmina for example).

I hope you like them. Remember to tell us how you go - we love hearing how our posts influence naming decisions!!

Good Luck!

Saskia - Simply meaning "Saxon Woman". There is some flexibility in pronunciation. SAS-kee-ah allows you to fit into your English surroundings (ala Sarah, Sophia, Sascha) where as ZAS-kee-ah gives you that international edge. LOVE it!

Marieke - A biblical name with great nickname flexibility meaning "Bitter".

Petra /Petronella - Technically the Dutch feminine form of Peter is Peta, but Petra or Petronella adds that bit of femininity that come through all of the names you said you liked with a splash of international charm. Plus, Petronella is a really sweet way to get Nel.

Nelleke - Another sweet way to get Nel meaning "a Horn".

Geneva - Meaning "Juniper Tree" who in old Dutch/Afrikaans was "genever". Could easily shorten to Gen, Eva, Eve, Gene, Evie, Genny, Neve or Neva.

Evelein - I love the look of Evelein. She looks so bubbly and suave. This is the darling Dutch form of Evelyn meaning "Life".

Jan - Short, sweet and understated.

Minuit - A little Minnie would be just delightful. This french name means "midnight" but is also the surname of the 17th century Dutch explorer famous for buying Manhattan Island from the Indians. Would make a really cute middle name too. Think: Fleur Minuit.

Lieve - I really like this delicate little name. She would fit right into a crowd of Lily's, Lila's, Leah's and Layla's. She is the short form of Godelieve and a possible feminisation of Levi.

Lorelei - The German Mermaids known as Loreley were legendarily known for luring sailors into the rocks to ultimately meet their death. Whilst this connection may seem dark the Loreley were renowned for their beauty, as I'm sure so will your little girl.

Anja - a variant of Anne meaning "Full of grace"

Skylar - A Dutch name meaning "Fugitive" with a touch of hippie flair.

Adelheid - The Dutch form of Adelaide. Adelke is the diminutive form. However, Ada, Elke, Elka, or the cutesy Addie all vaild nicknames. For you, its seems like Ada combines the simpleness you like with the heritage to boot.

Aia - "Eternal Mother". Aia could be used as the diminutive form of many other names.

Betje - A biblical name meaning "Devoted to God". I think we are to see the return of Bet- names in the near future. You could be setting a real trend with this one.

Ottoline - I thought I might try and suggest this one and see whether or not she is the type of longer unique name you are after. I personally think Ottoline or Ottilie is an adorable name. She is, of course, the feminine form of Otto or Otis, meaning "Wealth, Fortune". Whilst Otto may conjure up images of the stoner bus driver from 'The Simpson's', Ottoline is prim and sophisticated.

Sybella - We have talked about Sybella here before. Since then, a friend of the family bestowed this appellation on her brand new baby. It means "oracle" or "prophetess".

Elspeth/Elsbeth - Both valid Dutch variations of Elizabeth

Wilhelmina - I LOVE this name. She was a front runner for Rosemary for a while. She perfectly fits into your category of longer, more unique names and is ever so regally girly. A little Wilhelmina would certainly stand out from the crowd and offers an abundance of the most perfect nicknames; Willow, Willa, Mina, Minnie or Billie. In my opinion, you would be CrAZy not to love this girly version of the German name Wilhelm, meaning "Helmet, Protection".

Arabella - Although popular, this flighty, happy-go-lucky appellation would add a bright and "Prayerful" aura to any girls day.

Rosalie - This could be a neat way to get Rosa. Needless to say, I love the name Rose. Be warned though, this has the potential to start riding its 'Twilight' fame and start rising on the charts.

Anika - Last but not least, Anika. A very "Sweet-faced"' name indeed.

Hope this helps. Get Back to us soon!

Pictured: Saskia in Pompous Dress


Leah said...

I have a lot of Afrikaans friends (I'm married to a South African!) So for some more name suggestions:

Liesl, Marthina, Madri, Annalize, Marguerite, Ronel, Heila, Ansia, Alani, Lizaan, Johanna, Marli, Zanelle, Giada (pronounced Jada).

Sebastiane said...

Elsabe is a medieval Dutch form of Elizabeth, but considered a classic among Afrikaaners.

Anonymous said...

hello there thanks for your grat post, as usual ((o: