Edited by Azizi Powell
This is Part III of a three part post on personal names that refer to color in general and skin color names in particular. This post provides a list of Arabic names that refer to colors or skin complexions.
Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2014/01/kieran-isnt-only-name-that-means-black.html for Part I of this post.
Part I includes my remarks about the Irish name "Kieran" (meaning "little dark one" or "black") that was given to Mitt Romney's recently adopted grandson who is Black. Part I also includes an excerpt of a 2012 blog post entitled "Colonial Mentality" by Kemi Ogunniyi, a young woman of Nigerian descent who wrote about her impressions of the year (2010) that she spent in Nigeria. Part I also includes an excerpt of the comment that I wrote on that blog in response to that post, and a portion of Kemi's response to questions. Lastly, Part I also includes questions and responses about the meaning of other "skin color" names that were posted on a discussion thread of the Nigerian forum nairaland.com.
Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2014/01/fela-sowande-writes-about-yoruba.html for Part II of this post.
Part II presents an excerpt from a chapter of the 1966 book The Mind Of A Nation- The Yoruba Child by Fela Sowande. That excerpt gives the meaning of and explanation for another Yoruba skin color name.
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Arabic names that refer to a color or a skin complexion. (Note: This list does not include names that mean "bright, shining, brilliant, [sun, star, lamp] light and similar words)
Masculine Arabic N names
Adham - Black or dark
Aswad – Black
Kadeer, Kadir - Green or green crop (connoting freshness and innocence)
Nu'man - Blood, red
Suhaib, Suhayb - Of reddish hair or complexion; name of the first Roman to embrace Islam
Sumrah – Brownness
Feminine Arabic names
Barakah, Baraka - Blessing; white one
Dahab – Gold
Fayruz – Turquoise
Fiddah – Silver
Humairah, Humayrah - Of reddish complexion; nickname the Prophet gave to his wife 'A'ishah
Jumanah, Jumaana - Silver pearl
Khuzama – Lavender
Lama - Darkness of lips
Lamya', Lamya - Of dark lips
Lujain, Lujayn – Silver
Mariyah - Fair complexion; name of the wife of the Prophet
Samra' - Soft, light tanned color
Sumaira, Sumayra - Diminutive of Samra'
ADDENDUM: Arabic's influence on African languages
"Arabic has had a great influence on other languages, especially in vocabulary. The influence of Arabic has been most profound in those countries dominated by Islam or Islamic power. Arabic is a major source of vocabulary for languages as diverse as Berber, Kurdish, Amharic, Tigrinya, Persian, Pashto, Urdu, Punjabi, Sindhi, Tagalog, Turkish, Spanish, Hindi, Swahili, Somali, Malay, and Indonesian, as well as other languages in countries where these languages are spoken."
One traditional West African language that isn't mentioned in that list is "Mandinka".
Here's an excerpt from the Wikipedia page about that language http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandinka_language
"The Mandinka language (Mandi'nka kango), or Manding, is a Mandé language spoken by the Mandinka people of Mali, Senegal, the Gambia, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea-Bissau and Chad; it is the main language of the Gambia. It belongs to the Manding branch of Mandé, and is thus fairly similar to Bambara and Maninka or Malinké. In a majority of areas, it is tonal language with two tones: low and high, although the particular variety spoken in the Gambia and Senegal is non-tonal and uses a pitch accent."
The influence of Arabic on Mandinka personal names is quite easy to see. Here are a few Mandinka names with clear Arabic influences (Note: These names don't refer to colors or complexions).
Momodou (or just 'Modou')
Fatoumatta (or just Fatou)
I've decided to let you find the Arabic names that are the sources for these Mandinka names.
Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.
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