Edited by Azizi Powell
This post presents information that I received from an email correspondence with Shianne Ramdhan about first names in the Caribbean nation of Trinidad & Tobago.
The Addendum to this post provides a list of Trinidadian & Tobagonian female names and male names that are found in a September 2001 website (students of the world penpal).
The content of this post is provided for cultural and etymological purposes.
All copyrights remain with their owners.
Thanks also to all those quoted in this post. Special thanks to Shianne Ramdhan for sharing information about names from Trinidad & Tobago with me via email.
Shianne Ramdhan is a twenty year old female from Trinidad & Tobago who emailed me in June 2015 as a result of my publishing a pancocojams post on the Calypso song "King Liar" by Lord Nelson in 2013 [http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/09/lord-nelson-king-liar-sound-file-lyrics.html] As part of a school writing project on that song, Shianne found my post, and then asked me to share my understanding of the meaning of that Calypso song and my motivation for publishing that post. After I responded to Shianne's queries, I asked her if she would be willing to share information with me about names that are found in Trinidad*. Here's that portion of that email to Shianne and Shianne's subsequent emails to me regarding that subject:
On Jun 15, 2015, at 12:18 AM, Azizi Powell
...Another subject that I am interested in is names. I've written a post on the frequency of some African American names since the 1960s beginning with the sh or ch element. Also, a lot of names created since the 1960s that are considered "Black names" start with La or De (pronounced dee or day) and a lot of names created since the 1960s that are considered Black names end in "a" (pronounced ah) or isha, or ika, or tay.
Are there similar naming customs in Trinidad in the first names of your classmates, for instance?
What would you say are the most popular names for females and males in Trinidad?
Your response would be quite helpful to me and I would publish it in a pancocojams post (without last names).
Ms. Azizi Powell
*Although my request to Shianne was for information about "names from Trinidad" in an earlier email to her I referred to that nation as "Trinidad & Tobago". In her emails to me, probably because of my wording, Shianne refers to "Trinidad" and not "Trinidad & Tobago". However, my assumption is that the information that she shares refers to that entire nation.
On Monday, June 15, 2015 8:19 PM, Shianne wrote:
I'm glad to help. Well yes there is, the most common names for those of African descent if that is what you're targeting for girls are : Shanice, Tamika, Shamiah, Tanika, Tyanna, Sade (pronounced sha dey), Alicia, Alliyah, Tamisha, kaneesha, Deeyonte, Denise, Deisha. These are just some that I know of and that I go to school with.
Girls of Indian decent share the same names as well like Shanice and Alliyah. The most common names for girls are usually Sherisse/Cherisse, Sarah, Shivanna, Shania, Tamika, Shanice, Annelise, Chantal/Shantelle, Shannon, Karishma, Nikkita Nalini, Manisha, Vannie, Britney, Anya Safiya Jessica, Alyssa , just to name a few.
Male names that are considered African are: Khion, Keelon Jerren, Aaron, Jerome, Atiba, Makesi, Kadeem, Rondel, Rodell, Shawn, Kern.
Some common male names would be like, Avinash, Arvinda/Avinda, Nicholas, Brandon, Mark, Chad, Sachin, Aaron, Sean/Shawn, Christopher, Kris/Chris, Stephen, Darion, Darren, Naren, Narendra.
I hope that this was helpful in some way.
I wrote Shianne back asking what the age range was for those females and males in Trinidad who have these names that you sent me. I also asked if there was any differences between those names and names that Black adults you know, and I asked Shianne to confirm if she is a female. Here is her subsequent email to me:
On Tuesday, June 16, 2015 1:52 PM, Shianne wrote:
Yes I am female and I am 20 years old.
Yes, these names that I have listed go from children to maybe young adults (those in their 20's as well). I believe the names do differ to an extent for the black adults, for example, some of the names for older women are Patsy, Pat, Kamela, Sandra, Beatrice, Pam, Anne, Angela, Marjorie, Joyce, Sharon, Kathleen, Debbie, Debra, Daisy, Deborah, Donna, Dawn, Pamela, Tanya, Cherry, Caroline, Charlene, Pauline, Jacqueline, Alecia, Patricia, Karen, Janice, Heather, Gloria, Joanne, Wendy.
For black male adults you tend to see Charles, Jeffrey, Joel, Jack, Brian, James, Noel, Winston, Irwin, Ivan, Iwer, Lesta, Terry, Michael, Earl, Peter, Edward, David, Colin, Erik, Joseph, Lennox, Douglas, Cliff, Berkley, Keith, Patrick, Dennis, Dexter, Maxwell, Wayne.
It is likely that some teens may share some of these names that would be considered more older names like Karen, Janice , Joanne, David, Charles and Peter, but that may be because these are commons names in Trinidad.
The age range to these names given are maybe from 30 and up, but I took the names from people I know who are in their 50's and 60's.
I hope this was helpful and I wish you best of luck in your publishing.
In my next email to Shianne I thanked her again for her information and asked if I could use her full name in my citation for this post. I also asked her about how her name is pronounced. Here's her response:
Shianne To Azizi Powell Today [June 17, 2015] at 1:17 PM
You're most welcome. Anything is fine by me, and yes it's pronounced just like that. The correct spelling would be Cheyenne, but down here u see spelling like Shianne, Shyanne and Shian.
Best of Luck,
ADDENDUM: TOP 100 FEMALE AND TOP 28 MALE TRINIDADIAN & TOBAGIAN NAMES
From http://www.studentsoftheworld.info/penpals/stats.php3?Pays=TRI "Students of the World Penpal Statistics : Trinidad and Tobago
206 penpals/ Top Top 100 Trinidadian, Tobagonian names - Trinidad and Tobago*
*Pancocojams Editor's note: This chart also listed the amount of penpals who had each names and the percentages for the names. The statistics from a chart for the ages of the Trinidadian and Tobagonian penpals are:
0-7 : 0 (0.0%)
8 : 3 (1.5%)
9 : 2 (1.0%)
10 : 2 (1.0%)
11: 1 (0.5%)
12 : 3 (1.5%)
13 : 6 (2.9%)
14 : 3 (1.5%)
15 : 9 (4.4%)
16 : 21 (10.2%)
17 : 21 (10.2%)
18 : 25 (12.1%)
19 : 23 (11.2%)
20 : 14 (6.8%)
21 : 22 (10.7%)
22 : 7 (3.4%)
23 : 7 (3.4%)
24 : 3 (1.5%)
25 : 9 (4.4%)
26 : 2 (1.0%)
27-99 : 23 (11.2%)
This post is related to an ongoing pancocojams series on distinctive African American names. One post in that series is http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2015/05/distinctive-black-names-excerpt-from.html. Other posts in that series can be found by clicking the "distinctive African American names" tag that is found below.
It's particularly interesting to me to note that as is the case with names in the United States, female names appear to be more diverse than male names. It's also interesting to me that so many of the female names in Shianne's lists and the penpal lists are the same as or quite similar to so-post 1960s so called United States "Black names" (read my short & incomplete description of those names in my email to Shianne). I'm inclined to believe that the Trinidadian/Tobagonian names are largely influenced by African American naming practices and not vice versa. The male name "Shaquille" almost certainly has its source in the African American superstar basketball player Shaquille O'Neal. And the female name "Nia" also almost certainly has its source in the Kwanzaa principle/day "Nia" whose source is the KiSwahili word meaning "purpose".
I'll leave it to people interested in this topic to suss out more about the similarities and differences and who influenced who, and/or why post 1960s African American and Trinidadian/Tobagonians have the same or similar aesthetic tastes in personal names.
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