This is the second post in an ongoing pancocojams series on Caribbean names.
This post provides information about a few distinctive Haitian female names as well as information about some Haitian naming customs.
For the first post in this series, click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2016/11/haitian-personal-names-female-name.html. That post provides information about the female name "Wideline", includes examples of some other Haitian names, and provides information about some Haitian naming customs.
For the third post in this series, click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2016/11/some-distinctive-haitian-male-names.html. That post contains examples of distinctive Haitian male names and information about some Haitian naming customs.
The content of this post is presented for etymological and cultural information.
All copyrights remain with their owners.
Thanks to Issendai for her? his? research work that is quoted in this post.
I consider myself a volunteer community folklorist. In addition to other aspects of African American, African, and African Diaspora cultures, I'm interested in naming customs. By no means am I an expert on name origins and meanings (onomastics).
I'm not Haitian and I'm not of Haitian descent- that I know of. However, my maternal grandparents are from the Caribbean (Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados). And my granddaughter's paternal great grandfather was Haitian.
I started looking online for information and examples of Haitian names largely out of curiosity- mostly to ascertain whether the naming traditions of Haiti were similar to some of the contemporary naming traditions of African Americans. From perusing online web pages of Haitian names*, it appears to me that there are some general similarities but also considerable differences between Haitian naming traditions and African American naming traditions. Some of those similarities and differences will be noted in this post and in other posts that are part of this series.
As is the case with my documentation and study of African American names, I'm most interested in "distinctive" Haitian names. By "distinctive" Haitian names, I mean personal names from Haiti that are unfamiliar to me and I think unfamiliar to most African Americans and most other people in the United States. I realize that many or most of the names that I consider to be "distinctive Haitian names" might not be considered "distinctive" by many or most Haitians.
*I'm particularly thrilled to have found the wonderfully rich (for people interested in names) pages at www.issendai.com/names/haitian/haitian-names. Special thanks and special hat tip to that blog!
HAITIAN RELIEF EFFORTS
My prayers, concerns, and well wishes remain for the people of Haiti. Here's a link to one Haitian relief organization: http://www.mission-haiti.org/content/hurricane-relief-fund?gclid=CMnirs33idACFcZDhgodVP0Bbg
Here's another link to a relief organization which works in Haiti and elsewhere:
GENERAL OVERVIEW ON DATA ABOUT HAITIAN NAMES
Updated 1/17/2014 "the most popular haitian baby names"
"In the interest of getting you what you're looking for, this page makes a terrible fudge of the statistics. The truth is, it's impossible to know what the most popular Haitian baby names are. There's no central authority gathering and collating data, no registry that's open to private citizens--no data, basically. But by mining a couple of unofficial sources of data, I've created lists of the most common names among Haitian university and graduate school applicants, and among babies, children, and teens in sponsored school programs and other relief programs aimed at the rural working class."...
“Haitian spelling is flexible, especially where vowels and the letter R are concerned. For example, Guerline can also be spelled Guilene, Guirlene, Guilaine, Guirlaine, Guerlaine, Guerlyne, Guylene, Guilene, Gurlaine, Gurlene, Gyrlaine, or Gulene… and that’s not counting the misspellings."
From http://issendai.com/wp/haitian-names/name-endings/ Name Endings
"French has a multitude of name endings. Claude can become Claudette can become Claudine; when the winds of fashion change and the English suffix -elle becomes the rage, Claudelle may become one of the hot new names. Name endings can be stacked: Claudeline, Claudelette. Although each ending has a meaning, the meanings are no longer significant. Parents don’t care that Claudette means “little Claude,” while Claudine means “like or of Claude”; the important consideration is how the ending sounds.
Italics are added to highlight these sentences.
SELECTED HAITIAN DISTINCTIVE FEMALE NAMES
From http://issendai.com/wp/haitian-names/haitian-kreyol-names/ Haitian Kreyol Names; Issendai | February 26, 2016 | Haitian names
The children across the street were piling up the leaves in Madame Augustin’s yard. The bigger ones waited on line as the smaller ones dropped onto the pile, bouncing to their feet, shrieking and laughing. They called one another’s names: Foi, Hope, Faith, Espérance, Beloved, God-Given, My Joy, First Born, Last Born, Aséfi, Enough-Girls, Enough-Boys, Deliverance, Small Misery, Big Misery, No Misery. Names as bright and colorful as the giant poincianas in Madame Augustin’s garden.
— Edwige Danticat, Breath, Eyes, Memory
"Rural Haitians have a long tradition of names in Kreyol—not Kreyolized names like Jan-Jak for Jean-Jacques (although there’s a tradition of that, too), but names composed of Kreyol words. Some are religious: God-Is-So-Great, God-Given, Jesus-Is-Here. Others are the parents’ wishes for their family: Enough-Boys for a son born after a long string of boys, Enough-Girls for a daughter born after a long string of girls. Or the parents’ wishes for their child: No-Misery, Faith, Hope.
Non-Haitian parents looking for a Haitian name for their child should be aware that middle- and upper-class Haitians think these names are hilaaaarious. With the exception of some of the Dieu- names, these names are borne mainly by peasants, so middle- and upper-class Haitians think they’re too hick for words, the Haitian equivalent of Jimbo, Billy-Bob, and Cletus. When I was collecting Kreyol names, the richest source by far was Haitian-run comment threads with titles like “Funny Haitian Names,” “Ugly Haitian Names,” and “Names I Would Never Give My Baby.” While these names are beautiful and evocative, you may want to think twice about giving one to your own child.”...
That page includes a list of female Kreyol names and a list of male Kreyol names.
The Haitian rural naming traditions that are described above seem similar to the Shona (Zimbabwean) naming traditions that are described in this pancocojams post http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2016/08/zimbabwean-newspapers-article-about.html.
Names that refer to God and names such as "Beloved, "Faith", "Hope", and "My Joy" are common among many people in Africa and in the African Diaspora, as well as among other races/ethnic groups throughout the world. Birth order names, circumstantial names, and names that tell a story and/or state an opinion or wish are/were also common in a number of traditional African cultures and African Diaspora cultures including, to some extent, African American culture. To cite on example, an African American female who I went to school with in the 1960s was a premature baby. Consequently, her name was "Early". And one African American male who I met said that he named his son (who is now in his early twenties) "Man" because he wanted to make sure that White people never called him "boy" when he became an adult.
Issendai | June 22, 2016 | Haitian names "Haitian Names: A New File, A New Look Across Times
"It’s been a while since I regaled you with tales of Haitian onomastic nerdery, but wait no longer–I have a fine new source of names, rich and glowing with extraordinary detail. Today’s treat is courtesy of www.cephaiti.ht, the Haitian site for the body that oversees elections. They thoughtfully provided a list of every member of… the officials who oversee elections at the town level, I think? Three people per township–that amounts to roughly 25,000 names. I added in the names of the 300+ students who made the top scores per region in the two high school graduation exams, a small collection of names of candidates for election, and one list of government officials from Carrefour. All of these lists give first and last names, birthdate or a version of the personal identification number that includes the year of birth, and (except for the list from Carrefour) the person’s sex. The data has been clean apart from the usual typos, occasional switching of first and last names, and mystifying gender assignments.
The top 19 women’s names are:
...Which roughly matches the results from the massive list* of Haitian names. The numbers in both files are close, so it’s not surprising that names appear to leap or drop precipitously in popularity when you compare the two lists."
*Here's a link to the other name table that is mentioned in this excerpt: http://issendai.com/wp/haitian-names/haitian-female-names/
The source for the female name "Fabiola" in Haiti and elsewhere probable is the Catholic Saint Fabiola https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Fabiola.
The name "Fabiola" also resembles a Yoruba (Nigeria) personal name. The element "ola" means "wealth" and/or "honor". There are lots of examples on this nairaland post http://www.nairaland.com/1506134/lists-yoruba-names-english-meaning. Here are a few examples: "Babasola - father makes wealth", "Eniola = person of wealth" and "Omotola/Omotolani; a child is as worthy as wealth".
I'm not sure if that resemblance to Yoruba names had/has any influence on the popularity in Haiti of the name "Fabiola".
From http://issendai.com/wp/haitian-names/what-do-haitian-names-mean/ What Do Haitian Names Mean
[Pancocojams Editor- These names are randomly selected from that post.]
"DAPHNEY. The most common spelling of Daphnée, from the Greek daphnē, “laurel tree.” Daphnée can be combined with Love to become DAPHLOVE or DAPHENALOVE, and can be spelled Daphne, Daphney, Dapheney, or Daphmie. In any of its spellings and variants, it’s one of the more popular names in Haiti.
DAPHKAR. Also spelled Daphcar, Daphka, or Daphca.
DASHKA. One of the Russian names that became popular in the 1960’s and 1970’s, Dashka is a Russian nickname for Daria, “wealthy.” It can also be written Dashca, Dachka, Dacheka, or Dachecka.
DJENIE, DJENNIE. Kreyol form of JENNY.
GUERDA. This distinctively Haitian variant of GERTRUDE is popular both on its own and dressed up with new endings: GUERDINE, GUERLANDE, GUERLINDIA, GUERLINE, GUERLINEDA, GUERMYLOVE, and GUERTINE.
LOVELIE. English, “lovely.” The trendy name LOVE plus the built-in English meaning were guaranteed to make Lovelie a top choice for Haitian parents. Also spelled LOVELY.
NAPHETALOVE. A combination of NEPHTALIE and LOVE.
NEPHTALIE. The French form of Nephtali, the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Also spelled NEPTHALIE. The name has multiple variants, including NAPHATALINE and NAPHETALOVE.
Nadège. From the Russian name Nadéžda, meaning “hope.”
SORAYA. “Brilliant gem,” a Persian name for the Pleiades. Also spelled SERAYA.
SOUKAÏNA. From sakîna, an Arabic word that means “tranquillity” and implies God-inspired peace of mind. Also spelled SOUKAYINA.
TAÏNA. French for “Taino woman.” One of the names that honor Haiti’s Taino past. Also spelled TAYINA or TAHINA.
YANICK. Breton for “Little John.” This traditional men’s name is exclusively feminine in Haiti, and is modestly common among older women. Also spelled YANNICK.
YUDELINE. An import from Cuba, where a mania for names beginning with Y created a generation of children named Yuset, Yumara, Yuniel, Yuslan, Yoandy, Yakarta, Yolaide, Yotuel… and Yudelina. In Cuba, the Y is pronounced as a soft J, so the Cuban pronunciation of Yudelina sounds to the Haitian ear like Judelina. Give the name a French twist, and it become JUDELINE. Keep the original spelling but pronounce it in French or Kreyol, and it becomes Yudeline—or, with a little creative spelling, Youdeline, Yodeline, Yoodeline, or Youdelyne. With a new ending, it becomes YOUDELANDE. All of these names (plus their male counterparts—just trim the -e off the end) are modestly common in Haiti, especially among people born in the 70’s and 80’s, when the craze for Y names began in Cuba.
As for what it means, no one is sure. Some say it was invented, just a collection of appealing sounds with no underlying meaning. Personally, I suspect that whomever invented it had the name Jude on the mind, making Yudeline a feminine variant of Hebrew Yehudah, “praised.”
Yudelines who want a more unusual folk etymology for their name can turn to the name Eudaline or Eudalina, a rare Spanish name (and even rarer French name) derived from the medieval French male name Eudes and its diminutive Eudelin. Eudes comes from Germanic Audes or Odo, meaning “wealth,” which would make Yudeline a Caribbean cousin of Ottoline."
Excerpt #4 [Added at 7:00 PM 11.2.2016]
From http://issendai.com/wp/haitian-names/digging-out-from-under-the-worlds-most-massive-list-of-haitian-names/ "Digging Out From Under the World's Most Massive List Of Haitian Names"
..."Ah, Nadege, the Jennifer of Haiti. The oldest Nadege in the sample was born in 1957, but the name hits its stride in the early 70’s and carries on strong through the 80’s and early 90’s.
Nadege–Nadejda, “hope”–is one of the Russian names that took Cuba by storm and spread to the surrounding countries. In Haiti, other popular Russian names were Nadia, Natacha/Natasha, Natalie, Tania, and Tatiana for girls, and Casimir and Vladimir/Vladimy for boys.
Guer- names first appeared in the late 50’s–the earliest in my sample is 1956–and gained steam through the 60’s. For girls, Guerline, Guerda, and Guerlande; for boys, Guersly, Guercy, Guerlin, Guerdy, Guerson, and the traditional name Guerrier. Where did Guer- come from? I have no idea, but my money’s on Cuba."
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