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Friday, September 29, 2017

Information About & Lists Of Puerto Rican Given (First) Names

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post provides an excerpt from an online article about Puerto Rican given (first) names as well as a list of Puerto Rican first names from the United States Census (2010) and from an international pen pal student group.

This post is the part of an ongoing pancocojams series on Caribbean names. Click the "Caribbean names" tag below to find other pancocojams posts in this series.

The content of this post is presented for etymological and cultural information.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.

My prayers, concerns, and well wishes remain for the people of Puerto Rico who have experienced devastation as a result of Hurricane Maria (September 2017).

Here's a link to an article about how to donate money to help: http://mashable.com/2017/09/20/hurricane-maria-puerto-rico-help-caribbean/#OXfGYHAHjPq5.

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DISCLAIMER
I'm interested in naming customs in addition to my interest in other aspects of African, African American, and other African Diaspora cultures. By no means am I an expert on name origins and meanings (onomastics).

I started looking online for information and examples of Caribbean names largely out of curiosity- and mostly to ascertain whether the naming traditions of Cuba, Haiti, and other Caribbean nations and territories were similar to some of the contemporary naming traditions of African Americans.

From perusing online web pages of Puerto Rican names, it appears to me that there are some general similarities but also considerable differences between Puerto Rican 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" Puerto Rican names. By "distinctive" Puerto Rican names, I mean personal names from Puerto Rico 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 Puerto Rican names" might not be considered "distinctive" by many or most Puerto Ricans.

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ARTICLE ABOUT PUERTO RICAN NAMES
http://www.speakinglatino.com/baby-names-from-puerto-rico/ Puerto Rican Baby Names: Trendy, Creative and Unique Names from the Island of Enchantment
"This is the introduction of the 2012 book Baby Names from Puerto Rico: Trendy, Creative and Unique Names from the Island of Enchantment edited by Jared Romey and Diana Caballero

If you visit the Island of Enchantment, you may notice that many young people’s names are unknown to you. Apparently the tradition of naming the children to preserve the memory of mom or dad is not used anymore.

Puerto Ricans are very creative and unique in this process of naming their children. Today, for us it is not enough to name our baby with a simple common name in Spanish such as María, Ana, Pedro, Antonio or Luis. Now, the trend is to create new, unique names for our babies. This creative process often occurs when we combine names, for example the names of both parents or two names we like. That is why it is common to have friends with names such as Kathyenid (woman), Jonathaniel (man), Kaoru (woman) or Sadiel (man).

[...]

In the January 14th, 2012 issue of The Economist an article was published on government regulations regarding baby names. This article makes reference to a survey made by the economists Roland Fryer and Steven Levitt that conclude “that nearly 30% of black girls in California in the 1990s received a first name that they share with no other baby born in the state in the same year”. In my opinion, something similar could be happening in Puerto Rico.

I haven’t found any formal study of this practice on the Island, but there are some comments in the media about it. Press articles have stated some of the difficulties created by “inventing” a name:

1. You cannot distinguish if it is a boy or a girl’s name.
2. The child will have difficulties learning how to write his/her name.
3. Bullying.
4. Official document mistakes that could lead to denying the validation of a document or extra charges to correct them.

But none of these arguments are good enough to stop the creativity of the Boricuas. In my opinion, it is totally valid that the parents have a desire to have a unique and special name for their child

[...]

What makes a name unique?

For this book, Baby Names from Puerto Rico: Trendy, Creative and Unique Names from the Island of Enchantment, I have identified the following methods of arriving at a baby’s name:

1. Two or more names combined. (Example: Ana + Natalia = Anatalia, Jared + Diana = Jariana, Karla + Lissette = Karlaissette)

2. Alternate ways to write a common name. (Example: Jessika for Jessica, Karmen for Carmen, Alanys for Alanis)

3. A totally new creation. (Example: Keidaliz, Zoidariam)

4. Names that were made popular because of the media exposure. (Example: Tanairí, Shakira, Yandel)

5. Names used by past generations, but that are not popular anymore. (Example: Ruperta, Petronila)

6. Borrow the name from a well known word, perhaps without even realizing it....

Names of Saints

This practice of young parents creating names is the main content of this book, but there are also non-common names in adults. Why? In past generations, the selection of a baby’s name was often decided according to the Saint of the Day. This was a tradition in Catholic countries. Catholics follow the Liturgical Calendar that gives the dates when a Saint is honored. Since there are approximately 10,000 saints or candidates awaiting sainthood, there is more than one option for every day of the year...Now-a-days this tradition is no longer practiced in Puerto Rico.

Celebrity names or mistakes

Besides using current names to create new ones, Puerto Ricans use celebrity names, just as happens in other countries. For instance, the name of the reggaeton singer Yandel from the musical group Wisin & Yandel entered the Social Security Administration’s most common names list in 2003 just when his career started taking off. In that year 49 boys were registered with his name and grew continuously every subsequent year through 2006 when it peaked at 96 boys registered. After that, the amount of boys named Yandel has been lowering, but is still on the list of the most popular with 45 boys registered in 2010. We don’t know why his fellow partner Wisin didn’t achieve the same because his name is not even mentioned on the lists.

There are also uncommon names created by accident and the best story that illustrates this is my sister Analiza. Yes, she is the only person I know that has a name that is actually a verb (translation: Analize). My parents’ idea was to name her Ana Lisa, but the person in the Demographic Registrar’s office wrote her name incorrectly."...

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UNITED STATES SOCIAL SECURITY LISTS OF 100 FIRST NAMES IN PUERTO RICO
Pancocojams Editor's Note:
Puerto Ricans are citizens of the United States. The United States Census is taken every ten years. This list from the 2010 US Census also includes the number of males and females who were born in Puerto Rico in that year and given that particular first name.

From https://www.ssa.gov/oact/babynames/territory/puertorico2010.html

2010 births in Puerto Rico *
number: male name -----female name

1. Luis-----Mia
2. Angel-----Kamila
3. Ian------Camila
4. Sebastian-Alondra
5. Jose-----Valeria
6. Diego-----Amanda
7. Adrian-----Gabriela
8. Carlos-----Andrea
9. Dylan----- Adriana
10.Derek----- Sofia
11. Gabriel-----Paola
12. Alejandro -----Victoria
13. Fabian----- Isabella
14. Jayden-----Alanis
15. Dereck-----Ariana
16. Jean-----Genesis
17. Juan-----Natalia
18. Yadiel-----Fabiola
19. Joseph-----Alejandra
20. Abdiel----- Alana
21. Michael-----Sophia
22. Christian-----Daniela
23. Kevin-----Valentina
24. Jesus-----Ana
25. Miguel-----Alanys
26. Bryan-----Mariana
27. Daniel-----Alexandra
28. Ryan-----Maria
29. Justin-----Nayelis
30. Jan-----Amaia
31. John-----Brianna
32. Jorge-----Arianna
33. Yeriel-----Angelica
34. Alex-----Emily
35. Jeremy-----Kiara
36. Hector-----Karla
37. Ricardo-----Yarielis
38. Alexander-----Kamyla
39. Yariel -----Karina
40. Jonathan-----Carolina
41. Andres-----Melanie
42. Caleb-----Angelique
43. David -----Paula
44. Alexis-----Gabriella
45. Victor-----Mya
46. Gustavo-----Karelys
47. Anthony-----Layla
48. William-----Amaya
49. Dariel-----Gianna
50. Edwin-----Kimberly
51. Jeriel-----Mikaela
52. Yahir-----Arianys
53. Julian-----Emma
54. Jadiel-----Grace
55. Javier-----Isabel
56. Jomar-----Joelys
57. Marcos-----Karielys
58. Rafael-----Alexa
59. Yandiel-----Alianys
60. Keniel----- Darielys
61. Jacob-----Lara
62. Xavier-----Zoe
63. Christopher-----Aleysha
64. Ezequiel-----Anna
65. Isaac-----Sarah
66. Axel-----Alanna
67. Yaniel-----Natalie
68. Erick-----Nayeli
69. Francisco-----Bianca
70. Pedro-----Daniella
71. Eduardo-----Stephanie
72. Joshua-----Abigail
73. Kenneth-----Angelis
74. Joniel-----Briana
75. Yadriel-----Dariana
76. Alan-----Elena
77. Fernando-----Jade
78. Esteban-----Janielys
79. Kelvin-----Nathalia
80. Leonardo-----Nicole
81. Ivan-----Laura
82. Josue-----Leah
83. Joel-----Lorena
84. Kaleb-----Angely
85. Yamil-----Claudia
86. Yandel-----Cristina
87. Adriel----- Elianys
88. Samuel-----Elizabeth
89. Emmanuel-----Naomi
90. Gian-----Angelys
91. Matthew-----Destiny
92. Sergio-----Stella
93. Lucas-----Amy
94. Steven-----Jarielys
95. Jaycob-----Julianys
96. Manuel----Kamilah
97. Omar-----Krystal
98. Roberto-----Lia
99. Janiel -----Rihanna
100. Denzel-----Yarelis
-snip-
Notice the frequency of male or female names that begin with the letter "Y". It's likely that Puerto Rican adopted the custom of conferring first names that begin with "Y" from Cubans. A pancocojams post on Cuban first names will be published ASAP and I'll add its link in this post. Here's an excerpt from that post from http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/02/26/world/social-issues-world/forget-yevgeny-and-yilka-cubas-generation-y-returns-to-roots-for-names/#.WBz-vvkrLcs Forget Yevgeny and Yilka: Cuba’s Generation Y’ returns to roots for names. Feb 26, 2014
"...More than two decades after the fall of the Iron Curtain, Cubans are increasingly returning to more traditional handles for their kids, saying they believe it will better suit them personally and professionally when they grow up. More and more, names like Maria and Alejandro are replacing the likes of Yoleissi, Yuniesky, Yadinnis, Yilka, Yiliannes, Yonersi, Yusleibis, Yolady, Yudeisi or Yamilka.


[...]

Decades ago many Cuban parents named their kids after other family members or hewed to the common practice in the Spanish-speaking world of honoring the Roman Catholic saint associated with a child’s birthdate.

There were only a smattering of eccentric monikers back then, said Uva de Aragon, a retired Cuban-American academic and writer born in 1944 in Havana. De Aragon’s own name was inspired by her grandfather, Ubaldo.

After the 1959 revolution and Cuba’s subsequent self-declaration as an officially atheist state, folks really started getting creative.

“As many people stopped baptizing their children, it was no longer necessary to pick a name that was in the calendar of saints,” de Aragon said...

But it was the Generation Y phenomenon that was uniquely Cuban, and brought out many parents’ creative instincts. Consider the name Yotuel, a mash-up of the Spanish-language pronouns “yo,” “tu” and “el,” or “I,” “you” and “he” in English.

Y-fashion spread overseas through migration to Florida and elsewhere, and some of the most famous examples are found on Major League Baseball rosters in the names of defected stars Yasiel Puig and Yoenis Cespedes.

While there is no public data available, experts and parents alike have noted a clear trend away from Y-based and other eccentric names in recent years."...

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TOP PUERTO RICAN NAMES (FROM STUDENTS OF THE WORLD PEN PAL WEBSITE)

GIRLS NAMES
The chart on that page gives the number and percentages of Puerto Rican students of the world participants with these names.

These names are given as they are found on that page, with the highest ranking names (names with the most participants) given first. Names 1-4 have three participants with these names and names 5-10 have two participants with these names. All other names have one participant with these names. Given that fact, I'm not sure how these names were actually listed in any ranking order. However, the chart on that page (which gives the female names and male names together) does refer to the "rank" of these names.

No date was given on this page for when this chart was published.

From http://www.studentsoftheworld.info/penpals/stats.php3?Pays=PRI
"Top 100 Puerto Rican Names-Puerto Rico
paola
kayla
Andrea
LiaPaz
Tirzah
Nicole
Sarah
Geishla
Angel
Grace
Lizzy
Maria Mercedes
Fredeswinda
Puerto Rico
Yanelly
Ashley [3]
shanti
CAROLINA DE JESUS
Patricia
julissa
Carelisse
Zoelis
Ava
Leslie
Melanie
Thalia
Ariana
Michelle
ARIANNA
karen lee
sandra
Marde
Tatiana
Narelle Yashira
Giseritz
Camille
Danyka
Ceclia
karolyn
Ilianyelis
Mara
Marieh
Dal
Brunela
josayrie
Gabriella
JANET
Frangiemil
Autumn
Alexandra
Franshesca
Marialena
Daisy
Glorisel
Luriann
Kiany
Natasha
Aurelia
brianna
Leia
Leila
Adanelys
Genesis
Nalisha
Carolina
Widaliz
Kiwii
Yaritza
Stephanie
Neisha
Krystal
AmberLynn
ariette
Yashira
Maritsa
Yeidi
Cloudy
Sabrina
Gladiliz
Angelique
ANA
Jocelyn
jessica
bailey
Hana
Vivian
Zathura
Zandy
Onelia
Liapaz Gonzalez
Tassja
Alanys
Isabel Maria
Thiffany
Maria Norielis {mari}
Maria
mylen
Robin
Alondra
Ashey
Syleena
Adrii
Leire"
-snip-
"Top 100 names here probably refers to the highest number of names of people from Puerto Rico who participate in their program. However, most of these names only refer to one person.

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MALES
The chart on that page gives the number and percentages of Puerto Rican students of the world participants with these names. Names 1-4 have three participants with these names and numbers and 5-10 have two participants with these names. All other names have one participant with these names.

These names are given as they are found on that page, with the highest ranking names (names with the most participants) given first.

From http://www.studentsoftheworld.info/penpals/stats.php3?Pays=PRI
"Top 100 Puerto Rican names- Puerto Rico
Abniel
Edward
irving
elijah
JT
Mikey 'Kon'
Christopher
Angel
bean
Ivan andres
Jimmy
ricardo
Eric
Eric Griffin
Bruce E
Joe
john
David
Gian
Johannes
Souf
William
Tony
Louis
James
jorge
Anthony
maine
Alejandro
Jadier
Danny
Manny Pacquiao
Erik
Ceclia
Harold
Thor
Luis
Eric AkA "Waveyboy"
CHRISTIAN
Yamyl
Carlos
frank diaz
César
Teddy
D'Antony
Franshesca
Bryan
Gabriel"
-snip-
*Top 100 names here probably refers to the highest number of names of people from Puerto Rico who participate in their program. However, most of these names only refer to one person.

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MY COMMENTS ABOUT SOME DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CONTEMPORARY PUERTO RICAN NAMES AND CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN AMERICAN NAMES
As I noted earlier in this post, I'm not an expert on names, but as an African American who is particularly interested in contemporary (post 1960s) African American naming practices, here's a few comments comparing some of those practices with the information about Puerto Rican names and the list of Puerto Rican names that are given in this post (These comments are given as in their "stream of consciousness" order.)

a) I believe that many African American names use methods 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6 (but not #5) as listed in Baby Names from Puerto Rico: Trendy, Creative and Unique Names from the Island of Enchantment edited by Jared Romey and Diana Caballero. This list was quoted earlier in this pancocojams post:
"1. Two or more names combined. (Example: Ana + Natalia = Anatalia, Jared + Diana = Jariana, Karla + Lissette = Karlaissette)

2. Alternate ways to write a common name. (Example: Jessika for Jessica, Karmen for Carmen, Alanys for Alanis)

3. A totally new creation. (Example: Keidaliz, Zoidariam)

4. Names that were made popular because of the media exposure. (Example: Tanairí, Shakira, Yandel)

5. Names used by past generations, but that are not popular anymore. (Example: Ruperta, Petronila)

6. Borrow the name from a well known word, perhaps without even realizing it...."
-snip-
However, the "pool of names" that we (African Americans) have and use [for combining names, alternate ways of writing a common name, names made popular from media exposure, and borrowing a name from a well known word] are usually quite different from the Puerto Rican "pool of names" because our cultures have are considerably different, including the English/Spanish language differences, and the difference in religion (i.e. many/most Puerto Ricans are Catholic and Puerto Rico has a long tradition of giving children Saint names based on their birth day and otherwise. In contrast, most African Americans are Protestants and don't have the Saint name tradition.

**
b). Another way of creating contemporary African American names is by using a prefix and one or two suffixes. Judging from the two lists that are featured in this pancocojams post, adding a prefix and/or one suffix (or two suffixes) may not be used as often to create Puerto Rican names as those strategies are used to create African American names.

**
c) Some common prefixes for female African American names are "La" [pronounced "lah" and "Sha" [pronounced "shah".) These prefixes are also found in contemporary African American male names, but I don't think they're used as often in male names and in female names. The Social Security list includes the name "Shanti" (That name's origin may be Swahili). But that appears to be the only "sha" prefix name on that list.

The name "Layla" - which appears on both of the lists of Puerto Rican names that are featured in this post-e isn't an example of the "la" prefix that I referred to earlier because (I think) the "la" in that name isn't a prefix- or at least not what I meant by an element that is found at the beginning of a name (such has "LaToya" or "Latoya"). Also, the "la" in "Layla" is pronounced "lay" and not "lah".

**
d) The suffixes "sha", "isha" or "esha" are commonly found in contemporary African American names-although I think those suffixes may not be as common now as they were in the 1980s and 1990s. While some examples of those names are given in the Puerto Rican lists ("Nalisha", "Neisha", "Aleysha"), I wonder if the "sha" "isha", "esha" suffixes are used as often for Puerto Rican contemporary names as they are for African American contemporary names.

**
e) Some common prefixes for contemporary African American male names are "De" [pronounced "day" or "dee"] and "Le" ]pronounced "lee]. However, there are many more male and/or female prefixes that are used to create contemporary African American names. Most of these prefixes were also used prior to the 1960s. but it appears to me that they are being used more frequently since the 1960s. "D'Antony" isn't a name that I've come across among African American males. However, that name (which is included in the Puerto Rican "students around the world pen pal list) "resembles" "D' prefix African American male names.

**
f) Many contemporary African American female names end in "a" and "ia" (pronounced "e-a) is a very widely found suffix in those names. Judging from the two lists of contemporary Puerto Rican names that are featured in this post, "ia" and "a" ending names also appear to be quite common among Puerto Rican female names. That said, even those names on those featured Puerto Rican list that look familiar to me (as an African American) may not be pronounced the same as I (and most other African Americans) would pronounce them.

**
g) I believe that "Von" ("vaugn") is a rather common sound preference among African Americans, perhaps because it rhymes with "Shaun", "Shon", "Shawn", "Sean" - names and sounds that are very popular for African American male and female names. I don't seen those names and their variants (created by beginning with a prefix and/or adding one or two suffixes) on those featured lists of Puerto Rican names.

**
h) Also, the suffix "te" (pronounced and sometimes written "tay") is very common for contemporary African American male names and female names (for instance "Devonte", "Javonte" "Shontay", "Shontaya", "Shauntavia" etc. Is that suffix (spelled either way) found in contemporary Puerto Rican names?

**
e) Contemporary African American names include a number of traditional African and traditional Arabic names and variants of those names (purposely or accidentally spelled different from the way that they are traditionally spelled, including adding a prefix and/or suffix). These Arabic names were included among the contemporary Puerto Rican names on those two lists: "Amaya", "Aleysha", "Amaya", "Kamilah", "Layla",
"Yashira", and "Omar". All of those names are also found on lists of contemporary African American names.

All of these names are also found among African Americans, particularly "Omar", "Layla" "Kamilah", and "Aleysha".

With the exception of "Shanti", I don't recognize any other traditional African language name in those two featured Puerto Rican name lists.

**
f) Contemporary African American names rarely begin with the letter "Y" as appears to have been the case with the "Generation Y" names in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and elsewhere in the Caribbean and in Latin America.

**
g) One difference between African American given names and Caribbean names (including Puerto Rican names) that I've noticed based on the two lists that are featured here, is the relatively large number of Puerto Rican given female names that end in "is", "lis","ys", "liss", or "lys".

Examples from the list featured above are the female names "Nayelis", "Alanys", "Norielis", "Adanelys", "Zoelis, "Ilianyelis", "Genesis", "Alanis, "Alianys, "Joelys, "Karielys", "Angelis" , "Janielys", "Julianys", and "Yarelis".

"Genesis" is a word that is familiar to non-Puerto Rican Americans, although its use as a given name is unfamiliar.

Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2017/09/some-cuban-other-caribbean-first-names_30.html.
for a comment about "is", "es", "ys" etc. endings in this closely related pancocojams post about Cuban and other Caribbean given names that begin with "Y".

**
Female names such as "Cloudy" and "Autumn" which are found on one of those list of Puerto Rican names, remind me of the time, place, or circumstance of birth names that African Americans have given for centuries and still give to our children.

The female name "Destiny" which is also on one of the Puerto Rican list of names that is featured in this post reminds me of the names that African Americans have long given and still give to "speak" into existence good fortune for their children and express their love for their children- names like "Star","Prince", and "Neveah" (which "Heaven" spelled backwards".

Do Puerto Ricans also have names like these?

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