An awful lot, considering that when all is said and done, your name is all you have in this life. You can lose your riches, your standing in the community, you can even choose to lose your morals! Life can strip you bare. But your name is the one thing that can never be taken from you. It is the one thing you can be sure will not forsake you, just as it has always stood by you! Needless to say, many of us become annoyed when our names are pronounced wrong or spelt incorrectly by others.
In ancient times, Christian babies were mostly named after courageous Bible men and women. Other groups drew from the traditional, ethnical and abounding myths of their beliefs.
Although this opened up a very large spectrum of name choices back then, names were generally restricted to the accepted choices within each cultural group.
Today, westernised groups have crossed these borders and opened a sea of choices which has added a great diversity to the naming pot!
Soul choices over tradition and culture
Many new parents seem to have ditched tradition and culture for choices of the soul when naming their child. The origin and meaning of the name they finally choose is playing a large role in baby naming trends.
In an ever-changing world where different cultural groups are still learning to integrate, this could pose problems on the pronunciation and spelling side of things for your little one. But having said that, we have to have faith that by the time your new baby takes his first steps into the adult and working world, far more integration, acceptance and learning of other cultural sister groups would be prevalent, thus making this pronunciation obstacle obsolete.
There are hundreds of books and websites providing the origins and meanings of every name you can imagine. These are popular books and sites, visited regularly by thousands of expectant parents in the search for the perfect name for their new arrival.
South Africa’s diverse universe of baby names
In South Africa alone there is a great diversity of names you can choose from for your newborn, with the total official language count of this country sitting past 10.
With apartheid a non-entity in South Africa today, more and more locals are drawing names from their sister cultural groups because of the richness of their meanings.
Some popular choices South Africans (and those abroad) are making include Nkosi, Sarafina, Themba and Ayize. All traditional South African names, Nkosi means -ruler , Sarafina means -burning passion , Themba is more deep, translating into -hope , and Ayize quietly means -let it happen .
Popular South African names in the Afrikaans community include Dirk, Andre, Nettie, Liesl and Johann.
The attraction of strong meaning
The beauty of such names with strong meanings is the attraction for those who have rather been raised predominantly with traditional, westernised names.
Of Bible names across the world there are many that rank highly in popularity. The top five in the category of names with biblical origin include Jacob (Hebrew, held by the heel), Michael (Hebrew, who is like God), Joshua (Hebrew, God rescues), Matthew (Hebrew, gift of God) and Andrew (Greek, man or warrior).
If you want to choose a name for your child that is far removed from the westernised you could look to a Muslim name. Muslim names are derived from the Koran and Arabic and Persian languages. Indian names are drawn from Sanskrit which is the Indian language, and Chinese names stem from Buddhism, Confucianism and Daoism. Hindu names stem from the Hindu culture and a Japanese name will come from Buddhism using Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji texts.