About A Name: Sebella
January 5, 2012 § 2 Comments
This list at Name Candy, a state-by-state rundown of the first 50 (or so) babies of the year in the US, is addictive. Envy Essence-Faye, Akier, Kalylah, Kyren – it’s a great collection of names!
This list of firsts to coincide with the first celebrity baby announcement of the year – Sebella Rose Winter, born yesterday in Los Angeles. She’s the daughter of Puerto Rican-American actress and singer Roselyn Sanchez, and soap actor Eric Winter (he was the guy I used to watch Days Of Our Lives for every day during summer vacation in high school). The name adds fuel to the oft-discussed bel trend – names that really are exciting people these days!
This one’s new. At least, the spelling is new – Australian TV presenter Antonia Kidman (sister of Nicole) welcomed a daughter with then-husband Angus Hawley in 2007, the nearly like-named Sybella Ann. Then, the name was attributed to base Sybil, a Hebrew name meaning “prophetess.” Now, as Sebella, it’s garnering rightful comparisons to Isabella – which may have been a name they both liked, but found too common. Isabella is a variant of Isabel, the Spanish version of Hebrew Elizabeth, which means “God’s promise.” Middle name Rose, of course, looks like an obvious tribute to Mom, and perhaps more family members.
Sebella is a respelling of Sabela, which is a female given name from the Galicia region of Spain (north of Portugal); Sabela is the Galician form of Isabel. I’d love to hear Sanchez explain their name choice – it’s entirely possible that her ancestors came from this region of Spain. And they’ve Americanized the spelling – two L’s to fit in with the Isabellas, Arabellas, and Ellas she will no doubt one day go to school with, with an E instead of an A in the second position. This was done perhaps to mitigate overpronunciation of a name initially unfamiliar to most people – in North America, the Sab in Sabrina and the Seb in Sebastian are basically pronounced the same way.
Comments on a few blogs about the name Sebella have lamented the respelling, saying they wish this couple had kept to the original, Galician form – but there’s a high chance, too, that this couple assumed they were making up their own name out of popular Isabella, and so the original spelling of a name they weren’t actually intending is beside the point.
I do think, however, that the spelling of this ‘new’ name for the new year lends itself to a few simply adorable nicknames like Sebi, or overused Bella. Nicknames, if you haven’t caught on, are probably among of my favourite things about naming. Perhaps because all my life I’ve been more commonly known by my nickname than the one on my birth certificate, and a nickname can totally change your perception of a person.
I kinda like it. Admittedly the Seb- name prefix makes me think of something automatically masculine (and Sab, of course, more femme), but it feels like a name chosen with quite a bit of thought, whether they were inspired by Sabela or they attempted to create a new name to complement and combat the influx of Isabellas. Even if they didn’t intend Sabela, Sanchez’ heritage makes the name feel like a completely perfect fit for these two!