About A Name: Anden
January 13, 2012 § 29 Comments
I spotted a name the other day that I just had to feature! Need a new moniker that is a cross between Anton and Aiden, sounds like Brandon, and provides the commonplace nickname Andy? We live in a creative naming society, to be sure (I’m looking at you, Miss The Blueprint 4!), and while that creativity can sometimes go further than some people are comfortable with – I, for one, love the idea of taking two names that mean something – maybe they’re family names – and making something new, unique to your new babe.
Former professional US ice dancing pair, Dallas-based Jennifer Wester and her Russian-born husband Daniil Barantsev, created a name recently that I fell in love with on sight! The couple, whose best international finish was winning the 2007 Nebelhorn Trophy, though Wester starred with Motley Crue’s Vince Neil on 2010’s Skating With the Stars, welcomed a son on December 29th in Texas – named Anden Daniel.
“Anden came from me having grown up with so many other ‘Jennifers’,” Wester wrote in an email to IceNetwork.com. “I wanted him to have a unique name, while both Daniil and I wanted it to sound confident and phonetically accessible to Americans, Texans (my family) and Russians (Daniil’s family).”
Wester said she and Barantsev considered both Andon, the Russian variant of Anton, and Aiden. “We really liked Aiden, but it didn’t fit my unique criteria, given that it’s really popular right now,” she said. “At some point, I decided to combine Andon and Aiden, and I got Anden. After many Google searches, I didn’t find any translations that seemed offensive or directly applicable, so we went with it!”
I thought this name especially fitting because it highlights a trend that doesn’t get discussed often. It’s a trend by today’s parents to, especially in international families, select a name that is easily pronounced no matter what your mother tongue. (Dutch footballer Boudewijn Zenden welcomed a son, named Boan, on January 6th, and he and girlfriend Nadine selected this name because, he said, it was “an international name. As a soccer player, the pronunciation of the name ‘Boudewijn’ meant trouble everywhere. The only countries where people are able to pronounce my name are Belgium and the Netherlands.” I hate to rain on his parade, but the English language doesn’t know whether to say his new son’s name as Bow-ann or Bone…)
Anden, though, there’s no trouble with that pronunciation. And though Jennifer grabbed the name from scratch, she’s not the first to use it – though all references I can find online of this name came from completely different places. One woman, somewhere in the US, has a son named Anden, named as a variation on her too-popular maiden surname, Landon. As a variation on Old German name Anton (from the Latin Antonius), Anden could mean “wealthy man,” and that would technically make it an offshoot of common, if dated, Anthony.
But Anthony doesn’t seem to be the primary inspiration behind anyone using this name, nor is it uncommon to see names grow from the most popular ones of the day. I get the impression that, for the few using this name, it felt accessible because of Aiden’s popularity. It’s why, especially with girls’ names, you have for example Kira/Kara/Kyra/Cora. Phonetically, you know what you want as a parent naming your kid, but you also know you don’t want something so popular your son will be known by their last initial at school or work. And today more than ever, in this global village in which we all live, “international” names are a growing requirement.
What do you think of Anden? Too weird, or just right?