August Kopff’s 68 asteroids (Part Two)

February 19, 2012 § 2 Comments

I finally finished part two of August Kopff’s list of asteroids, each with it’s own unique, usually female, name. There were some interesting selections, loaded with various meanings, in Part One, and the next batch of names is no different. Though these lists look for the trends in the names of asteroids attributed to one German astronomer in particular and take a ton of energy, I’ve decided that it would leave me feeling like I left something unfinished if I didn’t finally complete the project (and I’ve still got two more parts to go).

Unique (or at the very least, mythological) names are no problem for Mr. Kopff. So on to part 2, a prolific period for Kopff, and plenty more gems:

613 Ginevra (October 11, 1906)
It’s not confirmed why Kopff chose Ginevra for his next discovery, with some speculating that he chose the name in honour of Guinevere, wife of King Arthur. Like his previous selection, Jenny, it’s Welsh (and Italian) for “fair and smooth.”

It’s a beautiful and exotic name, especially popular these days in Italy. Italian footballer Alberto Gilardino gave it to his daughter, born 2007. It’s also the name of Italian heiress and socialite Ginevra Elkann. It’s popularity could easily expand to English speaking countries, especially thanks to the Harry Potter series. Ron Weasley’s little sister Ginny, who eventually marries the boy wizard, is really Ginevra.

614 Pia (October 11, 1906)
This asteroid was probably named for the Pia Observatory in Trieste, northern Italy, the private observatory of the German astronomer and moon researcher Johan Nepomuk Krieger. His research was of great assistance to Kopff and his team in Germany.

This name has survived well past it’s association with singer/actress Pia Zadora, a star in the 1980s who won two Golden Globes. It’s a sweet and simple feminine name meaning “pious” in Latin, and the phonetic similarity to popular choices like Mia and Leah keeps it relevant.

(more after the jump)

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Welcome Back, William

January 2, 2012 § 6 Comments

This year, William eclipsed Kate by a long shot in the realm of baby names.

Though it’s not like you went very far.

Canada Vital Statistics released the top names for 2011 last week, with Olivia retaining top spot for the girls – and Maya, Mia, and Mya perhaps surprisingly splitting second place. Other popular choices like Emma, Sophia, and Chloe/Khloe remained in the Top 10, with little change on the boys’ side, as well. Selections like Jacob (#2) and Ethan (the top boys name in Ontario, our most populous province) sit in the top 10 for boys. The most progressive province or territory when it comes to names? Easily the youngest northern territory, Nunavut, where Aqpakuluk (obviously an Inuit name, I have no clue what it means) and Phoenix are both near the top of the girls’ list.

News outlets in Australia have been noting an upswing in baby Williams (but not Kates – the name may have grown all it was going to, and the Duchess is known by Catherine now, anyway), and the same trend proved true here in Canada when the list was released. Kate didn’t make the list, but Catherine/Katherine, Katie, and Cate each did. William jumped from eighth place on the CVS list in 2010 to grab the top spot on the heels of the royal wedding and the couple’s highly publicized tour of Canada in July, while nickname-name Liam was counted separately and sits at #4 nationwide. Considering a fair number of the boys named William will go by Liam throughout their life, the name is likely to be as prominent and commonplace among boys as John was for our parents’ generation, Mike and Dave are for our own, and Jack has been for the past decade of babies!

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My Favourite Names of 2011

December 22, 2011 § 5 Comments

Trends are always changing. Names you love might fall out of favour, you might have loved a name so long it’s actually lost it’s meaning – or the importance of that meaning has been overshadowed by something else. No matter what we’d like to think about our ability to name beyond trends, as our own lives change we, too, are changing. When I was younger I loved the name Jacob. I wasn’t sure why – I just saw the name everywhere, I liked how it sounded. But from affections like these grew my interest in names, and now Jacob just wouldn’t cut it. Why? It means nothing to me, and it’s been everywhere for a while.

We might also hear a name as we go through our lives that we’ve never heard before, for one reason or another, and we fall in love with it. Maybe it’s connected to something else we love, however fleeting, and we embrace it.

The trendy names this year that I was especially digging (and please don’t leave without sharing your own faves!):

Arlo. Easy. I’ve loved this name a while. It’s one of my names. This year, it entered into unisex territory as the son of Toni Collette, born in April, and daughter of Johnny Knoxville, born in October.

Willow. When Pink and Carey Hart named their daughter Willow Sage in June, this long-appreciated name stepped even further into the spotlight. I’ve always loved the nature qualities of this name, and have always been into names like River, but I’m only lately having a true appreciation of Willow. It’s such a pretty name. I may never use it, but I like it a lot!

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About Two Names: Weston & Easton

November 16, 2011 § 1 Comment

Opposite names are both attracting major attention these days.

Both these names have been on a big rise of late, appealing to various sensibilities among parents. Weston and Easton both carry a whole lot of history, but feel cool and modern, plus they play on our senses of nature since the wind can blow in from the west, or the east, and they can honour a place or a family name.

There’s been a long love affair with directional names as middle names, with West the most common, as it’s the most common surname over North, South, and East. David Duchovny and Téa Leoni’s daughter Madelaine West, born April 1999, actually goes by her middle name. In a fan chat in 2001, Duchovny explained, “I think West is a family name of my wife’s, a surname that she likes as a first name. We called her Madelaine West and knew we’d call her West, my wife being Elizabeth Téa.”

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