Tuesday’s post brought us the boys, and now it’s the girls’ turn. American parents have always seemed more attracted to French names for their daughters; from Julie in the 60s to Stephanie and Nicole in the 80s to Charlotte today, it’s never difficult to find a French name near the top of the girls’ popularity chart. But there remains a host of undiscovered possibilities from the French popularity list:
Manon- A diminutive of Marie, Manon (pronounced mahn-OWN) has caught on in France as a standalone name.
Maelys-This very French option has lots of charm, but pronunciation could be an issue for Americans; it’s MAH-eh-lees
Anais-Like Maelys, Anais is a bit of a pronunciation challenge. It’s ah-nah-yees, like Cuban-American writer Anais Nin
Noemie- This variant of Naomi is similar to the Spanish and Italian Noemi. It’s just a little bit different, but I would guess most Noemies are confused for Naomis.
Maeva- This sweet sounding name may not be related to the Irish Maeve; it’s Tahitian for “welcome.”
Salome- Pronounced either sa-LOH-mee or SAL-oh-may, this name has been held back in America by its association with a biblical villain. But there’s also a lot to love about Salome- there’s another biblical character who bears the name, one of the women who discovered Jesus’ empty tomb. It comes from the Hebrew word “shalom,” meaning “peace.” And the sound is lovely, unusual, and lends itself to nicknames like May, Mia, Sally, or even Lola. I think these factors mean Salome could be resurrected- and it already has been in France, among other European countries.
Kenza- Kenza could follow on the heels of Mackenzie in America, but its origins as a given name are somewhat mysterious. There was an 8th century queen of Morocco called Kenza, but I’ve yet to find any information about her name. If any Moroccans are reading and know more, help me out!
Thais- This Greek name, pronounced TAH-ees, is popular in both France and Latin America. It’s unusual and appealing, a winning combination for parents who want a name off the beaten path.
Ninon- As Manon is to Mary, Ninon is to Ann. Ninon could be a very unexpected way to honor an Ann, Anna, or even Nina.
Oceane- The name Oceanus is famous for having been worn by the baby born on the Mayflower, and Oceane is the French feminine form. It’s a great option for daring, seafaring parents.