Saturday, July 5, 2008

Finding Meaning in Ethiopian Names

A big thing for parents is names and naming. After referrals the first many of parents search the net for the meaning of their child's Ethiopian name. See the links to the four Ethiopian name sources I've listed on the right.

What I've learned is that names are as diverse as the people and have different origins that may be regional, religious, ancient, or contemporary.

Most of the names that we see on list seem to be the more common Amharic names. Still their other names that are Tigrayan or Oromiyan in origin. Here is a quote from the EthioMed website. If you've never check out the EthioMed site it's worth a look.
Traditionally, the father picks Oromo children's names but the mother has great influence in naming the daughter of the family. It must also be said that Oromo names have meanings as if to convey wishes of success, wisdom, and prosperity through generations. For instance, the most popular Oromo names are Ibsaa for males and Ibsituu for females, both meaning "light".
Some names are common Amharic phrases. Some names are Christian or church names; Hebrew, Jewish, Arabic, or maybe even Ge'ez. The origin of the name accounts, at least in part, to the difference in spelling. I'm not an expert on Ethiopian names of course but this is information that I've gathered over the many months of reading. I recommend reading this interesting article on Ethiopian naming.

If you can't find a name looking at one of the naming list try a Google search. But add a qualifier and instead of searching "Ethiopian name XXX", try searching "Tigrayan name XXX", "Ethiopic name XXX" or "Ethiopian Hebrew name XXX".

Check out the links on the right. There is an Ethiopian naming book you can order and here are few sites that I've found that have smaller list of names.
I haven't seen many of these names for Ethiopian children but here are list of Arabic male and female names.

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Original Court Date: April 18, 2009
Final Court Date: May 18, 2009
[607 total days & 165 days w/IAN]