28

Cross-culturally, names having transparent meanings is the norm. Europe, and the non-Arabic-speaking Muslim world are notable exceptions and in those cases religion is one of the big motivating factors When you have large religions with a strong scriptural tradition, people will often choose names from that scripture. If the language of that scripture is not ...


25

The first thing I thought of was names derived in antiquity from the names of ancient Greek goddesses. For example, the French male name Hercule is ultimately from the name of the Greek goddess Hera (Ἥρα) (it's not just a masculinized form of the name, though, obviously). The name Artemio seems to be used in Italian and Spanish; I believe it comes from the ...


21

First, it is not just black and white. Not all English names are opaque, there are transparent names like Hope, Faith, or Grace but also Rose that are current in English and American naming. And there are also some Arabic names like Ammar or Zaynab that are opaque. But it is true that the majority of English names are opaque and speakers of English are used ...


16

None, really. TL;DR: the tria nomina were dead before the empire was, so pre-Romance times. Long version: The tria nomina system is the most famous used in ancient Rome, but it wasn't by any means universal. It had already started to fade out in the first century. Around this time, the upper classes started using multiple nomina to indicate extra familial ...


12

Part of the reason is that people with Muslim names tend to have a better knowledge of Arabic. But most people have very little knowledge of Old English, and don't know what "Harold" or "Alfred" derive from (owing to the much more substantial change in English over versus Arabic). There is no constant source of re-connection with the ...


12

In Italian there are a number of historically female names which are occasionally used as male names, e.g. Celeste, Amabile, Fiore, Diamante In many Romance languages the female name Maria (or some variant thereof) has historically been used in male names, either standalone or as part of a compound name, though this practice has generally declined with ...


6

As with many words in English, also a lot of proper names come from the Romans, which in turn served as a vector for Hebrew ("Michael"), Aramaic ("Thomas") and Greek ("Peter") names. Names like "Peter" probably are recognizable in the region of their origin, but not in England. There still are original English names as ...


5

Derivation and inflection are different processes. Several proper nouns in Romance languages inflect for gender; in French, such inflection may be easily mistaken for a derivation, because the masculine gender usually takes a 0-desinence, while the feminine form takes an -e: Jean - Jeanne, Dominic - Dominique. But in other Romance languages, the difference ...


5

There are a few examples from Germanic names: Deolindo or Teolindo are derived from Deolinda/Teolinda (modern German cognate: Dietlind).


5

@Draconis has given an impressive account of the evolution of the Roman naming system, I want to focus on a different aspect: Although the system of the tria nomina completely disappeared, a lot of the names are preserved in Western culture as given names. The preserved names are of all types from the Roman naming system, praenomina like Marcus (Mark), Titus,...


5

Calvin is indeed from the French, or further back from Latin calvus of the same meaning (cognate with calva skull as in "Calvary"). This epithet ended up becoming a family name. Family names in Europe started as a means to discriminate between different individuals of the same given name, and physical characteristics were one of the features used ...


4

The site Behind the Name collects sourced and reliable information on the etymology of names. Note that the site has two parts, an "official" database endorsed by the site owner, and a "contributed" database created by volunteer editors. The volunteer editors also strive for quality, but the contributed names are in general less ...


2

Adding to the comprehensive answer above (I don't have enough reputation to comment), feminine names also often end in -un(n). Some examples taken from the sagas and Norse mythology are Guðrún, Þorunn, and Iðunn. Here is a list of names taken from early Icelandic written source: http://www.ellipsis.cx/~liana/names/norse/landnamabok.html. See the section &...


2

These "titles" are called epithets as already brought up in comments. As for what this structure might be called grammatically, German employs a near identical structure which can be analyzed as an Adpositional Adjectival Noun. This is just a fancy way of saying that we have a noun-like adjective after the name: Friedrich der Große / Frederick the ...


2

The grammatical construction in the examples is called apposition. Note that the definite article "the" is not a necessary part of an apposition, an example without article is Mary, Peter's sister,. In languages with case marking, the appositive often agrees in case with the head known, in German Friedrich der Große is declined as Friedrich der ...


2

Your question is too broad to be easily answered. Different regions of Europe began to use surnames at different times, often as a result of government policy. England, for example, began the process in the 1400s, whereas most Icelanders still use patronymics. The government of Prussia imposed a specified set of surnames on its Jewish inhabitants in the ...


1

It’s largely an artifact of the evolution of the language itself, and to some extent the culture of the people who speak the language. Names tend to shift less over time than other aspects of a language because they’re inherently tied to the lifetime of a person and often get reused on a generational basis, so divergence from other aspects of the language is ...


1

I can think of other examples. The Hungarians are not Huns. The Bulgarians are not Bulgars. The Dutch are not Deutsch/Germans. The Hungarians and Dutch do not use these names when speaking their own languages, but will use them if they are speaking a foreign language like English.


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