Monday, March 09, 2009

Popular Colombian Names

Recently, I was asked to write a post on Colombian names, and popular Colombian names. I had a hard time finding a list, but eventually I did find one. According to I.N.E. - Instituto Nacional de Estadística, -- unfortunately, when I found this it doesn't say the year -- the most common Colombian boys names across all ages are:

1 JUAN CARLOS
2 CARLOS ALBERTO
3 ALEXANDER
4 ANDRES FELIPE
5 LUIS FERNANDO
6 DIEGO FERNANDO
7 JHON JAIRO
8 CARLOS ANDRES
9 ALEJANDRO
10 JUAN DAVID

The girls are:

1 SANDRA MILENA
2 LUZ MARINA
3 CAROLINA
4 PAULA ANDREA
5 CLAUDIA PATRICIA
6 MARIA EUGENIA
7 PAOLA ANDREA
8 DANIELA
9 LILIANA
10 MARTHA CECILIA

Just as here, names go through ebb and flow. Fourteen years ago when we were married, I attended several baby baptisms and met numerous friends of my husband. At the time, it seemed like everyone was naming their kid Juan CAMILO (boy) or Maria CAMILA (girl). I met dozens of them. Then, about 7 years later, I heard tons of SANTIAGO, JULIAN, SEBASTIAN and FELIPE being called in the park together with MARCELA, CATALINA, NATALIA and JULIANA.

It seems to me that the current trend among the upper and middle class in Colombia is to name their children really SPANISH sounding names -- what we would have called old fashioned in the 80's is now super hip. Kind of like what has happened here int he US with Abagail, Grace, and Isabella.

Try running a name by your American family and your Colombian family -- trying to get some sort of agreement that it sounds OK in both languages. My husband wanted to name our kid FREDDY or OSCAR (popular names for boys in the 80's) -- I said NO WAY!!! Horrible! Then, I made some suggestions that were immediately shot down by him.

In our Colombian family adoption group (COLOMBIANS ADOPT COLOMBIANS), there seems to be a trend to name the kids the following names because they work well in both English and Spanish. (In order of popularity, based on the actual names the kids ended up with)


Boys: Mateo, Alexander, Christian, David, Jonathan

Girls: Gabriela, Isabella, Sofia, Juliana, Cristina

One thing that I do know is that among the lower classes in Colombia you are likely to see all sorts of strange names, many names are words in English:

USNAVY (Comes from United States Navy and pronounced OO S NAH VEE)
STICK
MERRY CHRISTMAS (I actually know someone with this name and her brother's name is -- drum roll please)
ONE DOLLAR
MACGYVER (Other spellings include: Maguiber, Magaiber, Maguaiver -- Richard Dean Anderson would be so thrilled)


Here is a link to a fabulous article by Daniel Samper Pizano. It talks about the strange names that have been seen on Colombian passports that have passed through the Colombian Embassy in Spain. Very humorous -- in Spanish--but you can read the names even if you can't read the article.

http://poorbuthappy.com/colombia/post/los-nombres-extranjeros-otro-ejemplo-del-complejo-de-inferioridad-que-padecen-muchos-colombianos/

1 comment:

Wendi & Benjamin Wood said...

Interesting post! I often wonder where my duaghter's name, Darly Tatiana, came from...Tatiana is Russian, and Darly? But interestingly enough, just the other day, my husband was walking thru the store and another hispanic gentleman was calling out to his dtr, "Darly! Darly! Darly Tatiana!" We have never heard that before.

One other note: I read online that someone from Florencia, CO named their child after the first lady, Michelle Obama!