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Cybele
12-09-2008, 08:29 PM
Hi! I'm a French speaking writer who needs names for British characters. Of course, I can find some pretty easily but what I need advice on is this...

I need a name that would be acceptable for both a male and a female character (born in the late 80s or early 90s), so there can be a confusion. It can also be only a nickname that works for both the boy and the girl when their actual names are different. Any idea?

Then, if you think of other names for British people around that age, feel free to share too. I still have a few other characters who need names.

Sophia
12-09-2008, 08:33 PM
A few off the top of my head:

Sam
Tony / Toni (if the name is only heard, not seen written down)
Alex
Ronnie (Can be used for Veronica)
George (Can be used as a shortened form of Georgina)

jvc
12-09-2008, 08:37 PM
Dani/Danni/Danny which is short for Daniel (for a boy) or Danielle (for a girl).

Kitty Pryde
12-09-2008, 08:43 PM
Ashley
Marty (Martin or Martina)
JoJo

about half the english girls of that age that I know are named Emma, Jemma, or Gemma.

waylander
12-09-2008, 08:44 PM
Les - which can be Lesley(female) or Leslie (male)
Alex - which can be Alexandra(female) or Alexander (male)
Sandy - which can be Sandra(female) or Alexander(male)
Marty/i - which can be Martina(female) or Martin(male)

Cybele
12-09-2008, 09:02 PM
Thanks to all of you. :)
I'll take note of your suggestions and ask which ones my sister and co-writer likes the most.

qwerty
12-09-2008, 09:31 PM
Nickie - for Nicola or Nicholas.
Chris - Christine or Christopher

At the time you're talking about, old fashioned names were in for girls (like Emma and Emily) and soon after even older names like Daisy, Ruby, Polly. Sarah is safe for that era too. For boys, Paul, David, Matthew & Stephen are safe for most time zones. Steer clear of boys' names like Gary, Wayne & Dean.

You may need to take into account the class background of your characters.

BTW, I lived in Belgium for a few years and loved the place.

Noah Body
12-09-2008, 09:35 PM
Reggie, for Reginald or Regina. Best when paired with the surname "Frobisher", of course.

Cybele
12-09-2008, 09:43 PM
Thanks to you two as well. :)
Adding your suggestions to my list.

I feel stupid now because I nickname my sister "Nicky" and I didn't even think of that. lol

In which part of Belgium did you live, qwerty? I'm from the Liège area (well, about 30km from Liège).

Cyia
12-09-2008, 09:56 PM
Ally - for Alestair or Allison
Bobby - Robert or Roberta
Randy - Randal/Randolf or Miranda
Gerogie - George or Georgina/Georgia
Matt/Matty - Matthew or Mathilda
Pat - Patrick or Patricia
Terry -can be used as is for either sex or could be short for Terrence or Teryl

Cybele
12-09-2008, 10:02 PM
Thanks! :)

You're all so quick to reply! I'm impressed! ;)

Now the problem will be to decide which one of your numerous suggestions I will use. But please keep on suggesting names if you think of new ones. It's always interesting. (I would never had imagined they were so many possibilities!)

[I had forgotten to reply to this...]

You may need to take into account the class background of your characters.
Good point. I'd say they're simply middle-class.

dirtsider
12-09-2008, 10:14 PM
Lori/Laurie

scarletpeaches
12-09-2008, 10:19 PM
Oh, and my own name. Some people call me Nicky, others 'Nick' (which I prefer).

Cybele
12-09-2008, 10:23 PM
Added to the list. Thanks. :)

Nicky is what I call my sister (who's real name is Véronique), so I like it a lot. I don't think she would like to give her own nickname to our characters, though.

StephanieFox
12-09-2008, 10:52 PM
Bille/Billie

qwerty
12-09-2008, 11:13 PM
In which part of Belgium did you live, qwerty?

On a Dutch barge in a Flam area on the Brussels Canal. Nearest village was Kapelle-op-den-Bos. Mr qwerty was working at Zaventem Airport.

As your characters are sort of middle-class, any of the suggestions people have offered are fine.

BTW, your English is commendable.

aruna
12-09-2008, 11:38 PM
Charley
Jo
Jacky

aruna
12-09-2008, 11:43 PM
You may need to take into account the class background of your characters.

BTW, I lived in Belgium for a few years and loved the place.

This is really, really important. Some names are decidedly lower class, such as Tracy, Trudy and my own name, Sharon. I never knew this before I came here!

And some names are absolutely upper class. In the case of females, they usually end in a: Arabella, Jessica, Olivia, Amanda.

Upper class male names are Hugh, Nickolas, David.
Lower class male names are Sid, Sam, Joe.

Cybele
12-10-2008, 12:03 AM
Thanks for the new suggestions and advice. :)

I have a book about names in France that is very useful when you want to name characters taking into account their age and social class. Does anyone know about a book of that kind for English names?

VickyH
12-10-2008, 12:11 AM
Adrian for a boy and Adrienne for a girl.

Cyia
12-10-2008, 12:19 AM
Thanks for the new suggestions and advice. :)

I have a book about names in France that is very useful when you want to name characters taking into account their age and social class. Does anyone know about a book of that kind for English names?


Google a baby names site - you can usually get the most popular names by year.

Snowstorm
12-10-2008, 12:33 AM
http://www.thinkbabynames.com/popular/0/United+States/2006

Try this Web site. You can click British or English names. You can also pull up British government Web sites for names of real-life people to give you ideas.

aruna
12-10-2008, 01:02 AM
The Baby Name Wizard (http://www.babynamewizard.com/voyager) is fantastic. You see exactly how popular an indiviual name was in every decade. What I just tested and find fascinating is that, using the Wizard, you can see that evem names beginning with a certain letter was popular in certain decades, and unpopular in others. Try going through the alphabet with that wizard, typing in just one letter at a time....

SarahDavidson
12-10-2008, 02:37 AM
Kelly

Kitty Pryde
12-10-2008, 03:04 AM
The Baby Name Wizard (http://www.babynamewizard.com/voyager) is fantastic. You see exactly how popular an indiviual name was in every decade. What I just tested and find fascinating is that, using the Wizard, you can see that evem names beginning with a certain letter was popular in certain decades, and unpopular in others. Try going through the alphabet with that wizard, typing in just one letter at a time....


But remember, Baby Name Wizard is based on United States Census data, so it's not really Brit names. Popular names in one country can take 5 or 10 or 50 or 100 years to cross the Atlantic!

Clio
12-10-2008, 04:49 AM
Terry -can be used as is for either sex or could be short for Terrence or Teryl

It would be used as a short form of Teresa here, too.

Alex is perfect. My daughter is Alexandra, always known as Alex, and she was actually named in honour of Alexander the Great!

I agree that Ashley is also a good one, as is Chris. Then there's Mickey - can either be Michael or Michaela. Danny - for Daniel or Daniela (I have a cousin Danny, but she was born back in the 60s)

A neighbour of mine had a child in 1996 called Billy - female. Think, Billy Jean King (can be short for Lilian or Wilhelmina).

Charlie - for Charles or Charlotte

Gosh - the more I think about it, the list is endless.

If you wanted to go a bit further back into Brit names, there are Vivian and Beverley, both of which can be male or female - also Evelyn - but class restriction comes in here - these are names to be found in Debrett's :) or among the posh classes, at least. You wouldn;t find a mum on a northern English housing estate calling in her little Vivian (boy) for tea!

Now I am Gail (real name) - not particularly British, but I know in America there is Gale - a male name. Could be spelled either way. People often mispell my name 'Gale'.

Clio
12-10-2008, 05:01 AM
This is really, really important. Some names are decidedly lower class, such as Tracy, Trudy and my own name, Sharon. I never knew this before I came here!

And some names are absolutely upper class. In the case of females, they usually end in a: Arabella, Jessica, Olivia, Amanda.

Upper class male names are Hugh, Nickolas, David.
Lower class male names are Sid, Sam, Joe.

Good God - I love you Aruna, but as a Brit I must jump in here! :D Jessica is NOT upper class at all. It was very popular in the 70s-90s for working class girls. Olivia likewise, and Amanda was positively 'working class' in the 80s/90s being inevitably shortened to Mandy.

Hugh, I will concede is usually considered a middle-class name, but Nicholas (I have a cousin Nicholas/Nicky who is anything but upper class!) and David is straight across the board - can be used in any class. Often shortened to Dave for those less posh! :)

Sid, Sam and Joe! These are short for Sidney (any class); Samuel (any class) and Joseph (any class). The days when these were used as popular working class names have long gone, I'm afraid. If the OP wants to set her character with a birth date in the 80s/90s, any of these names could be used for a middle class character. Erm...Harry and Will were once considered very working class in 1930s England. But a certain Prince and his wife made these rather posh again in the 80s (Princes Will and Harry)

Just to confuse you even further, Cybele :D

aruna
12-10-2008, 10:54 AM
[

Good God - I love you Aruna, but as a Brit I must jump in here! :D Jessica is NOT upper class at all. It was very popular in the 70s-90s for working class girls. Olivia likewise, and Amanda was positively 'working class' in the 80s/90s being inevitably shortened to Mandy.


I stand corrected! I was gleaning girl's names from girls in my daughter's private school, which is a little later... she was born in 90. Someone once told me that upper class girl names all tend to end in A!
You will agree, however, that Tracey and Sharon are working class?

qwerty
12-10-2008, 11:49 AM
I'd vote for Alex or Charlie out of all the names so far. Uni-sex and suited to average social class.

I'm like you, Aruna. I would have put Arabella in a toff hunt-ball scene, along with Annabelle, and Araminta. But Amanda (invariably Mandy) has become working class with Sharon and Tracy. Very Essex.

Makes you realise what a responsibility it is naming your babies - you never know what's going to happen to those names by the time they've become adults! It's fun naming novel characters though.

lexxi
12-10-2008, 08:05 PM
What I can't stand is when authors give adult characters that are now popular but that were practically unheard of when the characters would have been born because they were popularized by specific works of popular culture. For instance a woman named Mallory born before 1982 (Family Ties) or a female Madison before 1984 (Splash).

Or, for that matter, a female Shirley prior to 1849 (when the Charlotte Bronte novel was published).


In all those cases, the names were known family names and would have not have been surprising as male given names, and if we can believe that the parents in the popularizing works would have named their daughters Shirley or Mallory we can believe that another fictional set of parents might have done the same.

But because those names did go on to become popular girls' names, which is probably why the later authors choose them without realizing the history, it's kind of offputting to have to rationalize that the character's parents were ahead of the curve when they wouldn't have had any reason to expect that curve to exist.



Oh, and to answer the original poster's request . . . how about Jody/Jodi?

Cybele
12-10-2008, 08:29 PM
Thanks for all the new replies. :)

I would have liked a book because I can't always use a computer, but the websites are interesting too.

I've talked to my sister and I think we're now done naming our characters. Thanks again for your help! :)

jvc
12-10-2008, 08:32 PM
Okay, you going to leave us in the dark? I wanna know what the names you picked are? Go on, tell us, you know you want to :D .

dirtsider
12-10-2008, 08:47 PM
There's a Character Naming Guide out there by Sherilyn Kenyon. It's organized by nationality (i.e. English, Arabic, Irish, Native American, etc.) and does give some hints on naming characters as well as ideas for last names.

Cybele
12-10-2008, 08:51 PM
OK, then...
We decided to use Chris (Christopher and Christina) because my sister has a friend called Christopher and she likes his name. Plus, we thought that common or relatively names would be better than some others we liked as well, since otherwise it would appear like too much of a coincidence that those people have precisely the same name / nickname.
We also have an Emma and a Nicholas (my sister agreed on calling him Nicky - like I call her - because he's her favourite character).

Is it enough or should I also tell you what sort of confusion the two characters named Chris will cause?

pdr
12-11-2008, 02:30 AM
quite a few of the names mentioned here are much more likely to be American used and not British in the 1980s. You can check the Times website and somewhere they had the popular names for each year.

blacbird
12-11-2008, 02:53 AM
Nigel, Simon, Fiona all come to mind. Widely used in Britain, hardly ever in the U.S. Although that could change in coming years. Colin and Ian used to be dominantly British boy's names, and now have become common in the States.

caw

ideagirl
12-11-2008, 07:23 AM
Ally - for Alestair or Allison
Bobby - Robert or Roberta
Randy - Randal/Randolf or Miranda

RANDY? Oh god no. She wanted British names, not American ones. "Randy" means "horny" in the UK. I don't know if there's a British nickname for Randall or Randolf, but if there is, it's not Randy.

I've also never heard "Bobby" used in Britain, whether for men or women. There aren't many "Roberts" over there, but their nickname tends to be Robby/Robbie, not Bobby.

I haven't read the whole thread--has anybody pointed out that weird Z thing British people do? Gary = Gaz, Larry = Laz, Sharon or Sherry = Shaz, and so on. That could result in identical nicknames for men and women--both Larry and Larissa = Laz, and so on.

Cybele
12-11-2008, 04:40 PM
OK, I'll check the British stats to make sure all the names I want to use work for British characters.
Thanks again to everyone. :)


There aren't many "Roberts" over there, but their nickname tends to be Robby/Robbie, not Bobby.
Or just Rob. *fan of Robert Pattinson*
Is it the same with Will for William? *also fan of William Moseley* In the US they would say Bill but in the UK it's always Will?
(And yes, I know I'm supposed to be too old to like movies like Harry Potter, Narnia and Twilight but still, I do.)


I haven't read the whole thread--has anybody pointed out that weird Z thing British people do? Gary = Gaz, Larry = Laz, Sharon or Sherry = Shaz, and so on. That could result in identical nicknames for men and women--both Larry and Larissa = Laz, and so on.
I didn't know that. It's interesting. Thanks for pointing it out. :)

waylander
12-11-2008, 06:03 PM
OK, I'll check the British stats to make sure all the names I want to use work for British characters.
Thanks again to everyone. :)


Or just Rob. *fan of Robert Pattinson*
Is it the same with Will for William? *also fan of William Moseley* In the US they would say Bill but in the UK it's always Will?
(And yes, I know I'm supposed to be too old to like movies like Harry Potter, Narnia and Twilight but still, I do.)


I didn't know that. It's interesting. Thanks for pointing it out. :)

William can be Will or Willie
Robert can be Rob or Bob or Bobby (e.g Sir Bobby Charlton)
Gary can be Gaz or Gazza, Sharon can be Shaz or Shazza
No-one in this country would call their son Randolph as the randy=horny thing is so widespread

scarletpeaches
12-11-2008, 06:10 PM
RANDY? Oh god no. She wanted British names, not American ones. "Randy" means "horny" in the UK. I don't know if there's a British nickname for Randall or Randolf, but if there is, it's not Randy.

I've also never heard "Bobby" used in Britain, whether for men or women. There aren't many "Roberts" over there, but their nickname tends to be Robby/Robbie, not Bobby.

I haven't read the whole thread--has anybody pointed out that weird Z thing British people do? Gary = Gaz, Larry = Laz, Sharon or Sherry = Shaz, and so on. That could result in identical nicknames for men and women--both Larry and Larissa = Laz, and so on.

I have to take issue with that. Anyone who thinks Robert isn't a popular name, along with all its variants, probably hasn't visited (much, if at all) or lived here.

There are shedloads of Roberts and Bobby is used as a nickname all the time. Just ask my uncle Robert and cousin Bobby.

I know many, many people with that name.

As for Gary becoming Gaz, Larry Laz (WTF???) and Sharon/SHerry becoming Shaz...uh...no. Doesn't happen.

And if someone was called Randolph or Randall (unlikely, but if...) their nickname would be Randy. People would laugh at it, sure, but it would be a jokey nickname, even a badge of honour.

Take it from someone who lives in Britain.

waylander
12-11-2008, 06:21 PM
As for Gary becoming Gaz, Larry Laz (WTF???) and Sharon/SHerry becoming Shaz...uh...no. Doesn't happen.

Take it from someone who lives in Britain.

I hate to take issue with the delectable Miss SP, but I am personally aquainted with two Gazzas and a Shazza. Maybe it's a southern/London thing

aruna
12-11-2008, 06:23 PM
SP is right. In fact, the guy who sold me an MFI kitchen and just lost his job was a Robert/Bob. VERY common. Reminds me, I need to send him a Christmas card.

I've never heard of Gaz or Laz, and if anybody tried to call me Shaz I'd setfire to them. The only time I heard the name Shaz for Sharon was in Bridget Jones Diary!

scarletpeaches
12-11-2008, 06:27 PM
I hate to take issue with the delectable Miss SP, but I am personally aquainted with two Gazzas and a Shazza. Maybe it's a southern/London thing

Forgiven, as you called me delectable. ;)

Maybe it is a Sarf Landon fing. I live in Scotland and Z-ing someone's name never happens up here.


SP is right. In fact, the guy who sold me an MFI kitchen and just lost his job was a Robert/Bob. VERY common. Reminds me, I need to send him a Christmas card.

I've never heard of Gaz or Laz, and if anybody tried to call me Shaz I'd setfire to them. The only time I heard the name Shaz for Sharon was in Bridget Jones Diary!

Quoted for shits and giggles.

aruna, threatening to set fire to someone!

I hope you would do so using only the power of thought.

jvc
12-11-2008, 06:31 PM
I have to take issue with that. Anyone who thinks Robert isn't a popular name, along with all its variants, probably hasn't visited (much, if at all) or lived here.

There are shedloads of Roberts and Bobby is used as a nickname all the time. Just ask my uncle Robert and cousin Bobby.

I know many, many people with that name.
Robert is a popular name. I know at least six people with that name. Most use variants; Rob, Bob, Bert, Bobby, Bobbie (the last one is a girl).


As for Gary becoming Gaz, Larry Laz (WTF???) and Sharon/SHerry becoming Shaz...uh...no. Doesn't happen.
Have you visited Essex much?


Take it from someone who lives in Britain.Is Scotland still part of .... oh yea, it is. Never mind.

aruna
12-11-2008, 06:37 PM
What is this Essex thing? I never got it... expressions like "very Essex".
SP, if ur not gud ill cum after u with a matchbox.

jvc
12-11-2008, 06:42 PM
It's the mystical land of Shell-Suits :D .

scarletpeaches
12-11-2008, 06:43 PM
I try to stay out of Essex as much as possible, although I would like it to be known I'd do Ali Carter. :D

Priene
12-11-2008, 07:56 PM
Kim, if no-one's mentioned it yet.

Cybele
12-12-2008, 07:22 PM
Thanks. :)
The funny thing is that I had a boy and a girl named Kim in a story I wrote when I was very young, so I should have thought of it, shouldn't I? But I hadn't.

Also, it just occured to me that Lee would do too, and I can't believe it hadn't come into my mind immediately since it's one of my favourite English names ever.

Kitty Pryde
12-12-2008, 08:14 PM
While you're on z-themed nicknames, I have a friend in London whose real name and stage name is Charity, and all her friends call her Chazza. I dunno if there are are any Charleses in the UK called Chazza, though.

scarletpeaches
12-12-2008, 08:15 PM
My grandad's name was Charles and everyone called him Chick.

Mr Flibble
12-12-2008, 08:26 PM
I dunno if there are are any Charleses in the UK called Chazza, though.

Chaz is what my mum calls Prince Charles lol.

ETA: Thinking of my mum brings up another unisex name. Val. Bit old fashioned for the eighties maybe, but I do know a couple of Vals born in the seventies.

ideagirl
12-12-2008, 09:55 PM
As for Gary becoming Gaz, Larry Laz (WTF???) and Sharon/SHerry becoming Shaz...uh...no. Doesn't happen.

You are simply wrong on that. I lived in England for years and personally knew a Larry/Laz and a Barry/Baz, and heard many people referred to with similar nicknames (Gary/Gaz etc.). It happens in both England and Australia, at the very least, and may also happen in other Commonwealth countries, though I can't speak for them.

Examples:
http://familytrees.genopro.com/mrsjc/default.htm?page=Witton-Gary-ind00015.htm (Gary/Gaz)
http://pubpokerleagues.co.uk/profile.asp?memberid=00115175 (Larry/Laz)
etc.

Edited to add: I lived in Manchester (northwest England), so no, it's not necessarily a London/Essex/Southeast thing. Note that the Gary/Gaz mentioned in that first link was born in South Yorkshire (which, for the yanks among us, is firmly in the north of England, just east of Manchester).

scarletpeaches
12-12-2008, 09:57 PM
You are simply wrong on that. I lived in England for years and personally knew a Larry/Laz and a Barry/Baz, and heard many people referred to with similar nicknames (Gary/Gaz etc.). It happens in both England and Australia, at the very least, and may also happen in other Commonwealth countries, though I can't speak for them.

Examples:
http://familytrees.genopro.com/mrsjc/default.htm?page=Witton-Gary-ind00015.htm (Gary/Gaz)
http://pubpokerleagues.co.uk/profile.asp?memberid=00115175 (Larry/Laz)
etc.

And you are simply wrong if you think I live in England.

qwerty
12-12-2008, 11:41 PM
And you are simply wrong if you think I live in England.

Which could explain why you aren't familiar with Gaz, Shaz, Tez, Chaz etc.

scarletpeaches
12-12-2008, 11:54 PM
Um, no. I've heard of them; they just aren't used round here.

qwerty
12-13-2008, 12:48 PM
It's good that you've heard of them because, in the post ideagirl responded to, it was stated that it "Doesn't happen".

eyeblink
12-13-2008, 05:44 PM
It may well be a Southern thing, and I'm Southern born, bred and of residence. I'm a Gary (with one R please - I don't answer to the variant with two). I don't encourage any shortenings of my name like Gaz or Gazza but people have been known to address me by those.

Another possibly English-exclusive way of shortening names is by using a L on the end - I get "Gal" sometimes, and there's Tel (Terry), Del (Derek).

By the way, my brother is a Robert, and he's usually Rob for short. Bobby isn't that frequent, though I have met a male Bobby/Robert. Also a female Bobbie (for Roberta - she was Scottish as it happened).

I've met at least two Charleses who are known as Chas or Chaz.

eyeblink
12-13-2008, 05:46 PM
ETA: Thinking of my mum brings up another unisex name. Val. Bit old fashioned for the eighties maybe, but I do know a couple of Vals born in the seventies.

I knew a Valerie at University, so she would have been born in the mid 60s. The male Val is short for Valentine, and that certainly hasn't been in fashion for decades.

ideagirl
12-15-2008, 03:05 AM
And you are simply wrong if you think I live in England.

Where you live isn't relevant to the point I was making, and I didn't mention where you live in any case. Not sure what your point is here.

scarletpeaches
12-15-2008, 03:46 AM
The OP asked about British names; your post only mentioned England.

jvc
12-15-2008, 04:46 AM
1. There was a time when to describe 'England' meant 'Britain'. Yep, I know, it was a few hundred years ago, and isn't correct now.

2. In the 1650's, Oliver Cromwell made the eating of Christmas Pudding on Christmas Day illegal.

However interesting these may be, both of these points are not helpful or relevant in this thread and any bickering that goes with discussions that may lead from them are equally not useful (you can always start a new thread on either if you fancied it).

So, how about us keeping to the thread's original purpose, to post names for British Characters, whichever part of the great and wonderful Britain they may be from, and not for the discussion of where SP lives (however useful it may be if you want reasons to not visit Scotland.) It is not really relevant to this thread.

scarletpeaches
12-15-2008, 04:55 AM
...So, how about us keeping to the thread's original purpose, to post names for British Characters, whichever part of the great and wonderful Britain they may be from, and not for the discussion of where SP lives (however useful it may be if you want reasons to not visit Scotland.) It is not really relevant to this thread.

Why I oughtta...:rant:

eyeblink
12-15-2008, 11:59 AM
Where in Scotland, SP? Not that I'm making plans not to visit. :)

ideagirl
12-15-2008, 10:44 PM
The OP asked about British names; your post only mentioned England.

Because YOUR post, responding to the same original question about British names, said that the Gary/Gaz, Larry/Laz etc. phenomenon, quote, "doesn't happen." It does happen in Britain--specifically, in England--and therefore is relevant to the OP's question. It may not happen in Scotland or in the corner of Scotland you're familiar with, but that's only one part of Britain; your post incorrectly made it sound like the phenomenon doesn't exist in Britain at all.

I made it clear that I was talking about England, because England is what I know. You, however, made it sound like you were talking in general about Britain as a whole. That's why you were wrong, and it's also why where you live wasn't relevant: if you make sweeping statements about Britain in general, what does it matter where you live? All that matters is whether your statement is true, which it wasn't.

Cybele
12-15-2008, 11:01 PM
I knew a Valerie at University, so she would have been born in the mid 60s. The male Val is short for Valentine, and that certainly hasn't been in fashion for decades.
That's what I thought and I regret it because I really like the name. It seems weird to me to spell it with a final e, though (because in French it's Valentin - popular name for little boys now, by the way - and Valentine is a female name).

Thanks again to everyone and...please don't fight because of my question - it's not worth it. ;)

eyeblink
12-16-2008, 01:11 AM
What with (Saint) Valentine's associations with romantic love, Valentine is possibly slightly too girlie to be popular as a male name - cf. Hilary, Shirley, Kim, Vivian, all of which are primarily female names nowadays. (Though I have met at least two male Kims and one male Vivian. A famous male Shirley was the late professional wrestler known as Big Daddy, born Shirley Crabtree. Hilary Benn is a male politician.)

As for Valentine, the best known bearer of that name I can think of was the actor Valentine Dyall (1908-1985), famous as "The Man in Black" on radio in wartime due to his deep, rich voice. He continued as a character actor until he died - he was the Black Guardian in Doctor Who, amongst other things.

Oh by the way, another French/English gender switch - Laurence is male in English, female in French.

pdr
12-16-2008, 02:36 AM
Valerie and Hilary were originally male names, you can find them used in the 18th and 19th Cs. Why they change use is intriguing.

Up to the 17thC Julian was a female name, one we now only use for males. I can't find my Oxford dictionary of names, but there are several other names which swapped genders!


The original poster asked for British names. If she'd care to check out the National Census records which are now on line she'd see that not only is there considerable regional variation in names but England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales have their own preferences. Make sure, won't you, that you know where your characters come from, and their class status, names mean a lot more in Europe than they do in America, and people are pigeon holed by their names.