Jasmin’s week continues with a real rarity. Our Baby Name of the Day is Junix.
First, a true story. I jotted Junix down as Jubix, and had drafted half of a post on that name before I realized it wasn’t what Jasmin had originally suggested.
Back to Junix. If you’ve heard it, you’ve probably heard it on one person: Filipino actor Junix Inocian.
Inocian was born Rufino Inocian, Jr., but he’s been known as Junix his whole career. Much of his work has been on stage, but he recently had a role in Sky1’s original series Sinbad.
Do you know Sinbad? He’s a sailor, born in Basra during the Middle Ages, who sets out on a series of fantastic adventures. He’s shipwrecked repeatedly, and comes across monsters and other possible enemies. But despite seven calamity-plagued voyages, he always ends well.
We’ve been adapting and re-telling the story for generations. Scheherazade recounts his escapades. Edgar Allan Poe wrote an eighth voyage. In 1947, Douglas Fairbanks played Sinbad. It wasn’t the first big screen adaptation, nor the last. The most recent incarnation was a twelve episode adaptation for Sky1 in 2012. The network has said that they’re finished with this version of Sinbad, but doubtless someone else will pick up the tale.
The Sky1 series gave the intrepid hero a small crew for his journeys, including a cook, played by Junix Inocian.
How did the actor go from Rufino to Junix? Let’s look at the wacky world of Filipino baby names:
- The native language for many Filipinos is Tagalog. It’s widely spoken there, but not readily familiar to native English speakers. One, two, three is isa, dalawa, tatlo. Taglog-origin names include Dalisay and Marikit for girls, and Joriz and Makasiq for boys. Attractive – but very unexpected.
- Names in use can be even more surprising. One of the most compelling explanations is that given names are often shared between tight knit family members. Nicknames have become normal as a result, with nickname names like Bong Bong worn by adults.
- Then there’s the melting pot quality of Filipino names – some Tagalog, some English, some Spanish, and a smattering of Italian, Chinese, and other influences, too. In that kind of environment, who is to say that Girlie isn’t a reasonable name?
So Junix is probably a pretty normal name by Filipino standards. He might be a spin on junior – Juninho is a Portuguese nickname for a junior. And I did find a musician known as Junix Onze – he’s on that poster in the top right hand corner.
How would it wear on a child elsewhere in the English-speaking world?
- With names like June, Juno, and Juniper gaining popularity for girls, Junix almost reads like a masculine form of the Jun- names.
- The letter x is stylish, and ends with x is a big category for boys. If names like Felix and Alex are stylish, can something like Junix work?
In any case, Filipino names are a rich category – a quirky, inventive group of names. Junix isn’t likely to catch on anytime soon, but it is an interesting possibility to consider.