Number three made of white paint dots
Number three by Horia Varlan via Flickr

I’m reading Lisa Napoli’s Radio Shangri-La: What I Discovered on my Accidental Journey to the Happiest Kingdom on Earth, and wouldn’t you know it?  Chapter Five starts with an account of baby naming customs in Bhutan:

If you walked into any village in all of Bhutan and shouted “Karma,” a quarter of the heads would turn.  There are only about fifty names in the whole country … As Bhutan becomes more modern, some of the more daring Bhutanese parents break tradition in order to distinguish themselves, altering the spelling of familiar names or abbreviating them.

Napoli also explains that monks traditionally choose children’s names, but some of the boldest parents are also changing that custom.  I have a feeling that there’s enough there for a book in itself!

Elsewhere online:

  • Sebastiane featured one of my favorites: Hanae.  Such a pretty sound, but would it ever be pronounced correctly?
  • Do I really care what Giuliana and Bill name their baby?  Okay, I do.  In this interview, Bill says that he likes Edward Duke for a boy.  “It’s a strong name.”
  • I’m really enjoying Eponymia’s walk through the 2011 rarities.  What is the story behind Escarleth?
  • Love the story Lisa tells about choosing a spelling for their daughter’s name.
  • Isn’t Winton an interesting possibility?
  • Congrats to Jennifer K. on her victory in the Baby Name Wizard’s 2011 Baby  Name Pool – and goodness, her son has a thoughtful, gorgeous name of his own!
  • This list of purple names at Nameberry has some real appeal: Mauve, Orchid, or Iolanthe, anyone?
  • From Babynamelover’s round-up of Christchurch birth announcements: Esther Helena, a little sister for Olive – wow, love their style!
  • Have you played the name games on the Nameberry forums?  I find myself obsessively responding to the quintuplet game for girls.
  • We finally saw The Avengers, and seriously – I wanted to sit through it again, immediately.  There’s been some speculation in the name ‘verse that all of these superheros could help bring back some all American staples for boys, like Steve – aka Captain America.  But the name that strikes me as the likeliest take-away?  Hawk.  He’s on trend – more than two dozen boys were called Hawk in 2011 alone.  But I’m also fascinated by the shortening of the character’s name – in the comic boys he’s Hawkeye, but in the flick, he was usually just plain Hawk.  With Joss Whedon, that master namer, involved in the project, I wonder if it was a deliberate decision or something that evolved.  As for whether it will work on a child, well … I do like a bird name, but is Hawk too apex predator?

That’s all for this week.  As always, thank you for reading and have a great week!

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. I like birds, so Hawk seems fine to me (although it is almost the surname of a former PM here, not sure whether that helps or hurts it).

    It seems as if kre8ive spellings are catching on even in Bhutan!

  2. I am betting Escarleth is a spelling created to be a phonetic match to “Scarlett” for a Spanish speaker. The H on the end reinforces that it’s supposed to sound like a T, like Lizeth or Yamileth, and the E is to make it easier to say an S name (the same way Spanish speakers may say “es-Sprite” for the soda.)

  3. Definitely can see Hawk catching on. I’m not into violent sounding names, but Hawk doesn’t sound too harsh for me.

    Winton immediately brings to mind a British TV presenter from my days in the UK: Dale Winton. He’s very camp. Not sure the name would catch on in England, but without the association in the US, it’s a possibility. Like Winston without the “wince” sound.

  4. Esther Helena is one of those names I like on someone else. I love Mauve. Iolanthe is rather awkward and I can’t get behind Orchid due to her original meaning of “testicle.”

    Escarleth looks like a Spanish creative spelling for Escarlet, which is just the Spanish form of Scarlet. I notice each culture is guilty of their own creative spellings, Spanish-speakers are no exception, adding an extra H upon a name that ends in -ette/et seems particularly common.

  5. My dad was a biker — he and all of his fellow bikers had “tough” nicknames — my dad was Rebel, and one of his friends was called Hawk. So that’s all I can think of. Not a fan.

  6. I can see Hawk catching on, especially with parents that are already drawn to names like Hunter, Gunnar/Gunner, Talon, etc.

  7. For your information to those lurking on here, I want to inform you about a series I’m doing every Thursday (the first one was last week) at my blog. Each week I’m featuring a “nickname-rich” name (those that lend to numerous nickname options). All of them are tagged as such at the link below; feel free to post comments or thoughts on the names and their nicknames:

    1. I forgot to mention that this is a “summer series” that I’ll be doing through probably early September (with the exception of the week of July 4th when I’ll be taking a break), and alternating between girl and boy names.

  8. I know that there was a Nameberry member who named her son Hawthorne, nn Hawk, recently. I’m not a huge fan of Hawk, myself, but I’m more of a fan of the old-school traditional boys names of the other Avengers. I would seriously consider Bruce with the right last name.

    1. OOoo, I quite like Hawthorne nn Hawk. I would have never thought of Hawk as a nn for Hawthorne, but it makes total sense. Kudos to that mom’s creativity!