More Invented Baby Names from Cuba

More bizarre baby names from Cuba! These come from a recent BBC article by Sarah Rainsford.

  • Dansisy – based on the English word dance
  • Daneisys – combination of Daniel and Deisy
  • Dayesi – “yes” in three languages: Russian (da), English (yes) and Spanish (si)
  • Eddimary
  • Meylin – from “the canned meat we Cubans used to get on our ration card”
  • Noslenis – Nelson backwards
  • Oldanier – Reinaldo backwards
  • Yamileisis
  • Yaniel – based on Daniel
  • Yaraleidis
  • Yumilis
  • Zulkary – from “a long-forgotten foreign soap opera”

The explanation for Dayesi also solves the mystery of Widayesi, which we saw in the last batch of Cuban names. Widayesi must be “yes” in four languages: French (oui), Russian (da), English (yes) and Spanish (si).

Rainsford’s theory is that creative names were a way for Cubans “to be different in a country where the state controlled everything from education to diet.”

Perhaps it was a small assertion of autonomy, or an attempt to cling to some Caribbean colour in an increasingly uniform, communist world.

Sounds plausible to me, though it doesn’t explain why invented names became trendy in so many other Latin American countries (e.g., Mexico, Venezuela, Ecuador, Honduras, Puerto Rico) during the same period.

This makes me very curious to know which Latin American country was the first to have a reputation for crazy baby names. I wonder if it’s possible to pinpoint where/when the inventiveness began…?


2 thoughts on “More Invented Baby Names from Cuba

  1. Being a big fan of baseball, I routinely see unusual names from the Caribbean. Last night, it was Jordany from the Dominican Republic.

  2. as a Cuban, I just have to comment on this. definitely, cuba has the most unique/invented names in all of latin America. in fact, i’m not sure where you get the idea that latin America has many countries with these types of names. honestly, besides cuba, it’s actually much less common than in the united staes i’d say.

    9 times out of 10, if you see a latin person with an unusual first name, they are from cuba. especially if it starts with a y–this is what yoani sanchez has dubbed the “y generation”, which is the generation of Cubans born in the 70’s and 80’s when there was much soviet influence. hence, names like yuniesky, yuriosky, etc.

    I don’t see why there is any real problem with these invented types of names. sure, it’s a pain to explain pronunciation, spelling, the story behind it to others, but like you said, it’s a great freedom of expression in a country where there isn’t any.

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