How popular is the baby name Vincenza in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, check out all the blog posts that mention the name Vincenza.
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Years ago, I mentioned that Malta was the only nation I knew of in which parents were not allowed to register baby names in the national language.
Why couldn’t they? Because Malta’s government IT systems could not handle Maltese font.
But “a collective overhaul across government IT systems [is now] being done to ensure Maltese orthography is accepted across the board,” and Malta will soon be allowing parents to officially bestow traditional Maltese names.
Maltese, a Semitic language that descended from Sicilian Arabic, has six letters that English doesn’t have. One of them, ie, is easy enough to replicate on a computer; the other five (below) are not.
Here’s how to pronounce them, roughly:
C-with-a-dot makes a ch-sound
G-with-a-dot makes a j-sound (without the dot, G makes a g-sound)
Gh-with-a-line is silent*
H-with-a-line makes an h-sound (without the line, H is silent*)
Z-with-a-dot makes a z-sound (without the dot, Z makes a ts-sound)
Without these letters, a large number of traditional Maltese names are unable to be rendered properly.
(I would love to list some of those names, but, ironically, I can’t — WordPress hasn’t played nicely with special characters ever since the introduction of the Gutenberg editor a few years back.)
Anyway…well done, Malta! I’m proud of you. :)
Mallette, Karla. European Modernity and the Arab Mediterranean. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010.
*More on the silent letters: “Maltese orthography continues to reflect the presence of some letters that are no longer pronounced in order to indicate semantic provenance — a convenience that makes it possible, among other things, to look up words in the dictionary under the three-consonant root (as one does with Semitic languages).”
Update, 6/13: Here’s an image of a list of traditional Maltese names…
The list above includes Maltese names that are equivalent to: Angelo, Beatrice, Francis, Elizabeth, Jacob, James, George, Juliet, Justin, Joseph, John, Hilda, Lucia, Luigi, Theresa, and Vincent.
P.S. While gathering these names, I happened to find out that the surname Buttigieg — as in former presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg — is Maltese and means “poulterer.” Specifically, it comes from a pair of Sicilian Arabic words meaning “father, master, owner” and “fowl.”
Valeska Suratt was an actress who appeared in films in the 1910s. She was born in Indiana in 1882. Valeska was also a character name in multiple films, including For a Woman’s Honor (1919) and Broadway Scandals (1929).
Valli Valli was an actress who appeared in films in the 1910s. She was born in Germany in 1882. Her birth name was Valli Knust. Alida Valli, often credited simply as Valli, was an actress who appeared in films from the 1930s to the 2000s. She was born in Italy (now Croatia) in 1921. Valli was also a character played by actress Margaret Livingston in the film What a Widow! (1930).
Vedah Bertram was an actress who appeared in films in the early 1910s. She was born in Massachusetts in 1891. Her birth name was Adele Buck.
Vedah, who died of appendicitis at the age of 20 in 1912, “became the first noted film player to be mourned by the movie-going public.” According to the San Francisco Call, her East Coast family had not been aware of her film career. “Hoping to keep her actions from her friends and relatives, she assumed the name under which she has been acting.”
Vee Newell was a character played by actress Olive Borden in the film Hello Sister (1930).
Velma Whitman was an actress who appeared in films in the 1910s. She was born in Ohio in 1885. Velma was also a character name in multiple films, including The Greatest Menace (1923) and The Lone Wolf’s Daughter (1929).
Vermuda was a character played by actress Martha Sleeper in the short film Sure-Mike! (1925).
Verna Mersereau was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in 1894. Verna was also a character name in multiple films, including His Temporary Wife (1920) and Here Comes Carter (1936).
Vesta Tilley was an actress who appeared in films from the 1900s to the 1910s. She was born in England in 1864. Her birth name was Matilda Alice Powles. Vesta was also a character name in multiple films, including The House in Suburbia (short, 1913) and The Duke of Chimney Butte (1921).
Vilma Vilma Banky was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1930s. She was born in Austria-Hungary (now Hungary) in 1898. Vilma was also a character name in multiple films, including Federal Agent (1936) and Meet the Boy Friend (1937).
Today’s name interview is with Vincenza, a 29-year-old from Northern Virginia.
What’s the story behind her name?
My name is a skip-generational name, I was named after my maternal grandmother, who was named after her grandmother. The originator was one of a set of orphaned twins. Apparently people were very creative with names in Sicily back then because she was Vincenza and he Vincenzo. Family rumor has it that she traveled to the US with his documentation (he had passed away). But mostly, according to my mom, I was given the name because “it was pretty.”
What does she like most about her name?
I love the sound of it. I like the fact that it’s not very common, but it’s relatively accessible as most people have heard the masculine form at one time or another. It can really be an icebreaker.
(She’s right about the name not being common. Only about a dozen baby girls are named Vincenza every year in the U.S.)
What does she like least about her name?
I dislike the fact that there are so many people who simply cannot pronounce it, even after I have done so for them. I really don’t understand why this is, unless the Italian spelling has tied their brain in knots when they’ve tried for the “ch” sound in the middle. I usually go by Vincy, largely due to this pronunciation problem. I don’t think it’s worth the hassle of correcting and instructing, and the diminutive was what I used when I was younger. Vincy comes with issues, too, actually. I believe there are people out there who still think my name is Lindsay…
Finally, would Vincenza recommend that her name be given to babies today?
I honestly believe that babies should be given the name Vincenza if their parents feel inclined. I have an automatic discussion point when it comes to strangers (this includes job interviews), and I’ve found it helps build rapport to discuss something as deeply personal as a name. Of course, I could just be partial…