Blog Victor van Dijk: Interesting names in Ecuador

Youandi was one of my classmates in third year at secondary school. I’ll never forget her name. There wasn’t a single teacher who knew how to pronounce it. So, again and again, she explained the origins of her special name. “It consists of the English words ‘you and I’, sir”, she’d say.

Her sister was three years below us, at the same school, and she had an equally striking name: Estelle (‘she’s the one’ in French). Those parents must have been very creative.

On the other hand, a generation gap can sometimes lead to funny situations. During my studies in Wageningen for example, one of my housemates was a farmer’s daughter from Groningen province. She had a traditional Dutch name: Alien (pronounced Ah-leen). When her parents gave her that name, I don’t think they ever realised what the word means in English.

You can come across some interesting names here in Ecuador, too. Especially in the coastal provinces, where young parents tend to name their offspring after the buzz of the day. Jobs, objects, place names and even obscene language. It’s worth a Google search! A few roughly translated examples include: National Anthem, Delicious Beer, Beloved Fatherland and Seed of the Gods.

Fairytales are popular too: Ali Baba, Snow White, Cinderella. You can meet them all here. There’s even a Michael Jackson. And he’s famous, too! He’s a professional football player, who made it to the Ecuadorian national team!

Names. Who are we to judge? That’s probably what they thought at the Registration Office, too. In principle, a registrar can reject certain names, but in practice, this hardly ever happens. Nowadays, it’s considered trendy, especially among the lower population classes, to give your baby a popular English name, such as Dylan, Kevin, Brian or Kimberly. As long as it sounds international.

By giving their child an international name, parents hope they can help it on its way to a successful future. Does it really work like that? I don’t think any research has been done into this subject. But I’m sure there’s no harm in trying.

Victor van Dijk,

Area Manager South America, FleuraMetz

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