Posted by: Andy | April 21, 2011

What’s in a name? – Turkish Boy Names

While men perhaps won’t care to hear this, I find Turkish girl names much more natural and beautiful than Turkish boy names.  It seems as though the girl names have become more modern and have more variety than the boy names.  The boy names seem to remain a bit more traditional, but there are still a few that I rather enjoy.

Said exactly like the English word typhoon, Tayfun means…typhoon!  While I find it funny that there is such a name for a child, I’m not sure we could use it at any point.  People would try to pronounce it more like tay – fun, as in tay: rhyming with pay; and fun: rhyming with one.  That being said, one of our greatest Turkish friends here is named Tayfun, so we’ll keep it as a possibility.

The Turkish version of the name Abraham is a solid name.  The first and second ‘i’ are pronounced with a long e sound so it sounds like ee-bra-heem.  It’s usable, but I think people would be confused as to why we didn’t just use Abraham.  Turkish first names are seldom shortened into nicknames.  I’ve literally heard less than five examples of a name shorted to a nickname and Ibrahim is one of them.  The nickname?  Ibo.  I personally prefer that over Abe.

The s with the squiggle underneath makes a ‘sh’ sound, so this name sounds like Bah – rish.  It means peace, so it is rather pretty.  We would probably have to spell it as Barish if we wanted to use it and people would probably pronounce the first syllable as ‘bare’ instead of ‘bar’.  I once, in all seriousness had a student whose first name was Savaş and whose middle name was Barış.  In English his name would translate to “War and Peace”.

This name is the Turkish version of the prophet Jonah (who was swallowed by a whale) and strangely enough means dolphin.  I have always thought dolphins were a bit more feminine than masculine, but whatever works.  One of my former students named Yunus is a man who enjoys sailing, so I always thought that name worked well for him.  Pronounced Yoo-noos, it could work.  It’s also the name of our local grocery store.

Does this name remind you of any particular English word?  Yeah, it means volcano.  While I like it, I think people would believe we were nerds misspelling the word Vulcan from Star Trek, so we probably won’t use it.

Onur or Onurcan
Onur (oh-noor) means honor.  For males, the suffix that has become trendy lately is -can (pronounced like John).  While Can is a typical male name, the suffix has become a recent development for the latest generation, so say my students anyway.  So old Turkish names like Mehmet, Emre, Berk and Onur have now become more popular as Mehmetcan,  Emrecan, Berkcan and Onurcan.  I think Onur is ok, Onurcan less so because of the Turkish C making that pesky J sound.



  1. guzel yazi olmus tesekkurler

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: