There was a time when certain English names for girls were very popular in Ghana. Some of these names were so unique that some people made unforgettable or often regrettable songs out of them based on their pronunciation or their shortened version. The popularity of these names often led to one classroom to have 3 Christina’s or 4 Joana’s. Imagine the confusion! Take for example my Christian name Linda (yeah, I bet you didn’t know I was called that) its just like MTN; everywhere you go. But these names I am focusing on here are slowly becoming as extinct as a desktop telephone.
Here are my favourite English names for girls which being used less and less during naming ceremonies in Ghana.
1. Agatha – This is a classic name! Almost vintage! We used to pronounce this as Agata (without the h).
4. Comfort – Short form is Connie and the rascals have a twi pronunciation of this which I cant say here.
5. Cecilia – often shortened to Cece or Cee,
6. Dinah – I often imagine cooking oil when I think of this name, don’t know why.
7. Dorothy – Also pronounced Doroty (without the ‘h’ again)
Nowadays, Whats more common or fashionable is to name girls after music superstars like Beyonce, Ciara or Rihanna which really doesn’t make sense to me but ah well! Many people are inspired to name their child after a celebrity or personality, but sometimes I wonder if they consider the meaning of the names before picking it. Naming a child after someone is so crucial in the Ghanaian society and often a childs behaviour is often blamed on the name of the ancestor or relative he or she was named after. I sometimes feel sorry for kids who are burdened with names that they themselves find problems pronouncing; Naqueeshah or Sheneequah, in Ghana?? i went to visit a distant cousin once and I was getting acquainted to her first girl when I asked my cousin the little girl’s name.
‘Oh, she’s called Moonstar,’ came her reply.
I know fashion is going back to the 70’s but this is just cutting it too close. What are we going back to the hippie times?
Although these names are slowly disappearing, its encouraging to see many parents going back to the roots of giving their children Ghanaian names without an English name. there also is the rise of the use of local Ghanaian names in the naming of a child.
Are you familiar with English names for girls which you think are almost extinct in Ghana? What English name have you given your child if you are Ghanaian and what influenced it? Please share your story in the comments below