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Off topic: Urgent name question
Thread poster: Daina Jauntirans

Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:19
German to English
+ ...
Sep 19, 2003

Hi,

I have an online acquaintance who would like to name her baby son "Nefai". She asked me to check if this name/word has a negative connotation in languages other than English.

I can vouch for Latvian - it is not a word or name in Latvian, so has no negative connotation I can think of.

Can you help with your respective languages?

Thanks!
Daina


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Aurora Humarán  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 12:19
English to Spanish
+ ...
Spanish Sep 19, 2003

Diccionario de la Real Academia:

nefasto, ta.
(Del lat. nefastus).
1. adj. Dicho de un día o de cualquier otra división del tiempo: Triste, funesto, ominoso.
2. adj. Dicho de una persona o de una cosa: Desgraciada o detestable. Nefasto gobernante. Nefasto matrimonio.

It is not a name but it does have a negative connotation in Spanish:

***Sad, ill-fate, ominous***


Saludos, Au


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Said Kaljanac a.k.a. SARAJ  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 17:19
Bosnian to French
+ ...
:-) Sep 19, 2003

Hello

Nefai has no meaning in Bosnian, Serbian, Croatian, French, Russian, Dutch, (Japanese, Korean - these two languages don't have the sound "f"). Basicly I don't think that it means anything in any Slavic language.

Nevertheless it might have a meaning in a Semitic language like Aramaic, Arabic and/or Hebrew. It might have a meaning in Italian as well.

Cheers

SARAJ


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:19
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Italian Sep 19, 2003

It does have a meaning in Italian which is apparently much the same as in Spanish. "Nefasto" is similarly defined as "ill-omened, unpropitious, fatal, sorrowful, sinister". The actual form "nefai" does exist in Italian, but as Italian is not one of my languages, I can't say what exactly it means.
I found this on Google:
... non tanto per volare solo per non solo per non morire Compagna notte tu che non
parli quasi notte compagna notte di concessioni nonh nefai la solitudione è ...
Perhaps an Italian speaker could tell us what it means here.


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Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:19
Member
English to Turkish
Turkish, OK Sep 19, 2003

It smells Middle East, or Mesopotamia, but though Turkish has many loanwords from the native populations of both regions, Nefai does not make much association in this language. (And does not exist, either, obviously.) Maybe, could remind "nefais", this would be too far-fetched though: and it's a very old word, not even known by many Turkish-speakers. Anyway, it is the plural of "nefis" (which is a common word in modern Turkish): "excellent; graceful; delicious". No way negative. Also it might make an association with "nefer", and whether this has a negative connotation or not completely depends on the point of view: it means, roughly, "soldier."

[Edited at 2003-09-20 10:48]


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Andy Watkinson
Spain
Local time: 17:19
Member
Catalan to English
+ ...
Spanish Sep 20, 2003

Au, I think you're being a bit harsh: "It is not a name but it does have a negative connotation in Spanish". I beg to differ.
I don't believe there are any negative connotations at all.

I don't think a Spanish speaker would automatically associate it with the word "nefasto" by a long chalk. (Although, granted, it does share the first syllable).

Honestly, if someone said to me "My name's Nefai", I'd probably ask (in my infinite ignorance), "Is that Egyptian?"

Also, there is the question of how it would be pronounced in English. To a Spanish speaker's ear, it would probably sound like "N//fei", where "//" is a schwa, of course.
No "nefasto" there.

"Sl" is a famous combination in English for "unpleasant" words. See "slimy, sleazy, slag, slobber, slut...it's difficult to think of a "nice" sounding word until you remember "sleep" "slender" "slipper" etc...

In my opinion, the name would convey no idea, be it positive or negative, to a Spanish speaker at all.


Saludos,
Andy


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Diogo Santos
Local time: 16:19
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Portuguese OK! Sep 20, 2003

It seams that I'm in tune with Andycw, because I totally agree with him. In Portuguese we also have the word "nefasto" with the same spelling and meaning as in Spanish, however if someone said to me: My name is Nefai, I would never associate it with nefasto, nonetheless, I think it's great to make those type of questions before naming a person with an odd name. I once received an e-mail which said that a japanese couple named her daughter with the most beautiful word they have ever listened in english (without knowing the meaning of it, of course), they named her: "diarrhoea". Needless to say that she wasn't the queen of joy when she found out years later the meaning of her "beautiful" name...

Cheers,
Diogo Santos


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Pamela Peralta  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 10:19
English to Spanish
+ ...
my opinion Sep 20, 2003

andycw wrote:
I don't think a Spanish speaker would automatically associate it with the word "nefasto" by a long chalk. (Although, granted, it does share the first syllable).
Honestly, if someone said to me "My name's Nefai", I'd probably ask (in my infinite ignorance), "Is that Egyptian?"
Andy


I do have to agree with Andy.

Pamela


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barval
Local time: 17:19
English to Italian
+ ...
just adding an italian point of view Sep 20, 2003

Jack Doughty wrote:

It does have a meaning in Italian which is apparently much the same as in Spanish.

The word Nefai does not have any specific meaning in italian, its sound may recall some Egyptian origin.

"Nefasto" is similarly defined as "ill-omened, unpropitious, fatal, sorrowful, sinister".

This is true and used, mostly meaning unpropitious.

The actual form "nefai" does exist in Italian, but as Italian is not one of my languages, I can't say what exactly it means.
I found this on Google:
... non tanto per volare solo per non solo per non morire Compagna notte tu che non
parli quasi notte compagna notte di concessioni nonh nefai la solitudione è ...
Perhaps an Italian speaker could tell us what it means here.


Made the same search with Google, only within italian pages, and it came up with abt 10 results: 9 of them were typing mistakes as the correct form is "ne fai".
i.e. "concessioni non ne fai" = (you) do not give concessions...

...but, quite interesting, I found a page in italian
http://www.google.it/search?q=cache:oOhnm63Jr38J:digilander.libero.it/DragonballFT/%20nefai&hl=it&lr=lang_it&ie=UTF-8
connected with the japanese anime Dragon Ball explaining the "sajani" (language of the characters I presume) meaning of this name; Nefai is the name of the "terrestrial" mother of one of the characters, and its meaning is "water lily"

With the best wishes to the future mum!
Barbara


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 17:19
Italian to English
It's not an Italian word ... Sep 20, 2003

Jack Doughty wrote:

I found this on Google:
... non tanto per volare solo per non solo per non morire Compagna notte tu che non
parli quasi notte compagna notte di concessioni nonh nefai

Perhaps an Italian speaker could tell us what it means here.


Glad to, Jack.

Actually, it's a misprint. The lyrics of the Loredana Bertè song you found should be written "compagna notte, di concessioni non ne fai" (night, my companion, you make no concessions). The "ne" is just a partitive pronoun that has got accidentally stuck onto the front of the verb "fai".

However, "nefa-" sounds vaguely ominous in Italian, as it does in other Romance languages. For example, French opponents of fast food started calling it "nefast food", which is instantly comprehensible to Italian-speakers.

The adjective "nefast", meaning "abonimable" or "wicked", exists in English, too, but not many English-speakers would associate the name "Nefai" with it.

Cheers,

Giles


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jmadsen  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:19
Danish ok Sep 20, 2003

No problems in Danish, either.
Jørgen


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Aurora Humarán  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 12:19
English to Spanish
+ ...
:-))) Sep 20, 2003

andycw wrote:

Au, I think you're being a bit harsh: "It is not a name but it does have a negative connotation in Spanish". I beg to differ.
I don't believe there are any negative connotations at all.
Saludos,
Andy


Hi Andy, this is my rationale If the person is interested in knowing this it is because s/he is paying attention to subtleties and the subjetive part of choosing a name (connotations are subjective, after all). For that reason I felt that a name of 5 letters, out of which 4 coincide with a negative word (allow me to call it negative) would lead a Spanish speaking person to that negative connotation.

I agree with you that I was harsh. I should have said: "It may have a negative connotation".

Saludos back,

Au


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PSz
Local time: 17:19
German to Hungarian
+ ...
Hungarian --> OK Sep 20, 2003

In Hungarian, it is OK too.


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Valentina Pecchiar  Identity Verified
Italy
Member
English to Italian
+ ...
Italian speaker agrees with Giles Sep 22, 2003

The association with "nefasto" (same spelling as in Spanish and Portuguese) would never come to my mind, let it be pronounced with a tonic E or A.

The only long-shot association I can think of is with the Italian rap singer Neffa (http://www.italianrap.com/artists/artists_bios/neffa/): he's a good guy, mainly love songs and romantic ballads.

Go for Nefai, mommy!


George Watson wrote:


The adjective "nefast", meaning "abonimable" or "wicked", exists in English, too, but not many English-speakers would associate the name "Nefai" with it.

Cheers,

Giles



PS Sorry, can't help for Irish

[Edited at 2003-09-22 11:17]


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vladex  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:19
Polish
+ ...
Polish also ok, but... Sep 22, 2003

Said Kaljanac a.k.a. SARAJ wrote:
Nefai has no meaning in Bosnian, Serbian, Croatian,
icly I don't think that it means anything in any Slavic language.

SARAJ[/quote]

In Polish the closest word is "niefajny" - 'not fine, not nice', which is rather not nice, but the similarity is rather nonsignificant.

[Edited at 2003-09-22 12:49]


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