Thursday, July 24, 2008

Why would you call your son "Sefer"- "travel" ?

I was back home last night after 10-days holidayish days in Istanbul. My KLM plane arrived at around 10:00 PM to Schiphol. I knocked the iranian neighbours' doors when I made it to Funenpark to tell them that I managed to inform my family about my safe arrival, and did not need to use their mobile.

They invited me over tea, and we chatted about several things. The most interesting thing - I really do not remember how we got there- was about the words 'sefer' and 'Safer', both common words in Turkish and Iranian language.

Sefer means traveling, and Safer is actually the name of one of the months in Arabic lunar calendar. No problem up to this point.

But then, they went on saying that Safer was also a male name in Iran. "It is the opposite in Turkey" I said, "sefer is a turkish name".

Then, suddenly, - I am not sure if this can also be called an epiphany- but suddenly it made more sense to me to call your son 'Safer' -the name of month, rather than 'sefer'- traveling.

We already have Ramazan, Recep, Şaban and Muharrem as male names in Turkey, all the month names in arabic lunar calendar. We also have Şevval, again a month name but somehow female name. So, it makes more sense to hypothesize that the turkish name 'sefer' is actually coming from 'Safer', the month name, but a modified version of it. I know one person called Sefer; I will send him an e-mail and ask what he thinks about the meaning of his name.

Yet another turkish name- Yeter (Enough)
I guess we had talked about this with Maikel some time ago. Yeter is also an uncommon turkish name meaning 'enough'. It is funny but the idea behind is: if the parents did not want to have any more child, they named their last baby as 'Yeter'; to reflect their wish that it was enough to have that many child.

I even know a sad real story (I guess we also had chatted about those names with Vahid and Sara): An old distant relative of my mum had told her that they had named their third son as 'Fazıl', which is also an uncommon turkish name meaning either of 'redundant' or 'Virtue'. The old woman said to my mom that they called the baby Fazıl, implying the meaning 'redundant' , since they did not want any more child. And, the child died in an accident when he was 10-12 years old. The old lady later lost her other sons when they were 20-25 years old. She was very sad when telling this story, and she thought that it was all due to their wrong-naming of the last son, which implied a disobeying to God.

1 comment:

tunahan said...

I sent the link of this post to Sefer and asked his opinion. He agreed that the originating-from-arabic-month-Safer hypothesis makes more sense..

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