Saturday, October 26, 2013


Q: I am the proud father of a new baby girl. My wife and I have an international family, so we had to find a name that would work (and be pronounceable) in all the languages we and/or our families speak. After a long search, we settled on the name of Aponi. Aponi is described, on French and American baby-naming websites, as being a "Native-American name meaning butterfly."

We love the name Aponi, its sound and its meaning. But I'd really like to know what language this word comes from, if it's even Native American at all. Can you help me answer this question?

A: Congratulations on your new daughter! Although those online baby name sites are notoriously inaccurate, you are in luck... you picked a name that actually does have Native American roots. It comes from the Blackfoot Indian word Apaniiwa (pronounced ah-pah-nee-wuh), which is often just spelled and pronounced Apani (ah-pah-nee) by many Blackfoot speakers. (The extra "-wa" is an animate noun ending that is oftentimes dropped by Blackfoot speakers.) It does indeed mean "butterfly."

Hope that helps, have a good day!
Native Languages of the Americas

Further reading:
Blackfoot language
American Indian baby names
American Indian butterfly legends

No comments:

Post a Comment