This page is very much under construction.
French has a multitude of name endings. Claude can become Claudette can become Claudine; when the winds of fashion change and the English suffix -elle becomes the rage, Claudelle may become one of the hot new names. Name endings can be stacked: Claudeline, Claudelette. Although each ending has a meaning, the meanings are no longer significant. Parents don’t care that Claudette means “little Claude,” while Claudine means “like or of Claude”; the important consideration is how the ending sounds.
Haitian names use all the classic French endings, plus endings derived from several other languages.
Female Name Endings
-e is the classic French feminine ending. It turns the masculine Guerlin to the feminine Guerline, the masculine Claud to the feminine Claude, and the masculin Jean to the feminine Jeanne. It’s generally used only on French male names. The Haitian coinage Kervens can’t be changed to a girl’s name by spelling it “Kervense,” and the popular boy’s name Jeff doesn’t have a female derivative Jeffe.
Haitians are cavalier about -e. They use it abundantly, but it’s hit and miss whether it’s applied in the French way–a Berlin can be female, and a Berline can be male. I’m not sure why. The difference in pronunciation in mainstream French can be subtle, so my going theory is that the difference is lost in the translation to Kreyol.
-ie is the most common way to create a French nickname, an analog to the English –y suffix. In Haitian names, it’s interchangeable with -y.
-mene is possibly from the French “-mene,” “leads,” so names like Chrismene, Dieumene, and Jesumene would mean “Christ leads,” “God leads,” and “Jesus leads,” respectively. However, it’s applied to non-religious names as well: Louisemene, Henrimene, Rosemene, etc.
-lande is a distinctively Haitian suffix that has enjoyed a long run of recent popularity. A number of traditional French names end in -lande—Yolande, Rolande, Erlande—but they have no common etymology. Haitians created the suffix, and with it created a new wave of names: Jocelande from Jocelyne, Estherlande from Ester, Michelande from Michelle, Ghislande from Ghislaine. An alternative is the less common -landa.
-lange is an uncommon variant of -lande. It may be related to “ange,” angel, a common second element of both male and female names.
Male Name Endings
-o is a borrowing from Spanish.
-ot is a classic French diminutive for males. It sounds exactly like the Spanish -o, so Haitians sometimes write -o as -ot and vice versa.