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Most Spanish names are quite similar to the equivalent in English, such as:

  • Juan → John
  • Pedro → Peter
  • Maria → Mary

But what's up with this one?

  • Santiago → James

What's the connection? How do the twain meet?

Are there other unusual Spanish/English name combinations like this?

When I took Spanish in High School, the teacher gave us all Spanish names based on our "real" names; he couldn't think of one for me, neither for the name I go by (Clay) nor my first name (Benedict); he finally settled on "Benedito," but said that wasn't really a Spanish name, just the closest he could get.

Note: In German, too, James gets a rather unusual translation, namely (no pun intended) to "Jakobus" which seems a more likely match with Jacob. Anyway...

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By the way, the Pope demostrates that "Benedict" is "Benedicto", so I do not understand the problem that your professor had. – Envite Dec 12 '13 at 23:54
That was 40+ years ago. – B. Clay Shannon Dec 12 '13 at 23:57
I think the usual form of Benedict in Spanish is Benito. – MikMik Dec 13 '13 at 12:50
What about Jaime? – Daniel Pendergast Apr 18 '14 at 4:54
up vote 16 down vote accepted

Santiago, (also San Iago, San Tiago, Santyago, Sant-Yago, San Thiago) is a Spanish name that derives from the Hebrew name Jacob (Ya'akov) via "Sant Iago," "Sant Yago," "Santo Iago," or "Santo Yago," first used to denote Saint James the Great, the brother of John the Apostle. It was also the tradition that Saint James (Santiago) had traveled to the Iberian Peninsula during his life and was buried there. The name is also complicated in Spanish in that Jaime and Jacobo are modern versions of James. Another variant is Diego, as in San Diego, as a doublet or variation. Visit this link

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If you are going to quote your source you should make explicit which portions are quoted, and which ones are your own writing. – Euro Micelli May 11 '15 at 4:14

Maybe the question should be: Why is "James" the equivalent of "Santiago"? "James" is derived from the Latin "Iacomus" (Latin does not have a "J"), which in turn is derived from the Hebrew "Jacob". The Spanish "Iago" is likewise derived from the Latin "Iacomus". Thus "Saint James" is the equivalent of "Santiago".

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Very interesting. Santiago == St. James is plain after your explanation. So calling someone named James "Santiago" seems a little "heavy-handed." What is the equivalent for "plain old James" or "Jim" then? Jaime, or...??? – B. Clay Shannon Apr 28 '15 at 15:26
Yes, James would be Jaime, and Jim would be (I think) Jaimito, which would be Jimmy too. En Mexico, I've noticed that friends would refer to a Jim as ... Jim. – Diego San Luis May 1 '15 at 19:26

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