Over the years I’ve had “fun” trying to explain where my name and its unusual pronunciation come from. Names, particularly those that have been spread through across the world through Christian evangelisation, go through linguistic changes in each country that has adopted the use of Judo-Christian names. In most European countries an ‘a’ is put on the end changing the pronunciation to everything from Tam-er-ra and Tam-or-a to Tam-ar-ra and Tama-ruh. Some of these variations have become so common that many people have assumed that my name is a variation of Tamara.
Tamar is a Hebrew name that means palm tree (specifically a date palm that surrounds an oasis) and is often associated with agricultural prosperity. The first historical record of the name Tamar appears in the story of Judah and his daughter-in-law Tamar in both the first book of the Holy Bible and the Torah. In Jewish, the most common pronunciation is Tuh-mahr. Although there were two towns in Canaan (modern Palestine) called Tamar in a region that went by the same name, the name wasn’t common in traditional Jewish society. This is probably because the Biblical characters best known for this name have illicit sexual relations. However, it’s one of the Biblical names revived by the Zionists, making it a common female name in contemporary Isreal. There is also a modern Jewish settlement in Palestine called Tamar (ie Ein Tamar) close to where the ancient towns. All these towns bestowed with the same name are all near a source of water that has created a fertile valley. This is much the same the world over
In both England and Australia there are rivers named Tamar. In England, this river is on the border of Devon and Cornwall. In Australia, it’s a major river in the state of Tasmania. Both these rivers are navigable and started out with the pronunciation Tay-mar. The Australia river would’ve been named after the one in England by British settlers. However as Australia developed its own dialect pronunciations changed and the river when from being called Tay-mar to Tay-ma. This is the pronunciation I prefer.