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Anyone else have a DC with 2 names?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I'm American and my DH is Kenyan - our DD is 3 weeks old and we gave her 2 names - Natalie Wanjiru - an American name and a Kenyan name. Our thought was that she would be called both names - probably her American family and friends would call her Natalie, and Kenyan family and friends would call her Wanjiru. When she gets old enough, she can choose how she would like to introduce herself.
However, people are constantly asking me which name they should use - I tell them they are both her names, they can call her either one. People seem to be very uncomfortable with that.
I've read that bicultural kids often feel like they have to choose one culture or another - I feel like there's pressure to do that already - why should we have to choose either her American name or her Kenyan name - is it really a big deal that she has 2 names?
Do your DC have a name from each culture? Do they use both names, or do you choose one that you use primarily?
post #2 of 10
DS' first name is his American name and his middle name is his Hindi name. We will be doing the same with DD and any future children. We did this because DH has always been called by his middle name (his American name) rather then his Hindi name except when he visited India.

We actually will use both names with DS though we do default to his American name in general. We did want him to have the option of having a Hindi name if he wanted to use it though which is why we did it this way.
post #3 of 10
My boys have both American and Japanese names. They love having both. Especially my oldest who is 19. They like being a part of both worlds.
post #4 of 10
My kids have both their Chinese names and their English names. We use them pretty much interchangeably. I really wanted to avoid using only 1 when they are "in trouble". When my own dad used my full name (given +middle name+ family name) I would get really really scared.

DH has an English name, which I use more often than his Chinese name, it's the name that he used when we first met.

His sibs often call him by the last character in his name, which he shares w/ his younger brother. So, when my b-i-l's wife calls him that too - I get a bit jarred.

In HK it's pretty common for people to use English names and/or their Chinese names. Nick names are also fairly popular, or part-of-name+family status appended. For example, I call my 2nd and 3rd sisters-in-laws' husbands by "second character of given name + goh" (meaning older brother).
post #5 of 10
i think your daughters names are beautiful, but i would feel a little confused if i was not told which name to use, or whether to use both.


stupid example, but learning german, there are at least 3 words for carrots. they are completely interchangeable, and all simply mean carrot. to this day, i feel uneasy talking about carrots in german, cause i feel like i might use the wrong word, even though i know that they are all acceptable.

does that make any sense?
post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by bremen View Post
stupid example, but learning german, there are at least 3 words for carrots. they are completely interchangeable, and all simply mean carrot. to this day, i feel uneasy talking about carrots in german, cause i feel like i might use the wrong word, even though i know that they are all acceptable.
I was going to say the same thing, but with an arabic dialect and "chicken."

Maybe instead of just "either or both is fine," "either or both is fine though at home we usually call her _____."
post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluedaisy View Post
However, people are constantly asking me which name they should use - I tell them they are both her names, they can call her either one. People seem to be very uncomfortable with that.
The people who are asking are probably worried that the name they pick will say something about THEM - that it will indicate that they have an underlying preference or prejudice about one culture/heritage.

My father had 2 names - a Japanese name given by his parents (Japanese immigrants to Canada), and an "English" nickname given by his Canadian co-workers - and used widely by non-Japanese Canadians (i.e. at work and most social occasions). I always knew how someone was connected to my Dad, simply by the name they called him. It was a handy identifier.

My kids have Japanese names, but they are pretty much used only at their Japanese language school. They don't have any problems with the concept, and seem to enjoy it.
post #8 of 10
In America, my daughters' names are Rio Rayne and Yesmeen Sky and in Lebanon their names are Rio Najib and Yesmeen Najib. In-laws have no idea they have different names, but are completely against "American middle names" so what they don't know won't hurt them.
post #9 of 10
My kids don't, but a lot of my friends kids do. Particularly my Chinese friends, heck they too have two names. One English and one Chinese. The Chinese one is usually used by close friends and family, and the English is for everyone else.
post #10 of 10
Our kids have Chinese middle names and English/French first names. My surname appears with the chinese name for Chinese school, and DH's lastname goes with the official birth certificate stuff. That way, both our lastnames are being passed down.
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