Girls names that work in U.S. & Germany - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 11-28-2011, 08:16 PM - Thread Starter
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We are expecting a little girl and are trying to find a good name for her. One rather large complication is that we are very likely moving to Germany next year and will probably be there for a while, so I would like to find a name that works equally well in both countries without being really popular or really strange in either. I'd also like the name to be pronounced basically the same in both countries and the pronunciation to be fairly obvious from the spelling in both countries. We have come up with short list that appears to fit all those rules:







We have one little boy right now whose name is Elias. Eva was actually our "just in case" girl name for him. I'm not sure about two E names though and have heard/read mixed things about v's sounding like f's in Germany. I also worry about it being confused with Ava a lot in the U.S. I like Miriam, but since Elias seems to be the German form of Elijah, I wonder if they'll sound very "Old Testament" paired together in Germany. Cora is pretty, but my DH doesn't like it as much as the others. I like Amalia, but am concerned that it'll be confused with the more common Amelia in the U.S. Thoughts?



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#2 of 9 Old 11-29-2011, 12:31 AM
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naming for 2 places is difficult! Here is a list of german popular names. We are going through a similar thing.

homescholing traveling mama of two ('08 and '12) expecting May 2015!
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#3 of 9 Old 11-29-2011, 04:23 AM
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You have to search for names on German baby boards, and ask there as well. A name that "works" in two languages can be working nicely in one, and stale / boring / 19th century old-fashioned / too trendy / twee / precious / etc. in the other.


We have to find a name for four languages, and it's a doozy.

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#4 of 9 Old 11-29-2011, 05:59 AM - Thread Starter
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The problem is that I don't speak German, so it's hard for me to find, let alone interact, on German boards. I did find all those names on this German page - - that lists the top 500 names in Germany. There are even comments on some of the names that with Google Translate I can mostly figure out.

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#5 of 9 Old 11-29-2011, 06:16 AM
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I haven't had a German class in 15 years, so I don't know how much help I am.  I do love Cora, though, and Miriam is nice with Elias.  There was a German exchange student in my high school who went by Miri - perhaps it was a nickname for Miriam?


Wishing you all the best with the name choice and the move!








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#6 of 9 Old 11-29-2011, 11:29 AM
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I lived in Germany for several years, and speak fluent German, but am American. Miriam is not a terribly common or uncommon name in my experience. I knew a handful of Miriams of varying ages. I never knew an Eva or a Cora or an Amalia. However, one thing I have noticed is that German parents have made a definite swing toward names that would have been unusual 15 years ago, and also toward using more foreign names. In the past five years or so, my german friends have named their children Milena, Madlene, Felix, Leo, Lukas, Emilie.

From the US side, I met a woman at our pediatrician's office whose daughter was named Eva, and she said that everyone pronounces it the same as Ava. She said that if she's known, she would have just named her Eve. :-) We name our little girl Sabine, which causes a lot of confusion here in the US, but generally gets a positive response once people work it out. I think it would be less confusing if we'd spelled it Sabina, but I didn't realize that it would be so difficult.
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#7 of 9 Old 02-01-2012, 11:16 AM
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Hi! Maybe I can help! I am actually from Germany and moved to the US about 3 years ago! You are right, the V if often pronounced like a F. I have never met an Amalia. Miriam is pronounced differently in Germany than here too. But I have been think about the same thing, because I want my parents and Grandparents be able to pronounce my Child's name. 


Lisa- sounds the same in both places, but that is my name so it is out for my child.

Emily/Emilie- I knew one Emily in Germany, and they pronounce it the same in both places.

Emma- also the same.

Sabrina- the S is a little softer in Germany than here, but the rest sounds the same. 

Phyllis- same in both places

Kim- same


Cora- also the same


A's are often pronounced like when you hear british people say Can't. Hope this helps a little

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#8 of 9 Old 02-01-2012, 11:24 AM
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you can steal one of our names, Hilda.  Hilda also works in Spanish.  :)

Is it getting lonely in the echo chamber yet?

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#9 of 9 Old 02-01-2012, 11:48 AM
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I am German and my Husband is American, we had the same problem. All my family lives in Germany, and not all of them speak English, so it had to be a name that sounds the same in both languages.


For a Girl we liked Maja, and for a Boy Noah.


I am expecting again, so I am back to square one. It will be interesting to see all the suggestions you get from others, I might steal one or two :)


Good luck, and I hope you will love Germany as much as I do. It's lovely!!!!







Momma to Maya Elise born 01/13/2009 and Surprise Baby on the way ~ August 2012.



"Even after all this time, the Sun never says to the Earth, "You owe me."

Look what happens with a love like that, it lights up the whole sky." ~ Hafiz



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