Naming your child in another culture - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 56 Old 05-29-2008, 08:51 AM
 
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Originally Posted by ~sweet pea~ View Post
Miss 1928: I'm trying to come up with names that sound appropriate in both English and Italian. I'm finding that girl names are infinitely easier because names ending in "-a" are fairly mainstream here in the States, but boy names that end in an "-o" seem to say "I am ethnic."

I'm curious, did you have boy name choices and if so, what were they?
Hi, Sweet Pea,

No, we didn't really have any boy names picked. I was superstitious and I didn't want to even think about names until after the amneosentisis (sp?) so we really didn't consider about any names before that, and then we knew DD was going to be a girl, so pretty much there was no point in looking at boy names.

I think you're right, Girl names are easier, and I think that may be the case with many languages, not just Italian.

I did like the name Carlo though. (Vetoed by DH)
My friend (she's American with an Italian DH) named their first son Luca and second son Hugo, after her DH's dad, Ugo.
Right now Leonardo seems to be a really popular choice here in Italy. I know at least 3 born in the last 2 years. It's a lovely name, but that may seem like you're too much of a fan of Leonardo Decaprio, unofrtunately

Here are some Baby Name Websites I found while I was preggers, maybe this will help a little.

Names

http://www.italianames.com/1600_italian_names_tuv.php

http://www.italianames.com/top30italy2004.php

http://www.20000-names.com/female_a_names_3.htm

http://www.behindthename.com/

http://www.my-baby-names.com/italian_baby_names.html

Good luck!

-- Miss 1928 -- and Opera Singing Mamma to Eloisa -- 12 Feb 2007
-- Wife to a Wonderful Husband and Pianist -- 27 March 2003
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#32 of 56 Old 06-05-2008, 10:50 AM
 
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My dh is Greek and very into following the Greek tradition as far as names are concerned. For this reason, naming the 2 I have with him was very easy! Firstborn son (for dh, I have 3 from first marriage), named for father's father. Christos, same in both languages, very easy. Second born son, named for mother's father. Homer/Omiros ... The Greek version (especially with our last name) is a challenge for people here in small town America so we usually just say "Homer." However, dh's family (all still in Greece) all use Omiros.

The challenge would have been if Christos had been a girl... Because although dh has a sister with a child that *should* have been named for their dad, she chose instead to "save" that name for dh because HE is a firstborn son and it's important for HIS firstborn son to carry on the name. Had firstborn been a girl, he could have chosen to either use the female version (Christina) or save the name and hope for a boy next time (in which case we would have used my mother's name). It would have been a tough choice because I wasn't so sure we'd have another, and of course there's no guarantee that the next one would be a boy either!

Anyway I can kind of relate to some of the stories about trying to find something that fits in both cultures even though it was kind of predetermined in our case. I wouldn't have named this one Homer probably (because of the Homer Simpson reference), but I'm glad we did!
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#33 of 56 Old 06-06-2008, 11:11 PM
 
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My ex - father of my daughter - is Egyptian and living here in the US with me. His family are all in Egypt. From the get go, I wanted and Arabic name - both to connect her to that part of her culture (which is obviously not the dominant one here) and as a connection/to honor her family over there, which has had to see their son move and build a family in a whole other country. My only concern was that it be easily pronouncable here. We went with Nadya, the name of her grandmother in Egypt - pronounced with a flat "a" as in apple. People often pronounce it more like the Russian with the broad a, which I did not anticipate. But I'm pretty happy with it. My friends who are also an American/Arab couple are also giving their kid an Arabic name.
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#34 of 56 Old 06-07-2008, 09:58 AM
 
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DH is English and Welsh and I am Irish and American (with a dash of German from a my grandparents). Should be easy, right?

Not really. Too many options, too many opinions. So we decided to pick from a really limited pool, and only pick family names. Both DH and I also very big on names having meaning - we were both named after people in our families so we wanted to have that connection.

So we named one son after my dh's grandfather (Anthony) and my father (Robert) and the other after my grandfather (Liam) and dh's father (John).

The only change is that my grandfather was Wilhelm (German for William) and we preferred the Irish version - Liam.

The other change is that on the UK side of the pond, Anthony is pronounced "An-tony" and on the US side "Anthony" (with a th sound). My dad pronounces his name "An-tony", which I don't mind.

We decided to let it be both. We call him Anthony, but don't correct anyone. His nickname is Ant (not Tony), though.

What I find weird are all the people here in the US who assume that Anthony is an Italian name. Um, it is a biblical name - all the Christian European countries have it, and Anthony (vs Antonio) is the English/Welsh version.

If we have a third, and she is a girl, we may break with our tradition, because I love the name Penelope and we don't have any Penelope's in our families. I also sort of want to name a child after my mom, but frankly, never liked either her first or middle names. Ugh.

The other name I love but cannot use is Eileen (my grandmother's name) - because it rhymes with our last name... Double ugh.

I have friends who also give their kids the obligatory name as the first name, and then the name they intend to call their kids as the middle. Both a friend from Quebec and a friend from the deep south told me their families have this tradition.

And I know many people who "changed" their names - suddenly started going by their middle name or a nickname in junior high or later. I like the idea of giving a kid that option.

You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
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#35 of 56 Old 06-09-2008, 05:39 AM
 
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Wow, it's so great reading all the different cultures and backgrounds people come from- I fit right in here! My mother is Belgian/French and my father is Zimbabwean (xhosa), DH parents are Ukrainian/Polish and English. My parents seemed to come to a compromise with my sister's and my names- we both have Zimbabwean (xhosa) first names and french middle names. My husband has very english first and middles names and a Ukrainian last name.

So with all of our cultural backgrounds, one of the first things our families are asking us now that we are TTC is, of course, "What are you going to name it?" (and everytime we call- "are you pregnant yet!?!? )This question follows with multiple suggestions from all sides.

We feel like we have a lot of "cultural" names to choose from, which is a good and bad thing- I'm afraid we'll never decide! But we're also not exactly the traditional type and have been thinking of other names we like from OTHER cultures and pretty words in our shared language and culture, (Canadian) English. So we'll see, we are just at the start of our multi-cultural family journey and name choosing is a definitely a fun part of it.

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#36 of 56 Old 06-09-2008, 11:13 AM
 
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Originally Posted by siobhang View Post
DH is English and Welsh and I am Irish and American (with a dash of German from a my grandparents). Should be easy, right?

Not really. Too many options, too many opinions. So we decided to pick from a really limited pool, and only pick family names. Both DH and I also very big on names having meaning - we were both named after people in our families so we wanted to have that connection.

So we named one son after my dh's grandfather (Anthony) and my father (Robert) and the other after my grandfather (Liam) and dh's father (John).

The only change is that my grandfather was Wilhelm (German for William) and we preferred the Irish version - Liam.

The other change is that on the UK side of the pond, Anthony is pronounced "An-tony" and on the US side "Anthony" (with a th sound). My dad pronounces his name "An-tony", which I don't mind.

We decided to let it be both. We call him Anthony, but don't correct anyone. His nickname is Ant (not Tony), though.

What I find weird are all the people here in the US who assume that Anthony is an Italian name. Um, it is a biblical name - all the Christian European countries have it, and Anthony (vs Antonio) is the English/Welsh version.
If we have a third, and she is a girl, we may break with our tradition, because I love the name Penelope and we don't have any Penelope's in our families. I also sort of want to name a child after my mom, but frankly, never liked either her first or middle names. Ugh.

The other name I love but cannot use is Eileen (my grandmother's name) - because it rhymes with our last name... Double ugh.

I have friends who also give their kids the obligatory name as the first name, and then the name they intend to call their kids as the middle. Both a friend from Quebec and a friend from the deep south told me their families have this tradition.

And I know many people who "changed" their names - suddenly started going by their middle name or a nickname in junior high or later. I like the idea of giving a kid that option.

Not being snarky, but where is Anthony in the bible? Do you mean a Christian name (ie a saint)?
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#37 of 56 Old 06-15-2008, 07:26 PM
 
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We gave our kids Bulgarian first names and Chinese middle names. Poor kids... but at least their names are unique and reflect their heritage!
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#38 of 56 Old 06-17-2008, 07:13 PM
 
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Oh we are having such a hard time!!!! We are going through the same things with wanting both cultures represented but names being to hard in one, or old fashioned in another. The other problem is my MIL who doesnt speak english and just wont pronouce certain american names. ( im thinking the less she likes them the harder they become for her to say) but ohwell.... hopefully we will settle on somthing soon. Luckily alot of names we both like overlap my german/american and his spanish culteral.....
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#39 of 56 Old 06-18-2008, 08:58 AM
 
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We also wanted names that were easy to pronouce/spell in both languages despite the disparity in alphabets (DH is Iranian) and reflected his dual heritage. We ended up naming him after both grandfathers - David for my dad and Ali for DH's dad. He goes by Ali. Easy to spell/pronounce (although David bacomes Davud) but reflective of both cultures.

The only issue I've had is that Ali is a common nickname for girls names like Alison and Alicia, so if people just see his name written they think he is a girl!
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#40 of 56 Old 06-18-2008, 11:21 AM
 
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We couldn't really find names we liked in German or English. Eventually, we decided to go with names used commonly in Sweden and Norway.
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#41 of 56 Old 06-18-2008, 11:38 AM
 
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The only issue I've had is that Ali is a common nickname for girls names like Alison and Alicia, so if people just see his name written they think he is a girl!
I face that with both of my boys. DS1 is Sami so people think it's short for Samantha until they meet him. DS2 is Ali. So same issues regarding Allison. DD lucked out... no issues with her name (Sara).

Mom to DS(8), DS(6), DD(4), and DS(1).  "Kids do as well as they can."

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#42 of 56 Old 06-21-2008, 04:11 AM
 
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We did a lot of brainstorming. We have different nationalities and expect to be transferred a couple of times in the next years, so we made sure that the names are ok not just in European and American, but also Latin-roman and Chinese/Japanese cultures.
It was like finding an universal brand name.

We ended with the names of our favourite feminist philosophers though, which I intended in the first place. But good to know they are adequate in other cultures, too. And hubby was happy to have found such international names.

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#43 of 56 Old 06-21-2008, 06:54 AM
 
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But then of course as an American both my kids go by shortened forms day to day which is totally not the Norwegian way.
We had this consideration too. Knowing that there was a high probability that English friends and relatives would shorten our son's name, we had to find a name that didn't turn into a name that sounded bad in Norwegian when shortened (Alexander -> Alex, for instance, sounds "rough" in Norwegian).

But actually it turned out that people have been rather good at respecting that his name is the name we gave him - even though I'm sure they don't understand why we're so fussy.
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#44 of 56 Old 06-21-2008, 07:06 AM
 
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Yep, we get the response of "wow, THAT'S an American name!" for DS1 ALL the time. So annoying. We settled upon it together. DS2 has a very old English name which seems to placate people here. It's funny all the ways that culture pops up, even when it's just a colonial vs British difference. (I'm an American married to a Kiwi, btw)
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#45 of 56 Old 06-23-2008, 04:42 PM
 
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My friend (she's American with an Italian DH) named their first son Luca and second son Hugo, after her DH's dad, Ugo.
Luca is our boy name (if we ever have a boy)! I admit we got it from watching The Godfather : I figure it's OK, my namesake is a character in a movie that practices the world's oldest profession. Being named after a fictional gangster couldn't be much worse.

DH and I definitely agreed we wanted a traditionally Hispanic name for our DD (I'm White, DH is Hispanic). He has a very traditional Hispanic last name and we really wanted her first and last name to match, so to speak. Her first name is Ana (a very popular name in both Latin America and Spain-- DH's two heritages) Carolina (my DH's mother's and grandmother's name-- pronounced Car-o-leena. My mother's name is Karol so it's a tribute to her as well). We love it and it fits her perfectly. The only issue we have is with pronunciation. Ana is often pronounced Anna instead of Ah-nah. Strangers don't use her middle name much, but I did have receptionist pronounce her full name "Anna Carolina" (like the state). Oh boy.

The issue now is coming up with another girl name for #2. We had one we agreed on and it's been used. If we don't get a boy the next time around we're in trouble.

Mama to my beautiful Ana Carolina (2/07), Isabel Cristina (6/10), and #3 on the way in August 2013!

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#46 of 56 Old 06-27-2008, 03:18 PM
 
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We're in the opposite boat -- if we don't have a girl next time (assuming there is a next time), we are going to be so very lost for names. It took us until just a few days before he was born to come up with our son's name. We wanted a name that "worked" in both cultures (I'm generic American; my husband is from southern India), but there's a pretty limited selection in that category, and either he or I hated all of them. We finally settled on Arjun, an Indian name we both liked and that hasn't given us too much trouble in the US so far with regards to spelling, pronunciation, and so forth.

Of course, neither of our families were 100% happy with it. But what can you do? We appeased them with the middle names.
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#47 of 56 Old 06-29-2008, 02:53 PM
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Dh and I couldn't agree on any American sounding names, so we went Slavic. Dd's name is a very old (pre-Christian) name common to many Slavic speaking countries, but we used Ukrainian transliteration (dh is Ukrainian). It's not a name that is difficult to pronounce in English, but the spelling really seems to throw people off. Guess we should have thought that through a little more We did give her an English sounding middle name, though.

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#48 of 56 Old 07-06-2008, 02:48 AM
 
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My husband is Iranian and I knew I wanted a Persian name when we found out we were pregnant so I started poring over the lists online and asking him about the meaning and cultural and SOCIAL significance of the names I liked.
It was funny because so many of the names that 'sounded' good to me he would tell me were considered 'cheap' or similar in Iran...
We discovered we were having a little girl and I again hit the lists until one day he and I were going over lists together and the name Noushafarin caused him to pause with tears in his eyes...it was his maternal grandmother's name and he loved her SO SO much. That was it for me and I decided right that second we'd call her Noushafarin. Nou for short

We have a heck of a time explaining the name and nickname but I couldn't care less and actually welcome the opportunity to open the dialog that invariably results when people find out the name is Persian....
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#49 of 56 Old 07-07-2008, 07:56 AM
 
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My husband is Iranian and I knew I wanted a Persian name when we found out we were pregnant so I started poring over the lists online and asking him about the meaning and cultural and SOCIAL significance of the names I liked.
It was funny because so many of the names that 'sounded' good to me he would tell me were considered 'cheap' or similar in Iran...
We discovered we were having a little girl and I again hit the lists until one day he and I were going over lists together and the name Noushafarin caused him to pause with tears in his eyes...it was his maternal grandmother's name and he loved her SO SO much. That was it for me and I decided right that second we'd call her Noushafarin. Nou for short

We have a heck of a time explaining the name and nickname but I couldn't care less and actually welcome the opportunity to open the dialog that invariably results when people find out the name is Persian....
That's a great name... you picked a "real" Persian name, but we cheated and used an Arabic name that is also common in Iran (Ali).

If we'd had a girl, I fell in love with the Persian name Sholeh, although the lack of an easy nickname might hold me up.
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#50 of 56 Old 07-12-2008, 10:26 AM
 
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Hi

I'm pretty new on the boards, but my husband and I are planning to TTC in the next couple of months, and since we may have had an oopsie this month we've started to talk about names.

We've agreed we want a first name that is pronounceable in both English as well as Spanish. Also his middle name is Taino as are his siblings, so we will give our children Taino middle names! I think that might be the hardest part, I've already done a little internet searching and it's difficult to find Taino names, especially ones that are pronounceable by my American family. Our one other minor bump in the road is that I was born and raised Jewish and it is cultural to use the first letter of a deceased relative to name the new child. So we also have limited letters to use when picking a name.

As another member mentioned, when we do get pregnant we plan to keep the name to ourselves until the child is born and officially named.

Well thanks for letting me share. I look forward to joining this little community :
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#51 of 56 Old 07-18-2008, 10:05 PM
 
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The bigger issue for me was the Arabic naming standard... whereas it's first name husband's name grandfather's name great-grandfather's name etc. I did not like the fact that all of our kids (male or female) have my husband's name as their middle name. It seems very strange to me. However, there's a chance that we would live in the ME, and if that were to happen, DD having a female middle name would be seen as very strange, as her middle name would be her last name in most things.
My DH is Lebanese and Druze. I would not bend on this issue at all. I said that in America, My DDs will have girl's names. If and when we register them in Lebanon, I have no problem with "Najib" being their middle name in Lebanon, but in America, they have middle names. My husband picked my DD#1's first name because he is a big Duran Duran fan and he said that if he ever had a daughter, he'd name her Rio. I thought that was cool so I agreed and picked the middle name Rayne (pronounced 'rain') and we went back and forth over the name for DD#2. We finally settled on Yesmeen (we spell it phonetically how it is pronounced in Lebanon). I really wanted matching names. I was really into the name Kai, which means ocean and I thought it would be cool to have an ocean and a river, but my husband hated the name. "Yesmeen" was on and off the table several times until I saw an interview with Miss Universe from Japan and her name was Riyo (pronounced 'Rio') and she said her name means 'Jasmine'... So there was my match. Yesmeen was Arabic for Jasmine and Rio was Japanese for jasmine. I picked her middle name too. Her middle name is Sky. So that matches too, with the three letter thing. It's obscure, but it's good enough for me. My DH's father thinks that they have the names Rio Najib and Yesmeen Najib and as far as I'm concerned, that's fine by me...

The one thing that irritated me was when Rio was first born, my husband had to go there for business and people all over the place were telling him that "Rio" was incorrect and that because she's a girl her name should be "Ria" and every time he would talk about her whoever he was talking to would say, "you mean 'Ria'"... eventually my DH gave up and just stopped debating it.

Even now some people will ask, "how's Ria?"

Of course, if we had a boy, I totally agreed to name him after my FIL... It's tradition.
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#52 of 56 Old 07-24-2008, 06:33 PM
 
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our only real trouble in choosing hawaiian names is choosing something that doesn't look like it could be convberted to something gross is one of my red neck realatives in the south got cocky. like Ikaika, the name for stregnth, could so easily be Icki/Icky.
My mother grew up with an uncle Icky (short for Isidore, I believe); I'm pretty sure that was just the Yiddishified version of his name. I totally wanted to name a kid "Icky."

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Miss 1928: I'm trying to come up with names that sound appropriate in both English and Italian. I'm finding that girl names are infinitely easier because names ending in "-a" are fairly mainstream here in the States, but boy names that end in an "-o" seem to say "I am ethnic."

I'm curious, did you have boy name choices and if so, what were they?
Not Italian, but I've always loved the name Giovanni, and I"m pretty sure that's a boy's name... right?

Anyway, yes, we went through this as well. I'm Jewish by birth, and wanted the kids to have Hebrew names. Said names had to be easy to pronounce and explain to the ILs, and not sound too weird to Mike the Master of All Things Boring. I wanted them to have English names that were not obscenely dull as well, while Mike preferred boring names. It was difficult, especially for the boys, but we finally agreed. : Insanity.

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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#53 of 56 Old 07-25-2008, 04:46 AM
 
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DS1 is Aristotle. I'm not Greek, nor is his father. I liked the name and it's meaning- and it fit since I craved Greek food all through my pregnancy with him. The owners of the restaurant I frequented while pregnant (it was a haunt long before I was pregnant also, so I knew them fairly well) were absolutely tickled to find out I'd given him a Greek name. They didn't like me too much before he was born, but every time I came in after he was born, they came out to see him and stuff. : That was cool because I really liked them.

Wife of Michael , SAHM to Aristotle 09/99 Raphael 06/07 and Marius 05/09 Known only in dreams but never forgotten: Euphrates Decluttering 290/2010
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#54 of 56 Old 07-25-2008, 04:39 PM
 
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We went through that as well. We had to find a Turkish name that Americans could pronounce and that didn't have any Turkish letters in it. Now we are debating on names for a possible next baby and not doing so well.
Since we named DS after DH's brother, there was little to be done on this issue. We named him Altuğ Gabriel. DH played with the idea of dropping the soft g, I would have no part of that! I felt really strongly about that, because it feels like so much of DH's culture is subjugated here that I cling to things we can choose to keep. He also wanted to call DS by his middle name, which I also objected to. Apparently, I'm a cultural hardass.

DH has 2 Turkish names I love - Selim and Altay.

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#55 of 56 Old 07-31-2008, 03:34 PM
 
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How great to find a thread about this. My husband and I struggled with this a lot, and will for the next one too (we're already thinking about it and not even ttc #2 quite yet)

My dh is from Panama, and we have a long, spanish last name...Also his family does not speak English at all and live in Panama so the names we chose must be easily pronounced in both Spanish and English., plus we are working with a set middle name for boys after their Grandfathers who have passed on.

We pretty easily came up with Gabriel for ds1 which is works well in both languages, with his middle name and last name. My only beef about it is that its sort of common but not a huge deal. It's actually been nice to tell people his name in both countries and not have anyone say "what???" can you spell that???" etc. My dh has a very uncommon name and its always been a problem for him both here and there.

But as for the next one I'm sort of at a loss! There are quite a few girl names that would work more or less but boys I'm having a problem coming up with ones that work for all the criteria AND that we both love enough to use!

Morgan - Wife to Eldi, Mama to 5 yr old ds Gabriel and baby Lucia, Doula -- my loves!

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#56 of 56 Old 07-31-2008, 09:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MommyJoia View Post
My DH is Lebanese and Druze. I would not bend on this issue at all. I said that in America, My DDs will have girl's names.
If we stay in the U.S. my daughter will probably never forgive me on this front ... so my kids and their father share a same last name we decided to give our kids his name and his father's as joint middle names, so my daughter has not one but two boys' names for middle names. I ws shy about having just one growing up, and mine is pretty gender ambiguous sounding at that.
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