Thursday, 5 January 2012

Naming the Bilingual Child

One of the first difficulties in bringing up a bilingual child is what to name him or her. Do you give them a name from the country in which you are living, a name from your native country or a name that exists or is similar in both countries. We opted for the latter as we wanted a name that would be fairly easy for both families to pronounce and that was spelt and pronouced similarly in both languages, which is not easy to find, believe me!


What became clear is that it is much easier to find girls´ names that are similar in both languages than boys´names. Girls´ names that we liked were Rebecca/Rebeca and Chloe, which although not very common in Spain is pronounced quite similarly.However, I later found out that in Spain it is often spelt Cloe! Boys´names we liked were Thomas/Tomás although we preferred the English pronunciation to the Spanish pronunciation, which stresses the last syllable much more and I liked Isaac although my husband wasn´t keen. As I had a daughter, we finally decided on Chloe so Chloe it is! The only problem with the name Chloe is older Spanish people don´t know whether it is a boy or girls´ name and sometimes people get confused and have called her Cleo! Here are some links of names for those of you who are also trying to find a name that is suitable and easy in both languages:


7 comments:

  1. I ended up with names for my kids that don't really exist in French--but my nicknames for them are all French.

    Thanks for listing me in your blogroll! I look forward to reading more about Chloe's bilingual adventures.

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  2. Hi! Thanks for passing by my blog-as you can see have only just got it up and running but hoping to develop it more!I´m also looking forward to reading more on your blog!

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  3. BTW, would love to hear from anyone else what they ended up calling their bilingual child, how they decided on their name and why they chose that name!

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  4. Hi Tracey! Welcome the community of bilingual blogging! I started a little over year ago, myself, and have found so much support and inspiration.
    We named our son Aleksander. We live in the US, and my husband is from the Netherlands. However, with my advanced degrees in German, our second language at home is German. So we liked the idea of a name that works in all three countries. It's a little bit of a pain to always have to spell it for people, but I can't imagine him being an "Alexander"!
    I look forward to reading more of your posts! ~Kate

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  5. Thanks,Kate! Love your son´s name and why you chose it.I can imagine it can be a pain having to spell it for other people all the time but I think it´s always good to be different!! Hope you continue to enjoy my blog!I studied German too but ended up living in Spain and speaking Spanish!! ; )

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  6. It's funny you say boys' names were easier to find, because our experience (Slovak/English) was exactly the opposite! Our daughter is Katarina, which is a little uncommon in English but still familiar, and it has nicknames (Katie and so on) in both languages. We had names for at least two or three more daughters, but when we ended up with a son, well, we nearly ended up giving him one of the girls' names, because there just wasn't anything for boys that worked in both languages, wasn't terribly common (a lot of people have the same few names), fit our last name (i.e. not too English) and that we actually like... He ended up being Marek, which isn't a perfect option, but we seriously went through every Slovak and Czech name in existence and this is as good as it gets!! I like Marek, anyway, always have. And we can always switch to his middle name (Jakob) in English if necessary, I suppose. The thing is I like Jacob better than Mark in English :)

    Thanks for an interesting post!

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  7. Thanks,Melissa! I agree with you that it´s more difficult to find boys´names that are similar in both languages! We thought of a lot more girls names that were similar in both languages but boys names there were only a couple that we both liked and agreed on!

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