What to Consider When Naming a Multicultural Baby
When you’re part of a multicultural and multilingual family, language is something you always think about. When my husband and I got married, we gave a lot of thought as to how we were going to honor our linguistic heritage, we wanted to make sure all sides were represented! Naming a multicultural baby is also something we put a lot of thought into.
When we were thinking about naming our multicultural baby, there were a few things we had to consider. Having gone through it, we wanted to share some tips to consider if you’re thinking about naming your multicultural bundle of joy:
Do discuss with your partner: What do you envision your baby’s name to be? What is important to you? Is there a relative whose name you really like? Is there a letter you wish to use? A friend used her maiden name initial for her children’s middle names, so they all had the same middle initials.
Do think about every language in your family. Will your baby’s name be pronounceable in every language? In some languages some sounds are more difficult to pronounce. This was a big deal for us: we didn’t want to give our children names that their grandparents wouldn’t be able to pronounce. For example, the J sound in Spanish (which is like the H sound in English) is VERY difficult for French speakers to pronounce… and while my husband really loved the name ALEJANDRO as a first name, we knew it would be hard for our family in France to pronounce.
Don’t forget to look up the meaning of the name you like in every one of your heritage languages. Sometimes it will mean something you don’t like in one language!
Do consider the initials. I liked a middle name that began with a G- which would’ve made my son’s initials EGG– not something I’d want monogrammed on is backpack ! Other things one must be careful about: ending up with initials that spell something unappealing, like RAT.
Do consider if famous or scandalous personalities have the name you like. When I was pregnant with my first child, I liked the name Rocco. Well, my husband told me that Rocco was the name of a porn star in France… needless to say, my son’s name isn’t Rocco.
Do look up the pronunciation in every language. After my daughter was born I discovered that her name isn’t pronounced the same way in Spanish, English and French. It really is a minor pronunciation change, but I can hear it every time someone says my daughter’s name.
Don’t forget: it’s a compromise! With our first baby, my husband had his heart set on one name. Somewhere towards the end of the pregnancy I agreed, it was important to him and I liked that it was a really unique name … and I got to pick the middle name.
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