Choosing names from other cultures

(34 Posts)
atthewelles Wed 16-Jan-13 12:47:40

I have heard and seen so many Irish names mangled, strangled, misspelt, chavitised and given to the wrong gender baby and often wonder why, if someone isn't Irish or of Irish descent, they would choose an Irish name for their child.
Likewise, over here in Ireland, I'm sure we make other people laugh by mis-pronouncing French or Welsh names we have given our children; calling little girls Nikita etc.
Just wonder what people's opinion is on this?

sammisamsam Wed 16-Jan-13 13:40:29

Well, Being of Irish desent too... I do find it funny when people with no Gaelic connection attempt to give their child an Irish name with the Gaelic spelling.

I do not have a problem per say with people from other cultures using names from other cultures, just as long as they 1. spell it right, 2. know the meaning and 3. actually have a reason connection for calling their baby that particular name.

My friend who is african just called his baby Cael. spelt right, knows the meaning and his partner is Jamaican but with a very Irish surname!

I really do get irritated when i see what you referred to as "mangled" for instance Siobhan, I hate seeing (mainly Americanised) version's like Shivaun or however it is they are deciding to spell it nowdays! lol

znaika Wed 16-Jan-13 13:48:36

I always have a private chuckle about the mispronunciation and mangling of Russian names by anglophones, it seems such a strange thing to choose something you know so little about when it's something that your child will carry with them forever.

BanghamTheDirtyScone Wed 16-Jan-13 13:58:33

I had a bit of trouble when a friend named their baby something French, well it was a boys' name given to a female baby...though maybe it is useable for either gender, I'm not sure...but it made me kind of uncomfortable.

Same with calling a child after a country you have never been to and have no connections with.

I mean, they are lovely names, lovely people etc but I need a connection to use a name. It has to mean something, even if I've no actual relation to the country or thing or whatever - it has to mean something significant to me.

Like, calling a child after a composer you love, or a place you have been to and love, or the first person you ever fell in love with - that sort of thing.

Alisvolatpropiis Wed 16-Jan-13 14:56:23

I don't think there is anything wrong with it per se given that many of the most popular names in the UK are not "British" at all in origin.

It is a bugbear of mine when people use names from other cultures and them pronounce/spell them incorrectly though.

CoteDAzur Thu 17-Jan-13 18:40:14

I'm with you, OP.

Baby names websites are not helping, with their half-baked and sometimes even completely wrong names.

BinarySolo Thu 17-Jan-13 19:25:11

I disagree. I don't think you need to be from a certain culture or have a connection to it to use a particular name, especially Celtic names. The uk is such a melting pot of cultures that there's very few truely English names. New spellings may be annoying or seem like ignorance, but as language is not static spelling are bound to be adapted and changed. Look at text talk <shudder>

CoteDAzur Fri 18-Jan-13 13:58:21

Disagree all you want but choosing a name from a completely alien culture looks very odd. Especially when parents can't even spell and/or pronounce the name and try to get others to spell/pronounce it like they do.

It's one thing when there is an affinity of some sort with that culture, but the random choosing of names from baby name websites "Oh it names xx in Swahili" is just weird.

I know several Alexanders and Helens who have no Greek roots whatsoever, I am shock

emblosion Fri 18-Jan-13 14:12:08

I don't think it really matters <shrug> but it does annoy me if names aren't spelt/pronounced correctly like Niamh pronounced Ny-am or spelt Neve.

I'm not Irish but DH is and we live in Ireland - ds has an Irish name and dc2 probably will as well - I just like them. Although I am of Irish descent, way back when - do I get a by-ball?

Like others have said, I think the uk is a melting pot - most names in common use originated elsewhere anyway.

OP it is people like you that scare me out of using Aoife, my favourite name, just because I have no Irish connections - it is just a name.

emblosion Fri 18-Jan-13 14:14:34

sneakybiscuiteater I know a young Louis whose parents have never even BEEN to France! grin

BinarySolo Fri 18-Jan-13 14:40:25

I don't think it does necessarily look odd. My friend has a ds with a Spanish name and her daughter's name is Chinese in origin. She's quite hippyish and the names suit the children and fit in well with the family.

If I loved a name I wouldn't be put off using it due to a lack of cultural connection.

I do get what you're saying about misspellings and mispronounciations, but it's all part of evolving culture and language. even if Kallum does look hideous

atthewelles Fri 18-Jan-13 15:22:58

Oops, sorry GoldPlated . But I'm sure you wouldn't spell it Eefa, or pronounce it Ay-oyfa, or give it to a son.

I think one of the reasons I hate people using Irish names is because I then see beautiful old Irish names like Conor, Liam, Siobhan etc being described on here as chavvy. And I always feel like shouting 'No, they're not! They're just not from your culture'.

But then, here in Ireland we probably chavitised lovely old French names like Yvonne, Lorraine and Jacqueline years ago smile.

embolision that's scandalous wink

emblosion sorry <solidarity fail>

There should be local names for local people <sellotapes end of nose into an upwards tilt>

Bonsoir Fri 18-Jan-13 18:03:40

I find it really weird when people give their children "heritage names" when they themselves do not have a drop of that heritage in their ancestry.

CreamOfTomatoSoup Fri 18-Jan-13 18:14:46

My DS's name is hebrew, as is mine. We're not Jewish though. Naughty!

qumquat Fri 18-Jan-13 18:24:15

Names have always been a melting pot. Should english people all be calling their children Ethelbert and Boudicca?

BinarySolo Fri 18-Jan-13 18:30:14

sneakybiscuiteater stop fraternising with the no-tails.

ZooAnimals Fri 18-Jan-13 18:41:44

I think, within reason, you should call your baby whatever you like, including names that are traditionally from other cultures. If we're not allowed to use any name that originally came from another culture the choice is going to be very small.

I also prefer the anglicised spelling of Irish names for people who are using them in countries that are not Ireland. Naimh is a lovely sounding name, but why give your child a name that no-one in the country you live in can say or spell? We have Peter and Pierre for example, Eoin and Owen, why can't we have Naimh and Neve and just accept that there is an Irish and an English version of the same name?

ZooAnimals Fri 18-Jan-13 18:42:45

*Niamh blush, it's my Englishness, I can't spell it!

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Fri 18-Jan-13 18:43:21

CreamoftomatSoup Thats nothing. I have a cousin Rebecca and she is CofE. hmm shock

Also I know a Tracey who is a Woman! hmm hmm shock

My own first name is of disputed origin but probably middle eastern and has a shortened version which is male. I can't believe my mother appropriated other cultural tropes so recklessly. Shameful.

nkf Fri 18-Jan-13 18:48:05

But after a while the other culture names become part of the UK's mix of names. Elizabeth is a Hebrew name made popular by Elizabeth I. It's when you are in the mixing phase that things look odd.

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