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?

Dh2812 Sun 20-Jan-13 23:27:43

Dh is half welsh, his mothers first language is welsh with a large family still in Wales. Mil has told me that I can't use a welsh name as I'm not welsh and I couldn't possibly pronounce it correctly. I'm just a little annoyed so I'm in the camp of being able to choose any name you want no matter the origin!

CoteDAzur Sun 20-Jan-13 19:08:37

We know because they tell us.

MrsSchadenfreude Sun 20-Jan-13 14:19:34

But how do you know if someone's not using a name from their culture? Their "culture" might not be immediately obvious to you. I would almost certainly come across to you as boringly English with a misfit Slav name, but my mother's family are German and Eastern European Jewish, so my name does "fit" with my culture. DD2 also has a German name, which is very much a family name and which is seen as "trendy" now. But I wasn't following the trend - she's named for my Great Grandmother's sister.

CoteDAzur Sun 20-Jan-13 13:29:53

"to a Greek person we mispronounce Helen"

Helen isn't a Greek name.

Eleni is a Greek name.

Frikadellen Sat 19-Jan-13 17:37:55

I have 4 children

dd1 is named a Greek name
dd2 a French
ds a Teutonic (german) name
dd3 Irish

Dh is English with some Scottish background (great grandparents on fathers side - our surname is Scottish origin)
I am Danish.

Our children are named what we liked and enjoyed I have a Aoife I adore the name absolutely fell in love with it from the first time I heard it.

We did not name them "British names" like Elizabeth / Frederick or Christian as they are pronounced differently in Danish and English. For me this was what was important. That our children had names that would be said the same way in Danish and in English.
This mean we went with names that were not really traditional in either culture.

For us it worked I am not ashamed of it I think my children have beautiful names that to me was important. I also am of the opinion that as my children already are international in their heritage I have by not given them traditional to either culture names given a bow to my children's heritage.

bureni Fri 18-Jan-13 22:54:48

In reply to the Op, people in Ireland do not speak Gaelic by and large nor is there very much celtic blood in Ireland (less than 2% ), most Irish are of Norsh origins or Anglo Norman.

I was discussing this with friends today (wonders if OP is known to me... shock ).

IM (limited) experience, some westernised Far Easterners (esp HK Chinese or Singaporean) like to give their children an English name. But they are often at least one generation out, and sound dreadful to our ears. I was at school with a lot of Kenneths <eurgh>

narmada Fri 18-Jan-13 22:41:42

sneakybiscuiteater your local names..... post made me chuckle.

qumquat Fri 18-Jan-13 18:50:09

Also, all manner of names could be said to be mispronounced: to a Spanish person we mispronounce Isabel, to a Greek person we mispronounce Helen. Is the 'correct' pronunciation of Laura 'Lowra' or 'Lora'? It depends which country you are in.

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.

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.

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

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

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?

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

sneakybiscuiteater stop fraternising with the no-tails.

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?

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

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

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.

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

emblosion sorry <solidarity fail>

embolision that's scandalous wink

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.

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

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

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

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 14:12:08

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.

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