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to change my name to an English name?

(32 Posts)
WriteforFun1 Mon 02-May-16 11:40:49

this isn't a taat, but currently on another thread which made this come to the front of my mind again.

I was born in England. My parents weren't. They gave me a name from their country of origin. I don't particularly like it.

I recently met a lady from Brazil who told me I could call her x or y. X was her parental given name from Brazil. Y was her chosen name - no idea where it's from but it's a common name and she said to me she likes it much better than her given name.

I have a name I'd like to use. I wonder if I start saying to new people that I would like to be called by this nickname, would that be okay? Or are people going to see it as a hiding race thing? I mean, I'm not white, so that would hardly be hiding it. I also wouldn't change my surname.

Tbh it does seem bizarre to be walking around with a name that is still foreign to me!

tectonicplates Mon 02-May-16 11:46:20

I know plenty of people who've done exactly that. Just bear in mind that if people have known you for a long time, they'll probably accidentally call you by your original name by mistake, even if they don't mean to. It can take time for people to get their heads around it.

Junosmum Mon 02-May-16 11:48:11

Do it. I know several people who've done it.

sizeofalentil Mon 02-May-16 11:49:50

You have to live with your name every day - other people don't - so it doesn't matter what they think.

Presumably, you would have felt differently if your birth name had felt more 'you' so it's not a race hiding thing.

I think it's a lovely idea that will instantly improve your life. Go for it.

Crisscrosscranky Mon 02-May-16 11:50:29

Change your forename but keep your current name as a middle name? YANBU but as a parent the name I've chosen for my DD is special and even if she changed her forename I'd hope she'd keep reference to the name we chose and reasons why.

WriteforFun1 Mon 02-May-16 11:54:48

Interesting replies - one reason I don't do this is the horror I think people would feel but maybe they wouldn't.

btw I don't mean change it officially. I just mean introduce myself to new people that way. I wouldn't mind at all my current friends and colleagues sticking with the same name but I'm tired of all the questions on meeting new people and all the "what" and mispronunciation.

I'd consider changing it when my parents are gone but I think if they hear I am using another name to others, even that will upset them.

manicinsomniac Mon 02-May-16 11:58:20

Call yourself whatever you like, it's your name.

WorraLiberty Mon 02-May-16 12:06:09

I grew up in an area with a very high Asian population.

Almost all the shopkeepers introduce themselves as Dave and Sue grin

I have no idea why those 2 names are so popular, but no-one bats an eyelid either way.

someonestolemynick Mon 02-May-16 12:10:53

I've got a foreign name which is quite difficult for English speakers to pronounce. There a variety of mospronounciation and I go by the one I like best.

AdrenalineFudge Mon 02-May-16 12:12:26

I've known a couple of Chinese people who did this. I can't see the problem if it's what you want.

nobilityobliges Mon 02-May-16 12:28:18

Hm I guess for me the question is why is the national origin of your name important to this question? If it's not a "hiding race" thing why does the question of race come into it at all - ie why is the question not "I don't like my name, AIBU to call myself a name I do like?"? I completely agree that everyone is free to pick a new name if they don't like theirs. I also know quite a few people who have an English name as well as a Chinese one because they don't like hearing the Chinese pronunciation being mangled (I also have a friend who says she feels like she has two different names because English people pronounce her name so differently from Indian people). However, the fact that you're asking the question with race in mind makes me think that you have unresolved issues about race that maybe you should address. It's quite striking that you find your own name 'foreign' to you when it's a name that's from your parents' culture. That makes me think there's more to this than just the name. Sorry if that's wide of the mark.

charlestonchaplin Mon 02-May-16 12:32:06

I shortened my name twice so Brits can pronounce it. It's now identical to a name common in another country. People from there accuse me of denying my heritage when I tell them I'm not actually from that country. I feel I shouldn't have to mess about with my name like this, I manage to get my mouth and brain around many British, Irish and other names, as do many native Brits. But I do it to avoid the rabbit-in-headlights brain-freeze thing. I had one hospital receptionist say, 'I'm not even going to try to say that'. Luckily I was the only one in the waiting room.

crazycatguy Mon 02-May-16 12:35:19

I work in an independent school and we have a strong contingent of overseas students. Most of them pick an 'English name' on arrival. They all have English accents within a couple of years as well. And they say people don't integrate......

When asked 'my name for the cup?' on the rare occasions I go into Starbucks, I just say 'Tom' as you'd be surprised how often my simple, short and phonetically spelt Anglophone name is misspelt!

Go for it. Your life, your name.

Nanny0gg Mon 02-May-16 12:38:49

A friend of mine is known by one name by his family and another by most friends and anyone new.

He manages just fine with this.

WriteforFun1 Mon 02-May-16 12:40:48

nobility "It's quite striking that you find your own name 'foreign' to you when it's a name that's from your parents' culture."

this is the reaction I am concerned about. I don't think it's striking - they come from a different country than I do, and they've been here decades in any case - and it might be their culture, but it isn't mine. I know a lot of people around my age were given English names too and I can see why, it must be nice to have a choice. But my sister has gone the opposite way - her name has a very obvious short that makes it sound English - like Sue for example - and she won't let anyone use it. When we were at school she was happy for people to use that. Now she says "they just have to get over me having a foreign name and they have to learn to pronounce it". She also has no connection with our parents' culture. In fact her view now is the same as mine when I was at school!

It's only recently that it's struck me as very odd that I have a name which I have no link with. I suppose it's no different than being called Brooklyn if you've never been to Brooklyn or Chelsea if you've never been to Chelsea, which isn't really a big deal.

OnceThereWasThisGirlWho Mon 02-May-16 12:49:29

charleston I feel I shouldn't have to mess about with my name like this, I manage to get my mouth and brain around many British, Irish and other names, as do many native Brits.

I use a sort of variant of my English name when abroad, as almost no-one I meet can pronounce my actual name. No need to take offence at it hmm.

I had one hospital receptionist say, 'I'm not even going to try to say that'. Luckily I was the only one in the waiting room.

But was the receptionist being pleasant or not? Would you have preferred mangled version of your name? If she really couldn't pronounce it what then? Why is it good you were the only one? I don't understand.

BonesyBones Mon 02-May-16 12:50:14

I changed my name three years ago for similar reasons. I didn't have a foreign name, just a completely ridiculous made up name that nobody could spell or pronounce. I had other reasons too but they're not relevant to this thread. I started using my new name for about a year before officially changing it to make sure I was happy with it. I've found that it made my life so much easier.

nobilityobliges Mon 02-May-16 12:58:07

Hm - I guess I'm struck by it because I have a non-English name that comes from my grandparents' (on one side) culture. I don't speak their language or feel like I am a member of that culture, but I do know some stuff about it and feel like it is a part of my background. And my name is just my name, so it doesn't feel foreign to me - I've grown up with it.

Honestly, I find it striking that you feel you have "no link" with your own name - isn't the link that it's part of your parents' home culture and it's the name they chose for you and it's the name you grew up with? I don't see how there could be any stronger link really. Which isn't to say that you shouldn't change it. But it sounds like this is more about your relationship with your parents' culture than the name itself.

WriteforFun1 Mon 02-May-16 13:09:21

Nobility - I think if you grew up with a name you don't like then it doesn't make a difference really, if it still jars years later... This is the element that worries me, if I switched from Jane to Sue then no issue. I did think I could take a different name from that culture but then that seems weird as I have a name I would already like to use.

I would be keeping my surname though - does that make you feel differently?

tbh I don't really believe in strong link to parents generally, some people have it, others don't.

can you see that being English makes me want to have an English name?

nobilityobliges Mon 02-May-16 13:26:48

As I say, I think that of course anyone is able to change their name to anything they like. My point is that from your comments it seems like your desire to change your name might be more about your feelings towards your parents' culture than towards the name itself, and that you might not be fully acknowledging that. However, obviously I have no idea that is actually the case, it's just my impression from these isolated comments. Also, there's nothing wrong with not identifying with a particular culture and wanting your name to reflect that. I guess I just think that it's possible that if the problem is with the culture and the name is just a particular instance of that, the name change might not give you the sense of resolution you're after.

Mummyoftwo91 Mon 02-May-16 13:29:58

My father in law did this, he plucked a name from thin air and decided to use it! Makes it easier as his original name is hard to pronounce

nobilityobliges Mon 02-May-16 13:31:23

Also there are many many English people who don't have an "English" name - whether because they were born abroad, or their parents or grandparents were, or even if they are white Britsh and their parents randomly picked a "foreign" name they liked. This doesn't make any of them any less English/British (any more than being called Sue or Jane makes you English). Do you live in quite a mono-cultural area? If so, could it be that that makes you feel at ease?

nobilityobliges Mon 02-May-16 13:32:20

*ill at ease

Marmalady75 Mon 02-May-16 13:42:31

Your life - your name - your choice! If it will make you happy then go for it.

WriteforFun1 Mon 02-May-16 13:45:28

I live in London in a very multi cultural area.

I don't think I'd be thinking this if I liked my name in the first place. Since I was about 14 I wished I had this name I'm thinking of now.

My mum has a lovely name but it would be bizarre to adopt hers. It's also much more poetic sounding than mine and easier to pronounce. That may be why it sounds poetic though. Like Emmeline. I've got a lot of the wrong letters in my name. (sorry that probably sounds very weird if you like your own name).

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