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Should migrant children keep their 'exotic' names?

(81 Posts)
Fiona2011231 Sun 11-Aug-13 13:35:59

Recently I met a lady of Indian origin in a birthday party. She told me that her children has European names (like Lisa, Michael, etc). I saw nothing unusual about that.

However, later on, she and some other friends had a discussion. She insisted that non-European children (from Africa or Asia, etc), born in the UK, should have Western names rather than keeping their original names.

The reason, she said, is that they would have more chance to succeed in life if people heard their names. And I myself remember reading an article which said those job applicants, who adopted Western names, were more likely to be given an interview.

What do you think about this issue? Do you think it is true that non-European children should have Western names if they want to succeed here?


lovestogarden Thu 15-Aug-13 20:20:51

But do they spell it with a 'y'?

Frikadellen Thu 15-Aug-13 21:58:17

Dh and I deliberately aimed for names that was pronounced the same in Danish and English. We didn't wish for them to need 2 different names..

However I am unsure I would have gone as far as to give names that were unheard of in ether language.

Cheerymum Mon 19-Aug-13 10:30:41

My husband came to the UK as an adult as is now commonly known as Jay rather than Jesus. It just provoked too much sniggering to be manageable!
We are choosing names for our children that are either the same in English and Spanish, or easily pronounceable/manageable if a bit exotic in one or the other. I think this is the best approach if having a new baby.
Difficult regarding "renaming" people with established names - nicknames can be easier, but at the end of the day it's that person's choice what to be called. Oh, and the CV thing - sad but true that it can make a difference IMHO.
I keep my maiden name at work, though that partly has to do with not wanting to throw away an academic track record of publications.

ellesabe Wed 21-Aug-13 13:51:38

I had this recently with an African lady that I met recently. She introduced herself to me as Grace. So I called her Grace, referred to her as Grace and knew her as Grace...until I heard someone else call her a completely different name.

Rather awkward conversation followed...
Me: I thought her name was Grace.
Other person: No it's ...(insert other name)
Me: But she told me she's called Grace.
Other person: Oh, that's weird...(Grace arrives) Why did you tell Ellesabe that your name is Grace?
Grace: Oh, I just thought Grace would be easier for someone like her to remember and pronounce shock

Someone like her??? I still have no idea what she meant and was a little insulted that she felt I wouldn't be able to cope with her real name!

Fraxinus Wed 21-Aug-13 18:46:15

Not read the whole thread, but wanted to say that while it is sensible to choose names that work in both languages, if migrants are anglicising their names a lot, it makes it harder for those who don't.

the more used to hearing foreign names we are, the more normal it gets to hear them, and the less of a problem should become in terms of discrimination.

I know Germans living in the uk during the 30's and 40's often anglicised their names, and you can see the reason for it. I would hope the environment has moved on since then.

Br0na Wed 21-Aug-13 18:50:50

I don't know......... mixed feelings, you can't control what other people think, or how another name is viewed. I would have called my children Diarmuid and Clodagh if we were in Ireland but in England I was afraid that an ancient Irish name from a legend would be labelled chav. So I went down the Frederick / Eleanor direction instead. Their country of birth strongly influenced the decision-making. But that was based on my fears of a lack of control over other people's prejudices. Maybe I should have thought fuck it.

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