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Using names from another country/culture

(27 Posts)
BreeVDKamp Sat 20-Dec-14 12:07:52

I had a dream last night where our daughter (yet to be born, could be a boy) was called Tierney. I've met one Tierney before, I love the name, and DH likes it too, hallelujah! My front runner name is Adelaide, I think both Tierney and Adelaide have the right amount of attitude for us, but DH can't get over the fact Adelaide is a place (like Florence, Victoria and Charlotte right??? Apparently Adelaide is different...)

Only thing is I feel a bit weird about Tierney because apparently it's Irish and we are not (a great grandmother of mine was but never met her, so that's incredibly tenuous!)

However, tonnes of the names on our list aren't 'English' (what is an English name anyway? My mind is mush):
Zoe, Charis - Greek
Farrah - Hebrew
Celeste, Gabrielle, Giselle, Evangeline - French (?)
Tamar, Merryn - Cornish (so English, but we're not Cornish)
(Sorry if I got any of those wrong, I'm not researching for this post!)

plus loads more, and I'd have no problem using them.

However there's also Shoshanna, Anoushka, Israel, Ishmael, Priya - names I LOVE but would never use as wouldn't fit us, we are as English as it gets.

And I'm not sure which list Tierney would fit into!

Does anyone have any thoughts?

acharmofgoldfinches Sat 20-Dec-14 12:22:43

just looked it up on and apparently Tierney is an anglicised form of the Irish name Tighearnach, and is also listed as a rare English if you need permission to use it that seems good enough to me!

I know what you mean though, we have distant Scots and Welsh connections and have wondered whether names from either of those cultures would be "allowed".

As we're not in Iceland there are no rules (although there are days when I can see the attraction of having some grin), so I think if you like it then use it.

babyblabber Sat 20-Dec-14 12:28:02

But Tierney wouldn't ever be a first name in Ireland, only a surname. I know some people are into surnames as first names and a lot have become mainstream but it would sound awful to an irish person to call a little girl Tierney. Well to me anyway, reminds me of a battle axe Ms.Tierney teacher I had.

BreeVDKamp Sat 20-Dec-14 12:37:03

Yes I'd looked at behind the name. I dunno. Why do using some names seem fine to me and some seem weird? Blah.

My 83 y/o Nanna is called Avery, American boy's name/surname so maybe it runs in the family smile

BreeVDKamp Sat 20-Dec-14 12:37:52

Also discovered Tierney Sutton... Our surname is the same with a different start letter grin ha!

TallulahTwinkletoes Sat 20-Dec-14 12:38:01

I think Adelaide is different. I may be wrong but Florence and Victoria etc were names before they were places. Adelaide is a place before it was a name.

I think names from a different culture are generally fine but id find a white girl called lakshani or similar.

TallulahTwinkletoes Sat 20-Dec-14 12:39:08

A bit strange but imagine there was some link somewhere...

Pressed too soon.

Selvsikker Sat 20-Dec-14 12:40:45

Is Tierney Irish? It's a sur name. So using it as a first name for a girl strikes me as American more than Irish. It fits in with two American trends.

Adelaide is nice but a little long. The Laide at the end (meaning ugly) does put me off it a little.

What about Edel for a girl? which is genuinely an Irish name. What about Lainey, or Shelby or Bellamy?

BreeVDKamp Sat 20-Dec-14 12:42:46

No, Adelaide the place is named after the queen consort to King William IV smile

BreeVDKamp Sat 20-Dec-14 12:45:57

Maybe I should look at it that we're not Irish so the fact that Tierney would never be a first name in Ireland is irrelevant. Much like Neve and Keeva would never be spelled that way in Ireland. I don't know why I feel weird about what the Irish think!! Maybe I've read to many baby name threads where people get shouted at on MN grin

TallulahTwinkletoes Sat 20-Dec-14 14:09:54

And there it is... I was wrong. blush

I really like it.

delaselva Sat 20-Dec-14 16:19:01

There's never going to be a harsher audience than on mn.

People in real life will just think 'ok' when you tell them your child's name. Unless maybe it's Japanese or Tanzanian.

gottasmile Sat 20-Dec-14 16:45:36

I've just watched a tacky film where the main character was called Addie, short for Adelaide.....

BreeVDKamp Sat 20-Dec-14 17:04:15

smile I like Addy and Ada for Adelaide. DH is a programmer so that's another reason he should like Adelaide!! Ada Lovelace was one of the first computer programmers.

Yes, only on Mumsnet has my Nanna's name Avery ever been reviled as a tacky American boy's name.

Thanks for the input!! But I am still puzzled as to why I think it is OK to use names from some countries and not others.... And it seems I am particularly scared to offend the Irish quotient of Mumsnet!! Probably a sign I spend too much time here haha grin

squoosh Sat 20-Dec-14 17:13:00

I know a pub called Tierney's and can't really imagine it as a first name especially on a girl. Would be the same to me as calling a child Murphy or Walsh.

But if you really love it just use it, Irish surnames as first names seem to be pretty widespread trend these days, just not in Ireland. As someone said it wouldn't be as strange as calling her Kyoko or similar.

Tell people you're a fan of the actress Gene Tierney and have named her after her.

florascotia Sat 20-Dec-14 17:34:30

The 'laide' in Adelaide does not mean 'ugly'. Yes, there is a French word with that spelling and meaning but Adelaide was originally (10th cent or earlier) a German name composed of Adal= noble and heid = type or kind. So the meaning was/is 'a noble kind of woman'.

delaselva Sat 20-Dec-14 18:39:49

It means ugly though. Laide means ugly even if Adelaide doesn't mean ugly.

delaselva Sat 20-Dec-14 18:43:51

I'm irish and I@m not offended!. I think though, it might be on a par with being English, say, and being told by an Italian, I lova eengeeish naymess, I@ma goeeng to calla my Daughters Duckworth and Braithwaite.

Perhaps. Hard to tell!

Beangarda Sat 20-Dec-14 20:41:31

What Squoosh said. I'm Irish, and Tierney as a first name screams 'Irish-American making a well-meaning but slightly 'off' tribute to the Emerald Isle' to me. That may not be a major concern, for you, obviously.

DramaAlpaca Sat 20-Dec-14 21:39:44

A non-Irish person using an Irish name doesn't bother me in the slightest.

I'm not personally a fan of using a surname (from any culture) as a first name, especially for a girl.

Adelaide is much nicer, IMO.

elephantspoo Sat 20-Dec-14 22:01:47

I can't stand contractions. I don't get why you would call your kid, Toby, instead of Tobias. I get that Toby is a cutesy kid name, but why not call your kid Tobias, and use Toby as his nickname. Same goes for Ben/Benjamin, and Katie/Catherine, etc.

Beangarda Sat 20-Dec-14 22:52:11

Nor me, Drama, but I do think that using a name from a culture with which you don't have a connection can leave you more liable to the kind of thing Delaselva says in her post, eg. giving a child a name with unintended associations within that culture.

There was a recent post on here from someone who wasn't Irish and who was considering Nuala as a name for her daughter, who was quite taken aback to have Irish posters tell her that Nyala was the equivalent of Doreen or Mavis.

(On the other hand, a person may reason that their child will not grow up in that culture, and therefore does not need to take account of those associations...?)

I personally would want to know, though. My son has a name which is very unusual here and in Ireland, but a version of which is very common in another European country. In fact it's classic, the equivalent of Thomas or John, but I did check!

Beangarda Sat 20-Dec-14 22:53:07

Nuala, not Nyala. Nyala isn't Doreen/Mavis.

Deerhound Sat 20-Dec-14 23:16:20

I actually think it's a really nice girl's name (despite being an Irish surname). Names are becoming far more diverse: maybe it's the influence of immigration, or the American habit of "making up" names, but I think people with unusual names will stand out a lot less in years to come than they did when I was at school 20 years ago.

SnoringNorma Sun 21-Dec-14 10:18:55

I think it's pretty wherever it came from and it's hard enough to choose a name so why limit yourself?

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