How important is name pronunciation - expat parent(24 Posts)
I'm English and my partner is not. We don't currently live in England, but most likely will do in the next 5-10 years or so. Our favourite name (in fact, the only one I truly LOVE) is kind of difficult to pronounce here. It's not unpronouncable, but it probably will look strange to people at first, and then will be pronounced in a very non-English way (think spanish vs english R).
Part of me says we need to veto it because it's just going to cause too much hassle here with friends/family and at school, etc., but then another part of me says that we the parents both love the name, we can both pronounce it fine, and that nothing else should matter! Am I being stupid?
What do you all think?
What's the name? And how is it going to be pronounced? Nobody can advise without you saying...
In my opinion you need a name which both sides of the family can say easily.
As a person with an unusual (ie foreign ) name, I can confirm that it becomes tiresome constantly telling people how to pronounce it.
How about having it as a middle name ?
Yes, need to know the name really, but I am personally of the view that your DC will know how to pronounce their own name and anyone who knows them well will either learn how to pronounce it or will give them a nn, so it really wouldn't be the biggest issue for me if I loved the name (and it wasn't totally unpronounceable). Definitely worth consideration though.
Difficult as the kids your child will play with can and do adjust and say the name properly eventually, often better than teachers and adults do, but as an ex pat, it's still a pain. My first two have had this all their life, my third I gave a name to that worked in both languages.
But if you love the name I would still go with it (unless there is a mispronunciation or rhyme that can be used to take the piss in the local language).
We did this to one of my dc. Said dc now hates their name (which I still love) because nobody can pronounce it. It's a perfectly traditional, normal English name.
Use it as a middle name! I wish we had done this.
We used a foreign first name and a Welsh middle name. UK family use her middle name, Turkish family use her first name, she copes fine with it, just as long as there is constant adulation and sweets.
As a Scot I'm curious about the "Spanish R" - would it be like a Scottish r? I did gcse Spanish and don't remember pronouncing r any differently to how I do in English.
I've got an unusual, very English name and have lived in England for 56 years . It's a complete pain in the bum when English people either can't pronounce it (it isn't that hard and it's phonetic) or have to comment about.
I've fantasised about being Susan, Jane, Anne, even Diana, all my life.
I would go for a name that's easy to pronounce in both languages/countries.
An English name like Rose would sound lovely in a Spanish accent imo.
You guys have put forward both the arguments we've already made to ourselves lol, it's just so hard! Yes, family and friends will learn to say it, so maybe it's not an issue. But also yes, it might just be very annoying for him and wouldn't it be better just not to take the risk?
Our second choice is easy to pronounce in both languages. So yeah, maybe we should just go with that. Use our first choice as a middle name or backup for possible second son in the future.
When I'm asked my name in Starbucks I just say "Anne". Love it.
@museumum Yes the Spanish R and Scottish R are similar. Both problematic for Southern England speakers.
Ramon, Ricardo, Rosa, Pedro... not so different. Not really.
I used to speak Spanish so I know the Rs are different, but not impossibly so.
So you must mean a very different sound (like the different O's in Polish/English?) or... Just how fussy are you about precision name pronunciation.
I live abroad and my children have English/Spanish/Portuguese names that both DH and my family can say and also the pronounciation is almost the same. But they have very English/Welsh middle names. One has the same first name as a classmate. So he is always called by both his first and middle name. It's taken everyone a long time to say his middle name. My name is also impossible to say as it has a different version, so I have shortened it. It really depends on the name, but if you love it, I would go for it.
What is a problem is naming a child a foreign name that you can't say. I know someone who gave their child a name that if said properly is nice but if said incorrectly in the country she lives in -which she does-- means shit
What's the name? We'll tell you how we'd pronounce it, and if we're all murdering it, you'll know to use something else, or give an English mn to be used over here.
Choose something which can be pronounced in either language. I did Spanish at Uni, shared a flat in Madrid for a year with another Scottish girl called Morag - her name is totally unpronounceable in Spanish because of the hard -ag at the end. She got Moraaaaachhhh, Mora, Maria, Maro, and all other combinations possible. She got so fed up by the end of the time we were there that she just started telling people her name was Maria.
Without commenting on the specifics (though I CANNOT do either the Spanish or Scottish R, despite years of trying) I think you need a name that can be pronounced by all branches of the family and all places you might reasonably expect to live. I have a fairly conventional English name, but with several phoneme unique to the English language, with the result that none of my in-laws can manage it at all - and whereas, as an adult, their very creative nicknames make me smile, I can imagine as a child I'd have found it quite confusing and alienating.
Most people where we live need help to pronounce DS's English nickname.
As long as you can let go of the desire to not hear it slightly mangled, and can live with the localised version of it, it's fine.
I'd still choose it even I could back 16 years and be more aware of the mangling issue.
My colleague who chose "Grace" on the other hand, would go back and choose a different name given half a chance. 19 years of her DD being called "Grease" has taken its toll.
We chose a name that works in Italian and English for our DD, albeit with slightly different pronunciations. My DD pronounces them differently on being asked her name by someone here or someone in Italy.. T'is very cute.
Just to add, we are a british / French family. We spent ages discussing name choices, only settling on a choice once DC1 had arrived. our criteria was a name that sounded the same / could be easily pronounced in both. We also considered connotations in each. Some French names I liked DH thought were too popular / old fashioned / trashy and vice versa. It also meant we could both kill off choices we didn't like by mangling them in our own accent which was good fun.
At points I wondered if we would ever find something that worked. But we did and it was worth the effort. We chose a great name with suits DC down to the ground. British side of the family think we chose a British name. the French side think we chose a French name. Everyone is happy. Only a very very slight different in how it is pronounced. Its very inclusive for our DC and our families (GPs, cousins, aunts and uncles) on both sides.
We are having another shortly and we are striving to do the same.
I do think permanent mispronunciations or errors can be alienating for both the DC and the family that can't master it.
dc has a name that is 'universal' but with different pronunciation in different countries (think th sound which doesn't exist in many languages)
no problems, dc accepts the different pronunciations in the different languages.
Speaking as someone who has lived abroad with a tricky name - don't! I loved moving home and being able to just throw my name out on the phone or to someone official, and they'd just get it straight away. It's utterly tedious to always have to spell your name out. I wouldn't do it to my children.
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