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Foreign names - what is the MN view on their use?

(40 Posts)
sleepsforwimps Fri 06-Nov-09 10:04:57

I have just read on another thread, someones view that Luca should only be used if you are Italian. Is this a common view on foreign names? Or are some names just 'too' foreign sounding to get away with if you are British?

My dd has a Turkish name, it's not a particuarly foreign sounding name and nobody has ever guessed it's origin. I'm now thinking I possibly 'get away with it' because even though I am English my colouring often means I get mistaken for being foreign. So when I say her name is Turkish people immediately assume I'm Turkish. I'm now intrigued what people are thinking when I say I'm not!

NancyBotwin Fri 06-Nov-09 10:11:49

They probably wonder if your dh is Turkish or extended family is. If someone gold me their dc's name was from a particular country I would assume a family connection or they had lived there. If you want them to know that's not the case just say you're not of Turkish origin just love the name....

bellissima Fri 06-Nov-09 10:45:05

DD2 has a Flemish name (DH is). And as it's unusual I must admit then when giving it, eg at new swimming lessons or whatever, I do tend to immediately add "It's Flemish, she's half Belgian" as some kind of explanation (excuse? whatever? does this reveal my deep-seated insecurities? I dunno but I feel that it would be a bit odd to have the name without a reason. But I don't know why - why shouldn't one have any nice name?

phdlife Fri 06-Nov-09 10:51:49

ds has a Finnish name. We've no Finnish connection but it's just a foreign version of dh's name. It's also the name of an american mountain and a famous C19th Native American peace-maker (I'm a Yank)(ish), so I don't give a stuff if anyone thinks I've done something wrong there. Clearly the name itself was already globalised before we got hold of it.

I do occasionally feel bad that we're pronouncing it incorrectly but then I figure it wouldn't matter a damn how we say it, Aussie kids are going to bastardise the hell out of it anyway!

pagwatch Fri 06-Nov-09 11:02:22

If a name has obvious and strong connections with another country - and your child does not have any connection with that country , it just seems odd to me but I have no objection IYSWIM.

I have a French surname and have no personal connection with France. So I used to have people patch French clients through to me at work as they assumed I could translate/help etc.
Pain in the fricking arse.

( I have made sure DCs learn French just so they don't have that issue when they are older)

paisleyleaf Fri 06-Nov-09 11:05:41

I think we can use whatever names, from any place we chose if we like it.
My DD's name is very English sounding, but I'm sure it probably comes from Latin originally.
There are some funny totally made up names going on at the moment, and I think a name from far away could be better than that.

pagwatch Fri 06-Nov-09 11:08:32

When I was pregnant with DS1 I wanted to call him Jean-Baptiste after my fav rugby player. At that point I was still enjoying the whole French surname novelty

When I tell him that he likes to observe that "as a white middle class public school boy he really would have been totally fucked"

Bucharest Fri 06-Nov-09 11:11:15

I am one of the people on the Luca thread.

I'd say that some "foreign" names have been assimilated enough to be OK- Francesca is the one that immediately springs to mind.

dd is half Italian and half Brit, and has an English name....a little girl at her nursery has the same name (grandma is American) and tbh, hearing an Italian mother and father (the dad, despite being half American doesn't speak a word) say the name is a bit teeth-itchy...especially as they pronounce it wrong.

I think another issue I often see on these name threads is that something which might sound nice to a non-foreigner actually would make people of that country roll on the floor in horror.....Take a name like Giovanna- sounds lovely, right? They are all 112 and many are wearing habits. (the young ones have all been named after their 112 yr old great grandmother) Nothing wrong with it, it's just not right either.

Luca is currently the Italian version of Jack. There are 5 in every primary class. I'm afraid I'm also struggling not to use the c**v word but sometimes it's difficult to find a synonym......y'know. (not in Italy, but in the UK) Over here, c*v would be a child called Kevin with no UK/US connections.

There is also a child in dd's school called Whitney. Her mother likes the music. It's not wrong, it's just meh.

MrsWoolf Fri 06-Nov-09 11:11:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

paisleyleaf Fri 06-Nov-09 11:24:21

It doesn't matter if it sounds common to people in Italy or wherever though.
I like Luca personally, I went to school with (an english) Luca - that was the 80s. And I like the Suzanne Vega song.
It depends what it means to the parents.
Although I know what you mean and it could be funny to think of Inuit children called Darren or Barry.

Bucharest Fri 06-Nov-09 11:26:13

shock please let's make a pact never to let Inuits know that Darren or Barry could even be a possibility!

cory Fri 06-Nov-09 11:30:18

Noone clearly has a problem with already-assimilated foreign names. But then a name can only get assimilated if someone is brave enough to try it out first.

Though I do agree with Bucharest that it is worth checking out what kind of connotations a name currently has in its land of origin.

We had a thread on here not long ago where somebody suggested the name of Odin: opinion was pretty evenly divided between the unconventional going 'oh, how nice', the conventional going 'you're mad' and the few posters with actual experience of Scandinavia desperately trying to point out that this is a name with very strong Neo-Nazi connotations.

cory Fri 06-Nov-09 11:31:07

My dcs both have Swedish first names and an English surname, but then they are bilingual and bi-cultural, so that's hardly a very marked choice. And dd's name can easily be abbreviated into a very ordinary English one; ds just has to live with his- though he could always decide to use his English middle name.

gorionine Fri 06-Nov-09 11:39:42

I am Swiss, DH is North African we live in the UK and our children do have arabic names (connected to both DH language and our religion).

My sister still lives in our country of origin and her DH is Swiss as well . They have 2 children who both do have foreign names. One of them has a very typical name from Britany and is not comonly used in Switzerland at all The other was named after a Scottish singer so not Swiss/French sounding either but I do not find it remotly shocking. They both have nice names and I do not think that the fact there is no connection between their nationality and their names is bizarre at all.

SkivingViking Fri 06-Nov-09 11:40:41

DD's name is foreign but assimilated into English. DS has a non-English version of a pretty international name (and we now live in the UK, although probably only just for this year).

No-one has said anything to us about either name - but then DH has a pretty strong foreign accent, and my name is spelt the foreign way but people here pronounce it the English way of course (I'm half English, DH had never lived in the UK before we moved here this summer and I'm his only UK connection).

Interestingly, at least in Denmark, people are starting to use quite a few English names (or English versions of international names). I know 4 boys under the age of 4 who are called William for example.

thesecondcocking Fri 06-Nov-09 11:52:52

my sister lives in spain,her children are spanish-they have spanish names Miguel, Ines,Maria,Gabriel and Mateo.
We were in the trafford centre when her 2nd daughter (with pierced ears!) was a teeny tiny baby and some proper proper scallies came in the lift and were looking at the baby exclaiming about her 'lickle earrings' they asked my Dsis what she was called and she said 'this is ines and this is Miguel' to which the pregnant scally said 'NICE ONE-LOVE THE NAMES'

People (scallies mainly or very aspirationals which is a weird mix!)trying to sound different/continental are now using Andre (instead of andrew) stefan/stefano instead of Stephen Marco instead of Mark Luca instead of Luke and Carlos- they sound BEAUTIFUL in a manc accent i can assure you...

my view is that the names belong to a certain culture-although my dd2's name is one that is currently in the top ten in most european countries although spelled differently...horses for courses but Guiseppe Smith is a bit wrong imho.

SkivingViking Fri 06-Nov-09 12:00:09

- my DH has a foreign version of Guiseppe Smith (his parents come from 2 very different countries) and he has had quite a few comments over the years!

cory Fri 06-Nov-09 12:24:57

thesecond, do you think Giuseppe Smith is bit wrong even when it reflects a mixed family background and is the name of a child who actually belong to two cultures (dual nationality, speaks two languages etc)?

thesecondcocking Fri 06-Nov-09 13:15:37

no,obviously not,i have an irish surname and an english first name as i am english but my grandparents were all irish. If i'd been given an irish first name then it would have reflected that and wouldn't look odd.
when there's no cultural link to the name i think it's a bit meh

skihorse Fri 06-Nov-09 14:57:15

My OH and I are both Scottish and we live in The Netherlands. We are open to "foreign" names, however we are looking for one which is easily recognised in other countries. We both have names which travel well - I'd hate to think that my darling child's name translated to "fat-faced pig" in Croat.

bellissima Fri 06-Nov-09 19:02:29

Lol at skihorse

And Bucharest is right too. One of the names on my short list was Ilse - had a lovely colleague with that name and also for me it has glam 'Casablanca' connotations. DH vetoed it on grounds it was equivalent to Aunt Agatha and said my colleague must have been named after a dying grandmother etc etc no way. On the other hand his grandmother was called - Melanie - and I'm sure she was born well before the 1970s! In Belgium its quite an 'old' name.

(And yes of course I have seen Agatha on here now. Maybe I should have insisted on Lise.)

bellissima Fri 06-Nov-09 19:03:23

sorry Ilse!

MrsVik Fri 06-Nov-09 20:09:00

I am British and my husband is German and our daughter's name is common in Italy and Spain. I think it's assimilated enough into both of our cultures for us to get away with it though!

Here right now there is an abundance of Kevins and the like. It did sound weird to my ears at first, but now I'm used to it.

My thoughts are if you like a name, use it!

BikeRunSki Fri 06-Nov-09 20:48:17

I am dull and English; DH is duller and Yorkshire. DS has a trad English, Old testament First Name, to go with our trad Yorkshire surname. Probably in reaction to explaining my West Indian middle name seemingly about once a week.

My dad had a colleague who was half Scottish, half Japanese called Yakimoto Hamilton grin, which I rather liked.

LynetteScavo Fri 06-Nov-09 20:53:46

LOL @ English and Yourkshire not being the same thing! grin

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