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Dual Nationality. Two Names

35 replies

Rosemary2022 · 23/04/2022 20:11

Does anyone use two baby names, or two variants of the same name in different countries?

OP posts:
Iceddecaflatte · 23/04/2022 21:30

I am following with interest as I have the same question...

Rosemary2022 · 23/04/2022 23:41

Thanks Iceddecaflatte

Even if people haven't done this themselves, really grateful for views or stories from people you know etc

OP posts:
Thehundredthnamechange · 24/04/2022 05:11

My children have British passports, and I am British.

Their father comes from another country with a different language.

We live in another country, with a third language.

My children have English first names which are easy enough to pronounce in the languages of countries B and C.

They have two middle names, one English and one from their dads language.

They then have their nicknames in the language of Country C which have become what they're mostly known by.

So it's like this:

English first name, English middle name, Country B middle name, father's surname (from country B)

Known as nickname day to day (Country C's language)

A bit complicated!

As an expat I know many multicultural families and none of them have given their children two first names. I've never heard of anyone doing this. It seems to be either:

  • chose a name that works in both countries (for example, my Korean/British friend has a Leah which works in both languages, my British/Chinese friend has a Miya which works in both languages).

Or
  • Chose a name from one country, which is either rare or unknown in the second country but can be easily pronounced. Like my children.
Thehundredthnamechange · 24/04/2022 05:13

(sorry, in that example Country B is meant to be their father's country, and Country C the country we all currently live in.)

TigerLilyTail · 24/04/2022 05:22

My kids have middle names in one passport but not in their other. But, my understanding is that the UK government is cracking down on names not aligning, which is why when you apply for a British passport they ask for copies of any other passports you have to ensure the names are aligned.

So, basically, I wouldn't burden my kids with this and just make sure that they have the same name in all passports. Because you are just giving your kids a lot of headaches in the future.

savedbyanalien · 24/04/2022 05:24

My children have first names in my home country language but slightly anglicised for English audiences so for example we've removed the accents on letters. They then both have two English middle names and my husband's English surname.

So: My Home Country First Name, British Middle Name, British Middle Name, British Surname

Also, just to make you aware you can't put accents (eg: é/ê/ë) on passports.

BendingSpoons · 24/04/2022 05:53

My FIL suggested we used Joseph/Yusef as a name. So he would have called his Yusef. We didn't do this though. Our chosen name has an alternative spelling that we don't use, but some relatives use a subtly different pronunciation. He's too young to register potential annoyance at this though.

DD's friend is Eva. School pronounce it with a long 'e' snd parents with a short 'e' more like 'ever'. Again this is the same name with clearly linked pronunciations.

daretodenim · 24/04/2022 07:16

I'm not sure I quite get what you mean. Is it

  1. baby called Jane on British passport and Janna on Passport of country B

2. Baby called Jane by British family and Janna by family of country B? Name in both passports is Jane.
3. Baby called James but family in Spain pronounce it Khamez (or thereabouts)?

One of my DC has a name that exists in both parents' languages but pronounced differently in each (option 3). It comes from Country B so official version is not the British pronunciation. The speakers of each language pronounce it their way in each naturally and there's no problem. It's written the same way but there's an accent on it in Country B. The UK passport office didn't put the accent on (guess because we don't have them). We've had no problems with that.

But...

I'd like to underscore what TigerLily said above about the names lining up in the passports and official docs. That is essential. You have to declare other nationalities on the passport form and copies of the other nationality's passport. You can get into an awful vicious cycle if they don't match up and each country will only allow a name change/new passport if the other passport is changed first. I encountered this myself and managed to get out through a technicality. I met someone else though who had to renounce a nationality because of this. The name needs to be exactly the same on every document from birth cert/registration of birth onwards. What people call the child in RL is not so much of an issue in reality.
SoggyPaper · 24/04/2022 07:27

Are you imagining something like the practice that is sometimes common among (for example) Chinese students in the uk to choose an ‘English name’ to be known as?

or a more formal dual name thing?

the first one is easy to achieve because, for the most part, people don’t need to use the ‘official’ name kn your passport.

as an aside, I once taught a class of masters students where it seemed that all of the young Chinese women taking the class had decided to go by Maggie. It was far more confusing to try to teach 7 maggies, than it would have been to have me and the other students just learn their real names. No matter how horrible my pronunciation would have been. 🤣

KangarooKenny · 24/04/2022 07:29

Through my work I’ve met lots of Chinese children who have a name in their own language, and they have a British name too.

meditrina · 24/04/2022 07:44

I think it's quite usual, especially when the languages and naming traditions are markedly different.

For example, the politician Anson Chan's full name is Anson Maria Elizabeth Chan Fang On Sang (Chan being her married surname, and Fang the one at birth)

And yes, you do need to pick one legal name and still to it on all formal documents.

Rosemary2022 · 24/04/2022 12:02

Thanks everyone, this is so helpful

So the plan would be:

  1. To pick a name that sounds very similar in both countries.

2. The official legal name on passport etc and birth certificate will be English version.
3. But our plan would be to allow family from each country to pronounce and write the name in their own way. In a way, you could see it as a nickname they go by in the other country, if that makes sense.
4. We will have a family nickname though, probably just used by us (mum and dad) so we always call them the same regardless of country we are in.

I think what we are trying to do is make sure that we are capturing the full background of the children and give them as much flexibility as possible - given that we don't at this moment in time know where they will spend most of their childhoods.

The passport considerations are really interesting. Has anyone heard about having an "also known as" field on British passports.
OP posts:
Cuphalffullor · 24/04/2022 12:06

We picked names that worked in both countries but had to make up spelling for 2nd son in English so people would pronounce correctly as only abbreviation was common to English.

Thehundredthnamechange · 24/04/2022 16:02

The English names that people have are not in any official documents though

Thehundredthnamechange · 24/04/2022 16:04

Rosemary2022 · 24/04/2022 12:02

Thanks everyone, this is so helpful

So the plan would be:

  1. To pick a name that sounds very similar in both countries.

2. The official legal name on passport etc and birth certificate will be English version.
3. But our plan would be to allow family from each country to pronounce and write the name in their own way. In a way, you could see it as a nickname they go by in the other country, if that makes sense.
4. We will have a family nickname though, probably just used by us (mum and dad) so we always call them the same regardless of country we are in.

I think what we are trying to do is make sure that we are capturing the full background of the children and give them as much flexibility as possible - given that we don't at this moment in time know where they will spend most of their childhoods.

The passport considerations are really interesting. Has anyone heard about having an "also known as" field on British passports.

No, I don't think that this would work. Just choose one spelling for official paperwork and use it for both passports. Let family use their country's version of the name when speaking with the child, but you can't give your child two different official first names used on two official documents. It would become a problem and very quickly

Thehundredthnamechange · 24/04/2022 16:06

Thehundredthnamechange · 24/04/2022 16:02

The English names that people have are not in any official documents though

Sorry, this was in reply to the comment about Chinese people choosing English names for themselves. They do, but they're not in any official documents at all.

Midlifemusings · 24/04/2022 16:08

My nephews have English names that are different names in Spanish. When with their Spanish family, they go by their Spanish names. In everyday life, on passports, at school, and with their English family - they use the English name. Their mother uses two names that aren't even related. Her official name is not English or Spanish (given to her by her father who wasn't Spanish but he took off when she was a baby) but her family always has called her by a completely different Spanish name.

MMBaranova · 24/04/2022 16:16

>But our plan would be to allow family from each country to pronounce and write the name in their own way. 

What might the bearer of the name think about this in later years?

BertieBotts · 24/04/2022 16:29

Two youngest DC were born in Germany and have names which are pronounced differently (but spelled the same) in German and English.

e.g. think Claudia - cloud-ia vs claw-dia.

It seems to work fine. I don't think we would change the spelling, that just seems confusing?

Midlifemusings · 24/04/2022 16:32

It doesn't phase kids. Lots of kids have a nickname and a name that get used in different contexts. My nephews have two names as per above - they have alwys heard the Spanish names since birth - it is just part of their life, not something they ever think about.

Rosemary2022 · 24/04/2022 16:40

Midlifemusings - that is pretty much the same situation I think we are envisaging. I agree that it is unlikely to phase kids. It's akin to have different nicknames in different contexts (which many of us have).

OP posts:
Rosemary2022 · 24/04/2022 16:41

Thank you

OP posts:
Ringmaster27 · 24/04/2022 16:44

Not my dcs but me!
My English name is on my birth certificate (I was born in the U.K.), but have always gone by the Polish variant of my name with my parents and other family members. (Think like Katherine being changed to Kasia for example) I Use my English name with everyone else.
When I’m in Poland, and people find out my name, they will usually revert to the polish variant, particularly if we are speaking polish.

ZoyaTheDestroyer · 24/04/2022 20:53

Faze.

MMBaranova · 24/04/2022 23:15

>It doesn't phase kids. Lots of kids have a nickname and a name that get used in different contexts. My nephews have two names as per above - they have alwys heard the Spanish names since birth - it is just part of their life, not something they ever think about.

I see.

That's not how I found it.

Pronouncing the local way is one thing, changing to a different version bugged me. A number of 'oh you were talking to/about me' moments over the years.

Spanish name - Irish name - Spanish family name - Slavic family name.

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