Naming Our (Future) Bilingual Baby

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Next week I will be 33 weeks pregnant with our second child, and my husband and I are still deciding on a name. With our first, we agreed early on that we wanted a Spanish first name that was easy to pronounce in English (more importantly one that my husband felt comfortable with).

It was important to me that he stay connected with his Chilean side and I wanted to start with his name. Oddly enough, it was my American husband who found the name Matías — he liked it because it worked in several languages. What we didn’t realize was just how many languages it would work in. When we lived in the UK (where our son was born) we had people ask if we were Greek, German, Polish or Finnish. Talk about a universal name! We are well aware that we will live in the U.S., but like many bicultural and bilingual families, we feel names are an important part of your identity and help keep you connected to your roots.

Now we are having our second child, a girl, and we just cannot decide on a name. It’s been more difficult than the first time and we’ve also learned to keep our ideas to ourselves, because everyone seems to have an opinion on this topic — mostly from my familia. No surprise there! It’s either too old fashioned, or too edgy or too foreign. Yes, these are the types of comments we get. That’s why I’ve had to keep the names to myself despite being asked every chance they get.

Read: What’s in a Name? So many Choices, Only One Winner

What we do know is that  we would like a name that works well both in English and Spanish, but one that won’t be butchered in English and easy for my husband and his parents to pronounce. I know what it is like to have an unpronounceable name or one that gets cut in half — no one wants a lifetime of that.

I keep repeating names to myself, saying them out loud to see how it would sound when calling my daughter and what feeling they give me. Another factor to consider is the shortening of names; for instance, my husband likes Victoria and Magdalena, but I am not a fan of Vicki or Magda. Of course, we won’t call them that, but others may and we don’t want that. Nope, not having it!

So I ask you readers, how did you decide on your children’s names and what factors did you take into consideration? Was having a name connected to your roots imminent in the decision-making process? As for us, we are still deciding, but with the baby due in February, we should have one soon!

{photo by Gato Azul}

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