Choosing your baby’s name is an incredibly difficult task.
Will it suit their personality?
Will it be easy to pronounce? Spell?
Nicknames? Yes or no?
Will they hate us for the name we choose and decide to go by their middle name?
Finding a name that you and your partner can agree on is the first task but then finding a name that provides your child as many options as possible is equally important.
The book, Freakonomics, has an entire baby name chapter that terrified me into choosing a name that was easy to pronounce and spell. Statistically, employers have been known to cast aside resumes with uniquely spelled names and I didn’t want my children discriminated against later on in life as adults.
When we were choosing names for our children we wanted uncommon but not unusual names. I read all of the books and scrolled through endless websites but lightning never struck. It was important to me that my children’s names would fit their personalities as both children and adults but it felt impossible to predict the future. Without a crystal ball handy, how would I know which name would fit?
While sitting in a restaurant, my pregnant belly a nice resting spot for the brunch menu, I looked down and saw an interesting sandwich—The James Calvin. Huh, I thought, that’s a cool name. The next day at church (we aren’t religious really but decided to go) and the pastor read a psalm from Calvin something or other. Calvin…that was it! Two signs in the same weekend.
It was uncommon but not super unusual. Easy to pronounce and easy to spell. It was checking off all of my ridiculous boxes. The lightning bolt had struck.
Calvin has only one pronunciation in English and I thought we had chosen wisely but when we moved to Sweden, we quickly discovered that his name sounds more like “Calveeen” with a long “i” making his name not sound at all like I had envisioned.
His name is often mistaken for Kevin and he has learned to respond to both. So much for my attempt to make his life easier.
Many parents want to name their child something “international” that can be pronounced the same regardless of the language but for a highly mobile family that might prove impossible.
Other parents want to pay homage to their heritage and choose a family name or a name with ethnic origin.
When I was pregnant, I loved looking through baby names from other countries. What do other people name their babies?
If you’re looking for some international inspiration, check out these top 5 lists from a few countries around the world. Click on any of the images to visit the source if you want more names from that country.
Top 5 Baby Names
Is your family multicultural? Here are 5 Tips for Naming Your Multicultural Baby from the Piri-Piri Lexicon and Multicultural Baby Names by Olga Mecking. Another mom wanted to go traditional and chose a Korean name for her baby.
Need more inspiration? Try this Random Name Generator
What are your favorite baby names? Did you go traditional or modern?
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