What’s in a name?

It’s all at stake when choosing a name for your soon-to-be child. The stakes are doubled when bringing two cultures into the mix. In our case, quadrupled because we’re tasked with finding names for both genders. No one to blame but my stubborn self for not wanting to know…there’s not enough surprises left in life, at least that’s what I keep telling myself.

Will Baby Z have an English or Chinese name? 

Baby Z will be given an English first name and a Chinese middle name. We’ve made good strides in picking out a middle name. Can’t say any progress has been made toward finding a first name. In Judaism, it’s customary to honor the last family member who passed away by naming your child with a name that sounds similar or may have another connection to their namesake. You don’t give the child their exact name. So, I’m hunting down names that would fulfill this tradition.

As for Chinese names, ZJ and I want to keep up a connection that already exists in his family. My nephews have two characters in their given names. One of those characters has the same sound (I’m unsure if it’s also the same character). We’re hoping to keep this character-sharing tradition alive and if or when we give Baby Z a sibling, they would also have that same character as part of their middle name.

Why not give Baby Z a Chinese first name? 

I very much wanted Baby Z to have a Chinese first name, but talking it over with ZJ, cemented for me that it would be in our child’s best interest to have a name most Americans could more easily pronounce. ZJ goes by an English name that he’s has since middle school and does closely resemble his given name, however, it’s an unofficial name. It’s very hard for people in the states to say his given name. Coworkers call him by his family name or the English name he’s grown accustomed to using and sadly, I have too. We may refer to Baby Z by his/her Chinese name at home and as a family, but at least when they’re school age, we can worry a little less about the evil ways of other children’s name calling of Baby Z.

Now, if I could just settle upon some English names…

8 thoughts on “What’s in a name?

  1. CrazyChineseFamily says:

    We settled for our son with three names…first one is Nathan which is easy for English speakers and Germans alike, After that he has a Chinese name and then the third is a Finnish name 🙂
    In the end we always call him by his first name and nearly all Finnish friends and relatives call him by his Finnish name. The Chinese one is totally ignored even by his Chinese family 😮

      • CrazyChineseFamily says:

        Well in the end he is usually called by his first name only. Many people here in Europe have several names such as me (Timo Erick) or my grandmother who had even 4 or 5 names! Or to make it even more crazy there is the example of the former German minister of Defence (Karl-Theodor Maria Nikolaus Johann Jacob Philipp Franz Joseph Sylvester Buhl-Freiherr von und zu Guttenberg)

  2. svetasbooks says:

    Something similar to what I and baby father had done; my son has English first name beginNing with a Z, and middle name is chinese/ Cantonese along with last name, although he and I are no longer together.

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