“This is Hurley.”
“Ahhh… Like Liz Hurley?”
“Actually just like the fat guy from Lost, but yes, like Liz Hurley.”
“She really is a cutie!”
“He. He is a male.”
This is the normal conversation happening, when I introduce my dog. And in German it is even more complicated as German language is not really made for pronouncing “Hurley” right. That’s the fail I was talking about right in the subline.
How could this happen?
Well, we wanted a female dog but then there was this cutie who needed a home and we had no name right at hand but had to decide quickly. As we watched Lost at this time and really loved the character of Hugo Reyes whos nickname is Hurley we named our little wolf after him. No big deal you might think as a non German reader, but giving names seems to be really something very difficult in my country. I don’t know, how is it in yours? As you can tell be the length of my original German article we took A LOT into consideration to choose a name for our daughter and don’t end up in such trouble like with our dog again. Of course you don’t have to take everything into consideration, but one or two thouhgts about every aspect are not too bad. As I don’t know how interesting all these aspects are for you in your country I will give you only a shorter translation here. But I guess many aspects are international. 🙂
Will you already tell the name of your baby now? M****? I am curious!
Yes in fact we do. Because for us our daughter is already part of this world, even though she is not yet outside. She is alive, moving, we talk to her and about her all the time. And we want to call her with her name already. This is why we were so super curious about the gender too. Especially for me it is hard not to tell her name here on the blog and on Instagram before this article, as it is so natural for me to call her M****. I kept calling her #babyküki or Küki (littel chicken) until today. Among family and friends the name is out for weeks already. So who is curious can scroll down now, but maybe you stay with me and the article for the information and the rising tension. 🙂
How do parents choose baby names?
baby names = human names
Your baby won’t stay a baby for a lifetime. It will grow up and the name should also fit an adult who wants to be more than only cute.
Most important for most parents is that they want to like the sound of their offspring’s name. In German this might be even more important, maybe, as our language is rather harsh naturally and the current trend here goes to soft names like those beginning with a L or M. Lina, Lea, Leon, Mila, Mona.
association (for the parents)
This is basically connected to the sound but also to the names meaning. It is what the names mean to the parents. Traditionally girls’ names tend to go more in the pretty and kind direction, boys’ names go more into the strong or clever direction.
Today it is just one google search away to find out what the preferred name means. I highly recommand this as not all names have nice meaning. For example Linus, a very popular name here right now and also an internation one means (literally translated, I am sorry): moaning song (Klagegesang). So whiner or moanbag if you like… Nevertheless you can love Linus for other reasons of course. 🙂 My name Heike is not the prettiest from the meaning either. It is “mistress at/of the home” (Herrin des Hauses). Nothing I would choose for myself but well. Could be worse. 😉
Names from the bible or the koran (or from other typical religious sources) give a strong statement.
Often especially important for parents who migrated. Like this their child still has the original country’s roots in its name and the first name does not change when married later.
Here you find many very creative names, from books, stories, films or self invented. I have the impression that in the Anglo-Amercian area tolerance is higher for these names as in Germany. In Germany we have a certain social group which tends to give English names like this and this group does not have the best reputation when it comes to social and education standards. We really have an intolreance problem here if not to say that children with such names are somehow branded and prejudiced easily. Sad thing.
This is close to the individual names as popular can also mean a character from a story. As German lastnames sound really strange combined with international first names both the individual and the idol names can form strange combinations.
For many parents it is important that their child’s name is modern, for other giving a name among the top 5 is a no-go. Here is the ranking for Germany based on beliebte-vornamen.de
Top 5 female names 2016:
Top 5 male names 2016:
a reliable name
As mentioned above babies grow up and so the name should also fit an adult. For many parents it is important that the name they choose is something which works with every carrier, but also many go for such names to be different from the individual and popular idol names. Reliable names transport a certain reputation, so the opposite of the prejudice of low social and educational standards. For us in Germany these names are mostly “older” typically German names like Wilhelm, Anna, Paul or Greta.
This is linked to the reliable names as they both use the same names but for different reasons. Parents who look for a reliable name want their children to be different from lower educational castes, parents who go for a name out of family tradition want to give roots to their child. Often every boy in a family gets the same second name, every girls gets the same second name. It is close to the ethnic reasons for a name. A root which won’t change even when married.
nicknames and abbrieviations
Just keep in mind that some names have odd short forms. I have no example here for an English name.
Please don’t name you child after a famous super criminal like Osama or Adolf. Please just don’t. Even if you know another Adolf or Osama who is the greatest man on earth… Most other people will only now the genocidist and the terrorist. No association you want for your child.
Please check twice. Some name combinations form sentences or lead to initial abbreviations which are nasty. No English example here but I am shure there are some.
If you want to consider verious aspects this is a really easy and safe way to combine. Usually there is only one first name to call the child in daily life but you can add more names for tradition, ethnic or what ever is important to you. In my eyes a wonderful possibility to add more meaning.
In brief: combine well to leave individuality to every child but also don’t exclude one family member becauses its name is so different from the others. Check for famous combinations which you might want to avaoid. Like Romeo and Juliet, Adam and Eve or Selma and Patty. 😉
Maybe a German phenomenon? There are names from different ethnic origins popular among different social groups. English Names are therefore a bit looked down upon as they are the opposite of academic here… French names are rather neutral to popular really depending on the individual (Amelie is popular, Pascale is prejudiced…) and the nordic names went through a certain boom over the last years: Ole, Lasse, Lotta and also the names from the Netherlands go up in the statistics here, like Maite. It is a sad story I think as every culture has beautiful names. I personally love English names, but I also feel like they are somehow a no-go here mostly.
And that’s it!
You see choosing names is not only about personal taste and meaning, it is also about confronting yourself with prejudices and learning a lot about tolerance and intolerance – especially your own.
And finally, what’s her name?
We checked ALL categories but of course some were more important to us than others. We wanted a pleasant sound, the meaning was not of highest importance but a negative meaning would have been a no-go. We wanted two names for our kid for the variety and for giving more. A soft name was important to balance our very harsh last name Gerkrath. As Benedict is a teacher he had many names in mind which were blocked, because he knew too annoying pupils… And for me, well I gave my favourite names already to the characters in my novel: Jakob, Tom, Ellen und Anna, and in minor roles were even more names blocked I love. And to be honest not every character is made to be the name sibling of our child, really not.
the male name
Oh yes I tell you! Many women are a bit afraid that a friend of them could steal their favourite name for their own child when they tell them in public. I am not like that. Then the kids will have the same name. That’s it.
The boy’s first name is the name of a fictional character, the name of the most loyal, positive, giving, strong and relaxed person I know. And the middle name is the name of family memeber. THE family memeber. I had to convince Benedict a bit first (something which counts for him) but I am shure secretely he felt honored. And as we thought for 4 weeks that we were expecting a son we already called our child for while with this name:
Tom Benedict. And I still love this name so much, as it comes from the two most amazing men I know. But I already and still have my goldenhearted Benedict and my Tom.
the female name
I heard the female name for the first time when I was 15 and watched a cartoon. I never checked its meaning and origin until when I was in the position to name a real baby. I thought it was a German name but in fact its origin is French or Irish. In French it means “blackbird” (so you see why I am obsessed with birds? ) and I just love these morning birds so much. I once lived in the “Amselstraße”, the “Blackbird Street” and thought this was amazing then. The Irish meaning is “light, gleaming sea” – wonderful! You can also know the name as a male name, when you watch The Walking Dead as I know now, but the pronounciation is way different. I had a character in my Who is Jakob Winter novel with her name but I renamed her in summer just to have this favourite name free again for a future daughter. Well done, Heiki!
The middlename is matching the first name, a name which is common in Germany but aso has a French conotation. In fact the true origin is Hebrew respecitivly Italian as the middle name is a composed name of two names. Like this our daughter almost has three names, but only almost. The second part means “The Beauytful”, the first part of the middle name means “The Mercyful” or “The Graceful”. This first part is also the name of our baby girl’s godmother and like this a close friend becomes part of our family, something which filled our hearts with joy.
My beloved Merle Annabelle Gerkrath, from now on I will call you like this everywhere.
Our Merle. Our little chicken. Our blackbird baby. We love you and are beyond excited to come to know you soon!
(Merle is pronounced “Mer-” like “mare” (the female horse) and “-le” like the french male article “le” (le bébé))