Duana Names: The Multicultural Balance

Duana Posted by Duana at April 18, 2013 17:53:21 April 18, 2013 17:53:21

My partner and I are having a hard time finding a name. I'm Irish/German and he's Brazilian/Mexican. (Our baby's last name will be Hispanic.) The names I've typically liked in the past (before we started dating) were names like Paige, Brooke, Cole, Owen...they don't really 'go' with his last name, and he doesn't like them.

So, preppy names are out. We also don't want any names that are too ethnic-on any level. So, no Bridget's, no Klaus', no Roberto's or Manuela's.

So ultimately, we'd like to come up with a list of names that don't 'scream' any specific ethnicity but will flow nicely with a Hispanic last name, and that aren't too popular. Right now, our list only includes two girl names: Marissa and Gabrielle. Help!


A ha! What you need are syllables! I know we usually talk about how the difference in syllables makes a name ring out. But with surnames that often have emphasis on different syllables (“Gomez” has a different emphasis than “Merguez”), you need a few in the first name to ramp up with. 

Now I’ll point out that while I know what you mean about names that don’t “scream” ethnicity, you’ll never get away from some of them. Gabrielle, to me, is as Italian as they come. So it really depends on your mileage. But if you want thoroughly anglicized names that sound “normal”, without the preppy edge your short names were offering, think romance novel and go from there.

Veronica is one of those names you can’t go wrong with. Works in lots of ethnicities, translates to other languages, boom. Ditto for Elizabeth, obviously, and super-frilly names like Vanessa.

For boys, the longer names really depend on what you think of as being ethnic or not. For some, Frederick is impossibly German. For others, Nathaniel is intolerably biblical. So it really depends what you feel is useful for you, but how about good old Benjamin? Or, of course, the beloved Theodore? Is Elliot too English?  

Of course there are shorter names that don’t immediately incur the thought of a particular country – Louis, or Anna, or something modern like Harper. But I still think syllables are the way to go, and I bet they get you there. 

Wait! What about Serena?

Tags: Name Nerd
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