Hi Duana,
Totally wanted to do this on my own, but I'm throwing in the towel and turning to the expert. I'm 6 weeks away from D day, and not any closer to a name than I was months ago! My husband is Italian and I'm Asian, and expecting my second boy. I wanted to use the same criteria as for my first: Italian or Latin-based formal name, easily pronounced by the Asian side, with a strong-sounding English short form that we would use as his name every day. Nothing too trendy or made up, traditional all the way. Our first-born son is Massimo (Max) with a Chinese middle name, but so far we can't agree on a name for the second. My husband likes Matteo (Matt), but it's very trendy with Italians and I'm convinced my dad will pronounce Max and Matt the same way. I'm leaning toward Samuele (Sam), because I like the name Sam but I'm not in love with the long form Samuele. Other names in the running that are being eliminated are Marcus, Luka, Alessandro and Gabriele. My husband's last name is five syllables and starts and ends with an 'O', but I'm not concerned with the touching vowels because, well, have you heard Italian? Thanks for your help! 


One of the reasons I love name advice is because it tells us so much about the world and what people think. Like right now, we’re in a phase where we all, collectively, agree that boys’ names are great when they have stick-out vowel sounds like ‘o’. I don’t disagree – nothing feels fresher than Arlo or Otis right now. But it does mean that yeah, Matteo is super popular. So where do we go to get a brother for Max?

My first inclination was to wonder why Gabriele was being eliminated. I’m biased because I saw my friend Gabriele yesterday, and he wears it so well when people call him Gabe and when they say Gabriele. Just not feeling it? I understand, but from where I sit it seems pretty sophisticated. If not, how about Adamo? I have a friend with this gorgeous name and it seems pretty singular but also so wearable. Or Alessio, called Alec? Or Taddeo, called Tad? 

I’m even inclined to go further afield. Giorgio, called Georgie? Max and George? Or Luigi, called Louis? No, I’m not joking – a baby Louis would be a very unique choice and not feel like it was trendy at all.

Giacomo, Jack? Federico, Freddie? Or how about that great name that makes me think of ‘Stealing Beauty’, Niccolo?  

Think about what suits you and your son and your husband. What will make all of you happiest. Your parents will find a way to pronounce the name that sounds right to them and to you, even if that means it’s unique to your family. Oh, and don’t discount Davide – I know a young man with this name and it’s impossibly stylish and smart.

Let me know!

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