Hi Duana,

Ok, i've probably left this WAY too late but I'm due in 3 weeks and we can't decide on a name for our second child - a boy. Given that we are a mixed nationality family (Aussie mum, Dutch father) we are looking for something that can be pronounced in both languages and won't present any obvious teasing points. We have a daughter named Leni so it should work with that and our surname is also a tricky one - both in spelling and pronounciation so we are thinking something simple might work best so the poor kid won't be forever spelling both names out to everyone. Other than that, we are pretty open to anything at this point ;)
I'm really hoping you can help us out before the little fella arrives!
Thanks, K


One of the issues here (in addition to having the entire dictionary of men’s names in front of me, K, like don’t you hate ANYTHING?) is that I’m not a native Dutch speaker or even a casual one. I have a cousin who lives in the Netherlands, and sometimes I don’t even notice when his tweets are in Dutch instead of English. That’s how non-adept I am.

The point here being that when it comes to names not being silly or funny or ridiculous in a given culture, we can’t know that much about what’s silly in Dutch or Croatian or Sri Lankan. You kind of have to go on blind faith and the belief that you wouldn’t willingly saddle your kid with something terrible.

Having said that, a good key here is popularity. We know I don’t favour it necessarily, but popular names are popular for a reason – they’re good.   They just sound right. Yet you still want something distinctive to go with Leni. So…

I immediately think of Julian. Sounds that work in both languages and a bit of an international flavour in and of himself. The “J” that can be pronounced so many different ways is incredibly useful here. If that doesn’t work, you really can’t go wrong with an “o” these days. Hugo? Milo? Ennio? Bruno?

If you can’t bear to think of something so au courant, how about the old faithfuls? I’m told one of the Dutch variants of James is “Cobus”, which is amazing, and while Hans seems a bit serious and yet comedic for a version of John, Johan is lovely and new and easy to pronounce while still feeling a bit cosmopolitan.

There’s a wide world of choices out there but I hope I hit something that touched a nerve one way or another?

Hit me up! Let me know!