Mimi in a stairwell

Lainey Posted by Lainey at February 16, 2012 22:35:10 February 16, 2012 22:35:10

Okay, so I am totally freaking out about what your response will be, but here goes.

We are about to have baby #3  - a baby boy due in the New Year. He will join our two oldest (boy and girl), named Zakariya (6-year old) and Deena (3-year old). We have a Lebanese background and these names have meaning in Arabic.

For our third we both really like the name Malick (or Malik?). For us, it's important that the names reflect an Arabic background but still work in English. We still have two months to look for other names and we have a few others that we like - but this is definitely our favourite.



When I was growing up, my father taught me a practice that I still follow today.  Even though he was proud of his name – as I am of mine – he would tell people who asked in stores (usually in places like high-end electronics shops where he had no intention of actually buying) that he was called “Jim”.

He isn’t, and when I was a kid, I would screech out “Dadddyyyyy, that’s not your naaame!”  It was a while before I caught my snap, and started doing it myself.  It’s just easier to tell Starbucks people that my name is Dana than it is to go through the whole rigmarole of explaining and spelling and correcting.  

You know who doesn’t have to do this?  Zakariya and Deena.  Even though their names are common in Middle Eastern cultures, they are  easily recognizable to “English” ears and are used commonly, albeit with different spellings.

Does Malick feel as recognizable? (I assume from the spelling that you’re thinking of pronouncing the name ma-LEEK.)  

Not in the same way.  It’s not that I think it’s difficult – not at all.  I don’t think anyone is going to laugh or have trouble saying his name.  But I do think he might ultimately recognize that his older siblings have names that “work” in both cultures differently than his.  Then again, we have so many new names to adapt to that I hardly think a name like Malik is going to be that traumatic for him. 

In case you want options in this regard: I’ve always liked Tariq and it’s not a lot different in how it sounds to an ear accustomed to Connor and Ava.   One of the options is Samir, of course – works in Arabic but is also an easy Sam or Sammy.  A negative is that everyone who’s in your situation has this same workaround so if you know a lot of people who share your ethnic heritage you might know a lot of little Sams.

So curious to know how this one goes down.  Hit me back!


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