In Name Only

Baby Name Advice: A Multicultural Moniker

multiracial couple touching pregnant belly
Picking the perfect baby name can be especially tricky when you're trying to honor multiple heritages in one shot. That's the challenge reader Sarah is facing:

I am 4 months pregnant and do not yet know the sex of my child but we are struggling with baby names. I am Caucasian American but my husband is half Japanese and half Iranian, his native language is Farsi but his last name is Japanese. Our children will be raised in the US and we would like a name that is easy to pronounce in all three languages. It would be a bonus if the name means something in all 3 languages. For a girl we were thinking about Hana but we cannot come up with any other girl names and are stumped for boys' names. —Sarah

That's definitely a challenge, Sarah! But you're heading in the right direction with Hana. You need to look for baby names that are short and sweet, with sounds that are already present in each language.

Other options if you're having a little girl include the following:

- Isa is a pretty universal name, appearing as a name of Persian and German origins, meaning strength. (It's also part of a number of names with worldwide popularity, incluing Isabella and Isaodra.)

- Kyra is a Persian name that means crown—it has ties to the popular Celtic name Ciara, and is easily pronounceable and approachable in all three languages.

- Anna is easily pronounceable in any language, and means "grace."

- Esta is another Persian baby name, which means starlike.

- Suri may forever be associated with Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, but if you're game, it means "rose."

- Nara means happy in Japanese, and while it's a little less common than some of the other names listed here, it is easily pronounceable.

For boys, it's an even bigger challenge to find names with meaning and that work in all languages. Here are my attempts:

- Kir is about as short and sweet as it gets, and it's a Farsi name that means "throne."

- Daric is a Persian variation on Derek, and it means ruler.

- Jasper is a cool up-and-coming name, associated with a precious stone. It's of Persian origin, but seems pretty readily pronounceable in all three languages.

- Ren is a name I'm loving lately; it's the name from Footloose and from Japanese culture that means water lily.

- Asa is a name that works easily in all three languages, and it means born in the morning.

Personally, I love the names Esta and Ren for your kids, but I think any of these would work great.

It's your turn, readers: What name options would you suggest for Sarah's baby? And which of the ones we've suggested would you consider?

If you're still looking for a great baby name, check out our Baby Name Finder or email me at lamilbrand@gmail.com. And don't forget to like In Name Only on Facebook to keep up with the very latest in baby names.

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