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Juan vs. Antonio – 4 Hints for How to Name Your Spanish Kid

Spanishnames2If you have a child while living in a foreign country there are quite a few practical matters to think about. Apart from issues such as their nationality and all the horrible paperwork you need to fill out, there is something even simpler; what are you going to call the little fellow?

1. Think of Famous People with Spanish Names

Is your favourite actor Antonio Banderas, do you admire Iker Casillas, or have you watched every single Penélope Cruz film 5 times, even that weird one with Tom Cruise wearing a mask? There are many famous people with Spanish names you could use as a bit of inspiration to get you started. You need to bear in mind that some of the names of famous people aren’t exactly common. For example, if you have a little girl then calling her Shakira or Arantxa is going to make her stand out at school just a little bit. The names of some older celebrities might also now sound a bit old fashioned. As a starting point thinking of celebrity names is good but your work probably isn’t finished yet.

2. Find a Name That is Multicultural

One issue that most people don’t even need to think about is giving their child a multicultural name, but it could be a great idea in this case. Let me use my case as an example to explain what I mean.  I am Scottish but was living in South America by the time my daughter was born. I have no idea if she is going to end up living here, going to the UK to live or living elsewhere when she grows up. This meant that I couldn’t call her a typically Scottish name like Morag or Ailsa, which could make life for her difficult here. Equally, I didn’t want to choose a Spanish name, which could cause her problems in an English speaking country either.

The best idea is to choose a multicultural name that can fit in anywhere in the world. For girls, names like Paula, Isabella, Veronica and Maria are some good examples. For boys you could choose something like Marco, Roberto or Ricardo. These are Spanish but are easy for English speakers too. Alternatively, you could use the English version and choose from Mark, Robert or Richard, for example.

3. Choose a Name You Can Pronounce Easily

You aren’t going to choose a name you can’t even pronounce properly, are you? Most Spanish names are relatively easy but you might get tripped up by an accent or a rolling r here or there. This kind of goes back to the multicultural idea, as a name that also works in English should be easier for you to pronounce even if your Spanish still isn’t that great. Taking an online Spanish test will help you understand how you are progressing with the language before you make this decision.

4. Don’t Forget to Think About the Surnames

English speakers are generally used to working out how to combine their baby’s name with a single surname. If you are going to be living in Spain you will find that both surnames get used on occasion; the father’s and then the mother’s as a second surname. This means that you need to take a bit longer to think about a name that works well with both surnames.

What is your favourite Spanish name? Have you named your kids with Spanish names? What did you choose?