In the rapidly globalizing world in which we live, with many modern means of communication such as internet, e-mail and cell phones, the children of today will sooner or later come into contact with friends, co-workers or family from other countries. That’s why it’s advisable to give your children names that are easy to pronounce in foreign languages as well. Anticipate this by giving them a second or third name of a more internationally accepted nature. In that case, if there is a need for it, they can pick one of these other names. There are a lot of international names and derivations of them: Chris, Christy, Christa, Christina, Tina, Maria, Mary, Marlene, Mara, Rita, or the familiar John: Jahn, Jana, Jean, Janek, Janko, Giovanni.
The original form of John is the Hebrew Johanan, which means ‘Jahweh is merciful’ or ‘God has mercy’. You’ll find Hebrew names the world over. Most English names come from Europe and their origins often go back to Greek and Roman Antiquity. Many new names have been created worldwide.
For the same reasons, many Asian youngsters have an additional name that’s typically English. That helps them to communicate more easily with tourists, friends and co-workers in other countries.
Mixed marriages and the increase of worldwide travel are leading to a shift from purely country or region-oriented names to more internationally accepted ones. Jari Litmanen, a well-known and very popular Finnish soccer player who became famous as a member of the team Ajax in the Dutch capital of Amsterdam, has greatly contributed to an increase in the number of young Jari’s walking around in that city.
Our advice: If you choose a name, be sure it can be pronounced and spelled in other (major) languages as well. Consider Spanish, for instance, which (after English) is the second largest international language. If you live in Europe, consider the language of your neighboring country or countries. Having a name that can be used seamlessly in many languages will make it easier for your child in his future personal life, career and during his travels.