Will our (mostly European ) picks work in the US/UK

[name_m]Hi[/name_m] everyone,

Very new here. We’re expecting and now living in the Netherlands. We will probably move to the US or the UK in the near future for work. I have a list of favorite names already but I’m wondering if they will ‘work’ in [name_f]English[/name_f] speaking countries. [name_f]My[/name_f] own name ([name_f]Lieke[/name_f], leek-kuh) is quite hard to pronounce for native [name_f]English[/name_f] speakers, which doesn’t bother me that much but I’d like to make things a little easier for the babe.

Please let me know what you think! Middle name for a girl will probably be [name_f]Wilhelmina[/name_f] for a boy [name_m]Jacob[/name_m] or Roemer (rou-muhr )

Elze ([name_m]Al[/name_m]-zuh)
[name_u]Rune[/name_u] ([name_u]Rue[/name_u]-nuh)
Niké (Knee-ke as in ok)
Éla / [name_f]Ella[/name_f]
[name_u]Caro[/name_u] (car-row)
Zomer (means ‘summer’ in [name_m]Dutch[/name_m], pronounced as zoe-mehr)

[name_u]Jesse[/name_u] (yes-seh)
[name_m]Teun[/name_m] (I looked this up: thön ;))
Renze ([name_m]Renn[/name_m]-zeh)
[name_m]Milo[/name_m] (Mee-low)
[name_u]Jules[/name_u] (the [name_u]French[/name_u] way: zjuule)
Lykele ([name_u]Lee[/name_u]-kuh-luh)

I’d love to hear from you! Maybe we’re better of picking a more ‘international’ name?


I think that with a lot of these it’s up to you how often you want to correct people on spelling/pronunciation. From experience, foreign names tend to be butchered/Anglicised a lot so I think in some cases it’d be easier to use a different pronunciation or not use the name.

Elze - I think that [name_f]English[/name_f] speakers would want to say ‘elz’ instinctively, but I don’t think this one would be too hard to say after a few tries. This might not be an option for you, but changing the spelling to [name_f]Alza[/name_f] would help to get the pronunciation you want right away.

[name_u]Rune[/name_u] - I’d assume this was said like the word rune: ‘roon’. Again, after a few corrections I don’t think this one would be too big of a problem.

Niké - I’d advise against using this due to the sports brand [name_u]Nike[/name_u] (which people usually say as either ‘nyke’ or ‘nyke-ee’).

Éla/[name_f]Ella[/name_f] - [name_f]Ella[/name_f]’s a well-known name in the [name_f]English[/name_f] speaking world so I think that spelling would be best.

[name_u]Caro[/name_u] - I’ve been crushing on this recently! I think the pronunciation is fairly intuitive here.

Zomer - This is interesting, though at first I thought it said Zoomer. It doesn’t seem very name-like to me. I think it would likely be said more like ‘zoe-merr’ rather than ‘-mehr’.

[name_u]Jesse[/name_u] - This is another well-known name, but is pronounced ‘jess-ee’.

[name_m]Teun[/name_m] - I think that this would cause a lot of pronunciation problems. I’m still not 100% sure how to say it (especially with ö not being a particularly well-used character in [name_f]English[/name_f]).

Renze - Again, not too hard to get after a couple of tries.

[name_m]Milo[/name_m] - This is said ‘my-low’ but with the rising popularity of [name_f]Mila[/name_f] (‘mee-luh’) I don’t think it would be a big issue.

[name_u]Jules[/name_u] - I think if you wanted the [name_u]French[/name_u] pronunciation then you might come across as a little pretentious, sorry. [name_u]Jule[/name_u] is probably closer to what you’re looking for.

Lykele - Like [name_m]Teun[/name_m], this is one of the more difficult ones to say. I also find it a little clunky.

[name_f]My[/name_f] favourites would be [name_f]Ella[/name_f] [name_f]Wilhelmina[/name_f], [name_u]Caro[/name_u] [name_f]Wilhelmina[/name_f], [name_u]Jesse[/name_u] Roemer and [name_m]Milo[/name_m] [name_m]Jacob[/name_m].

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Most British people are completely unfamiliar with [name_m]Dutch[/name_m] names and wouldn’t pronounce most of these correctly on first guess. I know a [name_m]Dutch[/name_m] woman named Tineke. The spelling of her name is confusing for British people, but the actual sounds are easy enough for [name_f]English[/name_f] speakers to pronounce.

The only ones on your list that I think people would get right on first try would be [name_f]Ella[/name_f] (since it’s also an [name_f]English[/name_f] name) and [name_u]Caro[/name_u].

With the others, I think your child would have to correct people on the pronunciation. I suppose you would have to consider how much that would bother you. [name_u]Jesse[/name_u], [name_m]Milo[/name_m] and [name_u]Jules[/name_u] would automatically be pronounced the [name_f]English[/name_f] way in the UK (so “jess-ee”, “my-low” and “jewels”).

Honesrly, they probably will get mispronounced, but they’re not complicated once you know how to say them. Of your choices, i really like

Elze, [name_u]Rune[/name_u], [name_u]Caro[/name_u] (so cool!), [name_m]Milo[/name_m] and [name_u]Jules[/name_u]!

[name_m]Hi[/name_m] @[name_f]Lieke[/name_f]! [name_f]Welcome[/name_f] to Nameberry :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

I’m UK-based, and you have two of my all-time favourite names on your list: [name_u]Caro[/name_u] for a girl and [name_u]Jules[/name_u] for a boy. I love both and think both work well. Pronunciation might be a slight issue, though: [name_u]Caro[/name_u] could be “CAR-ow” or “CAH-row”, while [name_u]Jules[/name_u] will likely be read as “JOOLZ” by most native [name_f]English[/name_f] speakers.

I also really love Elze, [name_u]Rune[/name_u], [name_u]Jesse[/name_u] and [name_m]Milo[/name_m], and all feel pretty accessible to [name_f]English[/name_f] speakers, but again the pronunciation might be different:

Elze: I would have said EL-zuh, but you’d probably get ELZ or EL-zee quite a bit.

[name_u]Rune[/name_u]: I think people would pronounce this like the word “rune” (ROON). I know an adorable little [name_f]Runa[/name_f], which would give you the pronunciation you want.

[name_u]Jesse[/name_u]: The natural pronunciation in [name_f]English[/name_f] would be JESS-ee or even JESS. I love this name pronounced your way, though!

[name_m]Milo[/name_m]: This is generally MYE-lo in [name_f]English[/name_f], but I think MEE-lo also works if you’re prepared to correct people.

I think [name_f]Ela[/name_f]/[name_f]Ella[/name_f] and Zomer will be pronounced the way you want in [name_f]English[/name_f]. Renze could get RENZ or REN-zee, but also feels quite straightforward.

I think [name_m]Teun[/name_m] and Lykele will prove difficult for many [name_f]English[/name_f] speakers, plus Lykele feels a little too close to your name to me. And I agree with this re. Niké :point_down:

I think people will see it and immediately think they know how to pronounce it because of the brand.

Best of luck with your pregnancy! :four_leaf_clover:

I think they’re all lovely, but I just can’t get my mouth to say [name_m]Teun[/name_m] I’m afraid. I also think Lykele is one of those names where the average [name_u]Brit[/name_u] wouldn’t know where to start if they saw it written down. With girl names, the safest choice would be Èla/[name_f]Ella[/name_f] as [name_f]Ella[/name_f] is already popular. Niké is too close to the shoe brand for me.

I can speak some [name_m]German[/name_m] and studied abroad in Denmark, so I know a little about Germanic languages and names. I love them! The problem is, in [name_m]German[/name_m] and the other Germanic languages (besides [name_f]English[/name_f] obviously), the e at the end of words is pronounced like our ‘a.’ For example, I lived with a girl in Denmark whose name was [name_f]Emelie[/name_f]. In [name_f]English[/name_f], we would read that as “[name_f]Emily[/name_f]” (emm-uh-lee), but in Danish her name was pronounced like our name “[name_f]Amelia[/name_f]” (uh-meel-yuh). So Danes called her uh-meel-yuh, and Americans called her emm-uh-lee.

So I feel like, unfortunately, if you want the names to be pronounced in the [name_m]German[/name_m]/[name_m]Dutch[/name_m] way, you might need to actually spell them out with [name_f]English[/name_f] phonetics. For example, maybe spell [name_u]Rune[/name_u] as [name_f]Runa[/name_f] or Elze as [name_f]Elza[/name_f]?

But the more subtle inflections in your language are probably going to be lost in translation. Especially with vowels, we just pronounce them slightly differently.

I’m from the US and the only one I read correctly without using your guide was Zomer. The other names seem easy enough to say, but you’ll most likely have to teach people how to say it.

I think that most of those names will be mispronounced a lot, but they’re still lovely and easy to say once corrected. I love [name_u]Jules[/name_u], [name_m]Milo[/name_m], [name_u]Rune[/name_u], and [name_u]Jesse[/name_u] (though I’ll admit I think of them in the American way) .

I’m from the UK and these are the ones that I think are the most usable:

[name_u]Rune[/name_u] ([name_u]Rue[/name_u]-nuh)
Éla / [name_f]Ella[/name_f]
[name_u]Caro[/name_u] (car-row)

[name_u]Jesse[/name_u] (yes-seh)
[name_m]Milo[/name_m] (Mee-low)
[name_u]Jules[/name_u] (the [name_u]French[/name_u] way: zjuule)

They are all hard to pronounce for American speakers, so there would be many corrections. If you don’t mind, go for it. If you’re looking for something more intuitive what about [name_u]Rue[/name_u] or [name_u]Jesse[/name_u] with a hard J?

I think any would work in the US. So many friends choose unique names for their children, that it isn’t uncommon to teach someone how to say or spell a name. Most people catch on quickly. I would just choose the name that gives you joy!

I’m in the US, so this is my American take on your list:

For girls, Niké, [name_f]Ella[/name_f], [name_u]Caro[/name_u], and Zomer would be the ones you could probably make work in [name_f]English[/name_f]. Elze and [name_u]Rune[/name_u] would almost never be pronounced correctly, and that might be a bit of a headache. [name_f]Ella[/name_f] & [name_u]Caro[/name_u] would be particularly great choices to cross the cultures well.

As for the boys… [name_u]Jesse[/name_u] is well-known in [name_f]English[/name_f], but you would never get the desired pronunciation. Of the rest, [name_m]Milo[/name_m] is your best bet! You might get a lot of people saying ‘MY-low’, but correcting and getting it right in the future would be possible, even easy. I’d recommend looking further for boys names that will work in both cultures while still getting the correct pronunciation, though.

[name_f]Hope[/name_f] this could help! :slight_smile: