Would it be a sin to name my boy an elegant British name because I'm American?

I really love names like [name_m]Alistair[/name_m], [name_m]Sebastian[/name_m], [name_u]Jasper[/name_u] and [name_m]Tobias[/name_m]. They sound elegant if pronounced by an [name_f]English[/name_f] person. They sound crass if pronounced by an American (American: Sebbaash-chee-an, British: Suh-bazz-ti-an).

There are just too many classy, dignified and elegant British names that I can’t use. I want my baby boy to have a REAL NAME but I live in [name_u]America[/name_u]. The standard American [name_f]English[/name_f] accent is only appropriate for names like [name_m]Kaden[/name_m], [name_u]Landon[/name_u], [name_m]Kaleb[/name_m], [name_m]Kayson[/name_m], [name_u]Kameron[/name_u], [name_m]Titus[/name_m], [name_u]Conner[/name_u], [name_u]Kyle[/name_u], [name_m]Kayleb[/name_m], [name_m]Cole[/name_m], [name_u]Carter[/name_u], [name_u]Hunter[/name_u], [name_m]Buck[/name_m] and [name_m]Dick[/name_m]

What should I do?

[name_m]Sebastian[/name_m], [name_u]Jasper[/name_u], and [name_m]Tobias[/name_m] all rank fairly high in the US. I don’t think using a British style name here would be weird at all, I think it would be perfectly fine. Also, I’ve only ever heard [name_m]Sebastian[/name_m] pronounced as suh-bash-chin - 3 syllables, not 4 (by American [name_f]English[/name_f] speakers). I do agree that some names certainly sound better in [name_f]English[/name_f] accents, but I don’t think all of the names in this style sound “crass” in American accents. You can absolutely use this style here, many other people do.


Lol I am [name_f]English[/name_f]. I love all them name choices you have picked. I think if you love that style of names then go for it.


I agree with what others have said! I live in the U.S. and have known Alistairs, Sebastians and Jaspers so don’t think it would be weird at all. I think if you love a name you should name your child that!

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Definitely not a problem.

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I think you’re being a tad unfair on the enormous and diverse nation that is [name_u]America[/name_u] there! There are plenty of Americans who don’t pronounce [name_m]Sebastian[/name_m] the way you’ve written it (and I, a [name_u]Brit[/name_u], pronounce it “suh-BASS-tee-un”, no Z sound).

I disagree that the American accent only suits the names you’ve listed (which are also “real names”, surely?) :thinking: [name_m]Sebastian[/name_m] actually ranks higher in the US than the UK, it’s a perfect cross-cultural choice. And [name_m]Alistair[/name_m], [name_u]Jasper[/name_u] and [name_m]Tobias[/name_m] are all increasingly fashionable in both countries too. I don’t see any glaring potential pronunciation issues there.

I think you use the names you love, and embrace the diversity of the [name_f]English[/name_f] language and the flexibility of modern [name_f]English[/name_f]/American naming conventions, which basically let everyone go in whatever direction they choose for their child’s name.


@katinka very well said!

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@katinka Very elegantly stated. I agree completely.


I agree with previous posters! Given the popularity of the names, I don’t think you’ll have many problem pronouncing them.
If you love the names then use them!

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Use the ones you like!

As someone who’s British and has an accent that definitely doesn’t add elegance to any name, I don’t think there’s a problem. As @katinka has put so well, use what you love!

Ditto @katinka - perfectly said.

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:joy: I totally get it! There are so many names that I love that sound a thousand times better in a British accent. But I don’t think that should stop you from using what you love!

Fwiw, [name_m]Tobias[/name_m] sounds the least different between the accents. [name_m]Sebastian[/name_m] I actually prefer the American way. Interestingly enough, those are the two I don’t see as peculiarly British.

All the names you mentioned are 100% usable in the US!

Lol I think the only one that would sound more harsh in the US is [name_m]Alistair[/name_m] because it would end in a hard r but it’d still be a nice name and usable for sure just sound a little different. The rest are totally adorable in US accents and [name_f]English[/name_f] ones! Not a sin at all to use them.

Use them.

I think you should name your son whatever you like. And from my own experience, I think Americans are more adventurous with names than Brits. But at the same time, if you really don’t like the way those names would sound in your local accent then I wouldn’t recommend using them. I love the names [name_f]Ottilie[/name_f] and [name_f]Tatiana[/name_f] in other accents but not my own, which makes them sound harsh.

I mean, I think everything sounds better in an [name_f]English[/name_f] accent but I can appreciate some of the ways Americans pronounce names. [name_m]Sebastian[/name_m] is seh-BASS-chin to me but I could be corrected to seh-BASS-tee-an. Tbh, the only way I think you can get people to pronounce your son’s name with an [name_f]English[/name_f] accent is to move to [name_f]England[/name_f] though…

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Yeah, Americans kind of ruin the name by saying it (I’m American too, btw). I think the [name_f]English[/name_f] accent is SOO cool and since I want an accent, I think I’ll move to another country so I have one. Anyway, I do think that they are wonderful names, yet we would completely BUTCHER the pronunciation, so I will sadly say that it’d probably be a no go. :pensive:

I totally get this feeling. Like the names [name_m]Bernard[/name_m] and [name_m]Martin[/name_m] sound so much nicer with an [name_f]English[/name_f] accent. I think you can still have an elegant boy name that sounds good in American accent though. I know of a young [name_m]Alastair[/name_m] and it doesn’t sound odd to me, but maybe it’s also about where you live. Like if you’re in the Midwest with a [name_f]Chicago[/name_f] accent, any names with an ‘ah’ sound will sound a little harsh. I think maybe avoid r and a sounds?

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