Your opinions on these names, please!?

Ok, so my cousin is expecting twin girls in [name]December[/name], and she’s directed me to ask for people’s opinions on the names she and her husband are considering. My dad’s side of the family (she’s my dad’s cousin) are Makua Bantu, which is basically a subdivision of Bantu peoples in Mozambique, so all of the names are Swahili. If you could please rate each name out of ten, and give any additional comments or opinions, my cousin, her husband, and I would be very grateful! I also put a pronunciation next to each name. Have fun!

Hediye Ijara (heh-[name]DEE[/name]-yeh ee-jah-RUH)
Juwayriyyah [name]Kenzi[/name] (juh-[name]WAY[/name]-ree-uh [name]KEN[/name]-zee)
Mwasaa Chausiku (mwa-SAH cha-OO-see-koo)
Ijara Ndege (ee-jah-RUH n-DEH-jay)

So remember: rate out of ten (one being worst, ten being best,) and additional comments! Thanks!

I can’t clain any knowledge of African names. So my comments/ ratings are based purely on the sounds of the names.

Ijara Ndege (ee-jah-RUH n-DEH-jay) This is definately my favourite- when I read it as a MN I liked the sound- it is soft and feminine.
Mwasaa Chausiku (mwa-SAH cha-OO-see-koo) I like the sounds of Mwasaa, but I like sounds in Hediye as a MN better.
Hediye Ijara (heh-[name]DEE[/name]-yeh ee-jah-RUH) This has nice sounds in it.
Juwayriyyah [name]Kenzi[/name] (juh-[name]WAY[/name]-ree-uh [name]KEN[/name]-zee) This one seems like a very long name, and has a similar sound to Injara, so as a twin I like it least.

I like the sounds in the name Ndege- I think it would match well with Injara as a first name.

I think it’s nice to honor family heritage with names, but I also think it’s important for the name to be user-friendly in English, since I presume they live in [name]America[/name]/[name]Canada[/name]/[name]England[/name]/Australia… sometimes a really hard combination to find.

My husband is Korean-American, and I am white. Because our daughter, who’s due in seven weeks, will be biracial and bicultural, and because we need a Korean name to register her in the family clan books in Korea, we spent a long time trying to pick out a Korean name for her. (She will have an American name for her American birth certificate, and a Korean name for her Korean clan registration… complicated story.) Anyway, our main consideration was picking something that we thought my family and other English-speakers/Americans would feel was reasonably easy to remember, say, and spell… something that was short and therefore easier to decipher, with a spelling that followed phonetic English rules, and with a “familiar” sound. We picked Jinhee, which we thought sounded an awful lot like “[name]Ginny[/name]” (my aunt’s name! and therefore easy for my family!) and we thought was relatively easy even for people who spoke no Korean whatsoever. Also, “[name]Jinny[/name]” is a popular nickname among Koreans for girls with names that begin with [name]Jin[/name]-, so… basically, everybody can just say [name]Ginny[/name]/[name]Jinny[/name] and it’s “right.” [name]Even[/name] if they “mishear” the name “Jinhee” and interpret it as “[name]Ginny[/name],” they are still “right”! That’s about as good as it gets with English/Korean naming, I think! (My [name]BIL[/name] and [name]SIL[/name] have a harder job… she is from South [name]America[/name], so they are trying to find a Korean name that will make sense to people in English, Spanish, and Korean!)

Anyway, I think that user-friendliness should be a major consideration, because 99% of the people actually saying the name (teachers, employers, etc.) won’t speak Swahili. You don’t want a name that will trip people up too much, and really unfamiliar names are harder for people to remember… not a good thing for when you are one of 30 in a classroom or one of 200 in a job applicant pool. Also, it’s frustrating to have to say your name several times when introducing yourself and to have to spell it constantly.

So… based on that criteria, here are my rankings and name opinions:

  1. [name]Kenzi[/name] - I know this is a middle name choice, but since it apparently works equally well in both English and Swahili, I think that should propel it to the top of the list.

  2. Ijara Ndege (ee-jah-RUH n-DEH-jay) - My next preference is for Ijara, mainly because it seems like the easiest of the names for English-speakers to pronounce and spell. Also, Ijara has the most feminine and pretty sound to my ears, and it’s short, which is helpful when someone is trying to decipher or remember an unfamiliar name. I think Ndege will give English-speakers pronunciation problems, but in the middle name spot, it’s unlikely to be used that often.

  3. Hediye Ijara (heh-[name]DEE[/name]-yeh ee-jah-RUH). This would be my third pick because, even though I think English-speakers will mispronounce Hediye nearly all the time, it still “looks” like a woman’s name to me. Also, there’s a nickname choice like “[name]Hedi[/name],” which makes the name more approachable.

  4. Mwasaa Chausiku (mwa-SAH cha-OO-see-koo). I don’t really like Mwasaa because the “mw” combination is not common in English, and I think you’ll get people saying MAH-wah-sah instead. Also, it doesn’t “sound” that feminine to my ears and doesn’t seem to have easy nickname possibilities. Just looking at this name on a class roster or resume, I would not be sure whether the person was male or female.

  5. Juwayriyyah [name]Kenzi[/name] (juh-[name]WAY[/name]-ree-uh [name]KEN[/name]-zee). I put this last because, with its length and its unfamiliar letter combos, I think this is the kind of name that most English speakers will stare at and not even attempt to pronounce. The way it is pronounced (thank you for the pronunciations!) is pretty, but I just think this name is so difficult for English speakers that they will feel dumbfounded and avoid using it all together… acquaintances, teachers, employers, etc., will just replace it with something like “hey you,” or “J,” or giving an unrelated nickname, or just avoiding saying any name at all. (I am a teacher, and if I were calling a list of names for attendance or whatever, this is one that I would be afraid to attempt. I would probably say, “uh… Juw… how do you say this?” and then call on the kid by pointing or nodding whenever possible. Part of it would be that I feel embarrassed when I mispronounce a kid’s name, so I end up avoiding the ones I’m not confident with. Also, I’ve found that kids do not always correct me, maybe because I’m “the teacher” or maybe because they are just so used to it. It was very embarrassing at parent-teacher conferences when I said a kid’s name the way I’d been saying it for three months, only to have them correct me. The kid had never said anything… and I teach high school!)

Assuming this baby will grow up in an English speaking country, I would pick the name which is most easily spoken in English and the one which the spelling is most easily remembered, and to me that would be Hediye Ijara, though Ijara Hediye would be better, since Ijara is pretty straight-forward.

[name]Do[/name] they live in an English speaking country or a Swahili speaking country? I love the Swahili language, so these sound very pretty to me, but if they’re living in an English speaking country, you might want to try a more easily pronounced first name with a Swahili middle.

Ijara Ndege (ee-jah-RUH n-DEH-jay) – This is my favorite. I think the first name could be easily pronounced in English and the 2 names sound so beautiful individually and together.

Juwayriyyah [name]Kenzi[/name] (juh-[name]WAY[/name]-ree-uh [name]KEN[/name]-zee) – this is my second favorite. I don’t think the first is good for English speakers, but I do love both names and they go together wonderfully. Maybe try [name]Kenzi[/name] Juwayryyah if they’re living around a lot of English speakers.

Hediye Ijara (heh-[name]DEE[/name]-yeh ee-jah-RUH) – Very nice. [name]Lovely[/name] sounds and they go together well.

Mwasaa Chausiku (mwa-SAH cha-OO-see-koo) – The first name sounds like you’re saying “What’s up” with an accent, which throws me off a little. I love the rhythm of Chausiku though!

Flipping this name around is a good suggestion! I think Ijara Ndege and [name]Kenzi[/name] Juwayryyah would make a good pairing for twin girls… both are pretty, feminine, and simple. I like that the first names are the same length, but sound quite different, so that they each have their own identities.