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It's pretty easy for girls:
Nina, Meena/Mina, Anita, Anika (although it's pronounced differently in Hindi), then names like Monica and Anya and Natasha that aren't originally Indian (as far as I know, certainly not Natasha) but are common there. Leela could work in the US as well.
For boy's names it's a bit tougher. There's Nikhil which is pretty common here in the US and can be shortened to Nik. Arya, although that tends to be a girls name in English naming tradition (and has weird racial overtones). Sam for Sameer. I would second Ashwin.
Then there are the Muslim names that are very international. Faisal, Ibrahim, etc.Many old testament names are also common in the Indian Muslim population.
Oh, and my favorite, Iskander, the Indian version of Alexander.
"In an era of parents naming their children Magnus, Lion, Breeze, Marlowe, Clover, Blue and North, I have to say that should I have a son of my own, I will undoubtedly campaign my future wife to bestow on him the mantle of William John the 9th."
--Wow, that guy is pretty spot-on in his characterization of current baby-naming trends. I wonder if he's a frequenter of name sites like this one?
I wonder if using the nickname Mia might help, in that it would sort of train people to pronounce that first vowel correctly. So you could say, 'You can call her Mia, but her full name is Mi-RAY-a, like Mia with Ray in the middle. I still like Reia as a nickname, though.
Mireia is one of the most beautiful names I've ever heard. Please don't change it! I do think Mimi, Miri, Mira or Ray or Reia would be wonderful nicknames- especially Reia! If people have trouble with the pronunciation, perhaps likening it to the French name Mireille (which I first fell in love with from the French in Action series in high school) might help.
I was just reading about the name Elowen, which is apparently Cornish and means Elm. I think it would sound lovely with your children's names.
I really enjoyed looking up "hypocoristic." Wikipedia's etymology for it is really fascinating, funny and, well, offensive: "From Ancient Greek ὑποκοριστικός (hupokoristikos), from ὑποκορίζομαι (hupokorizomai, “I speak in the language of children”), from ὑπό (hupo, “below”) + κορίζομαι (korizomai, “I act like a girl”), fromκόρη (korē, “girl”)."
Gwen can be a boy's name? I had no idea. Is it short for something in those cases, and if so, what?
Miriam, of course the name has nothing to do with the Indian caste! Obviously! I'm just saying one might want to know of the word--spelled the same when transliterated in English--before naming one's child that. Like I said, it's a lovely name in/from Hebrew, isn't pronounced like the Indian word, but is spelled the same way in English.
I really like the pronunciation of Dalit, but if anyone is thinking of using it, you might want to be aware that it is spelled exactly like dalit, which means 'oppressed' in Hindi and other Indian languages, and is the preferred term of those formerly known as the 'Untouchable' caste in India.
Abram Silas "Abe"-Very nice. Sort of Old Testament/ cowboy-ish.
Abram Forester-The flow of this sounds slightly nicer to me than Abram Silas.
Forester Abram-Nice but not as great.
Malcolm Shane "mac"--Both this and Cormac Shane are nice. Malcolm I don't love just because of the Latin meaning of mal- (even though it's unrelated to this name).
Cormac Shane "Mac"
Felix Owen- Sounds cute but less unique. I loved these names several years ago, but it seems everyone in my somewhat hipstery naming pocket did too. I bet you'll meet several other Felix Owens and Owen Felixes.
Maksim Leo "mak"- This one seems very different from the others and reads very Russian/Soviet Union to me (Maksim Gorky and Leo Tolstoy)
Crosby Milo- Cute. Maybe a bit trendy.
I've only ever met female Shannons. It does sound date-stamped to me around the late 1940's, 1950's. I'd group it with other Mom names like Sharron and Cheryl. But I see from the Name Voyager that it actually peaked a little later, in the 1970s. The peak is sharp, indicating a fairly date-stamped trend.
That doesn't mean you can't bring it back, though!
Not knowing the My Girl reference, I was actually thinking Veda would be a more logical spelling for getting the Vay-da pronunciation. People might read it as Vee-da, but would be easily corrected, a la Lena--Lee-na or Lay-na.
Miriam, I find the New Orleans pronunciation of Calliope really interesting, because that's how my Greek colleague pronounces her name.
I have a slightly negative connotation with the Gwen names. They seem a little ren faire to me-probably due to their similarity with Gwenevere. My sister wanted to name her daughter Gwendolyn a few years ago, and I, in what I now realize was truly biatchy big sister mode, objected on those terms. So I guess to make up for that, I should say to you, if you love it, go for it. It will be adorable on your daughter. And I'm probably the only person you'll ever encounter with strong aversions to things I'd associate with Anglophile (well, not Anglo- but British Isle-o-phile) creative anachronism--which I'm sure most people wouldn't associate with this name in the least!
African American babies can be fair-browed too!
Hi Nurlan. Well, I really love your real name. I was pronouncing it nurl-rhymes-with-curl, but could easily switch to noor. Or you could consider changing the spelling to Noorlan. And I think Nurik is adorable-but I get that adorable's not what you're going for. But since your heart is set on changing it, I'd say Kaisar is fine. Less likely to be mispronounced. But, having just seen a staging of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, I have to say the name has some negative connotations. When I hear Kaisar, I think dictator with a tragic fate. On someone from Kazakhstan living in the West, I might worry it would also resonate with all sorts ofxenophobic cultural associations involving 'Oriental despotism'! Anyone else get that vibe, or am I being ungenerous of my expectations of fellow Westerners?
edited to add: I guess it could easily be mispronounced. I was reading it KEYE-sar too, not Keye-ZAR. That won't be the first impulse for moist Americans.
oh man, I'm really a big fan of Nurlan now! might be my new favorite name. It really sounds lovely, fits with the ends-with-n trend, has wonderful connotations.
For a boy, what about Vincent? The pronunciation is different in the various languages, but I think that they all sound similar enough that they would kind of give the kid an alter-ego feeling without feeling distant from his name, if you now what I mean.
Traleerose, that's about how I'd describe my Greek friend's pronunciation, except it sounds to me that the last syllable is really under-stressed, even swallowed a bit, so that it's more like ca-lee-OHP. I don't know if that's just because of her regional accent.
Yes. She's Greek and pronounces it very differently than I've heard it in the US.
What don't you like about Nurlan? I think it has a lovely sound. Of course I don't know what it connotes In Kazakhstan.