Dutch Baby Struggles

Thank you for all of your help with our twins! Now, as we hunker down and wait for them, I have come to ask for your help for a dear friend of mine.

         My friend is a few months along and has tremendous struggles naming her baby. She is from the Netherlands and her husband is from Aruba, but they live full time in the United States. They want a name that works in Dutch, English, and ideally in Spanish.

         If the baby is a boy, her father expects the baby to be named after him or his father, Lars or Hans, because that is a family tradition in the male line and she has no brothers. The problem is that they don't really like either name. For boys names they like short snappy names. They tend to like traditional nicknames as full names because my friends husband's name is an example of that trend. Their top boys names so far are, Bas, Bram, and Cas, but they are open to more suggestions. 

       For girls, my friend's longtime favorite name is Isa, but she worries that it is too close to Isis and would be hard to live with. Her husband would like to find a way to honor his mother and sister, Sandra and Chandra, who have been instrumental parts of his life. She and her mother both share the name Fenna. They both like the names Luna and Tess, but neither seem quite right and they worry about growing popularity.

They would love some advice and suggestions! 


February 12, 2016 8:24 PM

My son goes to school with an Isa -- it hadn't even occurred to me that it was similar to Isis. Would it being a nickname for a more standard cohice like Isabel or Isabeau be helpful in assuaging their worries, because then their Isa could have other choices to go by? While I would avoid the name Isis right now, I feel like the term being used is shifting more to Daesh, too, so I hope that would provide additional reassurance that Isa should be fine.

As for honoring a Sandra and a Chandra, using another -dra or -andra name would be a great choice. I like Lysandra/Lisandra, myself, but here's a list of not-super-obscure ones in order of popularity for 2014, with spelling variants removed: Alexandra, Kendra, Alessandra, Alondra, Alejandra, Cassandra, Audra, Leandra, Sidra, Deandra. Also perhaps Nedra or Isidra/Ysidra or Andra? If the parents can't find a -dra name they love enough to use as the call name, I think this could be a lovely thing to stick in the middle name spot. Alternatively, they could see whether there are any sleek nicknames that they could fashion from any of the above list that might be more to their taste. Cass? Lonnie? Lea?

February 12, 2016 9:44 PM

I knew a Dutch woman named Xandra and also a child named Isa, but that was before ISIS.  However, I don't think Isa in any way wouldlead someone to think that the parents were endorsing ISIS.

February 13, 2016 2:11 PM

Xander is actually her husbands name, so Xandra might be the perfect middle.

February 12, 2016 9:16 PM

Isa is perfectly usable and in my opinion, way beyond the whole Isis association. In my country, it's a well-used nickname for the very common Isabel/Isabelle/Isabela/Isabella names. It's a wonderful alternative to Bel and Bela which lately have become associated with old ladies' pet poodlesIsa is the nickname of a relative of mine who considers Bela too girly-girl and princessy for her taste. Isa is also the most common name for Isadora, which I think would be perfect for you both. Another idea would be Thais/Tais or Taisa, which are short as you seem to prefer, but not too common.

As to honor the grandmothers, I really love Alexandrine/a or Sandrine (as in actess Sandrine Bonnaire). Cassandra is decidedly amazing! @Lucubratrix gave you some really great suggestions. I don't see why your friends can't use Sandra as a middle name or second first if that's common in their name cultures... I think it's due to revival.

Alessandra is very beautiful, romantic and much more attactive and soft to the ears than Alexandra or even Alejandra.

February 12, 2016 10:27 PM

Visually, Isa made me think of Isla. Isis never occurred to me until you mentioned it.

Is your friend saying EYE-sa or EE-sa for Isa? I'm guessing EYE-sa if she's worried about Isis, but I know that it can be pronounced as EE-sa/EE-za when short for something like Isabel. (Or is that only among French-speaking people? I just realized that everyone I know who uses Isa as a nickname for Isabel(le) is native French speaking, and in French it's pronounced ee-za-belle.)

February 13, 2016 1:07 PM

The Isa I know is also an EE-sa, also short for Isabel, without any French-speaking heritage (to the best of my knowledge).

I agree that EE-sa is not at all close to Isis, but that EYE-sa (which I didn't even think about) is a little closer. I might not want to use it as a stand-alone name if it were a cause for concern, but as a nickname it would still be fine.

February 13, 2016 2:20 PM

They would pronounce it EE-sa. I agree with you that it shouldn't be too much of a problem, but it is something the mother-to-be just can't get over. Now whenever she sees the name, she thinks of ISIS. They are trying to find a girls name that they like just as much that doesn't have as negative a connotation for her.

February 12, 2016 11:19 PM

In English, the boy's name that comes immediately to mind is Jack: short, snappy, nicknamey, and derived from the same source as Hans. However, I have no idea how or if it'd work in Dutch or Spanish. Similarly, there's Enzo to honor a Lars, but that's Italian(oid), not Spanish or Dutch.

February 13, 2016 12:01 PM

My dearest Dutch friend is Jack as a call name for Jacobus.  In Dutch it is pronounced very like the French Jacques only with a shorter vowel.  He was born in 1953, and his parents chose the English spelling out of respect/gratitude for the liberation of the Netherlands by the English-speaking peoples.  The Dutch spelling is Sjaak.  From a Dutch perspective Jack/Sjaak is a form of either Jacob/Jacobus or Isaac.  While in English Jack is a nickname for John, and Hans is also a form of John, in Dutch Jack and Hans do not come from the same origin (Yohanan).  However, in Dutch Jan is a more common John form than Hans, although Hans does occur.

BTW when a Dutch person pronounces Jack while speaking English, it comes out roughly like "check."  No one in the Netherlands pronounces it the way I as a native speaker of American English do.

February 13, 2016 2:18 PM

They both like Jack but see it as a little too popular. Enzo is growing in popularity in the Netherlands and will probably get added to the list.

February 13, 2016 2:07 AM

For girls you could use Anya/Anja. It sounds simliar to Sandra/Chandra with the a at the end. I also have always liked Anikka for dutch girl name.

February 13, 2016 10:38 AM

Saskia could honor Sandra and Chandra.