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Off topic: Names with identical spelling in different languages
Thread poster: Anton Konashenok

Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 11:02
English to Russian
+ ...
Dec 24, 2019

I am trying to compose a list of personal names that have as few linguistic variants as possible - that is, are spelled the same way in many languages. For example, John/Johann/Jean/Juan/João/Giovanni is a poor example, whereas Daniel is a good one. In other words, what names would make it difficult to guess where their bearers come from? A guy named Daniel could well come from virtually any country in Europe and America (and Israel, too). I already have a short list but will withhold it for th... See more
I am trying to compose a list of personal names that have as few linguistic variants as possible - that is, are spelled the same way in many languages. For example, John/Johann/Jean/Juan/João/Giovanni is a poor example, whereas Daniel is a good one. In other words, what names would make it difficult to guess where their bearers come from? A guy named Daniel could well come from virtually any country in Europe and America (and Israel, too). I already have a short list but will withhold it for the time being. Any suggestions?Collapse


 

Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:02
Member (2006)
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
What did you think of.... Dec 24, 2019

Anton Konashenok wrote:

I am trying to compose a list of personal names that have as few linguistic variants as possible - that is, are spelled the same way in many languages. For example, John/Johann/Jean/Juan/João/Giovanni is a poor example, whereas Daniel is a good one. In other words, what names would make it difficult to guess where their bearers come from? A guy named Daniel could well come from virtually any country in Europe and America (and Israel, too). I already have a short list but will withhold it for the time being. Any suggestions?


....Maria? (to name one)


 

Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 11:02
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Maria Dec 24, 2019

Maria has three variants across major European languages: Maria, Marie, Mary. Not too bad, but could be better. Aiming for two variants or, ideally, only one.

Incidentally, your own name is a good example: Roberto in ES/PT/IT and Robert everywhere else.

[Edited at 2019-12-24 15:23 GMT]


 

The Misha
Local time: 05:02
Russian to English
+ ...
David? Brenda? Kimberly? Rhonda? Byron? Barron? Ivan? Dec 24, 2019

I think David would be the absolute champion here as it stays essentially unchanged across all languages. Generally, I think, most of the more recent (i.e. non-Biblical) names would tend to change very little since they are essentially foreign borrowings rather than adaptions in the vernacular of something derived from common origins shared with other languages.

Additionally, I can't imagine how the currently popular US black names - all those Latishas, Tanishas, Tyrons, Lebrons, et
... See more
I think David would be the absolute champion here as it stays essentially unchanged across all languages. Generally, I think, most of the more recent (i.e. non-Biblical) names would tend to change very little since they are essentially foreign borrowings rather than adaptions in the vernacular of something derived from common origins shared with other languages.

Additionally, I can't imagine how the currently popular US black names - all those Latishas, Tanishas, Tyrons, Lebrons, etc. - could vary if carried from one language to another. As a matter of pure, unsubstantiated speculation, I would venture a guess that the more exotic the name, the more chances its has of staying the same across languages - that is, say, if someone advanced or "woke" enough in Argentina wanted to give their baby the name of Sundarpitchai:) If you are laughing, you shouldn't. After all, it did happen to Volodia Teitelboim and countless others of his ilk, did it not?

Oh, and what about all those virtually ironclad Arabic/Muslim names? Or do you only need European ones?

Incidentally, the name of Misha/Mischa/Micha seems to stay pretty much unchanged anywhere. It is actually quite popular in NYC now - for a girl!!! Oh, man, kiss me tender:)

Cheers, Anton.

P.S. You forgot Mariah Carey:)

[Edited at 2019-12-24 16:10 GMT]
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Andriy Yasharov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 12:02
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
Mark Dec 24, 2019

perhaps, David, Brenda

 

Victoria Britten  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:02
Member (2012)
French to English
+ ...
Laura? Dec 24, 2019

Maybe?

 

Vesa Korhonen  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 12:02
English to Finnish
+ ...
A quick browse... Dec 25, 2019

...through my calendar (yes, there are names associated with each day except today (25th Dec) and 1st Jan) provided these, which are more or less commonly used in Finnish, and to me appear quite universal:

Hugo, Aurora, Kim, Gabriel, Ira, Minea, Linda, Albert, Rosa, Melissa, Sofia, Emma, Helga, Leo, Jade, Nanna, Alisa, Sara, Elena, Milo, Stella, Nina, Max, Anna, Hans.

Some influence of several languages can be seen, and I'm not too sure if I managed to filter out all th
... See more
...through my calendar (yes, there are names associated with each day except today (25th Dec) and 1st Jan) provided these, which are more or less commonly used in Finnish, and to me appear quite universal:

Hugo, Aurora, Kim, Gabriel, Ira, Minea, Linda, Albert, Rosa, Melissa, Sofia, Emma, Helga, Leo, Jade, Nanna, Alisa, Sara, Elena, Milo, Stella, Nina, Max, Anna, Hans.

Some influence of several languages can be seen, and I'm not too sure if I managed to filter out all the national spelling variations, but hopefully this gives you some additional material.

(Also didn't check the Swedish side of my calendar, there definitely are several more potential names there
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ahartje
Portugal
Local time: 10:02
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
And... Dec 25, 2019

Eva, Bruno, Benjamin, Lisa, Max...

 

Amel Abdullah  Identity Verified
Jordan
Arabic to English
+ ...
Arabic Dec 25, 2019

Three common Arabic names that come to mind: Adam, Omar, Sarah

 

Zibow Retailleau  Identity Verified
Mauritius
Local time: 14:02
Member (2019)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Rose? Dec 25, 2019

I know it is spelled the same in French but I do not know about other languages.

[Edited at 2019-12-25 12:12 GMT]


 

Juan Jacob  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 04:02
French to Spanish
+ ...
Nobody Dec 25, 2019

said Ana?

 

Andrzej Mierzejewski  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 11:02
Polish to English
+ ...
The condition of identical spelling... Dec 25, 2019

... is very strongly narrowing the selection. Several examples of names with at least two spelling versions:

Rosa > PL Róża; EN, FR Rose
Sofia > PL Zofia; EN, FR Sophie; IT, DE Sophia
Alisa > PL Alicja; in several languages: Alicia
Leo > PL, FR Leon
Elena > PL Helena; EN Helen
David > PL Dawid; IT Davide
Daniel > IT Daniele


 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 05:02
Member (2008)
French to English
+ ...
Do accents count? Dec 26, 2019

Melissa (EN) > Mélissa (FR)

 

Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 11:02
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
to Misha Dec 26, 2019

The Misha wrote:

I think David would be the absolute champion here as it stays essentially unchanged across all languages.


Yes, that was my first idea, too. A few more names of Hebrew origin are also very good - for example, Daniel and Gabriel would be the same almost everywhere (Italian is an exception).

As a matter of pure, unsubstantiated speculation, I would venture a guess that the more exotic the name, the more chances its has of staying the same across languages


In terms of spelling alone, yes, but these names will not be ethnically neutral, even if they are not very exotic. For example, a guy named Uwe is unambiguously German.

[Edited at 2019-12-26 17:47 GMT]


 

expressisverbis
Portugal
Local time: 10:02
Member (2015)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Spelled the same way in many languages? Dec 27, 2019

My beautiful name: Sandra

[Edited at 2019-12-27 14:22 GMT]


 
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