Wednesday, February 24, 2016

10 Vietnamese Names You Never Thought of Using: Girls

Kerstin Sterl via Dribbble
Names from Asian cultures are some of the trickiest to import into the English-speaking world. Many of them use sounds we can't pronounce, or have slightly "off" translations. However, Vietnamese uses an alphabet rather than characters, so many of their native names are ripe for American use. The following ten names would work very well on a mixed-culture baby, for first or middle names.

Cam- Though it may sound nickname-y to American ears, the name Cam is very much complete by Vietnamese standards. The Vietnamese version means "orange," like the fruit. She is the perfect Vietnamese-American name, since she's familiar in both countries.

Chau- Chau is a sweet and delicate Vietnamese name meaning "pearl." She shares this meaning with the Marg- names, so Chau could be a subtle way to honor both Vietnamese heritage, and Grandma Margaret.

Chi- Lovely Chi means "branch" in Vietnamese. The Igbo tribe in Western Africa also uses the name Chi, but there it means "spiritual being."

Hoa- Looking for an exotic alternative to Noa? Hoa is your girl. She means "flower," and unlike Noa, is strictly feminine.

Hue- While she might be considered a word name by American standards, in Vietnam, Hue is a well-known given name. She means "intelligence" or "lily."

Linh- Linh looks like she'd be pronounced like Lynn, but she is actually said more like LEEN or LEENG, depending on the region. Either way, she's an easy import. Like so many Vietnamese names, Linh has a lovely meaning--"soul."

Mai- Mai is one of my favorites on this list. She has roots in Japan and Vietnam, but the pronunciation varies slightly. The Japanese version is two syllables, MAH-ee, but the Vietnamese version sounds more like "my." Mai is one of the few Vietnamese names to ever break the top 1000--in the late eighties and early nineties she got as high as #793. Mai means "apricot blossom."

Phuong- Phuong is one of the most consistently popular names in Vietnam. If you live in an area with a lot of Vietnamese Americans, you've probably heard this one quite a bit (I know I have). Phuong actually have two meanings, depending on the accent marks. The more common spelling means "phoenix," while the other means "direction." Though they have slightly different pronunciations depending on the accent marks, in English, they'd both be said as "FOON"

Tien- Tien is a fantastic Vietnamese name. She's one that would translate well in America. She means "spirit" or "fairy," which is almost too adorable to pass up.

Yen- Speaking of wonderful meanings, Yen means "peaceful." I'm not usually a fan of Y names, but I really like Yen.

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