Denglish 72: My German Wife Disapproves of My Baby Name Suggestions

My wife and I have in no way made up our minds about having kids. Some days it seems like a pleasant enough idea, and other days it seems like a singularly cruel torture reserved for fools and condom haters. And yet, inexplicably, we enjoy coming up with baby names just for fun.

I am partial to weird names, especially first names that sound like last names. Harrison. Buckley. Jagger. The weirder the better, because I believe a unique moniker is more likely to give rise to a unique individual. My wife, however, disagrees with me just as hard as her tiny German body will allow. She likes safe first names, but she doesn’t like them because they are safe; she likes them because she likes boring things. This was why, back in January of 2012, our discussion concerning baby names ended like this…

ME: “What do you think about the name ‘Donner’ as a boy’s name?”

THE WIFE: “Donner? Hmm, it sounds like ‘Donna,’ the girl’s name. I can’t hear the difference between ‘Donner’ and ‘Donna.’

ME: “That’s because your ears have an accent.”

Click here to learn more about the term “Denglish.”

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19 thoughts

  1. Ah, yes! The invisible German ‘r’!! If you named the baby “Donner” would his middle name be “Kebap” or maybe “Party”? I can tell you one thing about finding a name for a baby — it can push you to the edge of divorce (which may be why my husband and I only had one kid — fearing that naming a second would be the last straw). You’ll also get lots of help from relatives, such as grandmas-in-waiting who want you to name YOUR baby girl after THEIR mommas, when, in fact, THEY had girls themselves and DID NOT name them after their own mommas (because those names were AWFUL!!). If they thought the names were so great, why didn’t THEY use them?


    1. Re: that “r.” Here in New England (and also in large parts of Olde England), the “r” gets taken out of places where it’s written and put into places where it isn’t. So yeah–you probably want to watch that one. The other name ideas are good ones, though.

      I have to wonder with a line like this, however:
      “The weirder the better, because I believe a unique moniker is more likely to give rise to a unique individual.”
      if you didn’t just listen to a little too much Johnny Cash as a child.


  2. Wait, you wanted to name a kid Thunder? Would his little brother be Blitz? And why did your wife ever marry YOU if she likes boring things like you claim?
    You know, one of the important things (for husband AND me) when naming our children was that the names had to be ‘safe’ in both languages. You simply don’t want to give your son the German name Bagger (I know, that’s not a name, it’s just to illustrate the point) only to realize that when English speakers hear you call him by that name they’d consider involving CPS.


  3. I can’t imagine why I’m laughing out loudly at the fact that your wife’s ears have an accent. Call your girl Dianera and the boy Joseph.
    Good enough for both languages – and you still can use all the languages you want on Joseph:
    German Josef – Italian Giuseppe (Beppo) – Spanish Jose – French same as English – Swiss Sepp
    Have fun… LOL


  4. I am still partial to Bob Saget. No, you can’t just say Bob- It must be a complete Bob Saget every time! If you say it fast enough and smooshed together, it might sound German. :)


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