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Deepthought
02-09-2015, 09:37 PM
Are there any names that are used in more than one general group? I don't mean like if a name started in a certain place and then moved on to their local neighboring country or something, more like two completely different cultures, that perhaps coincidentally had the same name. For example, both "Zane" and "Rukia"(sp?) are names used in Arabic culture, yet they are also used in Western and Japanese culture respectively, and by hearing the name, one might not know the ethnicity of the person, or other things.

melindamusil
02-09-2015, 10:43 PM
Are you thinking specifically of a certain location or year?

I live in the U.S., and I have a friend who is Malaysian-american, married to a man who is Scottish-american, and they gave their son an Irish name. But somehow I suspect that's not what you're seeking.

Weirdmage
02-09-2015, 10:46 PM
I perhaps have gone with more obvious names, like Kim. It's in Use in Asia, English speaking countries, and the Scandinavian countries. Although I have no idea if there is a transfer between English and Scandinavian languages, I doubt there is a direct connection to Korea.
Never heard of Zane outside of the USA, and Rukia I only vaguely remember hearing at all.

As for names that are coincidentally the same in different cultures, I am not really qualified to answer. You'll either need to get an expert or do quite a bit of research on that.
Probably easier if you give everyone reading the thread an idea of what you want to happen. It seems you want someone with a name that makes it hard/impossible to immediately pin down their ethnicity. If that is the case then I would suggest looking at names in the original ethnic group and picking one that suits that need.

What I do know from speaking several languages is that there are a lot of homophones, words that sound the same but can have different meanings, and those can be completely out there when they come from different languages.

melindamusil
02-09-2015, 10:59 PM
Also in the U.S., there's names that have been shortened or changed. Like that seinfeld episide where Jerry gets excited about a date with a woman whose surname is Chang, thinking she's Chinese, but it turns out to be a shortened version if Changkowski, which I believe is Jewish. Lots of immigrants changed their names to sound more American.

benbenberi
02-09-2015, 11:36 PM
Some names (Kim, Park and Lee spring to mind) are native to both European & Asian cultures. No way to tell anything about the person without more information.

Deepthought
02-09-2015, 11:45 PM
I don't really mind about the application. It would be names for members of the MC's family, who aren't a major part of the story, with generic looks that aren't mentioned often (The MC himself has a genetic condition, so his ethnicity could be anything at all). I don't mind names from any culture; in fact, ones from different ones would be better, and then I could use different ones for the family members, and that would make it ambiguous.

Siri Kirpal
02-10-2015, 12:45 AM
Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

I've been told that "Siri"--the first part of my first name--is used in Scandinavian countries, both for men and women. But my usage is Punjabi, although it's more typical of American than Punjabi Sikhs.

As stated upstream, Kim and Lee are good examples.

Also the last bit of my first name--"pal"--sounds like Paul, but means what it looks like in English: a close companion.

Oh, and the last name Varga is both Spanish and Hungarian.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Weirdmage
02-10-2015, 12:52 AM
I don't really mind about the application. It would be names for members of the MC's family, who aren't a major part of the story, with generic looks that aren't mentioned often (The MC himself has a genetic condition, so his ethnicity could be anything at all). I don't mind names from any culture; in fact, ones from different ones would be better, and then I could use different ones for the family members, and that would make it ambiguous.

I think I understand what you are going for, but I think you are overcomplicating things. As a reader, a family with names from several different cultures is something that cries out for explenation. It's one of those things that could distract me to the point of annoyance with a book.

However, Biblical names are as far as I know common in all Christian congregations around the world, and also in Jewish and Islamic populations. Spellings might be different depending on where you are in the world though, so the knowledgable reader may spot an ethnicity you might not have intended in how you spell a Biblical name.
In many cases people have Biblical names without there being any religious meaning behind it, at least in Northern Europe. I know of quite a few people who where not aware of their names having a Biblical origin.
So, that is most likely what I would have gone for I was going for names that have an ambigious ethnic origin.

Deepthought
02-10-2015, 02:33 AM
I think I understand what you are going for, but I think you are overcomplicating things. As a reader, a family with names from several different cultures is something that cries out for explenation. It's one of those things that could distract me to the point of annoyance with a book.

However, Biblical names are as far as I know common in all Christian congregations around the world, and also in Jewish and Islamic populations. Spellings might be different depending on where you are in the world though, so the knowledgable reader may spot an ethnicity you might not have intended in how you spell a Biblical name.
In many cases people have Biblical names without there being any religious meaning behind it, at least in Northern Europe. I know of quite a few people who where not aware of their names having a Biblical origin.
So, that is most likely what I would have gone for I was going for names that have an ambigious ethnic origin.

True, but. That might differentiate them religiously. I would ideally have them ambiguous as possible, but. It might not make a big impact anyway, and most people might not even care or notice but. If I make their names different, it might just be that-different. Odd names are common in fantasy, but. this is a YA scifi thriller set in modern day. So it might not fit as well. It might be difficult to pull off, but. It might be doable.

Dave Williams
02-10-2015, 10:07 PM
I've noted the Japanese Ohara and Scottish O'Hara...

books2thesky
02-11-2015, 07:03 PM
"Ken" could be either an English or a Japanese first name.

StephanieFox
02-11-2015, 07:58 PM
As far as last names, my name 'Fox' can be British, Jewish (Eastern European) or even Japanese. It seems to be fairly universal.

Becky Black
02-12-2015, 01:29 PM
The name Idris is both Arabic and Welsh, with presumably no connection between the two. But then again it's not a widely used and well known name. Idris Elba is the most widely known Idris right now and he's neither Arab nor Welsh, so most people probably wouldn't immediately associate the name with either of those.