Javad - I love that Rayhan has a name that translates well in English and in Chinese. So awesome for a bi-cultural kid not to have to go by different names in different places. Unfortunately I do think that Rayhan and Kian sound too similar for brothers, but I also understand why your wife loves Kian and wants to use it. Not sure how much help I can be I really liked some of previous posters suggestions, in particular Lucian. I apologize for repeats.... most aren't even super close but I figure maybe they'll spurn inspiration.
Yogi (You-ge -> too Yogi Bear?)
Toby? (Tu-bai - it's by no means perfect but close?)
Tyren (Ty-ren -> apparently made up by some silly americans and has no meaning)
To-ren (Tu-ren - it's a bit off but both are lovely)
Wendell (I don't know where the ll's would come from but Wen-de-??)
I'll be back if I think of more.
Thanks for the suggestions!
- Leolin is one I'll have to put some thought into. Pretty cool name.
- Eugene is actually my hometown (and a town I could easily see us living in the future), so I feel like it's not really useable for us (although the Chinese meaning would be something like 'universal peace', which is cool)
- Roland is a name I really like, but we've had trouble coming up with any good Chinese names to go along with it, even though the sounds are close. It's definitely one we're still reflecting on though.
- Oisin is one I've never considered before, but it does have the potential to make a good Chinese name, and it's a nice Irish name too. That'll have to go on the reflection list.
- Lucian would be a very strong option, but it sounds almost the same as my sister-in-laws name.
- Caius is a name that's been on the possibility list. If we choose a Chinese name with Kai in it, then he could easily end up being called Kai in Chinese and Caius or NN Cai in English. Could work. But I've been getting a little less excited about the name Caius over time. Maybe though.
- Waylan would be cool if I wasn't such a Simpsons fan, and Waylan Smithers is a very strong association with this name (and not the kind of association I like, he's a strange character)
- Bowen isn't bad, I do like it better than Owen (and my dad and grandfather and great grandfather's names are all John, and Owen is a variation of John, and Bowen means 'son of Owen', so it could work). I don't know if I could get as excited about it, but maybe. Have to reflect a bit.
Thanks for suggestions! If you think of any more, I'm happy to hear them.
I'm not especially good at this sort of thing but I've been so enthralled by your fascinating name hunt that I couldn't pass this opportunity up. The only two I could come up with that haven't already been mentioned are Gwaine (Gui-yan) and Leander (Li-yan-de). Both fairly huge stretches, but might provide a little inspiration.
I am so sorry about the Top Four. It's been such a long journey, and these names ARE seriously awesome (in fact, they're so awesome I've swiped a few of your first- and second-tier choices for my own list along the way!) But if your wife is not on board with any of them, then I think you're making the right decision.
To answer the first question, Rayhan and Kian are too similar for brothers according to my personal taste. I prefer the complementary look and sound of, for example, Rayhan and Emrys. However, I don't think they're too similar to actually work. I know sisters named Payton and Paisley, siblings named Caley, Camryn and Casen, and twin boys named Coleson and Carson, and I don't think there's any trauma involved. All of those sibling sets are more matchy than Rayhan and Kian.
In answer to the second question, I'm going to print out the list of Chinese sounds and spend some time with my baby name books to see whether I can come up with any awesome suggestions not already suggested. A couple I really liked were Oisin and Ewan/Euan.
Okay, here's my list so far (I'm not certain all the meanings are correct. The book I was consulting is kinda unreliable that way):
Bingley (bing li)--English surname, apparently a place name from the West Riding of Yorkshire meaning "dweller at the hill or grove". It would be a hit with Jane Austen fans.
Damian (de mei yan)--Greek, "tamer/to tame"
Dieter (de tai/tu)--a stretch, but it's German: "people-army"
Donato (dao na tu)--Italian, from Latin, "gift"
Eli (yi lai)--have you considered Eli? Seems to me this could be a good cross-cultural choice. Hebrew, "God is exalted."
Elihu (yi lai yu)--much less common than Eli, and the sound is still close in Chinese. Hebrew, "the Lord is my God."
Eilwyn/Elwyn/Elwin (ai wen)--quite a stretch. Eilwyn is Welsh, perhaps meaning "white brow;" Elwyn/Elwin is English and has a variety of possible meanings, including "elf-friend" and "old friend."
Finlay/Finley (fen li/lai)--Gaelic, "fair hero"
Haidar (hai dao)--Arabic, "lion"
Ian (yi yan)--I don't know that Ian is an improvement on Kian. It's an Irish/Scottish John variant.
Julian (yu li yan)--it seems this one might work pretty well. Latin, "downy-bearded," "young"
Mahlon (mei lan)--certainly more matchy with Rayhan than Kian! And it hasn't such a great meaning: Hebrew, "mild" or "sickly."
Tobiah (tu bai yu)--a bit of a stretch. Hebrew, "God is good."
At least you can tell I've been thinking! Best wishes.