Name Sage: A German-Italian-English Name for Baby #2
We are expecting our second child on February 16th, exactly two years after we welcomed our daughter, Evelina Viti. She goes by Lina. We chose not to find out the gender again this time, but it is making choosing a name that much harder!
Evelina’s middle name is from my husband’s family, which is very Italian. Our last name is Italian, too, and ends in ‘o’.
If this baby is a girl, we are equally stumped. I have suggested Lorelei, as a German name for girls, a nod to my German heritage. My husband is not totally opposed, but he doesn’t like that it means temptress. The middle name will be Magdalena, after my grandmother.
We both love traditional names that are somewhat unusual now. The meaning of the name is also important to us. We had a difficult pregnancy, so the fact that Evelina meant “wished for child” made it even more perfect.
So basically, I am afraid I won’t be able to find a name I love as much as my firstborn’s name!
The Name Sage replies:
One of the reasons naming a first child is hard is that it’s a blank slate. We can choose anything, from Elizabeth to Valencia, Jax to Lorenzo. And yet, naming a second child isn’t always easier, because pressure to match the first child’s name rules out many an appealing option.
Finding the middle ground between two parents’ different styles and matching a sibling’s name? That’s a puzzle!
As for the meaning? Your husband is half right. In German folklore, Lorelei is a shipwreck-causing siren. But the name ultimately comes from a large rock in the River Rhine, and theories suggest that it means “murmuring rock” – a reference to the sound of the water. This makes Lorelei a nature name, too – and might help sway your husband!
If not Lorelei, I wonder if you’d consider Aurora, Juliana, Noemi, Ottilie, or Saskia? They’re all used in German, though none is quite as obviously a heritage choice as Lorelei. My favorite combination is Evelina and Ottilie – Lina and Tilly. Or perhaps you’d consider Katarina or Catarina, German and Italian forms of Katherine, with the nickname Kate.
Boys’ names seem like the bigger challenge. I tend to agree with you about ‘o’ ending names – it’s tough to find one that works with on ‘o’ ending surname.
Still, there are some Italian names that end with a different sound, and a great many possibilities that seem like they might make good compromise choices. And since your surname is shorter, some of the longer, ‘o’ ending names might be worth a look.
Some names to consider for a son:
Giovanni, called Van – Giovanni is nothing more than the Italian form of the classic John. In that sense, Giovanni sounds exactly like a brother for Evelina – they’re both romance language spins on more traditional choices. Plus, Giovanni shorts to Van, which seems like a great companion name for Lina.
Julius – Ancient Julius reminds me of Marius. It has the style that you prefer, but thanks to Julius Caesar’s tenure, it’s also a Roman name. Julian is another option, though it’s currently in the US Top 100.
Felix – Felix has a great meaning – lucky! It’s also an appealingly international name, heard in German as well as English. In Italian, it’s Felice – which doesn’t feel like an obvious name for an American boy, but suggests that if your son traveled to Italy, his name would translate easily.
Magnus – The middle name you’ve chosen for a daughter reminded me of Magnus. It comes from the Latin word for great. It strikes me as neither Italian nor German – in fact, it’s most common in Scandinavia. Still, Magnus like the kind of name that might work.
Augustus or Augustine – Actually, I’m a sucker for Augusten, as in the writer Augusten Burroughs. But maybe that’s too out there? Like Magnus, Augustus means great, from the Latin. Nicknames August and Gus feel more authentically German, but since the name is associated with the Roman Empire, I wonder if it would appeal to your husband?
Sebastiano, called Bastian – Sebastiano is a long, Italian name that ends with ‘o’ – exactly what we were trying to avoid, right? But stay with me for a minute, because Bastian is a very German short form of Sebastian. And while Sebastian is in the current US Top 100, Sebastiano is not. If the name appeals to you, I think Lina and Bastian sound perfect together, as do Evelina and Sebastiano.
Raphael or Raffaello, called Rafe – Along the same lines, I wonder if a form of Raphael might work? It’s another Biblical name found in most European languages, as well as English. Rafe is a handsome nickname, and I like it quite a bit with Lina.
The good news is that there are dozens of names that occur in English, German, and Italian. And it’s possible to find a longer Italian – or Latin – form, with a shorter, and more German name for everyday use.
But that’s not the only possible approach. It’s also worth considering whether your preferences in boys’ names are just a little different than your style when it comes to naming a girl. That’s not at all unusual, and it doesn’t mean that your children’s names won’t sound great together.
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on January 6th, 2016 at 12:40 am
Being German, i perceive Lorelei to be more on the temptress side of things, and wouldn’t pair it with Magdalena as both are, in meaning, somewhat opposed mythological/biblical figures to me.
Ottilie is pronounced Ot-TEE-lee-eh, which may be difficult for Americans to pronounce.
You could look for a Name with an “Italian” feel.. Mina is popular right now. Or Alina. Melina. Milena. Helena. Leni.
I like the suggestion of Aurora.
Will we get an update?
on January 6th, 2016 at 1:41 am
Mariana / Marianna perhaps?
I live in Switzerland – It might be worth looking at the Swiss name lists, since the Swiss have 4 national languages, including German and Italian. There will probably be names with the cross -lingo feel. There are many english language Swiss sites with info – Google ‘ Swiss baby names’. What is popular in Switzerland wont necessarily follow USA trends so therefore you might find something
appropriate in the top 100lists.
on January 6th, 2016 at 8:50 am
Don’t know much about Italian or German names but these seem to sound right:
Violetta, Mirabella, Annika, Seraphina, Juliet, Ophelia, Rosalie, Aurelia, Camilla
For boys I like the suggestion of Felix and Augustus.
on January 6th, 2016 at 10:28 am
Switzerland may be worth looking into (just saw @Fizgee’s posting, sorry to repeat). The Italian-speaking canton Ticino has some interesting Italian takes on German names. Some I’ve spotted:
Ginevra (reminds me of Geneva but still feels Italian)
Bruno (sounds Italian with -o, but is German in meaning)
Mauro (close to Marius)
I would also suggested Angela for a girl. Angela Merkel is the chancellor of Germany, and even though it’s pronounced differently in Germany, it still can give a nod to both your German ancestry and his Italian ancestry. Otherwise, I would say pick some neutral territory. 🙂
on January 6th, 2016 at 11:13 am
Evelina nn Lina is absolutely lovely. From the choice’s that the Name Sage suggested I like, Ottilie nn Tilly, Aurora, Raphael nn Rafe and Magnus.
Suggestions (sorry if they are repeated)
Adele or Adeleaide
Giselle nn Elle
on January 6th, 2016 at 12:11 pm
on January 6th, 2016 at 12:36 pm
I know bi-cultural sisters named Evelina and Emilia – I love that combo! It works really well with them 🙂
on January 6th, 2016 at 1:46 pm
First off, Evelina is stunning! I love the suggestion of Aurora. It is such a beautiful name. It fits all the criteria, it’s romantic sounding, it’s vintage but definitely underused. I love that it’s the real name of sleeping beauty because if your baby is a little girl, I’m sure she will be your own little princess. 🙂 You could call them Lina and Rory. Or, you could always not use a nickname for your second child. I have a first child who goes by a nickname all the time. I thought I needed a nickname for our second child but turns out I didn’t like any of the options out there. So we still call our first child by her nickname and call our second child by her full name and it sounds great and works quite nicely together. Lina and Aurora are equally lovely if you’re not feeling Rory. For a boy why not make Sebastiano a little more modern by going with Sebastian? I have a friend whose son is Sebastian and he goes by the nickname Bash which is so sweet and super spunky. I think Lina and Bash sound fabulous together! Best of luck, let us all know what you wind up picking!
on January 6th, 2016 at 2:45 pm
i’m italian and these are some names i think can work in german, and with magdalena:
adele magdalena (lina and ada)
iris magdalena (lina and iris)
emilia magdalena (lina and milly? lina and emi?)
vivian magdalena (lina and vivi)
the only evelina i ever met had a brother named ondino, for the norse god. they were so cute!
evelina and raphael are very nice together, how about:
dominic (lina and nico)
sebastian (lina and seba)
leonardo (lina and leo)
also my grandpa was a bruno and his sister’s name was lina.
on January 6th, 2016 at 4:10 pm
I like a shorter first name with Magdalena. Risa Magdalena sounds beautiful. You could even spell it Rise with umlauts over the “e” like the opera singer Rise Stevens. This would make it more Germanic but harder to pronounce. Since. they are both pronounced the same way, I would go with Risa. For a boy, I like Luca or Theo.
on January 6th, 2016 at 8:05 pm
I love the suggestion of Sebastiano! It’s a twist on a familiar name that works well, and Bastian and Lina, Evelina and Sebastiano, do sound a lot like siblings! If I were the parents, I would be set on Sebastiano, maybe Giovanni. I like the suggestion of Rafe as well.
on January 6th, 2016 at 8:58 pm
My favorite suggestions are Emilia Magdelena. It sounds lovely with Evelina and Lina and has lots of nickname possibilities. For a boy Luca and Gianni are both great choices.
on January 6th, 2016 at 9:21 pm
Sebastian works better than Sebastiano if you don’t want an ‘o’ ending. This may be too Italian, but Guiseppe is a cool name. I like the suggestions of Gus, Felix, Julian, and Raphael. Other boys:
For the girls, something that doesn’t end in ‘a’ may sound better with Magdalena. Or you could make it Magdalen.
on January 6th, 2016 at 11:03 pm
I love love love Rosemary nn Romy for you. I think it works so beautifully on all levels for you all.
For a boy, how about Hugo? If you’re looking for a name with a great meaning, you can’t do better than Hugo: Bright of mind and spirit. Isn’t that wonderful? I don’t know if it would go with your last name, but I understand it to be heard all over Europe.
Let us know what you decide. All the best!
on January 6th, 2016 at 11:22 pm
I love the suggestion of Juliana and a Jtucker’s suggestion of Juliet- my pick if I ever have a girl. Had Juliana picked out but then went to Juliet.
Love Felix, Augustus, Luca, and (my son’s name) Frederick.
on January 6th, 2016 at 11:25 pm
I would consider magdalena as a first name! Nn Maggie or even Maddie? Also I was thinking Margareta which I think works well in Italian and English nn Greta which is a German diminutive. Meaning is pearl which is a nice meaning. Might not work with magdalena as a middle name because they both begin with the same letter letter and almost ryhme. But maybe you like that! 🙂
on January 6th, 2016 at 11:40 pm
Congrats on Baby #2!!!
First, Evelina Viti is a darling choice for your first child. It is a perfect combination!
The name Eleanara comes to mind for a girl, if you don’t mind repeating first initials. It is familiar in both German and Italian. Eleanara Magdalena could work, but it is, of course, a preference thing.
Other girls names I would suggest (sorry if there are repeats):
Annelise– or you could use a more Germanic spelling, Annelies
Aurora– one my favorites that Abby suggested
Gianna– I have a little cousin in my own German-Italian family by this name and it works perfectly on both sides, even though it is definitely Italian.
Ottilie– my othe fav of Abby’s suggestions
Rosemary– yes, nicolebaby1! Goes nicely as a sibling name for Evelina and well with the mn Magdalena.
For boys, I think that Raphael pairs well with Evelina. I also like the suggestions of Felix and Lucien.
Please, do update us with your decision!
on January 10th, 2016 at 12:06 am
My mom had the same problem. I have the same 3 ethnicities as my heritage. She named me Laura. It’s popular in all 3 countries.
on January 10th, 2016 at 1:02 pm
Amelia is good name that is both recognized all three languages. It also goes well with a short second name if you want to keep the same feel as Evelina Viti. Some suggestions are Amelia Neve, Amelia Lara, Amelia Jule…
I also like Evelina and Milena together. Lina and Lena or Lina and Mila sound cute together.
For boys I suggest Amadeo Max. I feel like it’s a combo that encompasses all 3 cultures. I also suggest Roman Leo or Milan Luca.
Hope these help! Would love to hear what you end up with!
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