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May is AAPI Heritage Month – Names that Work in Two Cultures

Date: May 13, 2024

May is AAPI Heritage Month – Names that Work in Two Cultures

By Joanne Villavieja, Product Design Analyst, Ethnic Technologies

Asians throughout America’s history have had a large influence on its culture, through cuisine, media, academia, politics, and much more. Every May we celebrate this influence through Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, a once week-long observance that began in 1978, but was later extended to one month by Congress in 1992. According to the Pew Research Center, about 17.8 million Asian adults were living in the United States in 2021, about 7% of the US adult population. This is nearly double the 8.7 million population that was measured in 2000. Another article from Pew Research Center states that this number will continue to rise exponentially, with population projections of about 46 million by the year 2060.

Today we live in a vastly multicultural society, where many families consist of multiple ethnic backgrounds. According to the 2020 Census, the multiracial population increased from 2.9% of the generational population in 2010 (about 9 million people) to 10.2% (33.8 million people) in 2020. The most common combination of races found were White and another race. The White and Asian population saw an increase of 65.8%, about 1.1 million people since 2010.

With the number of White and Asian individuals continuing to grow, many will find themselves exposed to two or more different cultures, bouncing back and forth between them at times. One of the ways parents try to make this navigation easier for their children, is by giving them names that can be easily shared between multiple languages. Here are some examples of commonly used English given names that work well (can be easily transliterated, or are already popular) in various Asian languages:

English-Chinese names: Lily, Kailin, Hailey, Wendy, Anna, Owen, Allan, Jason, Ray, Dan, Ben

English-Indian names: Anita, Mina, Rita, Rina, Tara, Meera, Deven, Jay, Ash, Niel, Avi

English-Filipino names: Elena, Marie, Jocelyn, Princess, Gemma, Joyce, April, Jeremy, Jan, Joel, Edwin, Alvin

A caveat to Filipino-American first names is that they will most often combine two common English names (John Mark, April Joyce, Marie Lynn, etc.) and males will often go by its initials (JR, MJ, AJ, etc.).

English-Vietnamese names: Kim, May, Lillian, Lin, Lana, Vivian, Jenny, Kevin, Liam, Cam, Luke, Lee, Dan

English-Korean names: Grace, Gina, Hannah, Anna, Mina, Jean, Jason, Dan, Ian, Eugene, Noah, David

English-Japanese names: Erika, Naomi, Mika, Sarah, Anna, Kylie, Rina, Ken, Gene, Joe, Kent, Toby, Kai, Luka

It should be noted that these names feature similar sounds that can occur in English and various Asian languages. In many cases these names work well in multiple Asian languages along with English, due to their length or simple pattern of consonants followed by vowels. Languages using Chinese characters for names (Chinese, Japanese, and Korean) have the added layer of choosing characters with significant meaning for a given name. For more insights on name usage and connecting to your audience of varying demographics, be sure to use E-Tech’s data-driven, multicultural marketing software to stay up to date! Learn more here.

For more information, contact:
Karen Sinisi
Director of Sales and Marketing
Ethnic Technologies
Phone: (864)419-9508
karens@ethnictechnologies.com

or

Amalia Tsiongas
Director of Research & Product Development
Ethnic Technologies
Phone: (866)333-8324 Ext 103
amalia@ethnictechnologies.com

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