“Spanish Names English Equivalent – What is Your Name in Spanish?”

Have you ever met someone from another country who speaks really good English and you find that they have a very “English” name like Sarah or David?  And when you think about their country of origin their name does not appear to be typical of that country’s language?

Ever wondered why that was?

Well there are a number of reasons why it could be the case:

Why People Use Names Other Than Their Own From Other Countries

1.   One of their parents was a native English speaker and so they have two names (my mother certainly did – her mother was English and Father was from Kashmir and her name was Valerie Rabya)

2.   Their parents might have liked the name and wanted something different from what was usual in their country when they were born.

3.   They might be a spy and living under a pseudonym (possible but rare these days)

4.   They might be undergoing an identity crisis (still possible but also rare, though not as unlikely as the “sleeper” option)

5.   They might be using the English equivalent of their name

6.   They are using an English name because their own is either too difficult to pronounce for the average English speaker or they have just got tired or trying to explain it.

Whilst this last option is a common reason for non-native speakers to use a native name, I am meeting more and more people who go under different  versions of their own name when they are in different countries.

Why would they do this?

Assuming a Spanish Identity Makes You More Spanish

Well one great reason is that just as you might log on to different forums and social networking sites under different names and be “someone else” – or is that just me? – then by going under the Spanish version of your name, you can begin to become “more Spanish”.

For me, “Miguel” is the Spanish Equivalent of “Michael”.  Now when I am “Michael” (from Manchester maybe) and I am trying to ask for a drink in a bar I will speak with an obvious gringo accent, I will order my words like an Englishman, I will think like an Englishman.

However, when I am Miguel (perhaps from Madrid or Mexico), my accent and pronunciation is better, I think latino, I structure my sentences like a Spaniard or a Chilean – I become more Spanish.

Now this might seem a little odd but it really does work.  They more “latin” you feel, the more likely you are to do “latin” stuff, which includes speaking the language more latin and it starts with what we call ourselves.

Call it acting if you like but our ability to speak Spanish is closely allied to the image we have of ourselves as a Spanish speaker.  Now if I continue to call myself “Michael” then my image is still closely linked to my Englishness.  But when I call my self Miguel, my self image is much more aligned to my “Spanish-ness”.

In terms of behavioural psychology, our performance in anything we do in our lives is closely related to the identity we have about the way we perform.  So for example if you play golf and you have a 22 handicap this is going to be linked to the way you perceive and believe yourself to be as a golfer.   If you want to shift your performance then you have to shift the way you perceive and believe yourself to be.  A great way to do that is to start with changing what you call yourself.

Now changing your name to Tiger Woods is not going to automatically turn you into a Masters Champion.  However if you carry the identity in your mind that you are “like” Tiger Woods, then you will start to “be” a little more “Tiger Woods-ish” and your performance will improve, even if it is just a little.

When You Become More “Spanish”, Your Spanish Gets Better

And the same can and will work as you strive to learn to become ever more fluent in Spanish.

Whilst you carry round the identity of someone who is English (or American or Australian etc) then you will think, speak, talk and act like an English person (or American, Australian etc).  Shift that identity just a little by using the Spanish equivalent of your name, and “becoming” more Spanish, then you will see an improvement in your use of your new language.

So why not try it?

If you haven’t a clue what your Spanish name is then why not have a look at this forum post about Spanish names and their English equivalents.  You will find loads of examples.  Yours might be there, I know mine was.


  • hannah

    Aug 26 2008

    I haope I find the right name

  • Avonti Johnson

    Sep 4 2008

    what is my name in spanish?

  • jack

    Sep 22 2008

    hi , plz whats my name in spanish? (jack)

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