Bilingual Girls Names

twin bilingual girls eating in a park

If you’ve read some of my other blog posts, you’ll know that I’m from the UK, and my wife is from Russia. We have two wonderful children and we’re raising both to become bilingual (hopefully). It’s certainly hard to do this while living in the UK as they are exposed to English a lot more than Russian. That being said, we try our best and while it’s too early to say for my youngest child, Daniel as he is only two, my daughter Mia is six and speaks both languages fairly well.

So how did we come with names for them? Well, it wasn’t easy. A bilingual name obviously has to sound nice in two languages and Russian sounds very different to English. For Mia, we mulled over other options such as Sofia (which I liked as it works in both languages, but my wife wasn’t keen), and Yesenia (which my wife liked but I didn’t fancy). In the end, we chose Mia, and while it’s not a very popular name in Russia, we realised it sounds ok in both languages. In this article, let’s look at some things to consider when choosing a bilingual name for your daughter, as well as a list of names you may like.

List of bilingual girl names

Below you’ll find a list of names which you may want to consider for French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese and Russian girls. In my opinion, all of these sound nice in English. Some names might pop up more than once as they can be popular in several countries e.g. Sofia and Maria.

French and English

One thing to bear in mind for French and English names is that some can sound more masculine or feminine in either of the languages. For example, the name Sébastienne sounds a lot like Sebastian to the English ear. That being said here are a few beautiful girl names that sound pleasant in both French and English.

  • Adèle (Adela) – noble
  • Agathe (Agatha) – good
  • Audrey (Audrey) – noble
  • Béatrice (Beatrice) – she who brings happiness
  • Brigette (Bridget) – strength
  • Catherine (Katherine or Catherine) – pure
  • Christine (Christina) – follower of Christ
  • Diane (Diana) – divine
  • Élise (Elisa) – God’s promise
  • Hélène (Helen) – light
  • Isabelle (Isabelle) – pledged to God
  • Laure (Laura) – symbol of victory
  • Lucie (Lucy) – light
  • Margaux (Margot) (Margaret) – pearl
  • Marie (Marie) – star of the sea
  • Nadine (Nadine) – hope
  • Sophie (Sophia or Sophie) – wise
  • Sylvie (Sylvia) – from the forest
  • Zoé (Zoe) – life

Spanish and English

toddler girl

A lot of Spanish girls names tend to have an ‘-a’ at the end which seems a popular trend at least in some English speaking countries. In the UK at least, the top 5 girls names in 2022 are Olivia, Amelia, Isla, Ava and Mia. Here are some beautiful Spanish names to consider:

  • Alicia (Alice) – noble
  • Ana (Anna) – grace
  • Andrea (Andrea) – brave
  • Ariana (Arianna) – most holy
  • Arabella or Bella (Isabella) – beautiful
  • Camila (Camila) – priest’s helper
  • Cristina (Christine or Chrissie) – to anoint
  • Daniela (Danielle) – God is my judge
  • Eva (Eve) – life
  • Maria (Marie) – star of the sea
  • Monica (Monica) – advisor
  • Olivia (Olivia) – olive or olive tree              
  • Paola (Paula) – small
  • Sofia (Sophie)– wisdom
  • Valentina (Valentina) – strong, healthy

German and English

Some German names are very similar in spelling to English, although the pronunciation might be a little different.

  • Anna (Anna) – grace
  • Clara (Claire) – clear, bright
  • Emma (Emma) – whole
  • Emily (Emily) – to excel or rival
  • Hannah (Hannah) – grace
  • Julia (Julie or Julia) – supreme god
  • Leah (Leah) – delicate, weary
  • Laura (Laura) – victory
  • Lena (Helen) – light, bright
  • Marie (Marie) – star of the sea
  • Mia (Mia) – beloved
  • Sofia (Sophie)– wisdom

Italian and English

  • Adele (Adela) – noble
  • Arianna (Arianna) – most holy
  • Angelica (Angelica) – angelic
  • Camilla (Camila) – priest’s helper
  • Cristina (Christine or Chrissie) – to anoint
  • Daniela (Danielle) – God is my judge
  • Francesca (Frances or Francesca) – free
  • Isabella (Isabelle or Isabel) – pledged to God
  • Luciana (Lucia)- light
  • Luisa (Louise) – renowned warrior
  • Maria (Marie) – star of the sea
  • Paola (Paula) – small
  • Roberta (Roberta) – bright
  • Sienna (Sienna) – unclear meaning (possibly orange-red)
  • Silvia (Sylvia) – forest
  • Sofia (Sophie)– wisdom
  • Viola (Violet) – violet

Portuguese and English

girls on a climbing frame
  • Alice (Alice) – noble
  • Amelia (Amelia) – hardworking
  • Ana (Ann)– grace
  • Beatriz (Beatrice) – brings joy
  • Benedita (Benedita) – blessed
  • Camila (Camila) – priest’s helper
  • Carolina (Caroline) – free, beautiful
  • Clara (Claire) – clear, bright
  • Diana (Diana) – divine
  • Joana (Joanna) – God is gracious
  • Lara (Larissa) – cheerful
  • Laura (Laura) – symbol of victory
  • Maria (Marie) – star of the sea
  • Matilde (Matilda) – might and strength
  • Sofia (Sophie)– wisdom

Russian and English

I thought I’d finish with some Russian and English baby girl names which I think sound nice in both languages. This was a process I went though and many of these my wife and I considered for our daughter. One thing to think about is that Russians like to use lots of nicknames, or diminutives, so be prepared to hear a few variations of your chosen name from your in-laws and Russian spouse. For example, for Maria, you can have Masha, Mashenka and Mashunya.

  • Alisa (Alice)– great happiness     
  • Anya (Ann)– grace
  • Kira (Kira)– leader of the people
  • Marina – from the sea
  • Mila – gracious
  • Sasha (Alexander or Alexandra)– defender, helper of mankind
  • Sofia (Sophie)– wisdom
  • Viktoria (Victoria)- victory
  • Yulia (Julie)- youthful

How do you choose a bilingual name for your baby girl?

Here are a couple of tips to consider when choosing a name:

  1. Make sure it is easy to read and pronounce in both languages. There’s nothing worse than hearing a relative struggle to say your daughter’s name and butcher it every time! You can always ask your parents for their opinion when you’re coming up with a name, but you might prefer to ask a few close friends.
  2. Consider how masculine or feminine a name may sound in both languages e.g. the boys name ‘Michel’ in French, sounds like the girl’s name ‘Michelle’ in English.
  3. Ideally, try and pick a name that is easy to spell too. You don’t want to have correct people all the time when they spell the name wrong, particularly when you are on the phone to someone.
  4. Make sure the name you choose doesn’t have a different or unpleasant meaning in one of the languages. For example, the name ‘Mark’ means ‘worm’ in Norwegian!