Thursday, August 2, 2012

Lao Baby Names (Revisited)

Well River is due in about 20 days and we are still working on a Lao name for him. Again.

I posted on a Baby website the following about finding a Lao name....

"We're having a boy and are giving him an English first name (River.. think Mekong..not the actor) a Lao middle name and a Lao surname. My DH wants MuokSao as a Lao name (means morning mist) but I'm not 100% on that one. "Sao" means morning but if pronounced wrong means girl. (Lao is a tonal language) So, I'm sure my American family won't say it right..." actually.... most of the time I can't even say it right!

Most Lao names are given by monks at the temple. Well, some background on our family. Khamla is Tai Daeng. -Red Tai ( It's an ethnic group, not related to Thai. Oi, call him Kon Thai not Kon Lao and you R IN TROUBLE!) ; ) Tai Daeng live in Northern Lao, near the Vietnam border. (You know, that area the USA was busy bombing the daylights out of during the American War or Vietnam War. La's family lived in the caves, farmed at night.. River is going to have an interesting family history for sure. Anyway))  

More about Tai Daeng from :
According to Patricia Cheesman in her book Lao-Tai Textiles: The Textiles of Xam Nuea and Muang Phuan, “Tai Daeng translates as Red Tai but actually refers to their original homelands in the district of Muang Daeng in Vietnam [and] many arguments have been presented as to origin of the name: the Red River, the red funeral blouses or the red waistbands on the women’s tube skirts…The Tai Daeng are one of the largest Lao-Tai groups in the northeast of Laos, having migrated into Houa Phan province from Thanh Hoa province, Vietnam, in the 19th century and the currently make up about 70% of the population of the Tai groups in Houa Phan province.

Your thinking.... Kelly, "WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH LAO BABY NAMES?"  Well, allot really. La's family isn't the temple going sort, there isn't even a temple in his hometown village. (Most Lao names are given by monks) La himself has never even actually given alms etc. It's not his culture..even though, yes, he is "Lao". His family is Phi which another whole blog post...(Not all Americans are the same right?) All his siblings have given their children small nature names: nok/bird nuu/mouse mhek/cloud mangon/dragon .. and unlike many Lao, these AREN'T their nicknames.. it's their full first name. Needless to say, we are keeping religious beliefs out of naming the wee one. 

But both of us would like something a little more formal than officially calling our son Mapanoy (little wolf) or Muu noy (little pig) etc. As a nickname fine, but not an engraved on US passport kinda deal. 

Ugh. So 20 days. (Because thank the USA for having these amazingly complicated "report birth abroad" forms I still need to fill out to make sure "luk sai pen kon american" (baby boy can be an American citizen) 

Top 100 Tai Daeng or Lao baby names.... I haven't found a copy of that bestselling book yet. Anyone have one I can borrow? 


  1. Well, I'd say you can just go to Wat yourself but.... You just said they're not temple-goers! ;)

    Well, our list had some names like Bounprasong, Khamsouk, and Anousone (are the only ones I remember, unfortunately!) and plenty others for each day of the week.

    Like any of those? Humnoy's first name is the A-name listed above ;)

  2. Thanks! Playing around with some new ideas, I'm trying to avoid the last minute approach but part of me has a feeling that's how it will turn out. ;)