Nakoa — The Bump
Baby Names

Nakoa

I really like the name Nakoa. It's typically a boy name and means brave in Hawaiian. I think it could be a boy or girl name though with the nn Koa. I know it's different so it's probably not a lot of your personal styles, but do you like it better for a boy or girl?

Re: Nakoa

  • It could grow on me and Koa is really cute. Not sure if I like it better for a boy or girl but my first impression was girl, likely because of the -ah ending. 
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  • LoCarbLoCarb
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    I like the nn Koa....boy
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  • If it's typically a masculine name, I would use it for a boy.

    Are you Hawaiian? If not, I think it would be strange to borrow a name and change the gender for no particular reason. It might look like ignorance to people who know it's supposed to be a boy's name.

  • harm2harm2
    Fifth Anniversary
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    image plunderb:

    If it's typically a masculine name, I would use it for a boy.

    Are you Hawaiian? If not, I think it would be strange to borrow a name and change the gender for no particular reason. It might look like ignorance to people who know it's supposed to be a boy's name.

     

    No, not Hawaiian just like the name. I definitely see your point on that, but at the same time people are using boy names for girls all over the place with no concern where the name came from. That doesn't mean I want to do it though, so point taken.

  • I think it's a lovely name, and my first impression was that it's a boy's name. 
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  • image harm2:
    image plunderb:

    If it's typically a masculine name, I would use it for a boy.

    Are you Hawaiian? If not, I think it would be strange to borrow a name and change the gender for no particular reason. It might look like ignorance to people who know it's supposed to be a boy's name.

     

    No, not Hawaiian just like the name. I definitely see your point on that, but at the same time people are using boy names for girls all over the place with no concern where the name came from. That doesn't mean I want to do it though, so point taken.

    I think you have to be extra careful when you are borrowing a name from a language or culture that is outside of your own ethnicity/family/experience. There is the danger of aestheticizing a culture, rather than honoring it, and that danger is especially pronounced when someone who identifies as a member of a dominant country/culture borrows from a culture that has suffered at the hands of that country. Native Hawaiians have suffered a lot at the hands of the US, so you should be aware that some people might see your borrowing as just stealing one more thing from them. I don't think you mean any harm, but please be aware that this is a sensitive issue.

    Changing the gender of the name doesn't do much to change the perception that you are a clueless outsider. Again, I don't doubt that your admiration of this name is sincere. But tread carefully. Do your research. Maybe spend some time reading about advocacy groups for Native Hawaiians and other Native Americans and seek out some Native perspectives on this type of cultural appropriation.

  • harm2harm2
    Fifth Anniversary
    member
    image plunderb:
    image harm2:
    image plunderb:

    If it's typically a masculine name, I would use it for a boy.

    Are you Hawaiian? If not, I think it would be strange to borrow a name and change the gender for no particular reason. It might look like ignorance to people who know it's supposed to be a boy's name.

     

    No, not Hawaiian just like the name. I definitely see your point on that, but at the same time people are using boy names for girls all over the place with no concern where the name came from. That doesn't mean I want to do it though, so point taken.

    I think you have to be extra careful when you are borrowing a name from a language or culture that is outside of your own ethnicity/family/experience. There is the danger of aestheticizing a culture, rather than honoring it, and that danger is especially pronounced when someone who identifies as a member of a dominant country/culture borrows from a culture that has suffered at the hands of that country. Native Hawaiians have suffered a lot at the hands of the US, so you should be aware that some people might see your borrowing as just stealing one more thing from them. I don't think you mean any harm, but please be aware that this is a sensitive issue.

    Changing the gender of the name doesn't do much to change the perception that you are a clueless outsider. Again, I don't doubt that your admiration of this name is sincere. But tread carefully. Do your research. Maybe spend some time reading about advocacy groups for Native Hawaiians and other Native Americans and seek out some Native perspectives on this type of cultural appropriation.

     

    I understand all that, but at the same time I think you are taking it a little extreme. I mean aren't most names borrowed from another culture? I see people using Hebrew and Jewish names constantly without a second thought and look how we treated the Jews. Non Christians use biblical names often, and there are many more examples of this. I think it's absolutely appropriate to consider the other cultures perspective, but I see no evidence that using a Hawaiian name would be offensive. I have a brother in law who is native Hawaiian (from Molokai) and I have had name conversations with him on many occasions and never once has he brought up how the Hawaiian suffered at the hands of the Americans. From my experiences with his family in Hawaii (all native), I have only ever felt that they have admiration for the Americans. Maybe your experience has been different, but I see absolutely no harm in choosing this name as a girl or boy, if that's what we decide to do. Thanks for your comment.

  • image harm2:

    I understand all that, but at the same time I think you are taking it a little extreme. I mean aren't most names borrowed from another culture? I see people using Hebrew and Jewish names constantly without a second thought and look how we treated the Jews. Non Christians use biblical names often, and there are many more examples of this. I think it's absolutely appropriate to consider the other cultures perspective, but I see no evidence that using a Hawaiian name would be offensive. I have a brother in law who is native Hawaiian (from Molokai) and I have had name conversations with him on many occasions and never once has he brought up how the Hawaiian suffered at the hands of the Americans. From my experiences with his family in Hawaii (all native), I have only ever felt that they have admiration for the Americans. Maybe your experience has been different, but I see absolutely no harm in choosing this name as a girl or boy, if that's what we decide to do. Thanks for your comment.

    I'm glad to hear that you are being mindful and seeking out Native Hawaiian perspectives. I do not think it is "extreme" of me to warn people to be mindful. I also do not think that the fact that many people make insensitive decisions "without a second thought" is good evidence that that is an acceptable way to approach the world. If you are approaching this in a sensitive way, blessings upon you. Not everyone does (as you note), and it's worth giving a mild caution to make sure that people do think twice.

  • It's not a name I would ever use, but Nakoa (NN Koa) isn't bad. And since it's traditionally a masculine name, I'd only use it for a boy.

    I do think it's a little strange to use a name from a culture that's not your own. I am one of those people who thinks it's weird when non-Jews/non-Christians name their sons Noah, Moses, Ezekiel, etc. However, there are some names from other cultures that have become mainstream in the US, like Penelope. I guess I just wouldn't want to be one of the people to use a name from another culture before it's popular (or at least heard of) around here. 

    Now if you have some special connection to Hawaii, like getting married there, then it would seem less weird to use a Hawaiian name. 

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  • harm2harm2
    Fifth Anniversary
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    image KearaD:

    It's not a name I would ever use, but Nakoa (NN Koa) isn't bad. And since it's traditionally a masculine name, I'd only use it for a boy.

    I do think it's a little strange to use a name from a culture that's not your own. I am one of those people who thinks it's weird when non-Jews/non-Christians name their sons Noah, Moses, Ezekiel, etc. However, there are some names from other cultures that have become mainstream in the US, like Penelope. I guess I just wouldn't want to be one of the people to use a name from another culture before it's popular (or at least heard of) around here. 

    Now if you have some special connection to Hawaii, like getting married there, then it would seem less weird to use a Hawaiian name. 

     

    I do have a personal connection to Hawaii being that I was engaged there, we travel there often, and also we have family there. That being said, no one would know weather I have connection to Hawaii or not upon hearing my child's name (unless of course they know me well). So I don't see that as being relevant really. I understand that for you though, the name wouldn't be an option.

  • image harm2:
    image KearaD:

    It's not a name I would ever use, but Nakoa (NN Koa) isn't bad. And since it's traditionally a masculine name, I'd only use it for a boy.

    I do think it's a little strange to use a name from a culture that's not your own. I am one of those people who thinks it's weird when non-Jews/non-Christians name their sons Noah, Moses, Ezekiel, etc. However, there are some names from other cultures that have become mainstream in the US, like Penelope. I guess I just wouldn't want to be one of the people to use a name from another culture before it's popular (or at least heard of) around here. 

    Now if you have some special connection to Hawaii, like getting married there, then it would seem less weird to use a Hawaiian name. 

     

    I do have a personal connection to Hawaii being that I was engaged there, we travel there often, and also we have family there. That being said, no one would know weather I have connection to Hawaii or not upon hearing my child's name (unless of course they know me well). So I don't see that as being relevant really. I understand that for you though, the name wouldn't be an option.

     

    Then it sounds like you have a good reason for picking a Hawaiian name. You're right that strangers won't know that, but your friends and family would make the connection. (Or if they didn't you could easily point out its special meaning.)

    In general, Hawaiian names are not my thing, but I do think Nakoa is pretty cool. From your previous posts, it seems like it's the style of name you and your DH like. I think it would be a good pick.   

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  • harm2harm2
    Fifth Anniversary
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    image KearaD:
    image harm2:
    image KearaD:

    It's not a name I would ever use, but Nakoa (NN Koa) isn't bad. And since it's traditionally a masculine name, I'd only use it for a boy.

    I do think it's a little strange to use a name from a culture that's not your own. I am one of those people who thinks it's weird when non-Jews/non-Christians name their sons Noah, Moses, Ezekiel, etc. However, there are some names from other cultures that have become mainstream in the US, like Penelope. I guess I just wouldn't want to be one of the people to use a name from another culture before it's popular (or at least heard of) around here. 

    Now if you have some special connection to Hawaii, like getting married there, then it would seem less weird to use a Hawaiian name. 

     

    I do have a personal connection to Hawaii being that I was engaged there, we travel there often, and also we have family there. That being said, no one would know weather I have connection to Hawaii or not upon hearing my child's name (unless of course they know me well). So I don't see that as being relevant really. I understand that for you though, the name wouldn't be an option.

     

    Then it sounds like you have a good reason for picking a Hawaiian name. You're right that strangers won't know that, but your friends and family would make the connection. (Or if they didn't you could easily point out its special meaning.)

    In general, Hawaiian names are not my thing, but I do think Nakoa is pretty cool. From your previous posts, it seems like it's the style of name you and your DH like. I think it would be a good pick.   

     

    Thanks. I really do appreciate your input. 

  • I'm not familiar with this name, but if it is traditionally a boy's name then my preference is for it to remain one.

    It has a nice sound and will be refreshingly uncommon.

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  • I am Hawaiian but live on the mainland. I appreciate this discussion and thought I'd add my two cents. First off, I am quite surprised that your brother in law expressed no hesitation or sense of questioning with your name choice. Most Hawaiians I know would definitely question a non-native, or individual not living in Hawaii naming their child a traditionally Hawaiian name. And in terms of them "liking" Americans, well, I know many that feel very abused by the dominant American political system. There is a massive political movement over there that is trying to regain some Hawaiian sovereignty. Many native Hawaiian rights have been taken away.

    Now there are exceptions - some Hawaiian names have gone completely mainstream, like Leilani, for example. When you say that so many names have been culturally appropriated, this is true and Leilani is an example of one of them. But naming in Hawaii (especially for native Hawaiians who take great pride in their bloodline) is very often a highly considered process (especially middle names). They are passed through generations and maintain connections to a certain lineage. 

    Nakoa is a beautiful name for a boy, and I see that you are a considerate person. I just think it's incredibly important to seriously think about cultural implications in situations such as this, and was glad to see the discussion brought to the table.

    It could have just been - "Nakoa, awesome name! Go for it!" But in a place like Hawaii, where naming does have incredible significance, it is very important to consider all of the different viewpoints. 

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