There are a lot of names in the world. And our goal at NameShouts is to make sure you can pronounce the names you need in their original languages.
But where do we get started when looking for new names to add? There are, of course, the requested names from our users. Sometimes, though, we need to go beyond those — to the names you never knew you needed.
We’re sure you’re not sitting there thinking about names you’ve never heard or seen before; that’s our job. So we had to figure out how to break the process down.
Enter languages: over five thousand of them. As you’re probably aware, languages are key to the way we interact: they code our culture, and represent both our past and future as humans.
Ever heard the name “Michael?” It’s pretty common, but also pretty commonly searched in NameShouts. And we’ve recorded unique versions of it for ten different languages!
It’s not always clear what language a name hails from, but that’s what our linguists are for. We work with a team of researchers, experts and native speakers to build up our language databases — the core component of NameShouts.
By working to round out our data for each of the languages we offer, we can continue to provide the most robust, comprehensive tool to pronounce names on the internet.
What languages are people trying to pronounce names in?
The most commonly searched language on NameShouts is also the language of this blog post!
Unsurprisingly, a number of people are looking for help pronouncing English names. Whether it’s the names of Harry Potter, or common names like John and David, there’s no shortage of English searches on our website. English is a complicated (and wide-reaching) language with numerous oddities, exceptions and accents, so it’s no wonder people need a little extra help when it comes to English names.
Following up is Spanish, one of the most commonly-spoken languages in the world. While Spanish can be more consistent than English in terms of rules, it also boasts a number of dialects and accents which can complicate the way people speak it. For an outsider, Argentinian Spanish may sound completely different from European Spanish!
One cardinal rule, though, is this: never pronounce the “J.” Whether it’s in Jorge or James (pronounced “kha-mes” with a soft kh), the letter “J” in Spanish is never what it seems.
Following English and Spanish are Japanese and Mandarin, languages we have previously focused on for our NameHacks series. Both are a little less distributed than the top two languages, and so some consistency can be found amongst pronunciations.
Finally, rounding out the top five is Hindi. Spoken by over 260 million people, Hindi is one of the official languages of India. It also holds a number of extremely unique – and sometimes lengthy – names. The origins of many names, as well as the language itself, can be found in Sanskrit: the language of ancient India.
What other languages do we offer?
Our top languages only make up a fourth of the total languages on offer with NameShouts. Others include French, Vietnamese and Hebrew, for a total of twenty commonly spoken languages, and an ever-increasing tally of 350,000 names.
In addition, we’re working on bringing in new languages, such as Cantonese and Polish, along with accents, such as US/Canadian English.
Our ultimate goal is to provide any name in any language. As we expand our database, and bring in the help of more researchers, we get closer to that goal.
There are hundreds of millions of unique names in the world – we’re looking to collect them all.
Where do I go to get started pronouncing names in these languages?
There are a couple of ways to use NameShouts right now.
First and foremost, there’s the web application. If you head to www.nameshouts.com right now, you’ll find a search bar on the front page of the website.
There’s not much more to it than that. Type the name you’re looking to pronounce, and if you happen to know the language, select it from the dropdown menu. Hit search, and presto!
We also have a Chrome Extension available for users who want to integrate NameShouts with their workflow. The extension works with LinkedIn, Hubspot, AngelList, Facebook and Slack.
There’s also always our API integrations, which can work with any software to bring NameShouts directly into your workflow. If you’re looking to learn more about that, head over here.
Names are so much more than just our titles. They shape identities, carry heritage and tell stories. And they do all this as unique signifiers of language. It’s important to pronounce them right, no matter where they come from. Head on over to NameShouts to get started on that for free.