17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Tomato, Tomahto...

I thought when I named my baby Eliza that it was an easy, straight forward name. But almost nobody gets it right.

The pronounciation is EE-liza but everyone says UH-liza. Or just Liza. Or I get the occasional "um...uh-lEEza?" when someone is reading her name.

I suppose I may be picky with the "e" in her name. After all, in high school my sister used to correct me with her friend's name, "E-lissa". I said "Uh-lissa" and I swore there wasn't a difference. But hey, they are very different to me with my daughter and I really like E-liza better! I don't hate uh-liza or Liza (many of you, my friends, have probably said it wrong and I'm not harboring a grudge), so my world is not about to crumble. Liza is, however, a little weirder to me because it's my sister's name. (Didn't intend for the names to be exactly alike.)

Correcting everyone all the time would be awkward for me. So, what do I do? Nothing? Grin and bear it?

I've played around with using a nickname--"Dot" (her middle name is Dorothy)--which I think is adorable. Haven't asked dh or other kids how they like it. I have a feeling dh won't be such a big fan. (But maybe that doesn't matter?) Not many would know the origin either...but perhaps that's also unimportant.

Any thoughts? Have your names been messed up, or your kid's? How did you decide to deal with it? Sigh. So much for blog anonymity--everyone knows baby's name now! : )


  • Go with Dot.
    posted by Anonymous Michael at 3/31/2006 07:04:00 AM  

  • "So much for blog anonymity--everyone knows baby's name now! : )"

    I always wonder how important that is but for anonymity's sake . . .

    I have a similar situation with my daughter, were going to call her sunshine. My daughters name is similar enough to that the example will work. So I want people to call her SUNshine (emphasis on sun), but there are a lot of people (mostly my in-laws) who either call her sunSHINE or just sun. Just sun is the worst, because I absolutely hate that name, and it drives me nuts!!! Eventually daddy and I have decided that when it comes time for a nickname it's going to just be su (which is a little weird with the sunshine example but trust me it works:).

    I try and emphasize it when I say her name especially around those who struggle with her whole name. (ie. "Sun is so cute when she laughs like that," "Yeah, SUNSHINE is adorable.") And I think some of them have caught on, but it's so hard because while you pick your child's name realitives feel that they get to give your children nicknames.
    posted by Blogger Trivial Mom at 3/31/2006 08:13:00 AM  

  • I decided about 12 years ago to just go by the name Squid because I was sick of being called DeeAnn or Lee or Luanne. People usually could not spell 'LeeAnn', even if they pronounced the name right.

    I married my husband because he spelled my name right from the very beginning.
    posted by Blogger Squiddy at 3/31/2006 10:18:00 AM  

  • My name is Tamra. It is always mispronounced and mispelled - Tamara, Tamera. It has never bothered me and I rarely correct people when they mispell it or mispronounce it. I figure they're close enough. For me, its just not a big deal.
    posted by Blogger tamrobot at 3/31/2006 10:18:00 AM  

  • Try growing up in rural Georgia with the name Ian. No one, I mean, no one could say it right. My teachers usually got it wrong along with everyone else. Most people said "I-ann", "Ion" or just "ann". You also have to add a heavy southern accent to these pronouncations.

    Gotta love those accents.
    posted by Blogger Ian at 3/31/2006 10:27:00 AM  

  • Mine was spelling. And no, people didn't just spell it Sheryl. That is not so bad --most often it was:


    I hate the ones where the "y" is last the most. I mean, HELLO!! I'm not Shirly! I'm Cheryl! Still happens, too.

    DH and I decided to go with simple names and simple spellings for our kids. So far, so good --spelling has been great, but some people misprounounce #1's name a lot. Those who know her name will probably agree that it's weird ANYONE would mispronounce her name.

    Ahh, well.
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 3/31/2006 01:06:00 PM  

  • I have a son named Arthur. I never liked Art (rhymes with... well, you know) or Artie. Most of the time, as he was growing up, people called him Arthur; but spelling it was something else. Many people actually spelled his name Arther or even Author. Weird. Just to show you that people can do anything with a name.

    Julianne, Lexington, KY.
    posted by Anonymous Julianne Hatton at 3/31/2006 01:07:00 PM  

  • I had a friend whose name was Kirstie. In college, after filling out a form, the lady handed it back to her and told her that she mispelled her name. When my friend responded with, "Uh, no. I didn't." The lady said "Yes you did, your name is Kristie."
    posted by Blogger Starfoxy at 3/31/2006 02:16:00 PM  

  • I have an uncommon last name that is two very simple words put together, something like Turnpin. (Preserving anonymity here.) Even when I spell it out, people are forever getting it wrong and writing down Turnfine, Turnfin, etc. I tell myself they are not doing it deliberately and sometimes it helps.
    posted by Blogger Mrs. M at 3/31/2006 02:34:00 PM  

  • My oldest daughter has her name mispronounced daily. It doesn't bother her. She's also a red-head so she kind of gets double whammied between the weird name and the comments on her hair. Needless to say, her sisters have much easier names to pronounce.
    If someone pronounces the baby's name incorrectly and it's a person you are going to see regularly, feel free to let them know how you feel. If it's someone you rarely see or won't see again, let it slide.
    Of course when my own husband makes up nicknames that hardly have anything to do with their real names, it makes me wonder why we bothered choosing a nice name for them in the first place. He hardly uses their real names and they love the special names their dad has chosen for them.
    Oh, well, what's in a name anyway?...
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 3/31/2006 04:14:00 PM  

  • I have an unheard of last name that gets butchered from every side. I let it slide--why worry about it? It is all in atitude, I think.

    Think carefully before going with Dot. While cute, I think it will not be accepted by people you already know, and they seem to be the misprouncers that bug you the most. Only my sister goes by a nickname (Meg) and she is constantly being called Megan (not her name) or having to explain her name. I think that would be worse for Dot, considering how unusual it is, that it is a derivative of her middle name, and that her lovely first name is not being used.
    posted by Blogger a spectator at 3/31/2006 05:18:00 PM  

  • My daughter is named Evie, pronounced eh-vie not ee-vie. It's a shortened version of Evelyn, my husband's aunt. When we came up with the name we knew it would be mis-pronounced, and it is ALL the time. Before we made the decision official we sat down and decided if that would bother us that people said her name wrong. We decided that we loved the name more than we cared, so Eh-vie it is.

    So the way we deal with it is this: If it is someone we will have a continuing relationship with we correct them, sometimes it takes more than once. We've actually noticed that our friends and family will correct each other now. There are a few that we have just given up on, however, and that's okay.

    For anyone else, we just deal with it. We figure we teach our daughter the same attitude and she can decide later how she wants to deal with it.

    If it REALLY bugs you though, go with the nickname. You can't mis-pronounce Dot. Or, if you can stand the Disney reference, go with Dori.
    posted by Anonymous mimi at 3/31/2006 05:25:00 PM  

  • Our DD has a pretty classic name that so far hasn't been misprounced (she's only 18 months though, so give it time, I suppose). But we have probably screwed her up because we call her everything BUT her actual name - Lulu, Lulu-Bee, Bella, Beela, Lulu-Belle. And her name isn't even CLOSE to these nicknames.

    She answers to all of them - I've probably completely messed up her sense of identity...but that's another post altogether...
    posted by Blogger chloe at 3/31/2006 06:15:00 PM  

  • Growing up I thought my uncle didn't know my real name, cuz he only called me Smelly. Oh well...
    posted by Blogger Zinone at 3/31/2006 09:05:00 PM  

  • I have the same problem with my name - really pronounced "ee-lise". I let the "uh-lise" slide since it is fairly close. What I get a lot of is "elsie". Most of the time, I just repronounce (if that's a word) it and don't make a big deal out of it with the other person. Eventually after correcting so many times, people usually ask or get the correct pronounciation of my name.

    But as a child and teenager, it bothered me a lot. So much so, that in grade school, I changed my name (on paper only) to Elizabeth. What kids will do.
    posted by Blogger Elise at 3/31/2006 09:21:00 PM  

  • I'm ditching anonymity for the sake of this comment, since otherwise it would make no sense!

    My name pre-marriage (McKay Lyall) was constantly messed up. First off, both names were mispronounced - Mickey, Mackey, Micayla, and LeeAll were all common) and were often reversed- when I entered junior high my teachers were all expecting a boy named Lyall McKay - I was traumatized!

    Now that I'm married I no longer use the Lyall, so that's no longer an issue. But it's still a name I love and would have used to name my son if it wouldn't have sounded so awful with my married name.

    But I'm so glad to have my first name. It celebrates my family (my grandmother's maiden name, dad's middle) and is unique. I have always been McKay, no nicknames (except for my sis, who called me KayKay because she couldn't pronounce the "mc" part). When I was working, I did a lot of communication via email with contacts, and I learned later that most of them thought I was a man, which I actually kind of liked the idea of - I was able to totally disappear behind my name. The mispronunciations have not kept me from being proud of this name.

    BUT the one bad thing it has done - and this is embarassing to admit - it's made me very bad at remembering other people's names when we are introduced. I'm always ready to explain my name or correct the pronunciation, so I'm not really listening when I hear the other person's name. It's something I'm working on, but I wish I had learned better from the start!
    posted by Anonymous McKay at 4/01/2006 05:23:00 AM  

  • We care so much about people pronouncing our name correctly because we tend to feel our name is tied closely to our identity, and a correct pronunciation indicates the person took some time to correctly notice you. At least that's how it feels, I think.

    I've already had people ask me about the pronunciation of AF's name, and I'm just glad they're asking and (mostly) remembering because it is a (maybe silly) way of saying they care.

    A quick word about English and pronunciation, as it relates to Eliza: in American English we (almost always) only pronounce the stressed vowel sound in words. All the other vowels get the "uh" sound. This is the reason people are leaning toward "Uh-liza" since the "i" is being stressed already in the second syllable.
    posted by Blogger newmom at 4/02/2006 11:32:00 AM  

  • Katie, I read Princess excerpts from Little House on the Prairie last night and Almonzo's sister is named Eliza Jane. I made sure to pronounce it just right in your honor.

    Newmom, I love how you know about American English pronunciations. Awesome!
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 4/02/2006 04:41:00 PM  

  • THANK YOU newmom, that will help me sleep better tonight. I'm serious, I was lying in bed last night going "uhlizabeth? eeelizabeth?" uhlena? eeelana? uhlyssa? Aahlyssa?" and wondering why the uh/ah versions flowed more easily off the tongue. I think it is a result of our "lazy mouths" as my theatre director always used to say. Too much work to properly enunciate everything!
    posted by Blogger marian at 4/02/2006 04:57:00 PM  

  • That's funny, Carrie. Thanks. Yeah, have you heard the ol' folk song, "Oh, Eliza, little Liza Jane"? It's ee-liza. Love the tidbit, newmom. :) And, kage, for your lovely E emphasis toward my wee one at church.

    I do love her first name, and will keep using it as we do. I think I'll throw in Dot when we're looking for that one syllable nickname. Loved all your crazy stories and advice.
    posted by Blogger Katie at 4/03/2006 05:24:00 AM  

  • Ever since newmom posted about the accents of vowels, I have been analyzing names. I am sort of into diction and all that anyway, so this just added fuel to my silly fire. My daughter's name is Olive. I prefer the pronuncation to be AH-Liv as opposed to Ah-Luhv. The i turns into a schwa sound many times. DD and I say it right, and I corrected DH only a few times...and now he says it right. We don't correct anyone else, just make sure we pronounce it the way we want it pronounced, for everyone else. We also have tons of nicknames for her: Vivvy, Vivz, Viverz, Sugar Buger, Vivica, Olive Golive Dolive (Pukey's fave).
    posted by Blogger Kage at 4/04/2006 07:10:00 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
    posted by Blogger Tri Mama at 4/04/2006 09:50:00 PM  

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