So I just heard and liked the name Kalea (ka lee uh), and my dh likes how it sounds but feels like people won't be able to pronounce it, and being able to correctly pronounce a name from written form is very important for him especially.

If it makes a difference, dh says he likes ka-lay-uh better.  I suggested Kaleia but he still says people won't know how to prounce it.  Gar!

Any suggestions for this or a similar girl name that sounds similar but correct pronunciation is more obvious?  TIA!


January 9, 2017 8:42 PM

If someone told me that her name was kuh-LEE-uh, I'd spell it Kalia, like Malia.

If I saw Kalia written, I'd probably say KA-lee-uh, like Dalia, but it would be easy to change to the other stress pattern.

For what it's worth, I would definitely say kuh-LEE-uh if I saw Kalea. ka-LAY-uh wouldn't occur to me, though now that it's been pointed out, I can see it.

Kalaya isn't better because that's either kuh-LAY-uh or kuh-LIE-uh.

... I think it's just one of those names without an unambiguous spelling.

January 9, 2017 8:51 PM

I feel like these somehow end up being the names I'm drawn to!!  Any thoughts about a similar but different name entirely??

January 9, 2017 9:13 PM

I'll try to think of something, though I think that other people are better at that than I am :)

January 9, 2017 9:04 PM

Dh is a HS teacher and said he has a Dalia in his class who he's called Dahl-ee-uh and now he's second guessing if hes been saying her name wrong all year!!! Lol!

January 9, 2017 9:10 PM

No, I'm sure he hasn't. Dalia has (at least) two common pronunciations. One is the Hebrew way (DAL-ya/DA-lee-uh) and the other one is the one typically also used for Dahlia, DOLL-ya/DOLL-ee-uh. These things tend to be regional.

January 10, 2017 12:34 AM

I agree with Karyn that "ka-lee-uh" and "ka-lay-uh" are in the class of things that cannot be written unambiguously in English, regardless of where the stress falls (/KA-lih-ya/ or /kuh-LEE-ya/, etc.). A few ideas for similar names with better-established or less-ambiguous pronunciations: Callista or Calla (from/inspired by the Greek word for 'beauty'), Keelin (an Anglicized spelling of an Irish name), Delia or Cordelia, Jewel, Jillian, Julia. (The -ia names all have some ambiguity between /ee-ya/ and /ya/, but that's the sort of difference that has to be accepted as regional or accent-based: it's below most people's perceptual thresholds.)

January 10, 2017 6:11 AM

Kaleeya.  Does that solve your problems?  And it's very pretty, both written and spoken.

January 10, 2017 7:31 AM

I like Kaleia. I think that has the best chance of being pronounced and spelled correctly and doesn't look like a made up name like Kaleeya. I must ask is it Hawaiian? It sounds like a Hawaiian or some other Polynesian style name.

January 10, 2017 11:24 AM

I agree that Kaleia is the most likely to get the /kuh-LAY-uh/ pronunciation that I think the OP's husband wants. It comes with a built-in mnemonic: like Princess Leia, just with a "ka" in front of it.

January 10, 2017 9:14 PM

I like the point about Kalaya and Kaleeya kind of looking like made up spellings, so between that and that I just like the way it looks better, I'm thinking I have to convince him that Kaleia is the way to go! So you ladies think you would see this name and get some people saying Ka-lay-uh and some saying Ka-lee-uh?  Imo that's not too bad and shouksbt require an obnoxious amount of correcting.  Thank you for your feedback!

January 11, 2017 12:47 AM

Yes, i think Kaleia will be pronounced "kuh-LAY-uh" and "kuh-LEE-uh."  But the good news is that your husband likes both pronunciations!  Your daughter could even pick the one she likes better.

Names with more obvious pronunciations that are somewhat similar to Kalea/Kaleia:

January 10, 2017 9:17 PM

Thanks for the suggested alternatives!  Will run them by dh..

January 10, 2017 1:29 PM

I grew up with a Kalea, that spelling, pronounced kuh-LAY-uh. It's a Hawaiian name (her mom was from Hawaii). Kalia/Kali'a is also a Hawaiian name, pronounced the way you prefer...but I must say that I also had a (non-Hawaiian) friend with a younger sister who spelled her name this way, and pronounced it kuh-LIE-uh.

I would suggest picking the pronunciation you like, and the spelling you like, and just telling people which is which. This is a lot more common than people think about...I know several different Kara/Caras who pronounce their name either Care-uh or Car-uh, Megans by whatever spelling who are variously Megg-un/Mee-gun/May-gun, etc. I'm one of the latter (Megg-un with a slightly non-standard spelling) and it's not really that big a deal.

My personal inclination would be to pick the spelling that's consistent with your preferred pronunciation in Hawaiian, and then you can just say "it's Hawaiian" when people ask where you got it, but if that doesn't line up with your preferences I don't think it would be a huge deal.

You might like to look at other Hawaiian names, as there are a lot with the sounds you like (Hawaiian only has eight consonants, including K and L). Behind the Name has a list that's fairly reliable, and so does Wiktionary. You might like Kalei (kuh-LAY) or Kalani (kuh-LAH-nee) or Kailani (ky-LAH-nee) or Kalili (kuh-LEE-lee), for example. (Note: all of the "kuh"s are perhaps a little more like "kah" in actual Hawaiian.)

January 10, 2017 9:16 PM

Thanks for your thoughtful response.  I didnt know this was a Hawaiian name but that kind of makes me love it more.  I'm totally going to look up other Hawaiian names!

January 10, 2017 9:24 PM

Does anyone thing first letter should be C instead of K?  Which would make more sense, so to speak?  I guess C gets away from the Hawaiian origin but makes it more like Calla, Callista, even Cora..

By EVie
January 10, 2017 9:46 PM

Calla and Callista are both Greek names derived from the Greek word kallos, "beauty." The original Greek word was spelled with a kappa (K), so either Calla/Kalla or Callista/Kallista are legitimate spellings/transliterations. Caleia/Kaleia isn't a historical Greek name to my knowledge, but -eia is a very, very common feminine ending for Greek names, and is actually the way many other Greek vocabulary words are transformed into feminine names (e.g. anthos, "flower," becomes the name Antheia in Greek, further Latinized as Anthea; medomai, "to think, to plan" becomes Medeia, further Latinized as Medea; thallo, "to blossom," becomes Thaleia, further Latinized as Thalia). So I think you could legitimately claim that either Caleia or Kaleia (or Calleia or Kalleia, however you want to spell it) are derived from the Greek word for beauty, if you prefer that explanation to the Hawaiian origin.

January 11, 2017 12:53 AM

Man, that's a str3tch.  ; )

I think K is better.  It seems to fit more with the sound of the name.

By EVie
January 12, 2017 11:57 AM

I don't see how it's a str3tch? New words and names are created by recombining elements from other languages all the time--especially Greek and Latin ones. That's how Shakespeare invented Miranda, and how Sir Philip Sidney invented Pamela. That's how we have words like television (Greek tele-, "far off, at a distance" + Latin visionem, "act of seeing, sight, thing seen") and automobile (Greek auto, "self" + Latin mobilis, "movable"). These are "invented" names and words, but ones that have real meanings nonetheless.

(Why on earth is the word str3tch triggering the spam filter?)

January 11, 2017 8:27 AM

Very interesting! I'll definitely keep in mind the Greek side..!

January 12, 2017 5:09 AM

I don't think this is a stretch at all; it would help me feel more comfortable using the name without veering into cultural appropriation.

For what it's worth, I know a little Kalea who says it Kah-LEE-ah... which is very counterintuitive for me, since I know it's a Hawaiian name. I had defaulted to Kah-LAY-ah at first, but only knowing its origins. I think that Kaleia or Caleia or Calleia would be the most reliable way to extract a "lay" pronunication, and using Princess Leia as a mnemonic as suggested upthread is a very good, memorable way to make the spelling and pronunciation stick.