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My Favorite Names
My Recent Blog Comments
January 18, 2017 07:01 AM
In Response to Spam Filter Woes

Meanwhile the boards are full of spam this morning! Poor moderators, and poor us!


I love your name. I'm pronouncing it "Laa-ees," long a, long e, sort of like "la isla bonita," but without the la bonita, obviously. If that pronunciation is correct, than "la isla bonita" might be a useful way of explaining the pronunciation. 

Given the popularity of what Laura on this blog has termed "liquid names", your name will fit right in. I know little girls named Issa pronounced ee-sa, not to mention Lala, Lola, Lula and names with the ah-ee sound, like Tais, which has an umlaut over the i and is pronounced how I think your name is. 

I think that you might want to try sticking with your actual name. Graduate school is a much more cosmopolitan context than high school. I bet people will be able to handle your name and pronounce it correctly. 

An alternative might be the aforementioned "Issa," pronounced EE-sa. To me, it's an intuitive nickname for Lais, unlike Liz. There's a fairly famous TV producer/actress named Issa, so people may have heard it too.

I'm also curious. What naming tradition does your name come from? Did I guess the pronunciation correctly? [Edited to add: I googled the name and see that it's Brazilian Portuguese. I also see that it's been discussed on these forums before, where the ability for Americans to pronounce it was quite thoroughly debated. You might want to take a look. I would link to the URL, but this site has given web links trouble lately, so I'll just say "google the name and babynamewizard."]

Good luck!

January 14, 2017 01:34 PM

Yes, what Miriam said. I always found the idea of a gender reveal party so silly. Like, "Announcing, in 20 years our daughter will decide she's a femme!"

January 9, 2017 09:11 AM
In Response to Kai

Kai is all boy to me, and specifically surfer-boy. 

January 9, 2017 09:11 AM

Not at all fiction, and not related to personal names, but this classic from cultural anthropology is all about culturally-specific sense of place and focuses on the significance of place-names: Wisdom Sits in Places: Landscape and Language Among the Western Apache by Keith H. Basso. 

December 15, 2016 09:13 AM

Laura: First off, omg, you are awesome and it's nice to meet you. Secondly: I just posted on the main blog page and had no trouble doing so. Keep up the amazing work.

December 15, 2016 09:12 AM

Is there a Pulitzer for blogs? Because the analysis here not only perfectly unpacks the dynamics of our times, but also proves how paying attention to names can shed light on the cultural zeitgeist.

December 14, 2016 01:51 PM

Hmmm.... Wonder why I'm not able to comment on the post then? Oh well, I'm happy to strike up a conversation here.

December 14, 2016 11:46 AM

I like the name a lot. I've encountered it before, and it was pronounced Sah-nah. Similar to the pronounciation of sauna, but with the long a of father instead of a dipthong. I think it can hail from many different naming heritages. I'm not sure of the "true" etymology. As others will point out, names don't really have 'meanings', though, only connotations. The important thing will be to figure out what the name connotes to you and to those Sanna would be likely to encounter. Yes, to answer your final question, I think it would fit in well in England.

December 7, 2016 10:42 AM
In Response to US-UK names

So fun! In the UK, I'd be Elizabeth, and my daughter would be Francesca. The latter is much more feminine and elaborate than my daughter's name. But Elizabeth I can totally see myself as.


I actually find Alex much more gender neutral than Alec, especaily since it can be short for Alexandra or Alexandria. I also know of girls named Alix, a spelling that plays on the similarity between Alex and Alice and therefore seems more feminine. 


Sascha is an interesting name in this context, since, like Alex, it's a nickname for Alexander or Alexandra/Alexandria and thus is often used for boys as well as girls. 




I agree that it does not necessarily connote Muslim religiosity. I probably think first of the character Omar from The Wire, the absolute best fictional character I can think of. There was no indication that he was in any way Muslim.

November 21, 2016 09:38 AM

Much as I don't want to attend to the reality of our present situtation or bring it up on this lovely site, I'd have to say Drumpf.

November 9, 2016 10:51 AM
In Response to Thoughts on girls name

I really like the name Ora, which is a Hebrew girls name and maybe also an Irish one--I'd check on that. It's pronounced the same as Aura, but doesn't have the potential hippy-dippy connotation. It is only one letter away from Oral, but I'm not sure that's a real issue.  


October 25, 2016 10:09 AM

hear hear! 

October 21, 2016 08:46 AM

I wonder if -ia is just below these names in terms of rising swiftly, given the popularity of names like Olivia, Ameilia, etc. I tried searching on Expert Name Voyager, but the results include the -aia endings you mention in the blog post. 

October 20, 2016 11:03 AM
In Response to Baby name Research!

Hi Alfed. Your questions are quite broad, and in fact touch on many of the issues that underlie the majority of the conversations on these forums. It would be my suggestion that, instead of using responses to your questions as your research data, you instead read through the forums here, and analyze them for "naturally-occurring" articulations of hte value we place on names and the expectations (and limits to those expectations) for our children that our naming pracitices involve. What you're getting at is the naming philosophy, the philosophy of names and naming, that animates those of us who visit or frequent the site. Keep in mind as you read that some of us are dropping in to gain feedback on names we're considering for soon-to-be-born children, whereas others are just interested in names and are engaging in these discussion despite not currently naming children.

October 5, 2016 07:35 AM
In Response to Trump Kids' Names

tee hee. 

I think part of the reason I keep paying attention is that it *is* funny, in a terrifying way. I liked the New Yorker article from yesterday about the way in which humor and internet memes are sort of manifesting in the field of politics in this election. Funny/horrifying.

October 3, 2016 09:43 AM
In Response to Trump Kids' Names

I think "He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named" might well be my vote for Name of the Year. Although I suppose Trump is also a strong contender, what with its verbal qualities and the whole Drumpf situation. I certainly prefer to leave him nameless, however. 

Apologies for bringing even more blech into your consciousnesses today. I really am trying to cut down on my ingestion of T-related bile. 

September 28, 2016 08:26 AM
In Response to Nickname for Octavio

Oh my goodness, Ocho and Otto are such brilliant ideas! I hope the orignal poster comes back to see this list, because it's rocking. I almost wish I had a little Octavio to nickname now...