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I would probably go all single or all double. The only Eliots I know who I can actually remember how its spelled are an Eliot (chosen because he lives in Spain and double letters would muck up the pronunciation), and Miriam's grandson Elliott, because she tells us about the doubleness. I do think that if you started saying things like "double l, one t" to me I would be fairly likely to write it down wrong.
On the subject of alternate spellings generally, I went to school with a bunch of Meg(h)ans and I would occasionally ask them which version they were. They always replied "without an h, jeez, the right way!" or "with an h, jeez, the better way!" I always think of this when people say you can't force your children's preferences with names or nicknames... brainwashed was the word that came to mind! And I always forgot again immediately afterwards whether they had an h or not. I never forgot that the Barbora in my class was not a Barbara though, and I feel like Monika would have stood out enough that I'd remember it too. Possibly the problem with the Meg(h)ans was that there were just too many of them. Where there was only one person, their spelling became the default.
I'm torn between the wish to urge a mother to use her own surname, and a strong liking for the surname St. Lawrence.
I even kind of like Lauren St. Lawrence, but I've known a surprising number of Marta Martinezes and even a Martina Martinez, and there's no doubt it will be commented upon. You could always go for Lauren Hartman for this baby and some kind of inversion (Hart St. Lawrence?!) for a future sibling.
That said, Bethany St. Lawrence is also a great name.
Never been pronounced by the English, but routinely pronounced by tourists. :-)
I would definitely pronounce both Avalyn and Avalynn similarly to Avalon or Evelyn. If you're going for the sound of Ava, I would probably recommend Ava-Lynn.
Hmmm, I DO think Heidi/Johanna is too much.
I will second that the only Talia/Talyas I've met are Jewish (though not Israeli), but I wouldn't be surprised if that were less usual going forward as it hits a lot of current style points and doesn't, at least to me, sound particularly Jewish if you don't know its roots.
I really like Cleo, especially with Mabel (I also think Calliope would be fine).
Talia is fine... it's one of those pretty, fluid names that don't have a lot of substance for me, but on the plus side it's known without being too common.
I'm pretty sure I used to follow some French bloggers called Lilou, so my first thought is just "French."
I haven't seen The 5th Element and had to google the association. That said, the film is definitely on my radar, and is one of those films that all sorts of people tell me I have to see, so it seems to have some staying power.
On the other hand, it will be pretty old by the time your daughter is old enough to be affected by this, it's a positive association, and I agree with everything Natasha-Rhiannon said about associations being supplanted.
Connor is another one with a similar vibe to Liam for me, but without the repeated sounds.
I'm always intrigued by differences in perceived "out there-ness." I don't find Sunset particularly out there. Summer is a name. I've known a Storm (who once tried to pick up a girl called Rainbow in a bar, and had to show her ID to prove that she wasn't just making fun of her, pretending to be called Storm). And with word names like Willow and Wren and Holiday getting some use, Sunset seems fairly unremarkable, especially with Sunny as a nickname.
It probably helps that I don't even remotely think of death when I think of sunsets. I think of blazing skies and the promise of restfulness.
You had me at half-dragon changeling!
Your questions are spot on. My conclusion is that my partner and I probably don't care for ourselves (teenage years being a bit of a distant memory) but I would worry it might embarrass my daughter -- at certain ages. I think Lucubratrix's experience with Yasmine is interesting... although I do know a few Yasmine/Yassamans... perhaps I should ask them if this ever was an issue for them. It's true that the drug in question isn't so hugely successful though (even I had heard of Yasmine).
I don't tend to share names with friends and family much but I think I'll go around trying it out on as many randoms as I can, and see what kind of reactions I get.
Great points to keep in mind. I do think the US has somewhat more aggressive drug-marketing than other countries, but I'm going to see what I can find out from people with TVs.
The Starbucks challenge is a good idea. Coffee shops don't take names here, so I may have to use this as an excuse to go out for dinner frequently....
I for one would be up for a duel to the death between Orsythia and Balziva! What a strange collection of names and almost-names...
Thanks for the responses everyone. The drug in question is called S!billa, which based on your feedback isn't around in North America. Thanks for the suggestion to look up videos, NAGA. I found various (not seemingly for TV) in Spanish, French and Italian and questions in UK forums. I think it's only been available in Spain a few years.
I did try the name out on a young woman today and she didn't say anything about pills, though had absolutely never heard of the name before and asked me where it came from., which possibly disturbs me more than the pill thing. I wouldn't expect anyone to know the origin or mythology but I'm surprised she flat-out had never heard it...maybe it's just much more present in the English psyche from pop culture references.
I may be more flexible with my definition of "know," to include parents' neighbours, barista's girlfriend, ex-clients etc.
Michael and Dave are definitely double digits too. And quite possibly Matthew. And in Spain I feel like I know double digits of pretty much everyone (certainly Maria, Marta, Anna, Marc, Jordi, Alex...) but then it is a community that uses a fairly small pool of names.
Do you think you could agree on one person's choice with another person's choice of nickname? Your list seems a little more vintage and adventurous, his is more in safe territory. An immediate thought was Lillian (sounds very vintage to me) with the nickname Lily, or Elowen/Eloise called Lola or Lulu, or Abigail (his choice) with the more vintage sounding nickname of Gail instead of Abbie.
Or how about Amalia, Emilia or Amelie instead of Amelia?
I would also maybe try and go on coffee dates at the local children's park (depending what kind of naming climate you live in) and eavesdrop on the names...if you're visibly pregnant this shouldn't be too creepy. When I take my daughter to the park, I'm always intrigued by the range of names we come across (everything from Finley for a girl to Leona in one day). It could help him get used to a range of sounds and see that even fusty-seeming names feel different when attached to a three year old.
Interesting. I suppose I can see why people like Elizabeth if you really have never met any... I honestly think 30 is a conservative estimate. The number of Lizzes who have passed through my frame of reference is truly astounding, and with ages ranging from late 20s to late 60s. I also know younger Elizabeths who don't go by Liz. And that's not even starting on the Lisas (who I accept are probably not Elizabeths).