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My Recent Blog Comments
October 22, 2018 01:56 PM
In Response to New niece has arrived!

Very nice, congrats on the new family member! Although I think I would get hopelessly tongue-tied between Aurora and her eldest brother's name...

October 22, 2018 06:40 AM

I don't think it's impossible, but I think it could be hard to enforce unless you are very consistent about it, and use it frequently in the presence of other people.

October 22, 2018 05:23 AM

I don't find it menacing either, but I can maaaaybe get from jazzy to some smokey old-time bar, and that's as vixeny as I can get from Jasmine. :-)

October 21, 2018 02:10 PM

I have a friend who calls me Emmeline (not my name) as a term of endearment. He is British. He pronounces it Emma-LINE. I would also pronounce it Emma-LINE unless I were making a conscious effort not to.

I do feel your pain; I've been suprised that 80% of people spell my daughter's name wrong and the other 20% are paralyzed by indecision and usually ask me. I expected some confusion but not quite on this scale. I think we just have to remember that we didn't do anything "wrong," we just chose valid alternatives, and since the names are unusual, our daughter's will likely become the dominant association for many people in their lives.

October 21, 2018 01:56 PM

I like Agatha, followed by Annabel. I have a bit of Isabella fatigue, but it's a pretty name.

As a name person, it would definitely cross my mind that Elizabeth and Isabel are technically the same name, but it would not particularly bother me. As HNG says above, "same name" is quite a nebulous concept. Where I live, for example, there are plenty of people who would not be pleased if you told them their name was interchangeable with one in the other dominant language, for example.

October 21, 2018 01:50 PM

Yes! I remember Sarah McLachlan justifying it at length in an article I read at the time. That was my first encounter with the name and it has always remained in my head as both controversial but reclaimable. Later came Frasier (and I loved that character).

I would totally use Lilith, but I think it depends on whether you have any relationship with religion and/or whether you have a family would look askance at such a thing. In my case these would both be firm nos (I think Delilah is completely usable, Jezebel less so on account of being used as a general term). I also like the "ith" names, so Lilith is all win for me.

October 21, 2018 01:39 PM

In my accent they'd be Lill-yan and Ee-un, so sonically they don't bother me. Visually it would drive me nuts as a parent, but it may not bother you. I do agree with some others that "younger sibling's name contained within the older sibling's" is not great symbolically.

October 21, 2018 12:09 PM
In Response to Inna

It was completely unfamiliar to me and I would certainly have pronounced it like "in a." Agree that for Eena, Ina is probably safer. 

I don't dislike it. In the UK I would probably worry about its similarity to "innit?", not that that's a bad thing per se.

October 21, 2018 12:05 PM

The flowers are white, delicate and aromatic, so in general I don't get a vixen vibe from the whole name. However, since the obvious nicknames are Jaz and Jazzy, and they have a different feel, I can maybe see where you're coming from.

October 21, 2018 12:02 PM
In Response to Middle name for June

Oh, if no one has suggested it yet, I think Jujube makes a cute little kid nickname for June Joanna.

October 11, 2018 01:48 PM
In Response to Middle name for June

Ha! I've had similar thought processes with both pregnancies!

October 11, 2018 06:30 AM
In Response to Transgender Boy

Although I know two transitioned young adults, and the one who chose a name with the same meter and same end sound but is otherwise a different name is easier than the one who went from Amy to (male name starting with a soft a sound) for some reason.

October 8, 2018 08:37 AM

I feel about naming parameters much as I feel about traditional grammar and punctuation: when naming and writing well, you have to know the rules in order to break them.

Your parameters are reasonable enough except that they are painting you into a corner and forcing you to discard a name you both really like, when it seems like those are thin on the ground.

If I came across your sibset, finished by Silas, I would think that you had very consistent sense. It wouldn't send of headache bells of the Madelyn and Madisyn variety by any means. 

If you're trying to avoid ending in s names so that Malakai won't feel left out, I would just rework the kind of comparisons you make. Like "Atticus and Malakai both have a third syllable starting with a k sound", or "Malakai and Silas both start with consonants, the other two start with vowels."


October 5, 2018 09:24 AM
In Response to The Short(er) List

Agree on random pronunciation mishearings: I thought my older daughter would be misheard and Laura, but instead it's misheard as Aura.

And my S!byl got misheard as Cyril the other day...

September 30, 2018 02:19 PM
In Response to Oh boy(s): a novel

I feel like I spend a lot of time saying "what she said," about EVie's comments, but I do think this is spot on. I absolutely don't think the two syllables ending in n thing is a big deal if the names are as stylistically different as Robin and Stellan. I would avoid repeating this pattern for all three, but for two, with the non-twin being one of them, I would be unlikely to notice it. Likewise, Stellan and Sasha in the name family would signal "foreign" to me (before I even went on to break down where they are foreign from) before they necessarily signalled S-names. That would be even more the case with a third brother called Robin or Mikko.

I also agree with the middle name comments. Perhaps Peter and Paul could be glammed up by using a foreign language but background-appropriate version of those names?

I'll also show some love for Miro. To me, it's the painter, who I happen to like quite a bit. He has many paintings and sculptures of birds (abstract, so you would only know from the titles), so Miro and Robin could be a kind of stealth connection between the twins' names, that wouldn't be obvious or grating.

September 27, 2018 03:17 PM
In Response to Thoughts on Giselle

I love Giselle and think both pronunciations are wonderful, but I think you will have an impossible time making your pronunciation stick. 

I honestly don't find them that different, but I guess we all have different sounds we can't handle.

September 27, 2018 03:14 PM
In Response to Retro Sibset

At least their parents were confident that two is a coincidence, three is a pattern!

September 26, 2018 03:16 PM

Wonderful poem. I have a friend trying to sell her boyfriend on Electra, and getting nowhere. Maybe Demeter will be more his style.

September 25, 2018 03:26 PM

I definitely agree that lack of easy information was behind some of the overuse of the big names of the past. And it's definitely why I give my parents a pass for a) naming me Emily in the early 80s and b) mispronouncing both mine and my sister's Irish middle names. Some of the names I thought I might use on my own children were quickly nixed by popularity -- but this was because in a few clicks I could see how they ranked all over the English-speaking world.

The woman at breakfast was definitely steamrollering me, but it was actually great to have an insight into how the average person sees these names. :-)

I've always thought it must be very aggravating to have a name that legitimately was rare and then suddenly takes off. Adult Islas must feel that way now.

September 24, 2018 01:46 PM

I've met several Nayelis (I lived in Mexico for a while). They all pronounced it "Nigh-Ellie" and told me it meant "love" in one of the indigenous languages (shamefully cannot remember which now; Behind the Name says Zapotec. A few of them spelled it differently, with variations such as Nayely. I always thought it was a great name -- very Mexican though, and to me very much speaking of a renewed pride in Mexican identity. If you don't have Mexican heritage, specifically, I'm not sure how relevant it would be.

Natalie is a classic, and one I like. Of the two I prefer Nayeli, but with the caveat above.