Baby Name Regrets

So I have a beautiful little boy. He is perfect in every way but I feel like I have given him a lifetime of headaches. 

His name is Téo pronounced Tay-oh however everyone pronounces it wrong.

We chose the name as it means gift from God and we really do believe he is. We struggled to conceive and after two failed Ivf attempt we conceived little Téo.

I'm just wondering do you think I should stick to the traditional  spelling or change it so easier for pronunciations but then we loose the meaning. 

Thank you for your help xx 


October 3, 2015 7:24 AM

Hi, I really love the name. It is unique and I love the meaning too! I wouldn't change it.

October 3, 2015 8:37 AM

I'd keep the spelling. There is no way to spell a short name in English that will guarantee a particular pronunciation. Yes, you could change his name to Tay-oh, but then you'd lose the meaning and have to contend with snide comments about the weird spelling. One correction on pronunciation should suffice for most people, and as he grows, the number of people who already know his name will expand, meaning he will have to correct the pronunciation less and less often. And if you ever move to an area with a large number of Spanish speakers, the chances that you'll hear the right pronunciation on first meeting will increase.

Your only other option would be to change his name to something with an unambiguous pronunciation and spelling, like Bob, but that would be a shame.

Congratulations on your blessing!

October 3, 2015 10:05 AM

You could also change the pronunciation.  My parents did that for my sister.  They tried one pronunciation for a few month, but it didn't stick and it didn't work, so they switched to another pronunciation.  Little Teo could also learn to respond to both Tee-oh and Tay-oh as his own name. 

October 3, 2015 10:13 AM

(The "Theo" part of Theodore just means 'God'; the 'gift' part is the "dor".) We were "threatening" to name our child Desiderius Theodore if it turned out to be a boy, so I'm with you on liking the derivation (a.k.a. "meaning") of the name!

In places with a strong international influence, Téo will likely be pronounced as you want it, because it follows "European standard" spelling rules. Monolingual Americans will probably get it wrong on first try, but it shouldn't take much to correct them -- there aren't any sounds involved that don't occur in English.

In contexts that lose diacritics -- like most American computer systems, official and otherwise -- it'll be the less-straightforward Teo. I'd still guess /tay-oh/, but /tee-oh/ becomes more of a possibility, because there isn't a diacritic to clearly signal "not English!".

I'd stick with the spelling and the occasional correction. Keep in mind that you're doing more corrections now than you ever will need to in the future, because family and friends will learn.

Another option is to train yourself (and thereby your son) to be more flexible about the pronunciation. This would apply more strongly if you used the spelling Theo, because that has at least three possible pronunciations (thee-oh, thay-oh, tay-oh), but if you allow /tee-oh/ as the English pronunciation, and just continue to use /tay-oh/ yourselves, you'll lose the hassle of corrections with infrequent or one-time encounters, and build a larger "name self-picture" for your son, which I think is a good thing.

October 3, 2015 3:23 PM

Another possibility would be to extend his name into Matteo, called Téo. In my American context, Matteo is really common - I know several boys by this name.

October 3, 2015 9:28 PM

And Matteo means gift of God.

October 4, 2015 1:55 AM

Thank you for all advise. I was going to use Mateo but there are reasons why we can't. I'm going to listen to all u lovely ladies and stick with it. The meaning to us was very important so thank you all x