How do you pronounce Dalia?

My husband and I say it differently.
We are getting it from the hebrew word for branch.
From what I can tell, according to the hebrew letters, it is pronounced Dahl-ya.
My husband seems to want to say Dahl-ee-ah.
They sound very similar but one is 3 syllables and one is two.
Which one is correct?
Will people get this wrong all the time? Do we need to spell is Dalya (which doesn't look as pretty to me)?


May 10, 2013 12:50 PM


דָּלִיָּה Daliya (Dalia, Dalya) I copied the above from a Hebrew name site.  The Hebrew would indicate three syllables, but the transliterations indicate both two and three syllables.  The site goes on to say, "The name Daliya resembles the name of the flower Dahlia."  Going from the Hebrew spelling I would say three syllables myself, rhyming with aliyah.  There is also the variant Dalit where the pronunciation is more obvious.

May 10, 2013 4:03 PM

I really like the pronunciation of Dalit, but if anyone is thinking of using it, you might want to be aware that it is spelled exactly like dalit, which means 'oppressed' in Hindi and other Indian languages, and is the preferred term of those formerly known as the 'Untouchable' caste in India. 

May 10, 2013 2:08 PM

I know one who pronounces it like the flower (Dahl-ya) whose mother didn't like the "h",

and one who pronounces it Dah-lee-ah which is what she thought the pronunciation should have been when she read Dahlia in a book, so spelled it that way to "avoid confusion". 

Miriam probably knows the correct pronunciation. :-) 

May 10, 2013 2:23 PM

Another baby naming site had a long discussion of this, with a poll on how people would pronounce it:

I adore this name!  I'd say dah-lee-ah if I'm enunciating clearly, but that often mushes together into dahl-ya in ordinary speech.

May 10, 2013 6:57 PM

Violette, that's not the name Mrsfroomie asked about, so the discussion you linked to is irrelevant for her purposes, although it's of interest for the English name Dahlia, derived from the flower named for the Swedish botanist Anders Dahl.  I would pronounce the flower Dahlia with the vowel in father, which would be the same vowel in the name Dahl (as in Roald Dahl).    The one and only Dahlia I knew was a West Texas grande dame (older than I) who pronounced her name with the vowel in father.  Tangentially the ladies I met during the years I lived in West Texas had some interesting names.  Besides Dahlia, one was named Lady and another Jewel.

Mrsfroomie is interested in the Hebrew name, so I posted the Hebrew spelling with the vowel points which make clear how it is to be pronounced.  According to the vowel points, it is pronounced Dah-lee-ah.  Dalit would be pronounced Dah-LEET, and being Hebrew it has nothing to do with the "untouchable" caste, just as the Hebrew name Lev (heart) has nothing to do with the Russian name Lev (lion).

May 10, 2013 10:48 PM

Miriam, of course the name has nothing to do with the Indian caste! Obviously! I'm just saying one might want to know of the word--spelled the same when transliterated in English--before naming one's child that. Like I said, it's a lovely name in/from Hebrew, isn't pronounced like the Indian word, but is spelled the same way in English.

May 13, 2013 1:02 PM

I understand that they're different names with different origins.  I just thought the survey might be informative about how others would pronounce it, which many parents care about greatly.

May 10, 2013 7:51 PM

For me, it's definitely three syllables, and if I'm saying it in English, it would be DAL-ee-ah, dal rhyming with pal. Almost the same as in Hebrew, just with a slightly broader A sound. I think it's a beautiful name.

That's how the Dalia I know says it, and how most people where I live would say it. However, I've come to learn that the speech environment that I grew up in is unlike most others.

And really, whether or not this name has the same root as Dahlia, most people will pronounce the two the same way, whatever way that is.

May 10, 2013 10:41 PM

It depends.  If, for example, the family belongs to a Modern Orthodox or even Conservative synagogoe and plans to send the children to a Hebrew day school, then most of the people the children will encounter will be familiar with Modern Hebrew names and will know how to pronounce them.  I think only non-Jews and Jews without any Hebrew education would pronounce the two names the same.  Take the name Ayelet.  People familiar with Hebrew will pronounce it correctly: A-YELL-et (roughly), whereas people unfamiliar with Hebrew might well pronounce it AYE (as in the opposite of nay)-let.

May 11, 2013 12:24 AM

Yes, but as people get older, they tend to encounter more and more people who are not of their ingroup, unless they are completely immersed in every facet of life. Even if one lives in a highly homogeneous community, the higher the level of education, the greater the chance of meeting people from a wide variety of places and backgrounds. So, the child might not have any problems when young, but might encounter increased pronunciation variation with age. Pronunciation doesn't only matter with children. I speak from experience.

On the show Suburgatory, there is a character named Dalia. Every single character save one calls her DOLL-ya or DOLL-ee-a. Only Cheryl Hines, who plays her mother, calls her DALL-ee-a.

May 11, 2013 9:13 AM

Thinking we should stay away from this name. Might be too complicated!