How to pronounce Kiah

I'm trying to figure out a good Indian name that goes well with Ben (short for Benji). Benji goes by Ben most of the time so I don't want a blatantly Indian name but one that has both Indian and American meaning. Ben's brother has the same thing, named Kittu but goes by Kit. 

Looking at the name Kiah, which means "a new beginning." I like how it is the ending of the Christian name Hezekiah (though for a boy) but I'm worried about the prounciation. 

How would you say it?

I say KY-uh, but Im worried it looks too much like Kia and people might pronounce it that way. (KEY-uh)

I'm in love with the meaning of the name since she is a new beginning, but I need to know what people think when they see Kiah. 


December 29, 2015 1:43 AM

My first guess would be /KEY-uh/, both because of the car company, and because the "European standard value" of the letter 'i' is /ee/.

I would classify KY-uh (first vowel like 'eye') with MEE-uh/MY-uh, LEE-uh/LAY-uh, etc., and I would name the category "Can't Win" -- all of the possible pronunciations are common enough, and the associated spellings are varied enough, that there's really no unambiguous spelling available in English.

December 29, 2015 4:59 AM

I personally grew up with a girl named Kiah, and she was constantly spelling and prononcing her name for others. She pronounced it KY-uh but got a whole lot of other pronouncitations and spellings. I don't know how I thought to pronounce it at first (I was probably 5 or 6 when I first met her);  now I automatically read it as KY-uh.

In this instance I think the spelling is more of an issue, as people don't automatically think of K-I-A-H as an option. - and as mentioned before Kiah is also a girls name which has mutiple spellings (generally the more trendy KAYA/ KAIA are used) - both of these spellings have been featured in the top 1000 where as Kiah has never been in the top 1000 for boys or girls.


December 30, 2015 3:42 PM

I have to agree.  DH's LN is not phonetic.  When we use it on restaurant seating lists, we've had exactly one person pronounce it correctly in the last decade or so.  We also have to spell it every single time.  That said, it is beautiful and unique and I jumped on using it over my rather pedestrian LN for our kids.


December 30, 2015 4:55 AM

I'd also pronounce Kiah as "key," not "ky," but I wouldn't be surprised at the "ky" pronunciation (though I'm not American). If you're worried about the pronunciation, you can change the spelling to something less ambiguous, like the ones JulesS suggests, though I'd personally lean to retaining as much of the original spelling (I don't know anything about Indian languages, sorry) as possible, so I'd go with Kaiah or Kaia.

December 30, 2015 11:27 AM

Indian languages are not written in the Roman alphabet, so it's a matter of transliteration, not spelling.  Therefore there are no "original spellings" of Indian words  written in the Roman alphabet, only more or less common transliterations.

December 31, 2015 5:15 AM

Oh, I see. Thanks!

December 30, 2015 12:52 PM

My first thought was KY ah. 

December 30, 2015 4:15 PM

My first guess would be KY-ah, but I would definitely question if that was right. It's hard to know if adding an "h" is signaling a pronunciation change or simply an alternate spelling to Kia (which I would pronounce like tha car).

As others have mentioned, Kaia is a more intuitive spelling for the pronunciation you're looking for. It is also the name of Cindy Crawford's daughter.

December 30, 2015 6:12 PM

For me, I would pronounce Kaya or Kaia as KAY-ah. Not KY-ah. I really like Kiah because of its connection to Hezekiah, so Kyah might not be too off, but Kaia or Kaya is. 

December 30, 2015 6:58 PM

So, I sort of made the sound you associate with a karate chop when I looked at it-sort of like KY-uh, but not quite. 

I also wondered if it was just meant to be like Kai (rhymes with eye) with an unvoiced h.

I think it's a fine name, but it is absolutely one that you will have to say and spell for people.

That isn't a huge deal, unless it's a huge deal for You! 

I have a name that is impossible to spell, and it has caused headaches (big ones at times). On the other hand, I appreciate its uniqueness, and I wouldn't change it. 


December 30, 2015 8:59 PM

I said Kai as you say, rhyming with eye, but since the I and A are reversed in Kiah, I see it As two syllables. 

Also, the karate room is HY-ah. 

December 31, 2015 12:27 AM

I understand your reasoning perfectly; I'm just sharing my first thoughts and impressions.

Bottom line: Many people will say this name wrong.

That doesn't mean it's a bad name. 

Best wishes! 

December 30, 2015 8:40 PM

I saw it as Ky-ah. I knew one. Probably 15 years old by now. It's a great name. :)

By Kiah
February 17, 2017 2:28 AM

I am called Kiah myself and it is pronounced KEE - ah 

in african it means season beginnings and in Australian (aboriginal) it means from the beautiful place

February 22, 2017 11:28 AM

Ahem. Neither "African" nor "Aboriginal" are languages!  Let's try to be more sensitive (and accurate).

February 22, 2017 11:56 PM

*APPLAUSE* Thank you!!!

February 17, 2017 10:37 AM

For what one more opinion is worth, I read it as KY-uh.

I will say, however, that despite having just read it a whole bunch of times, when I went to look it up to see what the Internet had to say about it, for the life of me, I couldn't remember how to spell it. A name that starts with the sound kai doesn't intuitively get spelled k-I-.It will 100% be a name that requires highly frequent corrections and spelling/pronunciation help. But if this name is THE name, then that might be a worthwhile tradeoff. 

I don't know about Indian names, but I do know that you cannot trust most of what you see on the Internet about name meanings. If the meaning (yes, I know, derivation,) is what makes you love this name that holds several challenges, check your sources, ask people who are knowledgeable about Indian names, double and triple check before making your final decision. 

February 17, 2017 6:58 PM

Just a heads up, this was posted November/December of 2015. The baby is probably about a year old now.

February 17, 2017 7:26 PM

Hah, thanks! And I always check these things, too. I wish more people came back to tell what they ended up using.

February 17, 2017 9:29 PM

YES, me too!

February 18, 2017 9:22 AM

No problem! Funny how it's almost always someone who has the name then posts about it, even though it's over a year later.