Names You Used to Mispronounce

The title basically says it all: What names did you (at any point in your life) firmly believe to be prounced differently than they actually are? How did you pronounce them How did you discover how they're usually pronounced?

A few of my own:

Delaney: DELL-uh-nee. I met a girl named Delaney, and for some time thought she thought she just pronounced it weirdly. Then I realized I had never actually heard the name said out loud before.

Stephan: STEF-un. I really don't remember. It must have been a pretty boring revelation.

Sean: SEEN. I can't remember if I ever actually thought this but I do remember trying to spell the name of a friend's brother as Shahn, or something like that (I was about 9) and her telling me that it was spelled Sean.

Leigh: LAY. I'm still getting used to this one! I really should have realized it before, but I didn't (Obviously). I really hate this name now, which stinks, because I loved it beore.

Adrianne: Ay-dree-ANN. A friend of mine wrote about a character with the name, and I mispronounced it for ages before finally hearing her say it out loud. Sadly, another name I don't love as much as I did.

Caya: CAY-uh. Several friends told me I was saying it wrong, but I didn't really pay attention until I actually met a girl named Kaya.

What names did you mispronounce?


November 14, 2017 8:21 AM

Yes - Prior to the Great Vowel Shift, the letter "g" frequently coveyed more of a "y" sound, as in the spelling of "right" - and the letter "h" which follows would offer a subtle sonority to imply assonation; however "gh" would also convey an "f" sound - yet we still frequently utilize the "gh" characterization for "f" as in the words cough, laughter, tough & enough.     

November 14, 2017 12:18 PM

This is confusing to me. The Great Vowel Shift involved the movement of each long vowel one position up and forward in the mouth with the high front vowels breaking into diphthongs. Thereafter English no longer distinguished vowels by quantity, but rather by quality. The letter g doesn't have anything to do with the GVS. BTW in Old English the original form of laughter was hleahter with both h's pronounced like the ch in German bach. Right was originally pronounced richt as in German Richter. Now the i is a diphthong (ah-ee).

November 16, 2017 11:07 AM

I never stated that the g letter retains effects from great vowel shift - however it still bears effects - as does the letter J, as both for some time were partially confused with the curent "y", which even by modern analysis, partially functions as a vowel; still, I simply used the "vowel shift" as a placemarker in time amidst numerous characteristic ambiguities, many of which still occur today, despite our efforts for spelling standardization.   I am uncertain of how sure you can be of an "original 'Old English' spelling", but rest assured, not even Bede would claim such precise knowledge among the vagaries of the early middle ages amidst the variables spread throughout sporadic locations.     The more I learn in life, the more I realize how I little I know. 

May 13, 2015 11:23 PM

My name is Hallie  (HAL-lee).  I get Haylee and Holly more than I get my actual name.   I grew up with Jessicas and Ashleys and Jennifers and Amdreas and Megans and Emilys.  Not many names that needed explaining/correcting.  I HATE MY NAME... PLEASE people think about your children before you name them something they will have to correct/explain EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. OF. THEIR. LIVES.  It's HORRIBLE

June 7, 2015 2:00 AM

I'd call you by the correct pronunciation if I saw your name. What's wrong with people?  Can you change the spelling to Halle like the actress?

July 21, 2015 10:56 PM

For a long time I thought Etienne was a really pretty girl name1 Eh-tee-enne. That was kind of sad to find out.

Also, I knew a girl named Siobhan and assumed it was spelled Chevon(ne) for the longest time, and I always thought it sounded so nice but I hated the (assumed) spelling. I had seen the name Siobhan written out, but thought it was see-obe-hawn. That one I was much happier to clarify.

finally, a smaller discrepancy- I though Cosette was not pronounced co-zette but cose-ette, like the same way you would say it in "go set the table." I still like my way better.

September 2, 2015 10:30 PM

I always got Phoebe wrong I said it right but I spelt it as Feebee

September 10, 2015 6:05 PM

Hermione - Hermy-own.

Kyia - This is the name of one of my friends. I pronounced it KEE-ah. It's KY-ah. While I'm getting used to it, I still sometimes want to pronounce it wrong or spell it Kiya/Kya.

Ryann - I also have a friend with this name. It's just pronounced Ryan, but people tend to mispronounce it as ry-ANN or ree-ANN.

Vivienne - I pronounced it vivi-ENNE. 

Sean - Yep. Seen.

November 14, 2017 8:33 AM

I pronouned (mis-pronounced) Hermione just as you stated - Hermione - Hermy-own.   I like it better now that I know the common pronunciation - and still laugh to myself when I consider the sound of my former mispronunciation. 

April 17, 2016 4:54 AM

Here are just a few that I have mispronounced:

Delano: de-LAR-noh
Sean: SEEN
Giverny: GIV-er-nee
Lorelei: LOR-ah-lee
Delores: de-LORZ
Dana: DAR-nah
Milan: MIY-lan
Angelique: airn-JEL-ik
Kaya: KAY-ah
Stefan: STEE-ven
Acacia: ah-KAY-see-ah
Leigh: LAY
Barclay: BARK-lay
Azalea: AZ-a-lee
Avonlea: AV-on-lee-ah 

There are probably more, but I can't think of them at the moment. 

November 26, 2017 11:48 PM

We had a Milan on a t-ball team and one in a kindergartern class and they both pronounced it My-lan. Almost all the Milan locations in the US pronounce it that way, the biggest being Milan TN. I wouldn't be surprised to meet a Milan named after the famous city, but after having met a couple named after the local cities I wouldn't assume a pronunciation just based on the spelling.

November 27, 2017 5:45 AM

I've most often heard it pronounced MILL-an, as opposed to Mill-AN like the city. Usually by people of Czech origin.

By EVie
November 27, 2017 12:59 PM

Yes, like Milan Kundera. I've never heard it pronounced MY-lan.

I would imagine that those named Milan after the American towns are a very tiny minority. They are all really small towns — I'd never heard of any of them until looking it up just now. Including the one a couple hours away in my own state. 

August 31, 2016 7:22 PM

Besides Penelope (which I described above), the one that comes to mind is Lila. I used to read the "Sweet Valley Twins" book series so I only saw it in print and pronounced it "Lil-la". My younger sister used to read the "Sweet Valley Kids" books and she schooled me on how to pronouce it. LOL

January 1, 2017 11:01 AM

Hermione: I used to think it was Her-me-own. It's way better as Her-my-knee!

Isla: I used to think Isla was Ees-luh. Now Isla is one of my favorite names!

Imogen: I used to think it was Ih-moh-gen

January 2, 2017 12:07 AM

Um, Imogen _is_ /Ih-moh-gen/, unless you mean something very different by /Ih/ (as in 'sit'), /moh/ (rhymes with 'go'), and /gen/ (like in 'generation', 'general', or 'agent').

January 2, 2017 12:53 PM

I used to think that for a few years but then I looked it up and asked some people, and everyone and the websites said it was Ih-muh-jen.

June 1, 2017 7:44 AM

Actually - I still have no idea how to pronounce "Siobhan", but I wish I knew and am interested in learning: I cannot find a phonetic spelling which clarifies it for me - and to think that I am of Irish descent, at least mostly!

June 1, 2017 11:23 AM

Try this! You can hear ten different people pronouncing the name:

July 1, 2017 6:46 AM

My daughter's name is Lena (pr. Len-nuh) and when people read her name they always say ''Lee-na'', and it is funny because we're always like ''You know it's actually Len-nuh :)''

There are some traditional names that can be written same in lot of countries, but are pronounced different. For eg. Anna (is actually En-nuh, like you usually say it, but it also can be An-nuh) or like in my case Lena, most of you would say Lee-na, but in some European countries pople would clearly say Len-nuh, without a question. :)


July 1, 2017 11:36 AM

Or LAY-nah, since Lena is a traditional nickname for Magdalena and similar names.

November 15, 2017 9:59 AM

Thank You