Pronunciation Questions

There are a few names on our list that have multiple pronunciations, and we were wondering how most people pronounce them and which pronunciation is generally prefered. Please let us know how you say these names and which pronunciation you prefer (I'm assuming it would be the one you use) so we can figure out if well constantly have to be correcting people.


Louis- we would say it the English way, with the possibility of Louie as a nickname. We live in the US, so I think it would be pronounced correctly most of the time. 

Lucia- we like loo-SEE-ah and loo-CHEE-ah, but a lot of people on here say they pronounce it LOO-sha. I've only ever heard it pronounced loo-SEE-ah

Madeleine- we would say MAD-a-lin, but to be honest, I said MAD-a-line at first glance. We probably wouldn't use any nicknames, so I would hate for her to be constantly correcting people. 

Magdalen/Magdalene- we like MAG-da-lin, and I think that's how most people pronounce it anyways. Which spelling do you prefer?

Mariella- this one isn't too high up on our list as I'm not usually a big fan of 4 syllable names, but it's so pretty. We actually like both MARY-ella and MAHRY-ella

Vera- we like both pronunciations, but I personally prefer VARE-a as opposed to VEER-a. I have heard it pronounced both ways.

Thanks for your input, it's very much appreciated! 


December 7, 2013 7:16 PM

After 25 years of life in New Orleans, Louis is Louie, and if a pronunced s is wanted, then it's Lewis.  It's always Louie Armstrong even if it is spelled Louis, St. Louis Cathedral is pronounced Louie, St. Louis King of France parish is pronounced St. Louie King of France, and so on.  This is true of other names as well.  Suzanne is always Suzahnne, and Jeanne is always pronounced like Jeanne d'Arc, never like Gene.  If you want Louis to be pronounced with an s, steer clear of New Orleans.

December 7, 2013 7:33 PM

Haha, will do! That makes sense since of course there is a very strong French influence in New Orleans. I don't mind the Louie pronunciation, but I prefer the idea of having the full name of Lou-iss but also being able to go by Louie if he wants to. 

December 7, 2013 8:50 PM

I say:

Louis -- LOO-is

Lucia -- loo-SEE-ah 

Madeleine -- MAD-a-lin

Magdalen(e) -- MAG-da-lin

Mariella -- I'm not familiar enough to assume one pronunciation over the other

Vera -- Ditto Mariella

I'm in the Northeast, if it's helpful. 

December 7, 2013 9:05 PM

Okay, I'm Canadian, in a predominantly French-speaking area, which surely influences my pronunciations, but I'll answer anyway.

Louis- It's 100% Louie. I would never call this Lewis.

Lucia- I'd say either loo-SEE-ah and loo-CHEE-ah, depending on where the person was from. LOO-sha would never cross my mind.

Madeleine- With this spelling, I would say, approximately,  ma-de-LEN, with the second syllable almost disapearing, said like d'.

Magdalen/Magdalene- Magdalen I'd say MAG-da-len, but Magdalene I'd use the four syllable mag-duh-LAY-nuh or mag-duh-LEH-nuh. (I can realistically also see people saying mag-duh-LEEN, which I don't care for.)

Mariella- I'm a big fan of four-syllable names, actually. Now, I'm not marry-merry-Mary merged, so I wouldn't say either version you suggested. I would say ma-ree-ELL-uh, with the "ma"sounding like "mat". Basically,  marry (as an unmerged person would say it) plus ella.

Vera- I'd say VEE-ruh but could learn to say VEH-ruh.

By EVie
December 8, 2013 12:49 AM

Louis - I would say this like Lewis unless the context were clearly French or French-influenced. I believe that in the U.K. the French pronunciation is standard, though.

Lucia - I would default to loo-SEE-uh, and go to loo-CHEE-uh if I knew the context were Italian. I only ever use LOO-sha when discussing the Caribbean island St. Lucia.

Madeleine - I say this the way Karyn described, sort of like mah-duh-LENN or mahd-LENN (the middle syllable is quick and gets pretty much swallowed). I can see MAD-uh-lin, but if I wanted the LINE pronunciation I would spell it Madeline.

Magdalen - like you said, but Magdalene I would probably default to MAG-da-leen, or mag-da-LAY-nah in a German context (though I would more commonly render that pronunciation as Magdalena). I prefer Magdalen. Cool name, and much more distinctive than Madeleine/Madeline. I also really like the variant Magdaline (which was the name of my great-grandmother, or one spelling of it, anyway—it was spelled differently in different records).

Mariella - I'm not merry/marry/Mary merged, so I say this the way Karyn described. If you don't like 4-syllable names, how about the sleeker Mariel? (Can be either MAA-ree-uhl or maa-ree-ELL).

Vera - I've only heard this as VEER-a, and I've known a couple.

December 8, 2013 12:33 PM

Louis = Lewis for me unless I'm speaking of someone from France.

Lucia -- I have heard all three pronunciations and never know which one to use. I used to babysit a Loosha, was friends with an Italian Loo-CHEE-ah, and know a Korean Loo-SEE-ah.

Madeleine -- This was ends in -len for me. My daughter has a good friend named Madeline, which ends in a 'lynn' sound and most people here pronounce it that way (I'm in NC). I've never heard anyone say -line except in these forums.

Magdalen -- I'd say it the way you do. I prefer it with the 'e' on the end.

Mariella -- I would assume Mary-ella.

Vera -- I've only ever heard Veer-ah in English. In other languages I would expect VARE-ah.

By EVie
December 8, 2013 1:11 PM

I think that anyone who grew up with the Madeline books (classic children's books by Ludwig Bemelmans) will pronounce it with the "line" ending—those books rhyme "two straight lines," "rain or shine" etc. with Madeline, so the pronunciation is clear.

December 8, 2013 12:52 PM

Louis - I would 100% say this as "loo-ee" since it's the French spelling. Lewis would be "loo-is". That being said, I know plenty of people in the US who pronounce Louis the same as Lewis so I think I would be the outlier, not the majority. 

Lucia - Definitely would say this as "loo-SEE-ah". I've only ever heard the pronounciation "loo-SHA" when discussing St. Lucia. That being said, it MAY be the only exposure some people have to the name, so you may be hearing it more than you may like. Still, I think it's a pretty easy correction if they say "loo-SHA". The nickname Lucy helps with the pronounciation as well.

Madeleine - I'd say MAD-a-line. If you want the MAD-a-lin pronounciation, the spelling Madelyn is more intuitive to that.

I prefer the spelling Magdalene, but that's the one I'm just more familiar with. Mary Magdalene's name is spelled "Magdalene" in my bible, although I AM aware that BOTH spellings are found in different versions of the bible and BOTH have a history as a name. It really just comes down to personal preference.

Mariella - I'd say "MARY-ella". Although, to be perfectly honest, I say "marry", "merry" and "Mary" all as "Mary" so, I don't hear a difference between MARY-ella and MAHRY-ella. Unless you're saying it more like "maw-ree-ella"?

Vera - I've only ever heard it pronounced as VEER-ah, so that's how I'd say it. 

December 8, 2013 1:50 PM

Yes, I meant something more like maw-ree-ella. I wasn't sure exactly how to write the pronunciation on that one. I also pronounce merry, marry, and Mary the same way. The second pronunciation would have the first syllable sounding the same as the first syllable in Martin, I guess. Hope that clears it up! :)

December 8, 2013 7:13 PM

Gotcha! That clears it up for me! Thanks! (I would still pronounce Mariella as mary-ella unless instructed otherwise and would probably have to practice to get that soft "mah" sound right!)

By mk
December 9, 2013 12:09 AM

Louis: with the s, unless I knew the person was French/French-speaking, or I am in a French area

Lucia: loo-CHEE-ah

Madeleine: MAD-a-lin or perhaps MAD-a-len if you are using this spelling

Magdalene: MAG-da-lin, I prefer it with the e

Mariella: Mary-ella, probably

Vera: VEER-a. I know two Veras and they use this pronounciaiton. I have never heard it any other way.


By jmay
December 9, 2013 1:19 PM

I think a lot is going to depend on what region of the country your in, northern Midwesterner here...

Louis = Lewis and I'd probably have trouble remembering to pronounce it Lou-ee once corrected

Lucia= Lou-see-ah, but I'd probably ask to see if that was correct, could pretty naturally switch to lu-chee-ahh, Lu-sha would not occur to me

Madeleine=Mad-ah-line, and I'd probably always read it that way because of the books

Magdalen would end in Len, Magdalene would end in een, and I'd need corrected a few times to make that stick

Mariella= Mary-ella, could be easily corrected though

Very=Veer-ah, and it would be very tough to remember vare-ah

Hope that helps!

December 9, 2013 7:41 PM

I don't really have anything different to add...but this was fun so I'm going to add my opinions anyway :). Just an FYI so you know my demographics...I am American, living near the Canadian border in NY. We sort of have a yankee accent, but not to be confused with a Long Island or New York City accent.

Louis- I agree that this would be pronounced with the 's' ending most of the time in the states. Louie being the nn.

Lucia- I can understand why some people might phonetically pronounce this as loo-sha....I think the majority of people will say Loo-see-uh. I prefer this pronunciation myself.

Madeleine- With this spelling, I think it's definitely MAD-uh-line.  MAD-uh-lin could be spelled like Madelyn.

Magdalen/Magdalene- I prefer Magdalen, especially if you prefer the lyn ending rather than leen.

Mariella- like you, I think both pronunciations are pretty...but I naturally prounce this is Mary-ella

Vera- Because of the Pink Floyd song, I would always say Veera. I've never heard it the other way...but I like both very much

Good luck and happy naming!



December 9, 2013 9:19 PM

Thanks everyone for the responses! I'm surprised at how many people pronounce Louis like Louie and Vera 'VEE-ra'.  I'd say I've heard about the same amount of people saying 'VEE-ra' as 'VARE-a'. The first time I heard Vera pronounced VEE-ra was in the song 'When Im Sixty-Four' :) I guess I've always thought of it as the word 'era' with a V.

I think we might be crossing Madeleine off the list, unfortunately... I can definitely see pronunciation being an issue, and I feel like combined with Madelyn, Madeline, etc., its just too common. Plus I really don't like the nickname Maddie and I wouldnt want people assuming her name was Madison. Your responses were very helpful in clearing up some of our concerns and it was fun seeing how differently people pronounce things in certain parts of the country! :)

December 18, 2013 6:25 PM

LouiS (with the "s" being pronounced)

Lucia: Loo-see-ah

Madeleine: with this spelling I say Mad-a-LINE

Magdalen: Mag-duh-lin but if it was spelled Magdalene I would think it was pronounced Mag-duh-leen

Mariella: Mary-ella

Vera: Veer-a

December 23, 2013 10:05 PM

1) Lewis is how I would pronounce it.

2) It depends, as I say Loo-see-uh, and loo-sha. I would name my daughter Loo-sha, though.

3) That pronounciation signals "line" in my head, not "lyn". Madelyn would be my spelling of that name.

4) I like the "lene" ending, and would pronounce it as you do.

5) second pronounciation all the way! :)

6) I also prefer Ver-a over Veer-a.