What do you think?

Thanks everyone for all your feeback in my previous post about Angelina. I think I am not that keen on that name anymore :) Instead I am now choosing between these two names: Vera and Natalie. Middle name will probably be Emma. Please share your thoughts. 



May 5, 2018 3:11 AM

Natalie Emma -  beautiful

May 5, 2018 7:05 AM


Also forgot to mention Xenia. 

So far the options are: Vera, Natalie and Xenia. Will Vera and Xenia work well in Eng-speaking world?

May 5, 2018 11:38 AM

I can't imagine that there would be any real problems with Vera; the spelling and pronunciation are fairly straightforward, and while most people may not personally know a Vera they probably know of one or have heard the name in use (there's Vera Wang and Vera Lynn just off the top of my head). 

Xenia happens to be my sister's name so I can't really give an unbiased opinion of it, but I can tell you for certain that it will almost always require explanation/correction on the pronunciation/spelling. I would say that upwards of 95% of people do not know how to say it from reading it or how to spell it if they've only heard it spoken. That is the price you pay for an unusual name; it doesn't have to be a reason not to choose it if you love the name but you should consider if you will want to have to correct people frequently. FWIW my sister likes her name and doesn't mind that people are unfamiliar with it, and it does seem to be a name that people can 'learn' easily (by which I mean that people don't continue to struggle with the pronunciation and spelling once they've been told them). 

May 5, 2018 4:29 PM

I happen to live where Xenia is reasonably well used (although pronounced SHEH-ni-a). I'm not familiar with the English pronunciation but would guess ZEE-ni-a? In any case, I think it's a lovely name with exotic flair and probably fairly easy for people to learn, though unfamiliar at first.

I also really like Vera with both pronunciations. Natalie is a nice name, although it feels a little less exciting next to the other two -- I like exciting.

I wouldn't rule out any of the options based on flow with Emma, which will surely disappear into middle-name oblivion.

By EVie
May 5, 2018 8:48 PM

Natasha-Rhiannon, how does your sister pronounce Xenia? I've heard it similar to how Emily indicated, but with a voiced beginning sound like the end of "garage" (ZHEN-ee-ah, more or less), which I think may be a Slavic-influenced pronunciation. But I can also see "ZEE-nee-ah" as possible, given the name shares a root with the word xenophobic. It's a cool and distinctive name, but definitely more work to pull off than the other two.

I like both Vera and Natalie. Natalie definitely feels the most expected of the three. Vera has some pronunciation ambiguity, as Karyn said below, but I think it's the kind that will be pretty easy to resolve, as long as you can be chill with people getting it wrong on the first try. I have to say I'm not a huge fan of the combination Vera Emma (same rhythm, same ending make it too singsongy for me), though I like Natalie Emma, and if you're willing to consider different combinations, Vera Natalie is very pretty. Xenia Emma is better than Vera Emma, but still not a great flow with three vowel sounds in succession. 

May 6, 2018 11:48 AM

I always find it hard to talk about pronunciation on here as everyone's accents differ so much (for example I would say garage more like ga-ridge, but I know the sound you mean). But yes, we pronounce it like the second way you mentioned and as Emily guessed; "ZEE-nee-ah", although this is not what I would consider the "correct" pronunciation as it's a Greek name and the Greek way to say it is more like the "ZHEN-ee-ah" version "ZHEN-iya". The story of why we pronounce it "wrong" is that when my parents chose it for her they knew that it would be a difficult name for people to pronounce on reading and decided that anglicising the pronunciation would help make it more likely people would guess right. Of course what actually happened is that most people still don't know how to say it and don't like guessing, and the few people who would have gotten it right because they/their families are Greek or because they have a knowledge of the language/previously have encountered the name also get it wrong and have to be corrected. We still tease our parents that they ended up giving her the worst of both worlds. 

May 6, 2018 6:42 PM

Isn't Zinnia (the flower) pronounced the same as the anglicized pronunciation of Xenia? I would guess that Zinnia would be more familiar to anglophones than Xenia. The OP could try that spelling if the pronunciations match.

May 6, 2018 8:34 PM

I would say Zinnia pretty much how it's spelt "ZIN-nea" rather than "ZEE-nee-ah" (or "ZHEN-iya") so admittedly very similar but there's definitely a difference, however it could be that in another accent there's less distinction between the two. Zinnia would probably be easier for people to pronounce and spell, especially as you could easily add "like the flower" for clarification. 

May 7, 2018 4:51 AM

Zinnia would be pronounced Zin e a and Xenia would be Zen e a

May 5, 2018 4:44 PM

not keen on Xenia either,  people will stumble with pronounciation and spelling

May 5, 2018 11:22 AM

Neither name is really my style but they are both lovely classic names. I don't love the almost-rhyme of Vera Emma (both being two syllables and ending in the same sound) but it's not so bad that I would caution against it. Natalie is currently more popular in the US and UK if that makes a difference to you one way or the other. 

May 5, 2018 2:13 PM

I know a young child named Vera and one named Natalie. Both names work and will age well.

Unless you are going to regularly call your daughter by both first and middle name, go with your favorite. Both Natalie Emma and Vera Emma  are pretty.


May 5, 2018 3:27 PM

Vera Natalie or Natalie Vera would be my choice, if Emma isn't a requirement. I think that both are quite lovely (and V. is a very cool middle initial.) Vera does have two solidly-established pronunciations, so I'm positive that you/she would have to specify if it's VEE-ra or VEH-ra. However, the frequency with which that correction would need to take place probably depends upon where you live and how much Spanish influence there is.

May 7, 2018 5:44 PM

Thank you very much everyone, I am really impressed with all your excellent advice and ideas.