Worried about pronunciation....

After seriously striking out with names and feeling consistently frustrated with my search I have fallen deeply in love with the name Isla (eye-lah) but am fearful that it will be consistently mispronounced and she will be called Iz-luh, which, clearly is not what I am going for. What are your opinions on the pronunciation- how common is it here in the states? I know that it is very popular in Europe, especially Scotland where it is spelled Islay, though Isla itself is Spanish. It is one of the few girls names that both my husband and I have agreed upon and with him being hispanic we loved that it was a traditional name! He comes from such a large family that it has been near impossible to find a beautiful, unique girls name that is not the same or strikingly similar to another family member. Our other top choice was Aiyana which I still love but find that I am not one hundred percent on it- it is gorgeous but might just be a little too unique for the liking of both my husband and I. Any opinions on this name would be very much appreciated!! Please help! 



By mk
November 25, 2014 2:36 PM

It sems to be rising quickly in the US. I always first read it as Is-la. Easy to correct though since people know the words island and isle.

November 25, 2014 2:41 PM

I believe more people are familiar with the name Isla than you might realize, due to the actress Isla Fisher. I definitely don't think it would be a huge problem, and I think it has a much clearer pronounciation than Aiyana.

November 25, 2014 5:01 PM

I think Isla is well known enough for it not to be an issue. Some people will get it wrong, but that can happen with any name and a brief "it's Isla like island" should be enough for them to get it right next time. It's a beautiful name!

November 29, 2014 11:03 AM

Thank you all so much! That is very helpful and I reappreciate the positive feedback! I think Isla is my number one, really glad to know that it isn't as confusing as I may have thought. Good luck with your naming as well!

December 1, 2014 12:46 AM

I'd take into consideration where you live too.  I'm in south Texas and Isla is going to be ees-la every single time.  

December 2, 2014 9:05 PM

The subset of people on a name board is more educated and interested in names than the general population. I have never heard of the actress Isla Fischer, and though I have seen the name Isla mentioned before on this name board, I have never met one or heard the name pronounced before. This Midwesterner would have said Iz-lah, just looking at the name. I could be corrected into saying eye-lah, but I would have definitely needed to be corrected. Perhaps if the poster lives in an area where Isla is more common, or where there are a lot of Spanish speakers, there will be more people who are familiar with the name.

The poster could do some name testing - try using the name in situations and see what happens, like ordering at Starbucks, or giving it to the hostess at a restaurant, or just writing it down and showing it to random people you meet at a bookstore (or, for a true cross-section, the DMV) and seeing how they pronounce it. That would give her a more realistic sense of how ordinary people (not name-lovers) would pronounce it. I think she'll find that the majority of Americans will see Isla and say Iz-lah, and hear eye-lah and write something like "Ilyah" or "Ailyah" or "Eyla," etc.

That said, I think the name is pretty and simple enough for people to learn quickly, and I think it's easier than many of the kre8tive names I have seen. If having to correct people would bother her, though... I think she's going to correct a lot of people.

December 3, 2014 12:40 AM

I think you make a couple really good points here. The name enthusiasts on this board are not representative of the general population when it comes to awareness and pronunciation of names. It can also make a big difference where you are. I must live in an Isla pocket as I have met several under age ten, though one was spelled Aila.


However, I think younger children (and their parents) are more likely to be familiar with it or at least not find it problematically unusual. It's been rising in popularity recently. I would expect the Spanish pronunciation to be more like Iss-la, as I believe Isla is a Celtic name derived from a place. I may mistaken, no doubt someone more knowing will correct me if so.


OP, I do think "name testing" Isla to see how it's received in your area is a really good idea.

December 3, 2014 8:05 AM

Spanish speakers will pronounce the name Ees-la. If you have Spanish-speaking Hispanic family members and this will drive you batty, reconsider the name. Otherwise I think it will just be a matter of correcting some people some of the time.

December 14, 2014 11:43 AM

I don't think there will be much mispronounciation. Thanks to actress and Isla Fisher and the word island.