Duana Names: Perfect Name or Bust
Hi Duana - this is actually a name nerd question - much like all the other questions you've received in this vein... having a terribly hard time finding a suitable name for a girl. I'm French Canadian, my husband is American (with Scandinavian roots) and we are trying to find a name that will be suitably bilingual (that is both sets of parents and families will be able to pronounce the name) without it sounding overly French - my husband is not very adventurous name wise, so despite my desire for certain names (Mattea, Delphine) we have come down to three that might suit the bill. Mind you we had considered Amélie for quite a while but my husband had a problem pronouncing it (always souding like Emily, and not Amélie) and she will be raised here in the States, so I'd rather her not have a name she'll have to constantly correct people on how to pronounce. So here are the contenders:
1. Amelia (it sounds like it's becoming extremely popular here in the States, so this worries me a lot that every other little girl will be named this - much like Ava, Bella, etc. it's high up there on Nameberry and on the Social Security website - what are your thoughts on names with rising popularity like this?)
Any other suggestions? Thoughts?
Is this not going to be the most common issue of our time? It is, right? As we become more and more aware of our cultural backgrounds – and hang onto them tighter while we mix with the people we meet and love and partner with – the demands of accounting for 16 different cultures in one innocent baby grows more and more difficult. This is why I love this job, and why Sophie is the number one name – because it translates well.
So the good news is you totally have your finger on the pulse. Amelia is indeed high up on the usage list, and not in the way that some names are. Some are up there but you never actually meet them, or get searched a lot on name blogs but never actually are used. Cora seems to be one of these. I’ve never met a baby Cora yet, though I know the name is well-loved in certain circles. But Amelia is a name that’s not just well-used, but easy to use – so people love it. It fits with a lot of cultures and feels formal and accessible. My feeling on it is just what you’d think it would be – it’s a lovely, pretty name, but it will be one that will appear several times in the course of your child’s academic career, probably in the same grade. The question is whether or not that bothers you.
So of the three names you’ve got listed, Annika is my first choice. It’s not super-common, it’s easy to pronounce for many tongues, and it has that neat “K” to counterbalance what would otherwise sound like Anne or Annie or whatnot. It’s got spunk, right? It’s still below the radar in a way that Cora isn’t, although let’s be honest, that might only be a matter of time.
So now the only task that remains is for you to be quite clear with people on pronunciation. Ann-a-kah is totally different from Ann-uh-kee or Ann-ne-keh or the various variations that people can come up with. My own name is one that actually isn’t well-pronounced in North American English but my parents had to get real about the fact that nobody has that European “A” at their disposal so “Du-ANN-a” is as close as it comes. Make sure you and your husband are on the same plane with pronunciation and embrace the new generation with the international, go-anywhere names.