Hi Duana,

I'm due in 3 months and my husband and I have 2 names (for each gender) picked out.  We will need to narrow it down to one.  We have had a bit of a struggle but we have come down to these.  Would LOVE to hear your feedback on the chosen names...really enjoyed the Kary/Caledonia analysis!

BOY: Matteo/Vincenzo
GIRL: Gabriella/Daniella


God, Italian names are so beautiful, aren’t they? They are lyrical and musical. But, of course, they're not always deployed that way. I have a friend whose name is spelled P-a-u-l-a. You know what that's “supposed” to sound like, pronounced with Italian influence? "Paow-la" (yes, the traditional spelling is P-a-o-l-a). But you know what comes out of a lot of people's mouths? "Polla"

This is the discussion: which of the names is going to retain more of the original sound that you love?   Where Matteo and Vincenzo are concerned, both are lovely. Matteo is marginally more easy to pronounce than what might become "Vin-sen-zo", until you remind people how to pronounce the “C”.   Furthermore, are you going to be happier to have a teenaged Matt or Vince? I am biased because I know a young Matteo, but also because there's a small chance you might be able to control the nickname by actively referring to him as 'Teo (if that's your thing). Vincenzo is Vince, I think, if it gets shortened at all. Or Enzo? Does that bother you?

Similarly, Gabriella and Daniella are both lovely. They're less susceptible to nicknames, I think, so the question becomes whether you want to fit in with or distinguish yourself from the millions of Isabellas (and Gabriellas - the name was #34 in 2011) running around the playgrounds right now, or whether you'd choose Daniella, which, while pretty, is definitely less in favour now (though it was huge in the 80s). So I think I'd probably go with that, just because she's less likely to be one of many - then again, she's also less likely to find a toothbrush with her name on it. So what matters more? 

You didn't ask for options, but don't forget about Graziella, which is a nice spin on Grace and way less common if you want that same “ella” feeling.