Names with Multiple Pronunciations - Madeline — The Bump
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Names with Multiple Pronunciations - Madeline

Hi Everyone, 

I had a beautiful daughter that we named Madeline Claire. The names Madeline and Claire were our top two favorites throughout my pregnancy. We had trouble ultimately deciding on her name so we waited to name her until after she was born. We knew she would most likely be Madeline Claire or Claire Madeline. 

Madeline is a name I have adored since I was a child. Growing up with the 'Madeline' books, tv shows, and movie cemented the Mad-uh-line pronunciation for me and that is the pronunciation I prefer. My husband and other family members liked the Mad-uh-line pronunciation, but also liked the Mad-uh-Lyn or Mad-uh-Len pronunciation. 

Ultimately we went with Madeline as her first name not realizing all of the pronunciation problems we would run into. Most people say Madeline's name like Mad-uh-Lyn.  I never realized it would bother me so much. Even after I introduce her as Mad-uh-Line they will still call her Mad-uh-Lyn. I feel like I set her up for a lifetime of name issues and having to correct people on her pronunciation. 

Sometimes I wish we just named her Claire. Much more straightforward. 

Is it crazy to want people to use my preferred pronunciation even though it is less popular? Should I give in and just call her Mad-uh-Lyn? Should she go by both? Does anyone know any Mad-uh-Lines?

My husband says people will learn her name the way we say. Maybe I'm just being too sensitive. 


Re: Names with Multiple Pronunciations - Madeline

  • I think people she interacts with will eventually learn how to pronounce her name. The line pronounciation is common and most people will learn after one correction because it's embarrassing to be that asshole who can't say someone's name right. 

    My name is often pronounced wrong, if I interact with someone on a regular basis I correct them. If I only see them once I usually don't bother. 
  • Have faith in the pronunciation you chose. I like it better. :)

    I think you may encounter some pronunciation corrections when she's young. Let it go and just know that when she's an adult (which she will spend most of her life being!) she will figure it out just fine. You picked a beautiful name!
  • I have the same worries as we have chosen Caroline if we have a girl. But I think like pp said, eventually people will get it:)
  • Stick with your pronunciation. Some people will get it wrong, but those who care will find out the right way to say her name. My daughter has a classmate named "Adeline" who has run into the same problem, and I heard a teacher correcting a new helper to say it correctly. You may have to tell people, but they will eventually get it right.
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  • Go with the pronunciation you love. You or she may have correct people when she gets older but usually only takes one time. Don't change your child's name because of other people. It's very pretty!
  • Seconding PPs -- keep it! Since you have an "e" on the end, I would always assume Mad-e-line (versus mad-a-lynn for a name spelled Madelyn or similar). 

    I have a name that is frequently mispronounced because there are two common pronunciations like with your daughter's, and honestly it isn't that big of a deal. 

  • Other person: "Mad-uh-lyn definitely has her Dad's eyes!"

    You: "Yes, Mad-uh-line does!"

    That way you are indirectly pointing out that the name was said wrong and not making a big issue out of it.  Eventually, it will catch on.
  • edited April 2017
    I really appreciate all the replies and the support! "Line" names can be tricky and it is understandable that people will initially go with the pronunciation they are most familiar with. I like the idea of restating her name indirectly with our pronunciation in conversation if someone uses the alternate pronunciation. It is also reassuring to know that those of you with names that have multiple pronunciations haven't been scarred for life. You all have definitely helped put my mind at ease. I appreciate it greatly. :-)
  • I would definitely stick with the pronunciation you love! People will get it eventually.
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  • Keep the pronunciation you love.

    FWIW, I immediately thought it was Mad-uh-line
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  • I have a similar situation. My daughter is Annika. Most people pronounce AHnika, but it is the traditional ANNika. She's almost 4, and gives me a little wink when someone says it wrong, she's learned to say, "actually, it's ANNika." You'll need to teach her that her name may no longer have the "common" pronounciation, but also how to politely correct others. Madeline is beautiful!!
  • No, I don't think you should cave in to people who are mispronouncing her name. Madeline is the correct spelling for the pronunciation you want. I'm sorry that everyone is pronouncing it like Madeleine. :(
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  • Thanks for the additional input guys! It is reassuring to hear I'm not crazy for wanting the LINE pronunciation. 

    @Joelandmissy if your daughter Annika can do it I'm sure Madeline will be able to learn to correct people as well. :smile:   With Annika's name I would have thought ANN-ika based on the spelling. I would think AHN-ika was spelled with one N, Anika. I suppose if name mispronunciation is our girls biggest headache then they'll be doing alright. It's cute your daughter gives you a knowing wink and corrects people. 
  • As @Bringmemylongswordho said those who are around her will know how to say her name correctly. Go with whichever you like. In school on the first day she may have to correct people. I've had to do it my whole life, my name is Andrea and it's always mispronounced. 
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  • We have a -line problem too with our daughter. Her name is Evangeline and we have family that calls her Evange-line instead of Evange-leen. We just correct them and move on. 

    I didn't even realize people would mispronounce it and even if I thought they might, it wouldn't have dissuaded me from using the name. My name is Ainsley and 95% of the time, I'm correcting people on pronunciation. It really doesn't bother me that much. Plus, it's the person who is doing the mispronouncing that looks silly if it's continuous!
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  • I get the same thing all the time. My name is Thea, pronounced "thay-uh" - but most people who don't know me will call me "thee-uh" or occasionally "tay-uh" (which I don't mind as this is how my Swedish relatives pronounce my name). I just say it's like Princess Leia from Star Wars, and that usually helps people remember! :)

    Funnily enough my middle name is Madeleine, pronounced "mad-uh-lehn" (the French say "mad-lehn" for this spelling) - perhaps this is why I typically default pronunciation of Madeline to the way you intended it for your daughter.
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