Tuesday, July 28, 2015

UPDATED: What to do when no one can pronounce your kid’s name properly?

Note: I wrote the below article in 2011, when my daughter was still a toddler. See below for update. 

What to do when no one can pronounce your kid’s name properly?

Our family is Italian: my daughter's father is from Rome. When it came to naming our daughter, my husband insisted on naming her after Amalasunta, ancient Queen of the Visigoths. No, nope, that won’t work. I stood firm. No one will ever be able to pronounce that

And so we settled on Chiara, which means light and fair, the perfect name for our little blonde-haired, blue-eyed daughter.

As it turns out, no one seems to be able to pronounce that, either. 
While I was pregnant, we kept the name a secret from everyone, so it was never tested out. Of course we don’t have a problem pronouncing Chiara (KEY-are-ah) – one of the more popular girls’ names in Italy – and we just assumed that everyone else would be able to pronounce it correctly, too.
I don’t know whether to laugh or wince when, at the doctor’s office, for example, the receptionist on duty calls out everything from Kiera to She-ierra to She-are-ah. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve politely had to say, “It’s Chiara – key-are-ah” – and even then, most people still don’t get it.
For a brief moment in time, I thought about officially changing her name to Claire – the English equivalent of Chiara. But by then, she was already our Chiara, and her name fits her just perfectly.
Here’s to hoping that our Chiara – that’s key-are-ah – comes to love teaching people how to say her name, the right way.

UPDATE: Chiara is five now - almost 6 - and is super proud to tell people how to pronounce her name correctly. She truly appreciates her special name now. We were just in Italy the past two weeks and she was delighted to see her name on churches and even a piazza (named after Santa Chiara), and NO ONE mispronounced her name! My advice: Hold tight to the names that run in your family, the names that are a part of your culture. Your children will grow to appreciate their names and feel the pride comes along with them. 

1 comment:

  1. " Hi! I am expecting a little girl in just a few months and have been obsessed with the nsme Chiara. But I pronounce it "kya-ra" and my husband says "kii-ar-a. If we can't settle this ASAP I will have to give up on the name! It seems like he pronounces it the way you do. Is that right? Thanks, and you made a great choice!"

    Hi! The correct pronunciation is KEY-Are-Ah. I found this pronunciation link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQjR_VeKIPE