Parents share the strangest ways people mispronounce baby name

Who knew that Beatrix would be such a tricky one to say

Mispronounced baby name Woman and child sat on sofa
(Image credit: Getty / Future)

Choosing a baby name can be a minefield as it is, will it suit your baby? Does it go with the surname? Will it create unfortunate initials like OJ, BJ, BO? One mum took to a forum to claim a ’classic name’ has left people flummoxed with the pronunciation.

Going for the most popular baby names means your kid will have it pretty easy, but choose an unusual name from the most popular US baby names, unusual baby names or cool baby names lists, with Circee or Gaia topping the charts, and you know there’s a likelihood of people butchering the pronunciation.

But one mum claims to have chosen ‘traditional’ monikers for her two girls and still they get butchered. The mum is baffled that her daughters' ‘classic names’ are still a struggle even for English native speakers.

Taking to the online forum, Mumsnet, the unnamed parent shares her daughters’ names, Beatrix and Lois. She explains how she thought there was ‘minimal room for misinterpretation’. She now realizes she was wrong. The two names, she explains, are pronounced ‘bee-uh-trix’ and ‘low-iss’, but she has found a lot of people say ‘beet-rix’ and ‘loyce’. Her daughter Lois is sometimes mistaken for a boy and called Lewis. She says; “Beatrix is sometimes also called 'Beatrice', which is an understandable mix-up that we did expect but is annoying when even family do it, and Lois is often misheard as 'Lewis' so that people assume she's a boy.”

The post resonated with many parents, who joined in with their own stories of name confusion. One replied: “I have an Emilia. Technically she should be em-ee-lee-ya but people often and usually say Amelia. But they're so closely sounding I really don't care.” 

baby name mispronunciation illustrated by purple infographic

(Image credit: Future)

Another said: "I have a Louis - as in French 'Lou ee'. A classic name but in UK he gets called Lou-IS. Drives me mad. Luckily we now live in a French-speaking country so everyone gets it! However, that brings new challenges with daughter's name!"

While a third added: "My daughter has mentioned that she occasionally gets 'Jean' from Leanne. Lee-anne...who would have guessed that one?"

One admitted learning these pronunciations for the first time in the post; “I had no idea how Lois was pronounced until I read down, I would have guessed Loyce too. I’ve never heard of it before. Beatrix I pronounce be-a-trix not be-uh-trix.”

Another shared; “I have a Levi, which is a common name (I think). I heard Le-vee , Lay-vee and Livi.” While this mum thought she’d avoided all of the confusion with the simple name, Mia: “Didn't think anyone could possibly mispronounce it. She gets called May-a & My-a constantly.”

Another one that throws people is Ottilie. A user said: “Not my baby but a friends - Ottilie mispronounced as Oh-Tilly or Oatilly.” Another poster replied; “this name is Ott-ill-y, but in German is Ott-ill-y-uh.” Family Editor, Stephanie Lowe says her son Ted is often assumed to be a Teddy. “While it's not a mispronunciation that’s not his name. I’ve taught him to correct people, ‘my name’s Ted thank you’, as knowing yourself and your name is important… Plus, our surname is Jaques, don’t get me started on the mispronunciation of that. Spoiler: It has no C, it sounds like jakes.”

So, it seems no name is safe, except maybe Bob.

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Stephanie Lowe
Family Editor

Stephanie Lowe is Family Editor at GoodToKnow covering all things parenting, pregnancy and more. She has over 13 years' experience as a digital journalist with a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to all things family and lifestyle. Stephanie lives in Kent with her husband and son, Ted. Just keeping on top of school emails/fund raisers/non-uniform days/packed lunches is her second full time job.