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Sons name Caleb pronounced differently, anyone else have child’s name like this 😡

(195 Posts)
Tonijo1990 Fri 08-Mar-19 22:08:58

So my son is 8 months and called Caleb
We pronounce it cay - leb (as in leb in the word celeb ).
everyone else pronounces it cay - lub as in the u in urgh (not lub that rhymes with tub 😂 lol)
We are so annoyed that we are thinking of changing his name
I correct people all the time but I’ve been told we’ve spelt it wrong and say it wrong even by my own sister and mil
It’s in the blooming bible haha
I do understand the name has modernised to be Kaleb though
Has anyone else got a child who seems like they have two names with the pronunciation?? Or anyone with a Caleb ??

Tonijo1990 Sat 09-Mar-19 08:34:30

I think it gets to me more because I say cay leb and correct them ( a nice way of we say it cay leb) yet they still say lub, to me that’s rude
But I’m going to stick with leb and I see everyone’s point on here about the accents and the schwa etc
I like the name and I guess little man can decide whether he will be bothered when he’s older or not
Next time I’ll go for a name everyone can pronounce the same 😂😂

TaurielTest Sat 09-Mar-19 08:34:33

Just because vowels in unstressed syllables are often reduced to schwa, as I've just seen mathanxiety has posted above, doesn't mean that happens in all words. Yes, in "lemon" etc., but not in "latex", which is perhaps a better analogy for your preferred pronunciation of your son's name!
And your sister is just rude.

Raisinbrain Sat 09-Mar-19 08:35:37

I've only met one Caleb. Based on my very limited experience I'd say you are pronouncing it wrong! He was American tho.

Ski4130 Sat 09-Mar-19 08:36:28

I’d pronounce Kay-lib, but that’s how the one Caleb I’ve known said it.

Our daughter is Elena. Husband’s family are Spanish and I’ve only ever heard it prounounced Eh-Len-ah before, so the multiple butcherings of it we’ve had by people always strike me as weird, because it seems so obvious to us. Eleanor (my dad) E-lay-nah (most of the world, bar anyone Spanish) Ella (wtf?!) To be fair she goes by Leni mostly anyway smile

longwayoff Sat 09-Mar-19 08:37:36

3 pages of this,? Id pronounce it John.

HeronLanyon Sat 09-Mar-19 08:43:16

Op smile indeed !
Really honestly if you corrected me (which I would totally understand) I don’t think I would necessarily hear or remember the difference. That’s how similar they sound to me. Obviously it’s really diffeeent for you and you can hear the distinction but unless I pronounced it over dramatically to get it right I’m not sure I would get it as distinct in sound as you want/have named him.
I think (having bizarrely said the name many times just now) I say it as a messy in between of leb and lub. It is such a small difference that I don’t think getting wrong is wilful or rude except for your sisters approach which is just unacceptable and quite unbelievable !!

Thought of an analogy if your name was Katherine (3syllables) it would be a bit Much to insist everyone pronounce middle syllable wouldn’t it when Kathrine is the more common (if less literally correct) pronounciation ?
I don’t know.
Good luck.

AfterSchoolWorry Sat 09-Mar-19 08:52:00

Caleb and Calub sound identical to me.

lottiegarbanzo Sat 09-Mar-19 08:58:06

It's just a difference in emphasis. I would stress the first syllable, so am in camp Cay-lub.

I find Cay-Leb with equal emphasis on each syllable odd and wrong. Just as I find 'Char-LOtte' with equal emphasis on each syl odd and wrong.

Similarly Rueben is (emphasis on first syl) Rue-bn, not, as I heard someone saying to a poor confused child recently 'Rue-BEN' with emphasis on second syl, a la Ru Paul.

So if you're saying Cay-LEB I'd think you're crazy. Cay-leb ok but oddly mannered, CAY-lub normal.

Boulshired Sat 09-Mar-19 09:04:07

I once worked with two Callum’s, one pronounced cal um the other cal em. Both would get angry if pronounced wrong, so both became him over there or you would walk to their desk. It was the name never to be spoken.

lottiegarbanzo Sat 09-Mar-19 09:05:28

I'm guessing you're from the south east OP? Southerners often have a drawling manner of speech and take a long time over vowels, whereas northerners get to the point faster. All the equal emphasis 'Char-Lotte' pronouncers I've met have been south-easteners with drawling accents. Everyone else says Char-lut'.

Scottishgirl85 Sat 09-Mar-19 09:16:15

Emphasis on the first syllable so I'd say KAY-lib. Kay-Leb doesn't come naturally to me at all as emphasis on second syllable. I'm sorry OP but I think you'll forever be correcting people.

Boulshired Sat 09-Mar-19 09:22:33

I have never corrected the pronunciation of my name as it is obvious a regional/country variation. I have had an R added when I lived in Ayrshire and DPs Irish family also add an R but much more stronger. England no R at all as in the spelling (which many also spell wrong).

AnneOfCleavage Sat 09-Mar-19 09:26:12

OP I would pronounce your sister's DD as Iv-Eye instead of Iveee just so she understands how annoying it is. If she retorts with "That is why it is spelled Ivee" then say that Caleb has an e not an u in his name.

My DD has 3 pronunciations of her name (think Mia, Mya, Maya) and we correct to the one we have chosen. Job done, no hassle. I have a name that has two alternative endings and hate it when I get the wrong one used, especially by well known friends but I keep correcting and I'll get there.

Just keep correcting and when your son is old enough to speak he'll do it himself and you may find his aunt and grandma won't resist him. Don't change his name because some arse can't be bothered to learn and remember the right pronunciation. You love his name and chose it for a reason just as I did with my DD.

lottiegarbanzo Sat 09-Mar-19 09:37:59

How does 'it being in the Bible' tell us how to pronounce the name in modern English OP?

It's normal in English to emphasise the first syllable.

So Peter sounds like PEA-tuh, not Pea-TER. Simon SI-mun, not Si-MON. Judas JU-dus, not Ju-DAS, Noah NOE-a, not No-AH. Jesus JEES-us not Jee-SUS. I could go on.

MillytantForceit Sat 09-Mar-19 09:41:46

Sair-ah, Sarr-ah, anyone?

And I'm a fan of Agnes Poirier on The Reporters, and would always call her a'nyess not aggness.

Toddlerteaplease Sat 09-Mar-19 09:54:28

We had a kid and work that we all called Ca-leb, but mum called him Kay-lub. I thought it was just the way mum spoke!

WeBuiltThisBuffetOnSausageRoll Sat 09-Mar-19 11:59:27

Similarly in Caleb the E is in the unstressed syllable.
CAY is stressed and leb is unstressed
The E in the unstressed syllable gets turned into a schwa/neutral vowel when speaking. It is not incorrect. In fact, it makes the name fit into a very well recognised pattern followed by similar words and names, so it sounds more natural, and it is easier to pronounce the name with the first syllable stressed and the second syllable unstressed when the E is pronounced as a schwa..

It is still spelled Caleb. But that E does not have to be pronounced as an E. The schwa is completely acceptable. Yes, the way you say it with the E pronounced makes the name 'drag out more'. Shortening it by using the schwa is not incorrect.

Please don't get your son to correct people who use the schwa sound, and please don't correct people yourself.

As has already been discussed, it doesn't always follow the same pattern as other names with similar spellings. Although we've established that many people (particularly in Scotland) pronounce the 'e' in the name Isobel as a schwa, it's also very common to pronounce the last syllable as 'bell'. Same with Annabel.

I think it comes down to the fact that your name is your own name (obviously, for young children, the default is chosen by the parents until and unless the child decides differently when older) and for other people to tell you how it's to be acceptably pronounced and that you mustn't correct people who say it differently is rather arrogant.

I agree it would be rude to correct a person's differing pronunciation of a neutral object, but who are you to dictate to somebody that your pronunciation of their name, when referring to them is as acceptable or more so than their own - and to tell them that they mustn't correct somebody?

Some people actively do this with perceived 'foreign' names and will deliberately pronounce them the 'proper English' way to make a nasty racist point and to belittle them - insist on calling Mina Patel 'Minor PAY-tell' and then, when she kindly corrects them, say "No, you're in Britain now*, so THAT's how it's said". *even though she may very well have been in Britain since birth, maybe longer than the racist disagreeing person has.

Take actor David Oyelowo. If somebody saw his name for the first time, didn't have a clue and ended up guessing at 'Oily-woo' or something, and he gently corrected them, would you accept that person telling him that, no, he's wrong - it's a 'fair-enough' way for a British English-speaker to pronounce it?

Our names are the most basic things that we ever own and nobody has the right to tell us how they are acceptably pronounced apart from us. Fine if you know another Caleb who pronounces it 'Kay-lub', 'Kall-ebb', 'Kar-leeb' or whatever - please call him that. But if somebody else has a slightly differently-pronounced name that happens to share a spelling, do them the basic courtesy of believing that they know their own name and, once aware of it, using it.

youllhavehadyourtea Sat 09-Mar-19 12:01:22

Sair-ah, Sarr-ah, anyone?

Sarah = Sayra

Sara = Sa-ra

I am personally invested in this. ;-)

Boulshired Sat 09-Mar-19 12:14:31

I see my cousin every 2/3 years I do have to use you tube to remember how to pronounce it before we visit. I think it was because a read her name in cards so had been saying it wrong in my head for years. Saoirse although a few recent Irish actresses have made it easier to remember. There is a difference between pronouncing a name wrong and the name being said in an accent. All my vocabulary has a scouse tone even though a left 30 yers ago.

outpinked Sat 09-Mar-19 12:15:58

Never heard it pronounced Kay-Leb, it’s Kay-lub like tub.

SnowyAlpsandPeaks Sat 09-Mar-19 12:19:55

@Tonijo1990 OP you mentioned Esme. This was on our baby list. I thought the pronunciation was Es-mee, not Es-may as you said you friend pronounced it. So which is the correct way? Just curious!

PettyContractor Sat 09-Mar-19 12:30:00

(I've not read the thread, so someone may have beaten me to this.)

There are two youtube guides to pronoucing Caleb, neither agree with OP.

The first says "cal-ib" with "cal" as in calcium or calculus.

The second (which claims to give American pronunciation) is closer to OP, it gives the pronunciation as "cay-lib".

I was suprised by the first pronunciation, I pronounce it the so-called American way. (Not american, but come to think of it, they only time I've heard it pronounced is in US TV programs. Though I think I would have pronounced it that way anyway.)

PettyContractor Sat 09-Mar-19 12:32:38

It may be that "lib" and "lub" are pronounced the same, I'm not sure what OP means when she says they are pronouncing it as "lub".

youllhavehadyourtea Sat 09-Mar-19 12:38:51

It may be that "lib" and "lub" are pronounced the same, I'm not sure what OP means when she says they are pronouncing it as "lub".

it's all about the schwa

mathanxiety Sun 10-Mar-19 06:15:01

I think it comes down to the fact that your name is your own name (obviously, for young children, the default is chosen by the parents until and unless the child decides differently when older) and for other people to tell you how it's to be acceptably pronounced and that you mustn't correct people who say it differently is rather arrogant.

As the bearer of an Irish name living in the US, I think my experience here is pertinent and so is my advice, which is born of experience. You gain nothing by being unnecessarily picky about what you see as the mispronunciation of a vowel sound that is actually perfectly correct in the context of spoken English.

In my case my name is truly mangled on a daily basis. It's not just a question of a vowel sound that I haven't noticed before. Think Owiffy for Aoife, or Madrid for Mairead, or Sayoilfin for Caoilfhionn or Nyam for Niamh. I only correct it if someone asks for clarification or if I will be having more to do with the name-mangler I am meeting for the first time. In the case of the OP's DS Caleb, the schwa is perfectly correct and going about correcting people would cause her to come across as oddly and unnecessarily persnickety.

Again, it is a perfectly correct pronunciation, just as Jacub is a perfectly correct pronunciation of Jacob and Helun is correct for Helen, as is the schwa in a huge proportion of words with an unstressed syllable in the English language. No, not every name and not every word with an unstressed second syllable (and I don't think I claimed every single name and every single word with an unstressed second syllable) but a huge number, perhaps even the majority.

And actually, to use your examples, I suspect the vast majority of people would pronounce the O of Isobel as a schwa. Similarly, the second A of Annabel is often a schwa. It's everywhere.

You can learn to live with it or you can set yourself up for a lot of unnecessary tooth grinding. You are fighting against the tide if you make a point of insisting on the E sound in the unstressed second syllable of Caleb where the schwa is normally found, a pattern to which people revert to in normal speech. The schwa is so normal and so correct that teachers of English as a second language concentrate on helping their students get it right because their spoken English sounds completely wrong otherwise.

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