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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 ??

SrSteveOskowski Wed 27-Mar-19 17:55:55

I'd pronounce it KALE-eb, but I'm Irish in Ireland so obviously a different accent comes into play there.

GPatz Wed 27-Mar-19 17:38:13

You can pronounce my DS's name in two different ways. I just correct it when someone uses the wrong one. I would probably get annoyed though if someone insisted I was pronouncing it wrong.

Tonijo1990 Wed 27-Mar-19 17:32:18

Thanks everyone
I think it’s just annoying when it’s close friends and family who say “well I’m saying it the way I do and you’re wrong”
But guess I shouldn’t be so sensitive

DeathyMcDeathStarFace Mon 11-Mar-19 03:25:01

We have a Caleb and our preferred pronunciation is the way you say it. Have never heard it said any other way until I looked up how to pronounce it on the internet just now!

And it is definitely not a name you have made up. Caleb and Joshua were in the Old Testament. When the Israelites were coming out of the wilderness and scoping out the promised land there were twelve men sent to spy on Caanan, Caleb and Joshua were two of those men and were the only two of those twelve who had the faith in God to believe they could take the town. (They are in the book of Numbers, early on in the Old Testament, so it is an old name.)

Coincidentally our Caleb has a brother named Joshua, which we hadn't realised we'd done until a few years after they had been named!

I think different accents mean it can get pronounced in different ways, I don't think there is necessarily a right or wrong way to say it, just personal preference. Keep correcting people when they say it differently to how your ds's name is pronounced, if they want to pronounce it another way they can have a son and give him the name so they can pronounce their Caleb in their way.

There is also a Kalib in ds's school, pronounced Kay-leb, I don't understand it.

SheriffCallie Mon 11-Mar-19 00:16:33

I have a Caleb, we pronounce it Cay-lub.
Actually, with our accent it’s more of a Kia-lub, Kia like the car. English friends pronounce it differently, but we don’t correct them as we understand it’s just difference in accent, not an insult. And despite his young age, he understands this too and responses to the different variations so it’s not worth getting het up about imo.

Mmmhmmm Sun 10-Mar-19 23:58:29

I've heard it both ways. 🤷🏻‍♀️

mathanxiety Sun 10-Mar-19 23:55:36

Cay-leb and the Cay-lub (schwa/neutral, short vowel sound) pronunciation are both right.

And Caleb is of course a Biblical name.

If people are using the Cah-leb or Cah-lub pronunciation (like the first two letters of cat) then I would correct them. But if the problem is the very slightly different vowel sound in the second syllable it's not worth the raised eyebrows you will get.

Incidentally, how would you pronounce Wyatt?
Wy-att (same A sound as in cat) or Wy-utt? I would bet the farm that the vast majority of people would use the second pronunciation (with the schwa/neutral vowel sound), and you would be right back where you started.

lottiegarbanzo Sun 10-Mar-19 20:37:05

Caleb is much nicer than Wyatt!

Tonijo1990 Sun 10-Mar-19 15:00:27

What I meant sbout bible was that it is a name
I’ve been told I’ve made it up
I’m just sticking with how I say it and how he knows his name
Thanks for all the comments
I know 2 esmes and one said esmee and the other esmae
I guess it’s the parents choice but I always respect how to pronounce whether or not someone thinks it’s “wrong”
I oribfinally heard Caleb years ago wen my drama teacher named her son Caleb Saul
She said cay leb
However , I remembered the name by seeing it on a tv show ( the originals) when I was pregnant and they say more Calub sound
So I’m not sure what’s “right”
I should’ve stuck with the name Wyatt that my mum wanted 😂
I’m not sure if I can close this thread as I’m new to posting but thank you all

TallulahBetty Sun 10-Mar-19 09:15:05


TallulahBetty Sun 10-Mar-19 09:14:26

CAY-lb would be the best way to show how it's usually pronounced.

As PP have said, it's only rude for people to continue to say it wrong after they have been told. My own great-grandmother said my name wrong til the day she died. I don't know how my mum was so patient with her (I was too young to notice)

lovelylondonsky Sun 10-Mar-19 08:35:32

It isn't supposed to be pronounced Kay-leb with the e sound as in egg

But it isn't supposed to be pronounced Kay-lub with the u sound as in tub either

The vowel in the leb is very short and lhb would probably be the best way of writing how it sounds. But it does sound far closer to the tub pronunciation.

SmarmyMrMime Sun 10-Mar-19 08:15:46

I don't have a local accent to my area, and have stuck strongly to a fairly mainstream accent of my formative years despite not living there for 30+ years. I don't change accent easily, and millions of people in the country think I have the "right" accent. If I had picked up the local accent, millions more people would think I was "wrong".

It's very frustrating to be "corrected" about making sounds that I can't make. Being "corrected" that names like "James" are "Jay-ums" with additional sounds twisted in. The UK has a very diverse range of accents and it doesn't mean that people outside your area are wrong.

Someone doing their best with subtle vowel distinctions is different to making no effort with clear variation in names such as Louis (hard S/ silent S). I once had a day where I taught several boys with the spelling Louis, and when teaching 150 people in a day, it is easy to jumble up the "Loui" in lesson 1 with the "LouiS" in lesson 2 before reverting back to "Loui" again for lesson 3. Accidents can happen, and I did make the effort to remember the preference and correct myself when required.

It is wrong to deliberately use the wrong version of a name, but it isn't always possible to manipulate your speech into the umpteen subtle distinctions created by regional accents.

The schwa has been an education to me this morning. I know I instinctively do it, but wasn't aware of the terminology.

Marchitectmummy Sun 10-Mar-19 07:34:25

In essence you can't control how others pronounce your child's name, especially when your pronunciation is a variant in itself. We are in London and know 4 Calebs - all referred to as CA-leb so prominence given to the first two letters. So if I came across your son I would presume and be used to that pronounciation.

It is a name that was rarely used in London at least until the last 4 or 5 years where its used super often so people are not accustomed to decades of pronouncing it. The fact it is in the Bible does not make it equal to david that is less subject to fashion and therefore learnt pronounciation over generations.

SmiledWithTheRisingSun Sun 10-Mar-19 07:15:43

I would pronounce it your way too OP.
Keep politely correcting them. They will get it in the end.
When your son can talk he will certainly tell them too!!grin

murmuration Sun 10-Mar-19 07:07:14

I'm from the US and the US pronounciation of my name is VERY American. Like a vowel sound you simply don't use in the UK. So everyone here says my name slightly differently to me; sometimes I have trouble getting people to understand my name and have to repeat it several times. But if I try to say it with the UK accent, it just comes out a completely different word - I can't quite get the sound in between the US pronounciation and the other word. I always know who people mean when they say my name, so that's fine.

We did something similar to my daughter (accidentally) - there are alternate ways of pronouncing her name, particularly the local way is different to the way we do and the culture from which it derived. She uses a nick-name that avoids the issue, but I'm not too fussed - I call her the "original" pronounciation and people understand it, even if they then use theirs. If she didn't always go by a nickname, I'm not sure what I'd think - but I can't imagine anyone saying I'm spelling it wrong! You'd more have to change the spelling to get the common-here pronounciation.

AngeloMysterioso Sun 10-Mar-19 07:06:08

I’d pronounce Caleb the same way I’d pronounce Salem, if that makes sense. Emphasis on the first syllable. Don’t think I’ve ever heard it the other way.

Jebuschristchocolatebar Sun 10-Mar-19 06:41:57

Your child won’t care and you will be that annoying parent who is obsessed with others pronouncing their name. I had a friend called Megan who was called Meeeegan and her mum was a nut about correcting everyone for years about the way her name was said.

notyourmummy Sun 10-Mar-19 06:39:03

Unfortunately people will pronounce names how they see fit, no matter how many times you correct them! I've got an Eliana, pronounced with a short a (like Diana), but lots of people, my family included, insist on saying Eli-arna. She's started calling herself Ana now though, with a short a sound, so that's getting the message through to them!!

Feb2018mumma Sun 10-Mar-19 06:27:34

I knew a Michaela,

Everyone pronounced it- mi-kay-lah

She insisted on- mi-kel-lah

Obviously her mum had chosen the name and how to say it but it always reminded me of hyacinth bucket! With your son I have only ever heard it pronounced your way? It's a lovely name smile

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.

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

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".

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.)

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!

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