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I absolutely love the name Theo but...

(13 Posts)
dietcokeandwine Wed 03-Oct-12 10:12:09

...DH has pointed out that I am the only one in the family (at the moment) who will be able to pronounce it properly! Our preschooler can only say 'Feeo' (not too worried about that, he's only 2.5 and will probably learn to say it properly as he gets older) but both DH and DS1 have slight problems with pronouncing the 'th' sound (DH probably worse than DS1, to be honest - DS1 does have a bit of a lisp but his biggest struggle is with 's' sounds rather than 'th' ones).

So...I suspect that probably means we're not going to be able to use it sad

Which is gutting because it's a name we both love, it has a gorgeous meaning ('gift from God' - and we conceived just before we were about to try ivf for the third time so this pregnancy feels like a bit of a miracle), it works well with our surname as well as 'flowing' nicely with the names of the older two, none of our friends have used it, it's slightly more unusual without being completely way-out, it's not too long for him to learn to spell etc etc etc....the list of positives goes on and on!

...but would the pronunciation thing really put you off using it? I am torn, tbh. Part of me just thinks sod it let's use it anyway (maybe I should just send DH/DS1 off for speech therapy grin) and part of me thinks no, that would be really unfair...

Opinions (and alternative name suggestions!) welcome! I also love Arlo as a name but suspect that will be vetoed as being too poncey hmm

BiscuitNibbler Wed 03-Oct-12 10:15:19

Pronunciation difficulties would put me off, I'm afraid.

If it helps, it is not in the least an unusual name around here, I hear it everywhere and know three personally.

Gwennan Wed 03-Oct-12 10:19:16

Congratulations on your pregnancy.

It really does sound to me, for all the reasons you carefully detailed above, as though you can't use Theo. It's a shame because it is a nice name but there are plenty of other names that will tick your boxes.

If it helps, it is Theodore that means 'gift of god' (from the Greek theos god and doron gift). Theo means 'god'; what a high standard he would have to live up to!

I would name your son Leo, which sounds almost identical to Theo but avoids any trick pronunciation problems. Leo is a lovely name too.

smother Wed 03-Oct-12 10:19:26

agreed, it's a lovely name... I also know several... but I don't think it's fair on DH to call his son a name he can't pronounce properly! You've given a long list of positives about the name Theo but I would have thought Daddy being about to pronounce it would be an essential criterion!

Catsmamma Wed 03-Oct-12 10:23:20

make them say it properly.

i can't be doing wiff vose who won't use ve "th" sound.

I worked with a woman with a lisp once, she substituted every th sound with a v or ff and every s with a th

I wanted to scream at her. "Seeeeee, seee you can do the th sound" I left in the end.

<mean and horrid>

LastMangoInParis Wed 03-Oct-12 10:25:06

I wouldn't be put off using Theo, which is a lovely name.

It's great pronounced the English way, but also (I think) fine pronounced Tee-o, Tay-o, etc. - You'd probably find that with the name Theo, if you move in circles where people have different first languages, accents, etc. it will be pronounced in lots of different ways. It's quite an 'international' name, so I don't think this is a problem.

Gwennan Wed 03-Oct-12 10:27:07

Just to add - Theo is not '^unusual^'. Refer to this data for a full breakdown of popularity (table 6).

1,407 babies were named Theo in 2011, placing it as the 50th most popular name. Other names of similar popularity include Callum, Sebastian, Connor, Jamie, Toby, Harvey, Michael, Nathan, and Harley. Theodore was the 124th most popular name, given to 505 baby boys. This makes it about as popular as Nathaniel, Dominic, Patrick, Olly, Zac, Kaiden, Kay, and Morgan. While there will be some regional variation in popularity, I think you will be hard-pressed to describe any of those names as unusual.

I don't think popularity should be the deciding factor when selecting a name but it seems to me as though you are seeking confirmation of all the reasons not to use Theo, which is why I am pointing out this to you.

Arlo was given to only 158 babies, ranking as the 281st most popular boys name. Names that were used approximately as frequently as Arlo include Lincoln, Brooklyn, Isa, Rafael, Micah, Shane, Bentley, Cooper, Marcel, Rupert, Troy, Fabian, Robin, Timothy, Josiah, Rylan, Cohen, Zayn, Jeremiah, Solomon, Hector, Curtis and Gethin. I'm sure you'll agree that those names are far less commonplace.

dietcokeandwine Wed 03-Oct-12 10:35:19

Thank you all...

Gwennan thank you for that, really interesting - I agree it is not an 'unusual' name at all in general terms but I suppose I meant more specifically in terms of our own experience - comparing it to the plethora of Tom/Daniel/William/Ben/Jack/Harry type names - all of which have been used several times over by friends. I only know of two Theos whereas I could probably tot up 10 or 15 of the others!

MolotovBomb Wed 03-Oct-12 10:48:13

Ah, that's a shame! We have 2 DDs, but Theo was high on my list had they been boys.

My DH has a speech issue where 'th' sounds are pronounced 'f' by him. I can't make him say it 'right', so unfortunately this ruled out Theo - and any other names with 'th' sounds. My DH said he'd feel "stupid" not being able to say his own child's name correctly.

Have you considered other 'gift from God' names? There are lots: Matthew and Nathan spring to mind. Samuel has a beautiful meaning - "He has heard" - as if your prayers have been answered. Lovely meaning for a very-much wanted baby.


MolotovBomb Wed 03-Oct-12 10:49:44

No, not Nathan. It'd be pronounced 'Nay-fan' wouldn't it?

Lancelottie Wed 03-Oct-12 10:55:00

Lovely meaning, but sadly all of the 'gift from god' names have the same problem, don't they? (I used to know a family who were Theo + Matthew + Jonathan -- three gifts!)

Chooster Wed 03-Oct-12 11:54:38

We have a theo who gets called Ted or teddy at home but theo to everyone else mainly... how bad is the lisp - could a nickname at home work? To be honest my ds also has a lisp and calls himself fee-o but I think it will get better! I love the name! You are, its slightly different but not too out there...

honeytea Wed 03-Oct-12 13:02:42

I think it is a lovely name, it our number one name for DS at the moment. We live in Sweden and here it is pronounced ti-o.

Congratulations on your pregnancy smile

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