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Pronouncing baby's name wrong

(235 Posts)
MrsLeighHalfpenny Sun 15-Oct-17 07:58:00

Friend has had a baby girl - Anaïs.

Lovely name, but they pronounce it Annay, and not An-eye-ees.

I saw it written down before I heard them say it, and said “I love the name Anaïs” to the grandmother (also my friend). She told me that that’s not how it should be pronounced.

Should I explain what a diaeresis is for?

SuperBeagle Sun 15-Oct-17 08:41:52


I see loads of Youtubers pronouncing it Annay as well (when referring to the brand Aden + Anais). I'm assuming this is where people get that pronunciation from.

I'd probably say something but I've no tact

SumAndSubstance Sun 15-Oct-17 08:54:49

Oo, if someone told me that’s not how you’re supposed to say it, I think I would have to correct them. I might just about manage to bite my tongue if they said, “that’s not how we’re pronouncing it” (but probably not because I am a terrible pedant)

Sugarpiehoneyeye Sun 15-Oct-17 08:57:12

My friends baby is called Anais, pronounced Annay !
I think like the perfume.

NapQueen Sun 15-Oct-17 08:58:47

I thought it was pronouned Annay?

blueskyinmarch Sun 15-Oct-17 09:01:04

I would pronounce it Annay too. I loved the perfume and always called it Annay Annay as did everyone else i knew. I guess it is their child and they can pronounce her name as they wish.

AuntieStella Sun 15-Oct-17 09:05:09

I would read it as An-eye- ees

Which is the correct French pronunciation, and how the perfume should be pronounced too,

Yes, she will have a lifetime ahead of her explaining the pronunciation (especially if she ever moves to an area with a reasonable sized francophone population - which could of course mean London!)

You OTOH, will have to grit your tech and pronounce it as requested (if it's possible to say anything through a clenched jaw) or never refer to her by name (often easier that you'd imagine, sweetie)

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Sun 15-Oct-17 09:06:43

The perfume is Ann eye ees too grin

I wouldn't say anything,I doubt they'd take it well.

YokoReturns Sun 15-Oct-17 09:12:54

It’s An-eye-eess - as is the perfume. The umlaut (not sure of its French name) over the ‘i’ means you pronounce the ‘a’, ‘i’ and ‘s’ separately.

Obviously they can pronounce it however they wish, but the poor girl’s in for a lifetime of ‘correcting’ people...

stevensupersquirrel Sun 15-Oct-17 09:22:12

stevensupersquirrel Sun 15-Oct-17 09:22:58

^Anais anais tv ad....

daisypond Sun 15-Oct-17 10:28:40

It's definitely An-eye-ees - and for the perfume too, as people have said. That's what those dots mean. And even if the name doesn't have them on the letter I, you'd still pronounce it that way - just like Chloe or Zoe used to carry them (Chloë and Zoë). We don't say Klo or Zo. A standard "ais" ending in French is pronounced a bit like "eh", but that doesn't apply here.

MrsLeighHalfpenny Sun 15-Oct-17 10:34:06

Perfume is Anaïs Anaïs too, not annay annay.

I’m verging on keeping my mouth shut, which will be fine as long as I never actually have to address the child by name, or refer to her by name. Might get away with that. (the GM is my friend really, not the child’s DM).
Hope the girl learns Spanish instead of French in school!

Oh god - I’m bound to put my foot in it at some point. I’m not known for my tact either

cushioncovers Sun 15-Oct-17 10:35:44

An nay is how I would say it.

KarateKitten Sun 15-Oct-17 10:38:42

I'd say Annay.

So the takeaway is that the parents are sufficiently (as in enough people should say the same) right for you to just go with it OP.

KarateKitten Sun 15-Oct-17 10:39:57

OP just learn that it's Annay, it will take you 3 minutes effort. Then you won't 'put your (slightly righteous) foot in it'.

LavenderDoll Sun 15-Oct-17 10:40:09

Why would you need tact? Just pronounce the name they way they family have said it is to be pronounced.
Put your foot In it? Why would you - they pronounce it Annay it's not difficult to remember

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Sun 15-Oct-17 10:43:20

Call her darling wink

NapQueen Sun 15-Oct-17 11:29:06

Isnt it just like Esme. Some say Es May. Some say Es Me.

Annay. Ann Eye Ees.

Door Een. D'Reen.


NinonDeLenclos Sun 15-Oct-17 12:10:24

Why are the British so clueless over foreign names? This is up there with Beau for a girl.

That half the thread also gets it wrong doesn't make it right.

How do you pronounce naïve? Nave?

DiegoMadonna Sun 15-Oct-17 13:09:50

I wouldn't say anything since it doesn't serve any purpose other than making yourself feel better.

I would inwardly despair at how ignorant the British are of foreign languages though (as I am doing right now having read this thread)

ladybirdsaredotty Sun 15-Oct-17 14:25:47

I'm not sure I could have resisted a disingenuous 'oh silly me! I always thought it was Ann-eye-ees because the 2 dots over the i separate out the letter sounds!' but this is just the sort of thing that annoys me, probably unreasonably wink

daisypond Sun 15-Oct-17 15:52:45

Whereas some names may have varying pronunciations validly - such as Eva (Ee-va or the more continental Ay-va), or Marlene (Marl-een or the more Germanic Marl-eh-na), Anais, with or without the dots, can really only be pronounced one way - An-eye-ees. It's a bit like the no doubt apocryphal story, but told to me by my gran years ago, about someone reading the name Guy in a book, calling their baby after it but pronouncing it Goo-ee.

Ttbb Sun 15-Oct-17 15:55:44

With a name like that I highly doubt that she will ever find herself a large francophone community/people who actually speak properly. If that's how they want to pronounce it then humour them.

FindTheLightSwitchDarren Sun 15-Oct-17 16:24:00

It's definitely Ann-eye-yees or maybe Ann-a-yees. So is the perfume.

That said, I'd probably just humour them. It's such a lovely name when pronounced the traditional French way though. Probably not worth saying that now the baby is here though.

Uptheduffy Sun 15-Oct-17 16:32:16

I am sure I have heard an advert for the perfume saying annay annay. Would google it but WiFi weak.

FindTheLightSwitchDarren Sun 15-Oct-17 18:09:05

It's Ann-eye-yees / Ann-a-yees in this one.

I have a degree in French and also used to live in Paris. It is not pronounced annay in any French accent I've heard. That's not to say the people in the op are forbidden from calling their dc annay if they like. They can call their son bob and pronounce it Greg if they like!

Heratnumber7 Sun 15-Oct-17 18:45:07

How about Noël then, everyone who says annay is ok. How would you pronounce Noël? Hmm??hmm

TatianaLarina Sun 15-Oct-17 19:48:21

It doesn’t actually matter that it’s a French name.

We all know what diaereses signify in English - as people have given examples -


Everyone knows how to pronounce those words.

If you use a name that uses a diaeresis, surely you figure out the pronounciation first, if you don’t already know?

MikeUniformMike Sun 15-Oct-17 20:00:03

I'd pronounce Noel Nole but if it was in relation to Christmas, I'd pronounce it No EL

BuzzKillington Sun 15-Oct-17 20:03:09

OMG - that's just idiotic.

Annay? shock

They really should've split it Annay, unless they want to subject her to a lifetime of having to explain her parents' idiocy.

FuzzyOwl Sun 15-Oct-17 20:04:45

I think that, no matter how much it might grate, if a parent has decided a name is pronounced a certain way, then that is the way that child's name is said. It might be pronounced differently to everyone else who has the same spelling but ultimately the correct way is the way that the parents have chosen.

BuzzKillington Sun 15-Oct-17 20:05:26


NoCryLilSoftSoft Sun 15-Oct-17 20:05:54

Cringe! I would have to tell the parents they are saying and spelling two different names. (Not sure if annay is a name?) surely when you are considering baby names from another language you listen to the pronunciation on google? confused

TheNotSoGoodWife Sun 15-Oct-17 20:07:44

I’ve known 2 Anais’s - one pronounced as An-nay and the other as An-eye-ees.

I just assumed it was one of those names with several pronunciations and went with how they pronounced it.

LittleWitch Sun 15-Oct-17 20:07:59

I would pronounce Anais as Ann eye eess too. However, having been at school with a Deirdre (pronounced Deedra), I’ve spent years being corrected as everyone else pronounces it Deardree. Deedra is much nicer IMO.

MollyHuaCha Sun 15-Oct-17 20:15:27

The pronunciation is An-eye-ees. But if the parents are calling her Annay, then I guess that’s going to be her name (poor child).

Heratnumber7 Sun 15-Oct-17 21:04:40

I’d pronounce Noel Nole but if it was in relation to Christmas, I'd pronounce it No EL

Why would you pronounce it differently at Christmas time?

SumAndSubstance Sun 15-Oct-17 21:10:51

Doesn’t everyone pronounce the first ‘Noel’ differently to ‘Noel’ Gallagher? I presume that is what the pp means.

Heratnumber7 Sun 15-Oct-17 21:20:27

No. They are pronounced the same, because they are the same word.

SumAndSubstance Sun 15-Oct-17 21:40:23

Seriously? You would pronounce Noel Gallagher's name like No-elle?

Allthecake Sun 15-Oct-17 21:58:58

The polite thing to do here is pronounce the kid’s name the way the parents want it pronounced. It’s really none of your business and you’d just look like an arse (imho) trying to correct them. Their kid, they choose the pronunciation, just like you’d choose yours. As a pp said parents can spell and pronounce a name any way they like.

MontanaSkies Mon 16-Oct-17 08:51:32

The First Noël and Noel Gallagher are pronounced differently. But in both examples there's an extra vowel syllable in there (however slight). You don't just say "Noll" and ignore the "e".

On a related note, isn't Noel Gallagher's daughter called Anaïs? Not sure how they pronounce it though.

TonicAndTonic Mon 16-Oct-17 09:31:55

The pronunciation is An-eye-ees. But if the parents are calling her Annay, then I guess that’s going to be her name (poor child)

^This. I would always instinctively say An-eye-ees, but I wouldn't go telling the family they are wrong, all you will get is conflict and they will carry on pronouncing it the way they like.

MulberryMoon Mon 16-Oct-17 09:39:20

I would say An-eye-ees.
I've heard Noel Gallagher's daughter's name pronounced An-AY-is by her co-presenter

MulberryMoon Mon 16-Oct-17 09:47:05

Actually it was pronounced An-AY-iss

PandorasXbox Mon 16-Oct-17 10:05:22

Maybe they know but prefer to say Annay?
Personally I’d keep quiet I think.

TatianaLarina Mon 16-Oct-17 10:07:47

Surely the difference between Noël, which is the French word for Christmas, and the name Noel, which derives from it, is obvious? (Cf the diaeresis).

SoupDragon Mon 16-Oct-17 10:26:57

Why would you pronounce it differently at Christmas time?

Because it's spelt differently. Noël compared to Noel

Heratnumber7 Mon 16-Oct-17 12:49:13

Noel the name should have the dots too.
As should Noelle.

TatianaLarina Mon 16-Oct-17 13:15:06

Noel is a masculine French given name derived from noël, meaning Christmas. The actual feminine form is Noelle, but in English-speaking regions Noel is sometimes used for females as well. The original French spellings are Noël and Noëlle

If you look at the list of famous Noels, most are without the diaeresis, if included it implies the name is pronounced Nowell not Nole.

Noelle doesn’t need a diaeresis because the spelling does the work of the symbol. Just as Björn is rendered Bjoern without the umlaut.

SumAndSubstance Mon 16-Oct-17 13:15:48

On a related note, isn't Noel Gallagher's daughter called Anaïs?

I hadn't thought of that when I chose him as a random example of a man called 'Noel'!

Noel the name should have the dots too

As a pp said, the two vowels in the name 'Noel' should be pronounced separately, but it still isn't pronounced like 'the first Noel'. The man is more like 'No-ull' and the Christmas one is like 'No-elle'.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Mon 16-Oct-17 13:19:42

Apparently the original French names should have dots.

MulberryMoon Mon 16-Oct-17 13:22:23

I heard Noel Gallagher's daughter's name pronounced A - NAY - iss by her co- presenters on a programme she presented.

Tanaqui Mon 16-Oct-17 13:26:34

Way back in the 80s there was an advert where it was annay annay- someone linked to it years ago on a similar thread (it maybe the first link on this thread but I don't have the data to check).

CoraPirbright Mon 16-Oct-17 13:45:41

Oh dear! I am not sure that this information will be particularly welcome!! Is there a closer relative you could discuss this with who could diplomatically bring this up? They are just making themselves look a bit ignorant tbh and poor child! To have to constantly explain...

LorelaiVictoriaGilmore Mon 16-Oct-17 16:05:32

So awkward. Would irritate the hell out of me. But I think you're just going to have to keep your mouth shut op! And hope that eventually enough people get it 'wrong' that eventually the parents start wondering...

NauticalDisaster Mon 16-Oct-17 19:11:14

I would cringe every time they said their daughter's name! Having said that, there is not a lot you can do to change their pronunciation.

HappyClappyDinosaur Mon 16-Oct-17 19:15:28

I think it's a beautiful name as An-eye-yees. I'm sure there was an advert for the perfume with the pronunciation?

spiderlight Mon 16-Oct-17 19:18:14

She'll be old enough to watch 'The Amazing World of Gumball' in eight years or so and then she can set her parents straight grin

HappyClappyDinosaur Mon 16-Oct-17 19:18:45

PesoisaTool Mon 16-Oct-17 19:22:24

It's An-nay-ees. A French name. Annay? Fucking halfwits.

amammabear Mon 16-Oct-17 19:26:38

I also have a name that can be pronounced a number of ways, most people use a different pronunciation to mine and yes, it's a PITA, but seriously, it's what my parents chose and nobody elses business to decide that they're wrong....

Nuggysmummy Mon 16-Oct-17 19:28:00

They picked that name because they like their pronunciation, I wouldn't bother

Ohwhatfun Mon 16-Oct-17 19:30:09

With a name like that I highly doubt that she will ever find herself a large francophone community/people who actually speak properly. If that's how they want to pronounce it then humour them.

hmmy ok!!! You sound lovely

LovelyPrep Mon 16-Oct-17 19:31:45

It's really cringeworthy but you absolutely can't say anything! The poor kid is saddled with it now, they won't change the pronunciation because a friend of the family says so.

innerfoundpeas Mon 16-Oct-17 19:32:08

yikes - nope, don't say a word! totally upto them. My name is often pronounced wrongly (modern way / old fashioned) only correct if I can be bothered - am about to be introduced to someone. They will deal with it in time!

Willswife Mon 16-Oct-17 19:36:09

Such a pretty name when pronounced correctly but don't like Annay. I wouldn't say anything personally, but the parents will spend a lot of time correcting people.

Uglymug76 Mon 16-Oct-17 19:36:45

It’s not pronounced Annay or An-eye-ees!

It’s pronounced An-ay-is, after the French author Anais Nin.

My 8yr old is called Esme, which also originates from France but we decided to drop the accent over the last e, and pronounce it Es-mee rather than the French Es-may. Loads of people still call her Es-may though, doesn’t really bother me but bugs the shit out of her!!

insancerre Mon 16-Oct-17 19:40:15

When a new baby called Anais started in the baby room at work, the staff member didn't know how to pronounce it either
Which is why she announced to the whole room that Anus' mum had arrived

Luluandizzy Mon 16-Oct-17 19:44:55

NO I would say nothing at all as you will just get their backs up and make yourself look a tit. Pronounce theirs child’s name how they have chosen and wish.

neveradullmoment99 Mon 16-Oct-17 19:46:25

Anus OMG!!!!

bonbonours Mon 16-Oct-17 19:46:27

It would bug me. I have a similar thing with someone I know who spells her child's name wrong. She even posted up on Facebook about it saying she sees it spelt this way (the correct way) but prefers it this way (incorrect). Load of her friends tell her 'you go with what you like, she's your baby'. I pointed out tactfully that if you chose and unusual (wrong) spelling she will spend her life correcting people. She went with the wrong spelling. It's not like an alternative spelling it's like getting i and e the wrong way round. There's no point correcting her. Some people will stick with their misguided thing no matter what.

neveradullmoment99 Mon 16-Oct-17 19:47:21

They should drop the two dots if they dont want it pronounced the French way.

HaHaHmm Mon 16-Oct-17 19:48:11

Argh. That's painful, especially if they have gone to the trouble of using the diaeresis. If they had ignored it then the spelling Anais would at least be correctly pronounced 'annay' in French, even if it isn't actually a name.

How old is baby? Have they registered the birth? If they are set on the pronunciation 'annay' then they should probably spell it Anais. Anaïs is unequivocally 'ann-eye-eese'.

didofido Mon 16-Oct-17 19:49:00

My kids called the perfume Anus-Anus. Didn't fancy it after that.

neveradullmoment99 Mon 16-Oct-17 19:49:18

My dd has a grave accent. Its always forgotten. It changes her whole name. I always remind the school to put it on, even by hand.

bettydraper31 Mon 16-Oct-17 19:49:38

Oh dear. It doesn't seem like they put much thought/ did much research. They are going to get so fed up with correcting people.

My real name was always answered with "what? Who?" So much so i haven't used that name since I was a teenager. There's nothing more embarrassing/confidence knocking when you're young. I just wanted a NORMAL name. That's why my children will/have classic, easy to spell/pronounce names. Anyway, I digress...

I would have said Anais with an 's'.

HaHaHmm Mon 16-Oct-17 19:52:08

It’s pronounced An-ay-is, after the French author Anais Nin.

No, it isn't. Listen to the pronunciation 40 secs into this advert for Anaïs Anaïs.

Rugratwrangler Mon 16-Oct-17 19:52:30

This is the first I'm seeing this name, I am seriously struggling to see how anybody could get "annay" out of that o.O

Anyway I'd passive-aggressively go "hello anais. OH SORRY I MEAN annay"

Love51 Mon 16-Oct-17 19:55:02

My parents pronounce my (French) name differently. Not differently from the world at large, differently from each other.
I tend to use a diminutive.
It didn't bother me as a child, as I thought it was a regional variation - like bath and Barth or castle and car-sel. They were in love, married and living together when I was born (and still). The mind boggles how they got through the 'what shall we call our baby' chat without realizing they were saying it differently.
No one knows, I don't use my full name in the family!

firawla Mon 16-Oct-17 20:00:52

I would say an ay es, but once I was doing a marketing campaign with Aden + anais and in their brand guidelines doc that they sent over they said it’s pronounced an-nay for their brand! Which surprised me but apparently that’s the pronounciation they officially use.

Definitely don’t “correct” the parents as that will come across very rude. We had a teacher who refused to pronounce the EE sound with Zoe and Chloe as the girls didn’t have the dots on the e, so she insisted they had to be called as one syllable zo and Chlo and Just came across as a nutter and a bit of a twat being so pedantic!

LadyRenoir Mon 16-Oct-17 20:00:55

Roll with it, maybe one day she will find out. Annay is super incorrect as a pronunciation, clearly they did not do a lot of research into it.

I once knew a girl whose parents called her 'Chardonnay', unfortunately they did not know how to spell it, so they spelled it in a way it would/should read as 'Shardeen', and she was always upset people would get that wrong by reading her name.

MagicFajita Mon 16-Oct-17 20:03:35

Surely it's up to her parents how her name is pronounced?

It's not really for you to tell them.

JaneEyre70 Mon 16-Oct-17 20:09:07

My DDs got a friend who called her little boy Louis....Oh that's gorgeous, I said, I love "loo-eee", she looked at me in horror and said "it's pronounced Lewis". I despair. Why saddle a child with a name that everyone is going to say wrong for its entire life hmm

Mumoftwoyoungkids Mon 16-Oct-17 20:10:11

Does anyone remember the poster who called her Dd Ellie "spelt Elle". She was moaning that people kept calling her "Elle".

No matter how many times people said "because her name is Elle" she just would not be told......

Rainbunny Mon 16-Oct-17 20:11:41

First of all, if they gave their child the name intending to (mis)pronounce it "Annay" then they can of course.

Also, do you know for sure that they spell the name including the diaeresis? If they aren't aware of the formal pronunciation I'm guessing they aren't aware to spell it with the diaeresis, otherwise they'd be aware of how a diaeresis changes the pronunciation.

Cakeorchocolate Mon 16-Oct-17 20:12:34

They're not pronouncing her name wrong - they picked it!
They just haven't spelt it the way you expect for how it's said.

I might at some point have a conversation with the gm (as she's the one who's your friend) about how I'm surprised they've put the diaeresis in for the way they're saying it but please don't call the child by the different pronunciation - it's not her fault her parents spelt it wrong differently!

CandleWithHair Mon 16-Oct-17 20:14:17

I work with a lovely French girl named Anais, she pronounces it An-ey-iss. Not 'eye'

MikeUniformMike Mon 16-Oct-17 20:17:50

If they want to say it as Annay, let them.
A colleague has a DD named Elodie, and they say it to rhyme with Melody. Their child...
Similarly the countless Amelies pronounced Ammerly in this country.

Eolian Mon 16-Oct-17 20:19:37

Of course you can pronounce it how you like. Anyone can pronounce their child's name however they like. But the name Anaïs is correctly pronounced ann ah eess. The two dots over the i are specifically there to indicate that you pronounce the 'a' and the 'i' as separate vowel sounds - i.e. 'ah' and 'ee'. So what's the point in putting the two dots there but not using them?

AnotherLegoBrick Mon 16-Oct-17 20:21:54

I've watched the video and get that Ann-ay is just wrong. But all I hear is 'An ace' - all the other ways of writing it don't make any sense to me.

SpuriouserAndSpuriouser Mon 16-Oct-17 20:22:01

Have I fallen down a wormhole?! I swear I have read this exact thread before, down to the replies and everything. I'm not sure whether there's a glitch in the matrix or it's just a popular thread topic but I am very confused confused

Eolian Mon 16-Oct-17 20:22:17

Oh and those saying that the 80s advert said 'annay annay' - it's not uncommon to market a foreign product but alter the pronunciation of its name to make it easier for non-speakers of the original language.

TatianaLarina Mon 16-Oct-17 20:25:20

They can pronounce it grockel if they like.

Everyone outside the family will pronounce it correctly with the ‘eece’ ending and she will spend her lifetime correcting them. If they want to call her Annay then it would be sensible to change the spelling.

TatianaLarina Mon 16-Oct-17 20:26:19

That was to Mike ^^

HeadsDownThumbsUpEveryone Mon 16-Oct-17 20:26:49

Whilst I agree that it is there child you cannot say you are right just because you are their parent. That's not how names work otherwise you could call your child Hedgehog and say its pronounced Bill. A little extreme in my example but still basically the same concept. Names can be and are pronounced in many ways but you cannot just decide that you like the look of one name and make up a pronunciation that you like. Poor thing will spend years correcting people and will no doubt be calling herself Ana before she is a teen.

On a separate note as a teacher I have never met or taught an Elodie which was not pronounced like melody even a little French girl we had pronounced it el-oh-dee, how should it be pronounced?

Gasp0deTheW0nderD0g Mon 16-Oct-17 20:27:58

My daughter was at school with a girl called Chryseis pronounced Sherice.

I have no patience with the idea that parents can call their child anything they like and the rest of the world is expected to just fall in and accept their idea of how it should be spelled/pronounced. Using a non-standard spelling/pronunciation is going to cause endless hassle and confusion, for your own child more than anyone else. Why would you do that?

jamdonut Mon 16-Oct-17 20:28:55

it is people of a certain age who will say Annay, because of the perfume advert. I knew an An-ay-is at school, so it was very confusing to hear the advert.
IT is just one of those names. They are in for a lifetime of putting people 'right' . That is up to them.

Housemum Mon 16-Oct-17 20:29:06

I have an Amélie - I might be wrong but I say a-may-lie (not quite May but don't no how to write it - somewhere between May and meh!) and never a-muh-lie which is how most people who don't call her Emily by mistake pronounce it smile

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