Post # 1
I’m trying to come up with a bilingual baby boy name. I am from the United States; my husband is from South America. We live in his country and speak Spanish all the time. His family only speaks Spanish; mine only speaks English.
I have been trying to come up with names that are spelled and pronounced the same in both languages. My favorite boy’s name is Caleb. It exists in both Spanish and English and has the same spelling. The pronunciation, however, is different.
In the U.S. it would be pronounced CAY-leb. In South America it would be pronounced CALL-eb. I much prefer CAY-leb and would want it pronounced that way. If we were to introduce our son that way, Spanish speakers would certainly be able to say it (albeit with an endearing accent). However, I would like the spelling to reflect the correct pronunciation in both languages.
So I was thinking and testing pronunciations and determined that CAELEB would be pronounced like CAY-leb in Spanish. And I’m sure in English it would still be recognized as “Caleb”.
So, problem solved – a name pronounced and spelled the same in both languages.
But my question is what people think of it? I’m not usually a fan of ‘unique’ spellings. For example, if I were to have a Megan, I wouldn’t want Meghan, or Meagen, or any of those more modern, unique spellings. I’m pretty traditional and like traditional names. I’m sure I would get used to the alternate spelling of Caleb and it would be worth it to have the name I love. I’m just wondering if other people would look at it and cringe or think the parents must be weirdos?? 🙂
Post # 3
@babynamedilemma: I would look at it and cringe, but knowing why you want to do it, it makes sense. You sure people won’t still mispronounce it, though? I think they might lol.
Post # 4
@canarydiamond: Haha, thanks for being honest. People may still mispronounce it when they first see it, but after being corrected they’d probably “get it”. Whereas with “Caleb” people would probably mispronounce continuously
Post # 5
I think either your suggested spelling or the conventional spelling would be fine. In this day and age of parents choosing very creative spellings for their children’s names, I don’t think you would find people looking down on you for straying from the traditional spelling, especially because of the multi-cultural considerations that you have.
My only other comment is that, as an English-speaking person who studied Spanish in high school and college, I would have (apparently incorrectly) pronounced the name “cah-ay-leb.”
Post # 6
The spelling you have definitely looks a little funky but with the understanding that you are trying to make life easier for your son, I think it’s fine. If you think that that spelling will save your son from having to correct peoples’ then I say go for it. By the way, I really like the name Caleb too so I’m a little impartial lol.
Post # 7
@babynamedilemma: I would still recognize it as “Caleb.” One thing to think about is you are trading the problem of correct pronunciation for a problem of spelling. Since “Caleb” is popular in the U.S. right now and “Caeleb” is not, people will want to spell it “Caleb” and your son Caeleb will constantly need to correct them.
It looks stranger to me than the Megan variants, but less strange than the Aidan variants.
Post # 8
@Brielle: Thanks for your response. You’re not necessarily incorrect with your pronunciation, just make it run together a little more and you get “cay-leb”. It’s kind of hard to say “ah” followed by “ey” keeping them distinct without a break in the middle, so they mesh into a sound like in “say”:) It certainly has a bit of a Spanish accent, but I actually do like it that way.
Post # 9
I would just go with the traditional spelling, and correct people’s mispronunciation of your son’s name when in South America. That will be easier than correcting people’s misspelling and misprounciations of Caeleb.
OR you could go the route one of my student’s parents took: his name is Kaylub.
Post # 10
@peachacid: Haha, wow that’s a huge difference in spelling!
Thanks everyone, I really appreciate your replies. At the moment, we aren’t really planning to ever live in the United States, so I guess I’m more concerned with the pronunciation here than the spelling in the States, but that IS something to think about. Hmmm. I may end up just going with Caleb and hoping people aren’t too stubborn to respect our preferred pronunciation! 🙂
Post # 11
Keep the spelling the same as it is suppose to be and just correct people who say it wrong in your family.
I am 1/2 Peruvian and 1/2 White, never lived in S.A, my name is Alicia (A-lee-see-a) I like it pronounced the way it was intended in the original Latina way/the way my parents named me. People mispronounce it all the time, I correct them and move on. If people say your son’s name wrong, it’s not that big of a deal to him. I have never heard someone tell me (as a therapist) how difficult their life because of their name being mispronounced if anything people are going to tease him for the wonky phonetic spelling.
Caleb is a cute name, keep it simple. The other way looks like a typo.
Post # 12
@aliciapdx: Thanks for your reply! Your name is a good example because it’s an even bigger difference in pronunciation! I guess my concern is that people here will be stubborn and want to pronounce it the ‘normal’ way, even if I correct them. But I suppose it’s not the end of the world!
Post # 13
I prefer Caleb. To me, they will mispronounce it just as much either way. Just explainn to people how to say his name.
My great grandfather is from Portugal and always mispronounced our names. I was “Lao-ra” (with a rolling “r”), and my sister Ashley was always “Esh-ely” So sweet, and I can still hear him call my name.
Post # 14
@aliciapdx: One of my best friends has your name (half Bolivian) – she just moved to Miami and she’s thrilled that no one mispronounces her name there 😉
OP, keep Caleb – sticking the “e” in there won’t make it easier…people from both language backgrounds will spell it Caleb and will respect you and your child enough to learn to say your son’s name correctly. Then he won’t have to rehearse “Caeleb, c-a-e-l-e-b” when people ask his name at the doctors office, Starbucks, etc.
Post # 15
Regardless of how you spell it, people will still mispronounce it. Your son will just correct them and move on.
Post # 16
@babynamedilemma: the people who matter will learn to pronounce it correctly.