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pronunciation of vs. my daughters name vs. how to ensure they say it right

Hello there. I have a 4 year old called Helena (Hel-luh-nuh) and we always assumed people knew how to pronounce this. However, since she has started school (we live in England) a few people have been pronouncing her name wrong, including teachers! It’s very frustrating as we see ’Hel-lay-nuh’ as a very different name. How can we get people to pronounce her name properly without seeming rude or angry? Does anyone else have this problem? Thanks for any comments

The Top Baby Name is...

Pronunciation Of


My Daughters Name


How To Ensure They Say It Right


Poll created: Aug 25, 2013
Total Votes: 0


I’m also British and I would say it Hel-luh-nuh. I’m not sure how to get people to say it correctly other than just gently saying ’oh, it’s Hel-luh-nuh’ if they say it wrong. Or if you’re talking about her just make sure you keep saying it the way you like it and people should get the hint.
posted by guest :: Aug 25, 2013 05:06 PM | report
Start calling her Lena.
posted by guest :: Aug 25, 2013 05:07 PM | report
I really don’t think there is another way, other than seeming rude or angry, if you have told people how to pronounce it, and they still say it wrong. If you have to be rude - be rude. She’s your daughter and they should pronounce her name as you wish it to be pronounced. Good luck!!
posted by guest :: Aug 25, 2013 05:11 PM | report
I’m in the US, so I don’t know if it’s more common over there or not, but I would say Hel-ay-na if I was reading it. But once you told me it was Hellen-a, I wouldn’t have a problem remembering. I guess you’ll just have to pronounce it for people the first time and teach your daughter to politely tell people how her name is pronounced.
posted by guest :: Aug 25, 2013 05:14 PM | report
I am from the US and I also pronounce it Hel-luh-huh. ButvI do notice that tons of people pronounce it Hel-lay-huh. I’ve also heard Hel-lee-huh. I have a similar problem. Our daughter is Caroline. The majority of people call her Carolyn. It’s maddening and she hates it. Even correcting people doesn’t always work. This happens with teachers and other people who have known her awhile and should know better. Just the other day, I made an appointment to have her hair cut. The stylist, who has cut her hair before, called her Carolyn. I corrected her. When we got there, she called her Carolyn anyway.
posted by guest :: Aug 25, 2013 05:15 PM | report
I wouldn’t worry about it, after all tomato tomahto.
posted by guest :: Aug 25, 2013 05:15 PM | report
Does it really matter? Once you tell people how YOU pronounce it they will comply I am sure.
I live in the UK and have been a teacher for years and every Helena I have known has pronounced their name Hel-ay-nuh.
posted by guest :: Aug 25, 2013 05:19 PM | report
It matters a great deal when it’s your child and you’ve thought long and hard for the perfect name, only to have people insist upon calling her something else.
posted by guest :: Aug 25, 2013 05:22 PM | report
my names Candace and some people pronounce it (can-Day-ace) or if they say it fast it sounds like Kansas , and some people use the nickname candy witch I think sounds like a [removed]s name, any ways if you correct them very very often they’ll eventually get it right , Good Luck
posted by guest :: Aug 25, 2013 05:22 PM | report
It’s not that deep. Just tell people how you pronounce it.
posted by guest :: Aug 25, 2013 05:23 PM | report
Just let people know what you want them to say - simple.
Some will still forget but there is no need to be rude when you have to remind a few who may forget. Life is too short !
posted by guest :: Aug 25, 2013 05:26 PM | report
But a lot of people apparently don’t listen and continue to say it however they wish. It’s actually quite rude, once you’ve been corrected, to continue to mispronounce someone’s name.
posted by guest :: Aug 25, 2013 05:28 PM | report
Exactly. It is rude when you’ve corrected them more than once. If you have to be rude back, to get the point across, then be rude. There is simply no other way, if you have already corrected them and they still insist on pronouncing it the way they like, trust me, I have the same problem with my surname. The only way is to be blunt and rude. THAT gets the point across.
posted by guest :: Aug 25, 2013 05:31 PM | report
Sometimes it can be an accident when a person says a name wrong more than once. I worked with another teacher and there was a student named Alana (pronounced uh-lawn-uh) but the teacher I worked with called her uh-lay-nuh sometimes on accident as that was her niece’s name (both spelled Alana). Just continue to correct people and I’m sure your daughter will start doing the same as well
posted by guest :: Aug 25, 2013 05:32 PM | report
There is never any reason to be rude about such a thing as this. You can always be polite.
posted by guest :: Aug 25, 2013 05:36 PM | report
I think you need something more serious to worry about.
Lighten up a bit or your poor child will be a nervous wreck.
posted by guest :: Aug 25, 2013 05:37 PM | report
There is reason to be rude, if it truly bothers you that much. Otherwise, continue to ’politely’ correct people, who will likely once again ignore you, and just put up with it.
posted by guest :: Aug 25, 2013 05:38 PM | report
I think some of you folks have simply never experienced this particular problem. You don’t realize how frustrating it can be. It’s like people just can’t be bothered to learn your name. It’s not up to other people to decide how someone’s name is pronounced. BTW, I am not the original poster.
posted by guest :: Aug 25, 2013 05:41 PM | report
Yeah my name is Arielle (air-ee-EHL) and everyone calls me air-ee-UHL or AR-ee-ehl. I understand completely. You just kind of have to learn to grin and bear it and stick up for yourself, and not let people call you someone you aren’t.
posted by guest :: Aug 25, 2013 05:45 PM | report
I think it is can be pronounced both ways (also from the UK) you just need to correct people, they only need to be corrected once - hopefully! I understand it must be annoying - I’ve just taken Milena of my list for this reason.
posted by guest :: Aug 25, 2013 06:04 PM | report
I also have a name that gets mispronounced most of the time. I correct people but they seem to either not listen or forget. I’ve gotten so if it’s not someone I’m around all the time I don’t worry about it, however with teachers I would keep correcting them. Hopefully eventually they will remember. My sister calls the person a name that is close to their name but isn’t and when they correct her, she tells them that they are also pronouncing her name wrong, then they usually start saying it correctly. (If the name is Mary she would pronounce it Marie. She would do the same with teacher’s last names, Nelson instead of Nielsen)
posted by guest :: Aug 26, 2013 02:02 AM | report

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