'My friend pronounces her own baby's name incorrectly'

How do you pronounce it?
How do you pronounce it? Photo: Shutterstock

Babies are given lots of unusual names but, regardless of spelling, it is assumed new parents will know how to pronounce their little one's moniker.

However, it seems that is not always the case. 

A woman has posted on Mumsnet asking for advice after her friend had a baby girl, but was mispronouncing her own daughter's name. MrsLeighHalfpenny  explained that her friend named her baby Anaïs.

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

"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's not how it should be pronounced.

"Should I explain what a diaeresis is for?"

Anaïs is a French name and is widely mispronounced in the English-speaking world, with both pronunciations are now widely used. A diaeresis (the two dots over the i) indicates that each surrounding letter should be pronounced individually, rather than blending the sounds together.

The post was met with two distinct schools of thought from respondents. Some agreed that to mispronounce your own baby's name is unbearable.

"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!'" wrote one commenter. "But this is just the sort of thing that annoys me, probably unreasonably."

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Another said, "OMG – that's just idiotic. Annay? They really should've spelt it Annay, unless they want to subject her to a lifetime of having to explain her parents' idiocy."

"Cringe!" wrote another. "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?"

Others argued about what the correct pronunciation is, and criticised MrsLeighHalfpenny for being smug and rude.

"I thought it was pronounced Annay?" said one.

Another said, "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."

The original poster commented, "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…Oh god – I'm bound to put my foot in it at some point. I'm not known for my tact either."

Another commenter suggested MrsLeighHalfpenny just get over it and call the child Annay. "It will take you 3 minutes effort. Then you won't 'put your (slightly righteous) foot in it.'"