When a person decides to become a teacher, they commit to a lot of things. And once that happens, it’s time to plan. This planning typically includes laying out the classroom, pouring over the student class lists, putting up bulletin boards, piecing together lessons plans and so much more. An often overlooked part of those preparations? Learning how to pronounce students’ names. This can actually be very problematic if not taken into consideration in advance!
“Try a call-and-response name game. Have each student pronounce their own names as you go down the roster while other students repeat the name back (until everyone's got it). Put whatever spin on this you'd like, but don't set the game up so that students whose names somehow look more complicated or foreign are the only ones who have to participate,” Teach.com writes.
Between unique spellings, wonderfully unique classrooms of multicultural students and names that are way too similar to other names, keep reading for 25 girls names that are sure to make teachers freeze during attendance, especially if they didn’t read that list in advance!
The first name on this list is growing in popularity due to the hit series ‘Game Of Thrones.’ Khaleesi is a girls name and is currently ranked at number 630 on NameBerry.com popularity charts.
“Khaleesi is an invented name introduced to the world by inventive and prolific author George R. R. Martin for his wildly popular Game of Thrones series—it's Dothraki for 'queen' and is one of the titles of the character Daenerys. It entered the US Top 1000 in 2014. Martin's series is having a powerful influence on the baby name culture, with sister name Arya the fastest rising girls’ name in the US in 2012,” writes NameBerry.com.
The name Eva is of Hebrew origin and means life. The name is currently in the top 100, ranking in at number 73 on NameBerry.com popularity charts. “Eva is a simple, classic Hebrew name for girls, but be warned: There are suddenly a lot of little girls named Eva (and Ava and Eve) around, perhaps inspired by Eva Longoria. Eva has been a Top 100 name since 2009 and is one of the elite group of girl names that mean life,” writes NameBerry.com. Thinking Eva is not so hard to pronounce? The problem with Eva is that it can be pronounced in several different ways; ey-va, ee-va or ay-va.
“The name Anais is a Hebrew baby name. In Hebrew the meaning of the name Anais is: Grace,” suggests SheKnows.com. “Anaïs, Anaís or Anais, (French pronunciation: [a.naˈis]), is a female given name. It is widely thought to be a French Provençal and Catalan version of Anna. Some suggest it is derived from Anahita, the name of the Persian goddess of fertility and healing. Since about 1980, the name Anaïs has been especially popular in France, perhaps due to the popularity of the Cacharel perfume "Anaïs Anaïs".
There is no account of the name in France before the late eighteenth century when it is traceable in Provence and Catalonia. The diminutive form Naïs was also used in a novel by Marcel Pagnol,” writes Wikipedia.com. Your guess is as good as mine on the pronunciation on this one!
The name Ariana is growing quickly in popularity. It is currently ranked at number 66 on NameBerry.com popularity charts. The name is of Italian origin and means most holy, according to NameBerry.com. “The smooth, exotic Ariana is on the rise along with the fame of pop princess Ariana Grande. Also famous is twin spelling Arianna, which is associated with Greek-born online presence Arianna Huffington. Both Ariana and Arianna are widely used names and are equally acceptable spellings,” writes NameBerry.com.
It’s certainly a cute name, but there are several different ways it might be pronounced, which could definitely lead to some confusion for the teacher.
Lay-ah? Lee-ah? Who knows? Leia is a name that could go either way. Leia is a name of Hindi origin and means meadow. “This spelling variation of Leya was popularized by the Star Wars films but is still firmly in the US Top 1000 many years later. This spelling is also probably preferred as it is clearer in pronunciation to the original Hindi name, Leya(which sometimes gets pronounced Lee-ah),” writes NameBerry.com.
The name remains a steady popular choice and currently ranks in at number 279 on NameBerry.com popularity charts. Spelled as Leya, it is not currently ranked on popularity charts, so if you’re looking for unique, Leya is a better option.
Carys is a girls name of Welsh origin that means love, according to NameBerry.com. “Common in Wales, this name was introduced to America when Welsh-born Catherine Zeta-Jones and husband Michael Douglas chose it for their daughter in 2003. It didn't come into use in Wales until the late nineteenth century. It's currently Number 367 in England and Wales. Carys is one of that sweet group of girls' names with a loving meaning, and this has a subliminal link to the word 'caress.' Cerys is also heard in Wales,” writes NameBerry.com. Carys is a very unique and quaint name, but I can see where it would definitely lead to some pronunciation confusion.
Most commonly pronounced My-ah, the name Maia is of Greek origin and means mother, writes NameBerry.com. Though this spelling is unique, it’s actually quite popular, currently ranking in at number 487 on NameBerry.com popularity charts. “People with this name have a deep inner desire to inspire others in a higher cause, and to share their own strongly held views on spiritual matters,” suggests SheKnows.com on those with the name Maia.
This two-syllable name is heavy on the charm, despite it’s unique spelling. It has a spirited meaning and might be one to consider for any little girl, even if it might make their teacher freeze when they see their name for the first time!
Key-rah? Kie-rah? “The girls' name Kyra sounds like the also popular Keira/Kiera but has a different root. There are twice as many baby girls named Keira as Kyra, with Kiera in third place. Kyra now ranks at #590 and is most familiar via actress Kyra Sedgwick,” writes NameBerry.com.
The name has a pretty awesome meaning. Kyra is of Persian origin and means throne. This name, no matter how you choose to pronounce it, is fit for a little queen. Kyra is two syllables and would pair well with a short middle name such as Jo, Ann or Ray.
An Irish name that means ‘little king’, Reagan. The name is used for both boys and girls but is much more popular as a girls name. As a girls name, Reagan ranks in at number 98 on NameBerry.com popularity charts.
“As a given name, Reagan became popularized in the United States some say in honor of America’s 40th President Ronald Reagan. However, the name Reagan appeared on the U.S. charts for baby girls before Reagan’s term. Its initial usage was probably more in response to the emerging popularity of Irish names in the 1970s. This name is also commonly pronounced in two different ways: RAY-gin and REE-gin,” writes OhBabyNames.com.
“Imogen is a Shakespearean girls' name long fashionable in England, which temporarily lost its way here when spelled and pronounced ihm-oh-GENE. Pronounced the British way -- the initial i is short as in Kim, as is the finale as in Ken -- Imogen is as pretty and classy as it is distinctive. Imogen also gained attention through its link to Grammy-winning musician Imogen Heap,” states NameBerry.com.
This name is certainly sweet, but it’s easy to see why it may cause some pronunciation blips! If you choose this name or any on this list for that matter, it may be best to take your child's teacher aside each year and explain the pronunciation!
Pronounced Ayl-suh, this name is of Scottish origin and means elf victory, according to NameBerry.com. Once you figure out how to pronounce this name, it’s actually very cute! “Ailsa is a traditional Scottish name for girls related to a rocky island in the Firth of Clyde called Ailsa Craig. It might make an interesting alternative to the outdated Ashley or overly popular Ella, and could also be thought of as a relative of Elizabeth or Elsa,” states NameBerry.com.
This name is charming and has a strong, albeit interesting, meaning. I would say it’s definitely a name to consider if you are looking for unique!
Not too uncommon from the name listed above, Isla is next on the list. Hopefully, no teacher ends up with an Ailsa and an Isla, though I’m sure it’s bound to happen! Isla is a girls name of Spanish origin. The name means island, according to NameBerry.com. Currently ranked at number 103 on NameBerry.com popularity charts, the name certainly continues to be a favorite.
Isla is pronounced eye-la, but most people would assume to pronounce it is-la at first glance. I know I didn’t know how to say this name until I looked up the pronunciation one day!
Sick of the ‘ai’ names yet? Better get used to them! Classrooms these days are taken over by Airiana’s, Aiden’s, and even Aida’s! Pronounced eye-EE-da, Aida is of Arabic origin and means happy. The name is not very popular, but definitely not unheard of either.
The meaning of the name is certainly a wonderful one to bestow upon any child. “Aida did have a period of some U.S. popularity; in 1954, it reached as high as Number 663, but fell off the list in 1976. Arabic families often pronounce it with two syllables--as EYE-dah--rather than three,” explains NameBerry.com.
Thank you to Harry Potter for making this name popular again. If a teacher is a Harry Potter nerd, they won’t be stumbling over this name. But, if they are unfamiliar with the series, they may have to think twice about this four-syllable name. Pronounced her-MY-o-nee, this name is of Greek origin and means messenger or earthly, according to NameBerry.com.
It’s a darling name, that still remains a bit of a unique choice. “People with this name have a deep inner need for quiet and a desire to understand and analyze the world they live in, and to learn the deeper truths,” suggests SheKnows.com on those named Hermione.
I actually think this name is super cute and darling. The name Brycin is of Celtic origin and means bright strength, according to NameBerry.com. It’s a more common boys name but is gaining popularity as a quaint and unique name for girls. The name is pronounced Bry-sin.
“From 1880 to 2017, the Social Security Administration has recorded 216 babies born with the first name Brycin in the United States. That's more than enough people named Brycin to occupy the territory of Pitcairn Islands (United Kingdom) with an estimated population of 66 (as of July 1, 2008),” shares Names.org on this unique name.
Pronounced my-kah, this girls name is commonly spelled as Micah, but more and more parents are opting to drop the "h" at the end. Mica is a girls name of Hebrew origin and is said to mean ‘who is like the Lord?’ “Long a traditional boys’ name, now increasingly used for their sisters, as an alternative to the overused Michaela.
A synonym is the German Meike, a version of Mary. Perhaps surprisingly, Micah has been on the US Top 1000 for girls since 1981, though it's in danger of dropping off,” shares NameBerry.com. One might be included to pronounce the name mee-kah, and it can often lead to confusion.
“The name Elena is a girl's name of Spanish, Italian, Greek origin meaning "bright, shining light,” writes NameBerry.com. This sweet and simple baby name is pronounced ee-LAY-nah, though it’s definitely easy to see how someone might stumble over it. “People with this name tend to initiate events, to be leaders rather than followers, with powerful personalities.
They tend to be focused on specific goals, experience a wealth of creative new ideas, and have the ability to implement these ideas with efficiency and determination,” writes SheKnows.com on those with the name. Elena is quickly gaining in popularity and currently ranks in at number 67 on NameBerry.com popularity charts.
Yes, somebody went and put a Y in the name Izabel. The name is extremely unique. “From 1880 to 2017, the Social Security Administration has recorded 56 babies born with the first name Yzabel in the United States,” writes Names.org. Pronounced like the traditional name, Isabelle, this name is definitely one that will stop teachers in their tracks and make them think to themselves, “hmm…”
“The highest recorded use of the first name Yzabel was in 2006 with a total of 9 babies,” adds Names.org. My advice? Stick to the spelling Isabelle if you really like this name.
Kirstin? Kristin? Kierstin? Christine? Chirstin? I could go on and on. It’s no wonder any teacher would stumble over any name like this. Pronounced kir-stin, this name, and many others are a variation of the more traditional, Christine.
“From 1880 to 2017, the Social Security Administration has recorded 8,754 babies born with the first name Kirstin in the United States. That's more than enough people named Kirstin to occupy the territory of Saint Pierre and Miquelon (France) with an estimated population of 6,000 (as of July 1, 2012),” shares Names.org. With all the Kristen’s and Kirstin’s and everything in between, it might be best to avoid any variation.
This variation of Hazel is actually pretty darn cute! Pronounced just like Hazel, this unique spelling could definitely cause a teacher to do a double take. The name Hazel is of English origin and means ‘the hazelnut tree’, according to NameBerry.com.
“From 1880 to 2017, the Social Security Administration has recorded 783 babies born with the first name Hazelle in the United States. That's more than enough people named Hazelle to occupy the territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands (Australia) with an estimated population of 605 (as of June 30, 2010),” shares Names.org. If you are looking for unique and sweet, Hazelle might just be one to consider.
“Hadley, an old surname-name best known as the name of author Ernest Hemingway's "Paris Wife," only recently broke onto the scene in a big way. While Hadley has considerable appeal, spelling variations such as Hadleigh—and onward to Hadleah, Hadleah, Hadli and so on—only emphasize its trendiness. Hadleigh made its first appearance on the US Top 1000 in 2014,” states NameBerry.com.
Pronounced Had-lee, many people mistake the pronunciation for Had-lay. Spelled Hadleigh, the name is currently ranked at number 904 on NameBerry.com popularity charts. Proceed with caution if you choose this name, with all the different spelling, the popularity may fizzle out soon if it ever gains momentum.
A spin on the more traditional ‘Paige’, Payge is next up on the list of names guaranteed to make teachers freeze. Though most parents opt for the more traditional spelling, the name Payge is not uncommonly used for a girls name, and the odd spelling is sure to make you think twice about how to say it. Paige is an old English occupational name that means ‘page to a lord’, according to NameBerry.com
“Paige is more name and less word than the occupational Page. Paige is also sleek and sophisticated a la Brooke and Blair and reached as high as Number 47 in 2003, when there was a very popular television show, Trading Spaces, hosted by the energetic Paige Davis,” shares NameBerry.com on the more traditional spelling of this unique name.
“The name Ellyson is an English baby name. In English the meaning of the name Ellyson is: Ellis' son,” writes SheKnows.com. This charming name is not common at all, and is actually a cute choice for a boy or girl if you are in the market for a unique baby name! Ellyson is a variation of the name Ellison, so it is pronounced elle-ih-son.
This three syllable is definitely one you have to do a double take at to figure out how in the heck you might try pronouncing it. It is unique and quaint though, so I could see why parents might choose it!
Kacia is of Greek origin and means thorny, according to NameBerry.com. This three syllable name is open to parent decision for pronunciation. You might be inclined to pronounce it Kah-SEE-ah, but the more common pronunciation is key-sha.
“People with this name are excellent at analyzing, understanding, and learning. They tend to be mystics, philosophers, scholars, and teachers. Because they live so much in the mind, they tend to be quiet and introspective and are usually introverts. When presented with issues, they will see the larger picture,” suggests SheKnows.com on those with the name Kacia. It’s definitely a one-of-a-kind name, so I’m not surprised anyone would choose it, but good luck to the teachers that have to pronounce it!
“The name Liora is an English baby name. In English, the meaning of the name Liora is: The laurel tree or sweet bay tree symbolic of honor and victory. Old name with many variants” writes SheKnows.com. The name is more commonly spelled as Leora, but the Liora spelling is becoming more popular. Pronounced lee-or-ah, one might mistakenly pronounce it lie-or-ah.
Either way you spell it, it is actually a very unique and sweet sounding name. It even is one to consider adding to your list, just opt for the Leora spelling if you want to avoid any pronunciation blips.References: www.teach.com, www.nameberry.com, www.sheknows.com, www.wikipedia.com