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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Baby Girl or Boy, Sibling to Alexandra and Luke

I think this is our very first repeat customer!

Britta writes:
So, I want to name my baby girl (sister to Alexandra and Luke) to be a name that can be shortened to "Lina." I love Carolina, but I am loathe to subject her to a lifetime of having to correct people's mispronunciation of her name. I don't want to tell you how I'd pronounce it, but would rather know how most people would pronounce it. And, if they think it would be a big deal if it were pronounced differently than it might first appear.

I'm also very open to other names that can be shortened to a Lina nickname. I've tried to think of some and have done some searching, but there's not a lot out there. My great grandmother's name was Axelina (no!) and called Lina and Lina has a nice Swedish ring to it--homage to my heritage.

My husband is opposed to Carolina, so I need some ammunition! Help.

By the way, if this little one turns out to be a boy, I think the contenders are Eric and John. (You my remember my husband was gunning for John when I was pregnant with Luke. 9/7/08 post.) I love Peter, but apparently most men can't stomach Peter as a baby name. I also love Beau, but I don't think I want Beau and Luke to be my two boys! A little too Dukes of Hazard for me.

First, pronunciation. If I saw "Lina," I would pronounce it LEE-nah. But if I saw that the full name was "Carolina," I would instead pronounce it LIE-nah. I'd be interested to know what everyone else thinks on this.

I am going to assume since you mentioned pronunciation issues with Carolina that what you're looking for is LEE-nah. In that case, the name I think is best is Angelina. I have two associations with the name, both positive: the actress Angelina Jolie, who is becoming known more for her good works and humanitarian efforts and adoptions than for the old blood-in-a-necklace stuff; and Angelina Ballerina, the nice little storybook mouse. I like how it goes with Alexandra: both are long ultra-feminine names with lots of nickname potential.

There's also Catalina.

Here is an unusual choice: Abilene. This has a couple of different pronunciations, but the English one is AB-ah-leen. Like Abigail, but with a LEEN on the end. Downside: it's not spelled right to get the Lina nickname, and spelling it Abiline makes it look like it rhymes with Adeline.

Hey, this is odd: if I add an A to Adeline and make it Adelina, that looks like add-ah-LEE-na to me---or at least, it looks like it could go either way. So let's add Adelina to the list.

There's Amalina and Annalina and Avelina, which I just made up from Amalia and Angelina and Avalyn, and which look to me like am-ah-lee-nah and ann-ah-lee-nah and av-ah-lee-nah. (Let's remember not to try Annalina without the double N, lest we create a first-four-letters problem.)

Some names that end with "-ley" can be changed to "-lina." Ashley becomes Ashlina, Emily becomes Emilina. Because the names are familiar already with a LEE sound, the LEE-nah comes more naturally. The occasional correction will still need to be made---but then, that happens with almost every name. I regularly have to tell people that "Kristen" is not pronounced with a long E sound (like Kristine).

There's also Alina and Elina. And whew, I am still on A and have spent a long time in the index of the baby name book, so I will leave it at that and open it up for more suggestions. Names that give the nickname Lina? And perhaps we can also say if we prefer the name Eric or the name John (I love both). And the question from earlier, too, about how we'd pronounce the name Lina if we saw it.

Name update! Britta writes:
We had a little boy on March 8, 2010 and named him Eric James. I appreciated the feedback on the Eric v. John decision. His nickname is E. Sometimes EJ.


ImpossibleGermany said...

I would pronounce Carolina as Caroleena. Not like the state...

Also, I LOVE the name Alina. One of my cousins has that name and we call her Lina (pronounced Leena) for short.

Rachel said...

I would pronounce Carolina like the state: Carol-eye-nah.

Clarabella said...

I pronounce Carolina with a long "i", but I'm from one of the states, so that's a habit I would have a hard time breaking. However, if you told me it was pronounced Caroleena, I would never say it otherwise.
From Swistle's suggestions, I like Alina or Elina the best. For some reason, they have a Scandinavian ring to me. With that in mind & your Swedish heritage, I have to say I would want Eric for the boy's name. Alexandra, Luke and Eric is SO cute. As is Alexandra, Luke and Lina.

Jen said...

If I saw Lina, I would pronounce it lie-nah. If I saw Lena, I would pronounce is either as lee-nah or lay-nah or actually even closer to len-ah. So I think which pronunciation she's looking for is huge when deciding on a full name, as Swistle has studiously outlined.

And I agree that if the full name is pronounced with a lee-na at the end the odds are better that someone would pronounce it the intended way but I still think there would be a lot of incorrect pronunciation going on.

As far as other suggestions, whew, I don't think I could come up with anything other than what Swistle has.

Fran said...

I would pronounce them both with the "ee" sound. My thought would be that the intention was not to name her after a state, even if you are from there.

Jay and Amie said...

I would pronounce Carolina like the state, but Lina like LEE-na. Does Lina have to be a nickname or are you open to it being the full name?

I know a girl who's name is Lena (also pronounced LEE-na)and I think that spelling might sway people more towards the way you'd like it pronounced.

Oh and if you're looking for longer, more femenine names, what about Rosalina? It goes with the Swedish girl name "Rosa" and you still get your nickname!

Lara Jane said...

I would pronounce it CaroLEEna, but I'm from an area with a lot of CaroLEEnas. :) What if you spelled it Karolina? Would that detract people from pronouncing it like the states? It's also more Swedish that way.

Evelina is Swedish and, I think, prettier (in writing) than Avelina or Avalina.

What about Malina?

Melio (MelissaInk) said...

I also thought LEE-na when I first saw it, but I would pronounce Carolina like the state.

My husband's great-grandma was named Wilhelmina - straight from the German boat :) People called her Lena (spelled with an "e").

Abby@AppMtn said...

I'm with Lara - Evelina is literary, has the same gentle antique feel of many a popular name and gets you to the Lina nickname without the hassle of Carolina. (BTW, I'd pronounce it LEE nah.)

Sofia said...

I would pronounce Lina like LEE-nah, and Carolina like LIE-nah, as in North and South Carolina.

I really like the name Melina. I don't think very many people would mispronounce it, and it's distinctive but not too out-there.

Hillary said...

I would pronounce it LEEna.

Danielle said...

What about Eleanor called "Lena"? Emmeline is also a great one for Lina. Evangeline? Paulina?

Pronunciation: I would pronounce Lina LEE-na and Carolina, at first glance, would be LIE-na to me. Sorry :(.

-R- said...

I love Danielle's suggestion of Eleanor, nickname Lena!

I would pronounce Carolina as Caroleena, just because the one person I know with that name pronounces it that way.

LoriD said...

Another vote for Melina... so pretty.

Scarlett said...

On a Hispanic girl, I would pronounce it Caroleena, but on a Caucasian (which I assume you are, given the Swedish heritage), I'd say it like the states.

Swistle's creation from Emily, Emilina, I would pronounce like Emmaline, with the LIE sound.

I really do like Adelina, though. And Angelina a very safe, pronunciation-wise.

Erin said...

I really like Catalina from Swistle's suggestions. I would also pronounce it as Swistle would, long eye sound for Carolina, eee sound for Lina. I love the Evelina suggestion too. Abilene is pretty cool too, but where I'm from theres a bar abilene I couldn't disassociate with. I know a little girl names Aleena who is quite adorable, and goes by Leena, too. Angelina is nice but a little close to Alexandra in my opinion. Good luck!

KL said...

I would pronounce Carolina like the state and Lina like Leena.

Would you consider changing the spelling to Carolena? Or is the -ina ending important to you?

I think Angelina is a beautiful name with or without the celeb association. Catalina is a pretty name too and not one you hear often.

Alena or Alina are two other names where you could easily get Lina as a nn.

In my opinion, the names Alina and Melina seem like they are missing a syllable.

anonymouseandcheese said...

I would pronounce Carolina like the state and like Caroline with an "uh" at the end.

If you want LEE-nuh, then I would pick a different name. If you want LYE-nuh, then I was maybe spell it like Dinah - Linah. I don't think it's too much of a stretch to go from Carolina to Linah.

I hope it's a girl so we can find out your solution to this!

clueless but hopeful mama said...

I would pronounce Carolina like the state upon seeing it written.

I second (third?) Catalina. Our friend's have a daughter named Catalina and they call her Lina or Lini. ADORABLE.

Frazzled Mom said...

I like Catalina the best and feel the LEE pronunciation is most obvious with Catalina. In fact I would not only pronounce Carolina with the LIE sound (like the state), I would pronounce Lina as LIE-NAH as well, if I only saw it in writing.

If you like the LEE sound, then Lena seems the most obvious to me and I've known it as a given name without any long form. However, I don't know if Lena has the Swedish roots.

Of the boy’s names, I prefer John overall, but like Eric the best in the sibling set. I think you would do fine with either boy name.

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

If I was thinking of it as a name, then I would always say it "CaroLEEna". I'd ONLY say Carol-eye-na if I was talking about the States. Does anyone know a Carolina pronounced like the states but it's a first name??

I automatically see "Lee-nah" in Carolina because of names like Angelina -- I'd NEVER say "Angel-eye-nah". BUT, it seems I'm in the minority on this one.

I think Catalina is beautiful; but I can't get the line, "It's the F**king Catalina Wine Mixer!" from the movie "Step-Brothers" out of my head (which would only matter to people like me, obsessive Will Ferrell film fans).

So I like Carolina best, and then Angelina. Oh! Plus! If you're just going to call her "Lina", people will naturally realize that her long form (Carolina) is pronounced the same as her nickname.

But also: Why not just name her "Lina" ? I think it's beautiful on its own, and CAN be a stand-alone name.

Alexandra, Luke and Lina. Alexandra may look long in this set, but if you generally call her "Ally" still or "Alex", then Alex, Luke and Lina fit great together! Also: If you called her Lexi, then you'd get "Lexi, Luke and Lina" and I just love that.

Leah said...

I think i would say lEEna, but I don't think it matters. No one can pronounce or spell ANY name really. I am Leah and get Lay-ah, Lee, etc. I just don't think having to correct people here and there is that big of a deal. That said, I'd make it as swedish as possible, with Karolina (I think it is Karoline in German but then you'd really have "other people" issues) as the spelling to get their minds off of immediately going to the state pronunciation.

Leah said...

I totally did read the comments first to see if anyone else said the K spelling, but obviously my reading comprehension skills suck. Sorry for copying you, Lara Jane!

mich said...

I know a Carolina (pron. with the lee-nah). I initially thought it was pron. like the state, but it only took one exposure to it to get and forever remember that it was 'lee' and not 'lie.' And I agree with a previous poster that if you use the nickname 'Lina' (intended pron. 'lee-nah') that people would get the pronunciation of her full name. I guess 'Carolina' may not be in contention, though, since you said your husband is opposed to it. Also, as a previous poster mentioned, I know an 'Emmeline' who goes by 'Lena' (with the long /e/). Good luck!

Leah B said...

How about Celina?

Or (I'm partial even though the spelling of my name is different) what about Lia rather than Lina?
It has a similar sound and could be a short form of a name like Cecilia or Amelia. It also doesn't have the pronunciation problems that the spelling Leah has.

saly said...

I actually know a Carolina, and she speaks both Spanish and English. When she speaks Spanish, it is Caroleeeeena and in English she says Carol-eye-na. I only speak English, so I call her Carol-eye-na.

I don't necessarily think that a name needs to end in "a" to be considered a "leena (or line-a) I like
Evangeline or
Emmalene, and would have no problem calling either of them Lena.

Portia said...

I definitely pronounce it Caro-leena --i.e., not like the states. I love that name! I also think it's hard to find a name that no one will ever mispronounce, and it's no big deal to say "actually, it's Caroleena, not CaroLYna"

Here's another suggestion: my grandmother's name was Nicolina (it's Italian; she was from Naples). I think it's beautiful, and I don't think it has much potential to be mispronounced.
And it goes nicely with your other children's names.

Pocket said...

I pronounced it like the state and I pronounced Lina like LIE-nah. Might not be what your looking for, but I think it's beautiful! I agree that it doesn't have to end in "ina" to get the nickname Lina. However, I also think Angelina is a great name, very powerful yet feminine, and the nickname Lina is so cute for it.

As for the boys, I have a brother named John who I adore, and I always thought his name was simple, yet powerful. A cute name for a kid and a strong name for a man!

Good luck!

Carolyn said...

Malina is my favorite, although I agree that Lina could be a stand alone name. I know a girl named Lina, and it wasn't short for anything.

Laura said...

I would pronounce Carolina like the state, but Lina alone with a long e sound. I think Lina is a beautiful name, by the way.

Libby said...

I know someone (who actually happens to be swedish) whose name is Karolina (pronounced like Karoleena). I think that's really pretty and maybe it makes the pronunciation clearer?

My favorite from Swistle's list was Angelina. I LOVE the name Evangeline, so what about Evangelina. Actually, I think you could get Lina out of Evangeline as well.

Good Luck!!


Stephanie said...

I would pronounce Lina LEE-na, and I actually know someone named Lina! I don't know if it's short for something or not. Carolina I would pronounce like the state. What about a name that ends in 'EEN', like Kathleen, Eileen, Aileen, Colleen,or Evangeline? I would still pronounce Lena and LEE-na too. I think I like Karolina though :) I would recognize that as eena immediately.

Anonymous said...

I love the name Lena - spelled like that - by itself. Just like Lena Horne.

Erin said...

Being that I lived in North Carolina for so long, when I first saw the name I thought Carol-eye-na. But figured it to be Caro-lee-na. I have a very easy name, Erin, to pronounce and you'd be surprised how many people mispronounce it! It's a fact of life.

I do love another reader's suggestion, Rosalina, very pretty and you could get two different nicknames out of it!

Mechi said...

I'm of Spanish descent, so I would pronounce it the Spanish way (which I think sounds much nicer than the English way), Cahr-oh-lee-nah. But if I randomly met a Carolina on the street here in the US, I would pronounce it the English way, Care-oh-lie-nah, like the states.

I've debated with the name myself, and always tossed it aside because of the pronunciation issue.. I don't like the way its pronounced in English, but that's what everyone would end up calling her. So I adore the alternative Caroline. You could still call her Lina if you wanted.. its your call. I mean, my given name is Mercedes, and I go by Mechi, and thats definitely not anywhere in Mercedes, so it would still work.

Other names that Lina could be a nickname for (I haven't read the comments, so sorry if other people already suggested them):

Emmelina/Emmalina - thats a bit of a mouthful, but she could be Emmy, or Lina, ..I think its kind of cute.

Madelina/Madalina - I think this is more natural for an English speaking person to say, as opposed to Carolina and Catalina, which are more Spanish sounding. I really like this one actually.

Paulina - I love this name! Super cute. Alexandra, Luke, and Paulina. This may be my favorite.

Also, Rosalina/Roselina, Selina/Selena, Melina/Melena, Jelina/Jelena.

Mechi said...

Oh, and by the way, I know that Jelena/Jelina's original pronunciation is Yeh-lay-nuh, but I have two friends named Jelena, and they both pronounce it Jeh-lee-nuh, so thats how I'm pronouncing it.

Anonymous said...

I really like Angelina. I think it goes well with your daughter's name.. both girls have longer names, and Luke is short. And the Angelina Ballerina association is very cute.

StephLove said...

I would pronounce Lina LEE-nah. Carolina looks Spanish to me, so I'd pronounce it with LEE-nah at the end, too. Of Swistle's ideas, I like Catalina best. I don't have any ideas of my own at present, but I will think about it.

I vote for John over Eric.

M.Amanda said...

I would say Caro-lee-na, like the designer Carolina Herrera, and Lee-na. And I LOVE that name.

I'd also stay away from Beau, although Bo Duke *swoon* was my very first celebrity crush. I'd normally say that it wouldn't matter as his contemporaries would not know who Bo and Luke Duke are, but they keep trying to bring back that show.

M.Amanda said...

Just read the other comments and LOVE Karolina! That is all.

tracynicole22 said...

I read Lina as LEE-na, which then lead me to read Carolina as CaroLEEna. I like the name, there may be some problems with her having to correct people, but if that is the name you love, I say go for it! My daughter had a girl on her soccer team named Kalina (Kuh-leena) and I loved the way her name sounded when her mom would shout it out loud. My hubby and I used to walk around randomly shouting KUH-LEE-NA because it was fun! I agree with some others from above, the name doesn't neccessarily have to end in an "a", and Evangeline would be my pick if you went that route. As far as boys names, I like Eric the best. So my picks are Carolina, Kalina, Evangeline & Eric. GOOD LUCK!

Lindsay said...

I haven't read all of the comments, but totally agree with Swistle. If I just saw "Lina" I would pronounce it LEE-na, but Carolina, I would pronounce Caro-LIE-na.

Laura said...


Just Lena/Lina!

Darlene said...

I would pronounce it Caro-LEE-nah. I think that is because I know someone with that name, but it did take getting used to.

I really like the name Carolina, but understand your concern.

Names that won't be confused as much, that I like, are Adelina, Melina/Malina, Emmalina (but you might get Emma instead), or the names that end in EEN.

Anonymous said...

Nickname= Lina

TweePopACap said...

When I see Lina, I read it as LEE-nah. When I see Carolina, I read it as ...LIE-nah. However, if I see the nickname Lina and THEN see the name Carolina, I read Carolina as ...LEE-nah.

If you decide against using Carolina, the first name I thought of when reading your post was Adelina - love it!! So cute!! Perfect!! So, yes, I second Swistle's suggestion of Adelina. It gets my vote!

Oh, and about the boys' names, I feel exactly the same way as Frazzled Mom: I prefer the name John in general, but for your sibling set, I prefer Eric - though I think you'd do well with either name.

KL said...

I think Evangeline is a great suggestion! I've always thought it to be a gorgeous name. You could use Evangelina too, although I think the nickname Lina would come just as naturally with Evangeline.

Anonymous said...

If you want her to be called Lina, why not just name her Lina? Saves a lot of hassle if you ask me...

Elayne said...

I'll second what a few others have said and say "just go with Lina." When I was pregnant, my then-husband and I agreed on a name. While I was in labor, he changed his mind. I was experiencing back labor at the time, and couldn't have cared less, and the birth certificate was signed before I came back to myself enough to have objected.

We came up with a nickname that was acceptable to us both - ironically, neither of us LIKE the name we went with, but it was a family name and his father was there, they were both drunk, there was lots of pressure, and also !back labor!... it wasn't an ideal situation, to say the least, and although I ditched the husband not long afterwards the child still has the name.

Everything was fine with the nickname - TJ - right up until he started school. See, he's not very outspoken, my son, and he never could bring himself to correct his teachers who ignored my notes of "Thomas 'TJ' LastName" and insisted on just calling him Thomas. He got used to being called Thomas, and now introduces himself as that, or even as Tom. I grit my teeth and make an effort to call him "Thomas" in front of his friends, but I hate the name, and I wish with all my heart I'd had the presence of mind to say "We'll talk about this later" instead of "Fine, I don't care, shut up I'm having a contraction."

So, long irrelevant story, but the moral remains: If there's something that you really want your child to be called, name them that. Don't name them something that you can shorten or change into your preferred name, unless you'll be 100% equally happy if everyone around you calls them by their "official" name instead of your preferred nickname.

Anonymous said...

What about Celina? I think the best match for Alexandra would be Caroline. While it doesn't automatically lead to Lina, so many nn's come from unexpected sources, I think it would be fine to use the nn you like.

Mindy said...

Spell it like you want it to sound, Caroleena.It's a little different but different is good and sounds good. Most people would get it right, I think.

Mindy said...

Catilina reminds me of ''catalina chicken'' from Ponderosa! Sorry but it does!

Anonymous said...

What about Linnea, it's even Swedish!

Christine said...

I would pronounce Lina "Leena" and Carolina "Caroleena". But that is probably a reflection on the Italian names on my side. I would vote no on "Lena" if you're looking for a Leena pronounciation because that I think of as "Layna" or "Lehna."

Anyway, I like Alina and Evelina best of the suggestions above. I like Emmeline, w/ the nn Lina.

Anonymous said...

I don't agree with the people suggesting Lena. I know three people with this name, and they all pronounce it Leh-nuh, not Lee-nuh, so I think that would cause confusion, because people pronounce it either way.

AmyRobynne said...

My vote's for Linnea -- Swedish and Lena's a totally reasonable nickname for it.

Anonymous said...

Wow - it is SO INTERESTING how much the people you know can affect the way you pronounce a certain name . . . I have only ever thought that Lena should be pronounced "LEE-nah" b/c I had a college friend named Helena (he-LEE-nah), nn Lena . . . which I LOVE, btw and was going to suggest as another option to get the "Lena" name . . . but then I read the comments. You know what's funny, I'm pretty sure that in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movies, one of the character's names was pronounced LEE-na by her friends and LAY-na by her traditional Greek grandmother. So, anyway, all that to say maybe too much confusion w/Lena (sad!).

FWIW, I would pronounce Carolina like the states but Karolina "car-o-LEE-na" . . . it just looks much more European to me, whereas Carolina looks v. American (hence, different pronunciation). So, I think going with the K spelling is the simplest solution to your problem . . . if, that is, we are all correct in assuming you want the nn "Lina" pronounced as "LEE-na" . . . which we could be totally wrong about, of course!! Ha!

Lena Phillips said...

I'm obviously reading this post way late, but being Lena, I thought I'd put my two cents out there.
People will mispronounce "Lina". They just will. I do think it is easier to pronounce than the spelling "Lena". It is uncommon for someone to call me by my correct name and not LAY-nah, or most common, LEH-nah. With that being said, I love having a name that isn't common and I don't mind people getting it wrong.
In addition, my parents wanted to name me Malena, but call me Lena. They decided if they were just going to call me Lena, they would just name me Lena. But, I think Malena or Malina is a very pretty name.

Patricia said...

Britta, thanks for letting us know what you named your baby boy. Eric James is a fine name. I like it!