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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Baby Naming Issue: Are Violet and Philo Too Similar?

Lilly writes:
I am 39.5 weeks pregnant with my second child, first boy. I have a very specific question that I hope you and your fabulous readers can help me with. Our 2-year-old daughter is named Violet Clare. We call her Violet (I pronounce it closer to 3 syllables and my husband says it with 2) or Vi. Before we found out she was a girl, we had decided to name her Philo. We both still like the name and may use it with this boy, but I can't help but stay up at night worrying that the names sound too much alike. Vi-let. Fi-lo. Too much internal rhyme? Will this cause confusion in our house for the rest of our lives?? Am I just overthinking things?

Please help a crazy pregnant woman.

Philo is such an unfamiliar name for me, I found the unfamiliarity was interfering with my ability to figure out what I thought about the repeating sounds. So I substituted the name Milo. And when I say "Violet and Milo," to ME the repeating sound is appealing: they'd make good twin names, because it's a NOTICEABLE thing that ties them together, but doesn't strike me as being too matchy.

But the name Philo has one more sound in common with Violet than Milo does: the Ph sound which is so similar to the V sound. Do you think you will nickname him Phi? Vi and Phi does seem like too much: like having an Edie and an Evie, as a commenter mentioned in another post. And yet---that might end up being fun, and you might end up LIKING that.

So. Er, I'm not sure that was...helpful, per se. Let's see what the commenters think of the situation.


Name update! Lilly writes:
I was in labor on June 7th when I found out you had posted my question, which thrilled me to no end. My husband read all the responses to me while I was nursing/falling in love with our adorable new baby boy. The responses seemed to us to be pretty evenly split between "yes, do it" and "no, it's too close" - which you wouldn't think would be helpful at all, but it really was. Mostly it reinforced to us that the most important thing was what WE thought, because of course everyone will have different opinions on it. And so I was more convinced we shouldn't name him Philo, and my husband was more convinced we should!

After a day of discussion and trying a few names out on the baby, I didn't want to go to sleep another night with our baby not having a name. So we looked at each other and I said, "let's just name him Calvin instead." And my husband said "Ok. But I'm not ruling out Philo for any future boys." So Calvin Von (9 lbs, 3 oz) (middle name for my husband's recently-passed grandfather) was officially welcomed to our family! A big thank you to your and your readers for your help.


26 comments:

Maggie said...

I'm from northern California, near a small town called Philo, but I've never met anyone by that name. I don't think they are too similar, unless you will use the nickname Phi.

Guinevere said...

I like Philo -- and I don't think Violet and Philo are necessarily too close, but Vi and Phi WOULD be.

Ultimately, I think it matters whether you and your husband would get the names muddled or not -- have you tried calling them out or saying them repeatedly? They aren't too similar for people who won't be parenting the Violet and Philo, but they might be too similar for your family to avoid tripping up. My own parents did two same J sound-starting names and I know *I* would be messed up by that but they were not.

If they are too similar for YOU, another option would be a variant of Philo. Philemon is one of my favorites, and perhaps Philo could be a nickname.

Jasmine said...

I love both names, and I love them together and don't think it would be a problem EXCEPT if you're planning on having any more kids. You might feel like you "have to" name them something similar (internal rhyme or rhyming nickname...whatever). Although, as Swistle's talked about before, it's really the third child that makes a pattern. So I say go for it!

Diane said...

I think it would be too close for me to use both names on my own children, but I don't think I would notice it too much on someone else's children.

I really do like Violet and Milo together, though.

beyond said...

I love Violet and Philo. It's not too much rhyme for my ears.
But. I have the feeling his nn will be Phi. Vi and Phi does seem a bit much. Not only do they rhyme, but the 'V' and the 'F' sounds are very identical. It may sound cute, and YOU might like it, though. Hard to tell. It's so personal!
Good luck!

Patricia said...

Violet and Philo are too close in sounds for me. I said them while looking online for more info on Philo and caught myself saying Vi-let and Fi-let. I know I'd jumble them together at times and as Fi-lo and Vi-lo too. I don't think you're "crazy" at all, but just addressing a valid concern about using these two very similar sounding names for siblings.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's too much. Would it help to pronounce it Fee-lo?

Janelle said...

Sad to say, I think they're too similar. Linguistically speaking, F and V are different only in that the V is voiced and F unvoiced (is this too much information?) so you'll likely run into people from other language backgrounds who won't even hear a difference.

Which is a shame, because Philo is a very cool name! Would you like Milo instead? I agree w/ Swistle that Milo and Violet makes a great sibset :)

Barb @ getupandplay said...

I think it's just matchy/rhyme-y enough to be cute and charming, but I definitely think people will notice. If it's still bothering you, I urge you to consider Milo which I think is just as cute as Philo!

Carolyn said...

I think they are too close, unfortunately. Philip would be a good name, with Philo as a sometimes nn.

Milo or Arlo might work as alternates.

The Mrs. said...

LOVE it! Terrific combo!

Philo is a wonderful name for a son. Great taste!

Best wishes to your growing family!

StephLove said...

I go back and forth on this one. Sometimes I think they're fine, sometimes too close. I do like the suggestions of Milo, Philip or Arlo, though.

Lisa said...

I'll put my vote in for a no. I think the sounds are pretty similar for siblings.

I think it's a good idea to think about...since you will be saying these names a lot. For the rest of your life, even.

I love the idea of using Milo.

Auntie G said...

Oy...love both names, but to me, they are too close to use. I think Milo is a deightful alternative. And, because I personally can't use Milo because it feels too close to MY firstborn's name, let me also offer his: Theo. :) Congrats on the boy to be!

Anonymous said...

I don't love the sounds together, it seems too close to my ear. I think any time you called for one of your kids they'd both come running. I also don't think Violet and Philo really "flow" together as a sib set, but I seem to be in the minority there, so feel free to ignore that.

Like someone above, I was going to suggest using Philip, with Philo as a nn.

A. said...

My first inclination was to pronounce Philo as "FEE-lo" (I guess because of Phyllo dough?), in which case it doesn't really sound all that similar with Violet. But I'm guessing you are going for "F-EYE-lo" as the pronounciation, in which case they do seem very similar. The similarity in sound in not off-putting, but you might want to consider that Violet is a name most can easily recognize, pronounce, and identify, while you'd be giving your son a much more unusual name. If that's OK with you, I say go for it!

changelivlife said...

I also have to cast my vote as too similar. Sorry.

I think Milo is a suitable alternative, but I loved the suggestion of Arlo.

I, too, think that style-wise they are worlds apart and than would be a bigger concern to me. However, using Philo as a nn would be a great alternative. It sounds nnamey to me anyway. I vote Philip. Violet and Philip are a good sibset and then you could have Vi and Philo which isn't matchy at all.

Good luck to you!

Megan said...

I think that I would jumble them togeather/confuse the 2 names when I called for them. But if you don't, then go for it!

Anonymous said...

I kept thinking Phyllo the dough!

vanessa said...

I think they are way too close, sorry. But I love the suggestions of Milo, Arlo or Theo as alternatives!

a said...

The names don't sound at all similar in my opinion. Go for it! They are not at all matchy.

Kas said...

Philo is a great name but for me i think Violet and Philo are a little to similiar sounding!! I love the suggestion above of Theo! Violet and Theo sound great together!! good luck x

Anonymous said...

Do you pronounce Philo FY-lo or FEE-lo? I think it is too close to Violet if it is FY-lo. Would you consider Philemon, nn Philo?

Diane said...

I have a Violet and an Isla. I did not even notice at ALL the long-I-plus-L combination until Isla was home and named and I started using the names. I think Violet and Isla sound less alike than Violet and Philo, and I have to tell you -- when calling for one of them from across the house or when mumbling their names in quick conversation, my husband and I OFTEN have to ask each other "wait ... which one did you say?"

Oddly enough, one of our frontrunner boy names was Milo. I guess I just really like that sound? (We're going with something else, though.)

All that being said, no, I'm glad I didn't notice it because I love their names and I think they make a great pair, and they will only be yell-across-the-house age for so long.

Lisa said...

He is beautiful. Hi Calvin! I love the name. I was in the too similar group. Congratulations!

Patricia said...

Violet and Calvin - they're brilliant together with the repeating V and similar 'antique' style. And what a darling little boy your Calvin is. Congratulations!