We are due in the next week or so with our second child, gender unknown, and I've just discovered I've been pronouncing one of our finalist names wrong this whole time! Our frontrunner for a girl has been Emmaline. I've only ever seen it written, and in my head, the ending rhymes with 'teen'. But I just looked it up in the Baby Name Wizard and found out that it officially rhymes with 'twine' which I don't like nearly as much. I had really liked the nickname options of both Emma and Lena. Is my way a legitimate alternative, or have I just made something up? Would I be dooming my child to a life of constant corrections? Our other choice for a girl is Norah. The middle name will almost certainly be Imogen. Our last name is pronounced De-FLOR-ee-o, and our older son's name is Wy@tt.
I was finally feeling prepared, and now the fretting starts anew. Arrgh!
First I found the pronunciation on Forvo, where two readers pronounce it EmmaLEEN and one pronounces it EmmaLINE.
Then I found a preference/opinion discussion on Nameberry, where a couple of people say that the French pronunciation is EmmaLEEN, and where other people say it can be pronounced either way or even a third way (EmmaLIN).
Then I found a million other message boards that had the same basic content: people claiming to have ONLY ever heard it a certain way while other people insincere-LOL-ingly claimed to have NEVER heard it that way; lots of people claiming to be personally acquainted with three babies with that name when I suspect they are only trying to bolster their personal opinion with invented evidence; lots of people stating preferences but very little discussion of what is correct/legitimate.
Message boards give me a headache, but I think the consensus here is that EmmaLEEN is considered a legitimate way to pronounce it, and that no matter which way you chose to pronounce it you'd have some people pronouncing it wrong. I think I would come up with a standard correction ahead of time---something like, "Oh, no---it's EmmalEEn, like Emily," or "It's EmmalEEn, like Pauline or Christine."
If you want to make the pronunciation more clear, there's also the option of altering the spelling. Emmaline is already spelled a ton of different ways (Emeline, Emmeline, Emaline), and none of the spellings are common enough to seem like a "main spelling." Emmalene (like Irene and Arlene), Emmaleen (like Colleen and Kathleen), or Emmalena (to make it clearly a blend name) would all work, I think.
Name update! Amanda writes:
Thank you so much for all your help with our naming problem. All the comments really helped us make the final decision, and the work was not in vain! Despite the majority of friends and family predicting another boy, Emmaline Imogen arrived in the early hours of August 8, weighing in at a quite respectable 8lbs 12oz. We were keeping our name options top secret until she got here, and the reactions have all been very positive so far.