Eero and Lilja or Hugo and Lily?

We are expecting boy/girl twins, and while we’ve found names that we love, we’re not sure how others will take them. Should we go with [name]Eero[/name] and [name]Lilja[/name], two Finnish names that we love? Or, should we stick with the safe and reliable [name]Hugo[/name] and [name]Lily[/name]?

[name]Eero[/name] and [name]Lilja[/name]: here are our concerns -

  1. We are not Finnish. While I know that anyone can use any name in the world, will our children find it weird that we chose Finnish names without any ancestry? I learned a bit of Finnish from a friend and have always been interested in the country, but, still, I’m a bit worried about this. I just [name]LOVE[/name] [name]Eero[/name]'s meaning of “eternal ruler” and its sound and I [name]LOVE[/name]!! [name]Lilja[/name]'s pronunciation more than [name]Lily[/name]'s.

  2. Pronunciation. [name]Both[/name] [name]Eero[/name] and [name]Lilja[/name] aren’t spelled the way most American’s might envision their pronunciation (we live in [name]California[/name]), so this worries me a bit. [name]Will[/name] “EE-ro” and “[name]LIL[/name]-jah” be common mispronunciations? To me, [name]Lilja[/name] looks and feels incomplete spelled [name]Lilia[/name] or [name]Lilya[/name]. So, while I am worried about this, take this in to account: we live in an area with a lot of [name]Indian[/name] immigrants. So, there are a lot of [name]Indian[/name] names in the area that are either long or just difficult to pronounce for the average American. [name]Will[/name] this help out [name]Eero[/name] and [name]Lilja[/name]? They won’t be living here forever, but maybe as kids it could work on their side? Names like Saya, Uttara, Ketaki, Apeksha, Ashima, Roshananthon, Harshadarvan, etc. are common on the playground.

Those are pretty much our two main concerns. [name]Lily[/name] and [name]Hugo[/name] are our alternatives, but we aren’t in love with them as much as with [name]Lilja[/name] and [name]Eero[/name]. Thoughts?

[name]EDIT[/name]: [name]Eero[/name] is pronounced like “arrow” in english and [name]Lilja[/name] is pronounced similar to both “[name]LEE[/name]-lee-a” and “LEEL-ya”

I’ll be absolutely honest. I wasn’t sure how to pronounce either when I first looked at them. Moreso with [name]Lilja[/name]- I had to squint to see what letters were there because the i, l and j become almost like optical illusions if you KWIM.
However, it sounds like you really love them and would feel like you were settling for [name]Hugo[/name] and [name]Lily[/name], so I say stick with them in that case.

my advice, go with the names you [name]LOVE[/name], which are obviously [name]Eero[/name] and [name]Lilja[/name]!! I think if you don’t you will regret it:-) My son has a Welsh name ( and I am not Welsh) but I loved it. Most do not spell it correctly or even know how to say it but you tell them once, they learn it, and you move on. In today’s multicultural world there are names of all ethnic groups and I think it is what makes them so unique. No, I did not KNOW how to pronounce these at first but I do now and I won’t forget them, so best of luck and I would be true to your hearts. BTW they sound cool too!

I really like the names, and I think if you love them you should use them. But, I think if I were you I would absolutely spell [name]Lilja[/name] [name]Lilia[/name]. [name]Lilia[/name] is a proper name, with the pronunciation you want. [name]Lilja[/name] is awkward because this spelling/pronunciation simply doesn’t exist in the English langauge. I understand that people often use names from other cultures, but I think in instances where those names are outside of the English phonetic understanding, those names are generally anglicized for use here (e.g. you wouldn’t give your child a name that contained letters from a foreign alphabet that don’t exist in the English alphabet; [name]Lilja[/name] is almost the same thing, because even though the j does exist in the English alphabet, a j pronounced the way you want it pronounced in [name]Lilja[/name] does not, if that makes any sense).
[name]Eero[/name] is a tougher call, because anglicizing it to [name]Arrow[/name] turns it into a word name, which gives it a very different feel, and turning it into [name]Eric[/name] obviously makes it a whole different name. Unlike [name]Lilia[/name], here there simply isn’t an English equivalent that remains a proper classic name. I think in this instance, if it were me, I would probably go with [name]Hugo[/name].

[name]Eero[/name] and [name]Lilja[/name] are definitely uncommon. Your kids will most likely have to deal with mispronounciation and spelling issues.
With that said, I love these names. I think they are unique (maybe not in Finland but in that U.S.), but they sound great and have a really nice flow together as a sib-set.
I say if you love the names go with it, don’t let little concerns bug you :slight_smile:

J said as Y is found in many European languages. I would say [name]Lilja[/name] as [name]Lil[/name]-ya; if it’s supposed to be [name]Lil[/name]-ee-a, I’d say it wrong. I would’ve assumed [name]Eero[/name] was said with an E.

[name]Both[/name] will have to spell and pronounce their names all the time. Most people should expect to do that. We all have to deal with people with non-English names all the time. I’d - cautiously - say to use them.

I love [name]Eero[/name] and [name]Lilja[/name]!

I automatically pronounced them “[name]AIR[/name]-oh” and “[name]LIL[/name]-ya.” I live in a pretty heavily Scandinavian area so that may be one reason why they didn’t trip me up (assume I am pronouncing them correctly).

People will have to learn how to say/spell them, but for me that isn’t really an issue. Once people know the names, it won’t be hard, especially since you live in an area with many unusual/difficult names.

[name]Don[/name]'t ever settle for names you don’t love.

I just stumbled upon [name]Eero[/name] the other day and thought what a cool name. I would have pronounced it wrong on my own. [name]Eero[/name]'s pronunciation was stated as sounding like arrow, is that right? I love it if it is. [name]Lilja[/name], I pronounced in my mind as [name]Lil[/name]-ya. [name]Anja[/name], I know is pronounced as An-ya so there wasn’t any confusion for me there.
[name]Even[/name] if your child had a more common name, trust me some one some where would pronounce it wrong. I have 2 daughters named [name]Kira[/name] [name]Keer[/name]-ah and [name]Mia[/name] Mee-ah. [name]Kira[/name] has been pronounced as [name]Keye[/name]-rah and [name]Mia[/name] as Meye-ah.

I think both [name]Eero[/name] and [name]Lilja[/name] are beautiful names, uncommon but not so far out there to worry about it. If you love them use them.

If you love these names, go for it.

I didn’t have any trouble with [name]Lilja[/name] - like pp said [name]Anja[/name] is familiar enough as is [name]Sonja[/name], so if you intend it to be pronounced [name]Lil[/name]-ya then I don’t think it’s a problem. (as an alternative, I grew up with a [name]Lelia[/name] which you might prefer to the more common [name]Lily[/name]; we said it leel-ya not leel-ee-a).

[name]Eero[/name] is a little more difficult. I think you said it was pronounced EE-ro (is this like hero without the h?) but others have said arrow or [name]AIR[/name]-o; I’ve also seen ay-ro. Which do you intend? Personally, I would avoid this one but on the other hand, there really is not a good alternative. [name]Eric[/name]/[name]Erik[/name] is a little too common I imagine and [name]Hugo[/name] doesn’t really have the same intrigue. If you choose not to use [name]Eero[/name], I would suggest finding an equally interesting name rather than one that happens to sound similar (like [name]Hugo[/name]). [name]Tyr[/name], for example, is a god of Norse mythology and sounds pretty cool to me. Aapo is the Finnish form of [name]Abraham[/name], Aatos means “thought”, Simo is the Finnish form of [name]Simon[/name], there are probably a million others.

If you won’t be annoyed by pronunciation issues, I, too, think you should use the names you love. I pronounced [name]Lilja[/name] correctly, but I goofed with [name]Eero[/name], pronouncing it with a long E sound.

On the bright side, I now know how to pronounce it, and so will people who learn from you and your children. When I first started posting on Nameberry, I couldn’t pronounce the Irish names to save my life (I only saw vowel after vowel and felt like I needed to get Hooked On Phonics), but now, I’ve learned how to say and spell a lot of them (ie: [name]Saoirse[/name]), and I love them!

I think it would be a shame for you to pass up two legitimate names you love simply to play it safe.

Plus, like you said, your area is filled with unusual names.

Take care! :slight_smile:

Neat names! I definetly wouldn’t be brave enough to use them.

I knew a guy in high school who’s last name was [name]Lilja[/name]. I don’t think it is a very common last name, just wanted you to be aware of it.


I’m a little confused here about your pronunciations. I believe you said that [name]Eero[/name] is pronounced EE-ro, but I’ve certainly not heard it said that way. In terms of architect [name]Eero[/name] Saarinen, it is pronounced more along the lines of A-row, with a slight “ae” sound - perhaps the English equivalent would be something along the lines of the beginning of aerosol (without the -sol, obviously). I like this name! Granted, I honestly find it a bit odd to use it when you aren’t Finnish, as it is so traditional, but it is cool! However, I can’t say I like it more than [name]Hugo[/name] - they are both wonderful, but very, very different, names.

Now, with [name]Lilja[/name], I automatically had a negative reaction, I must say. That J just really throws me off, and, for me, it ruins a perfectly beautiful name! I know my opinion isn’t shared by everyone, but I really - and I mean REALLY - don’t like the look of this name. I forgot how you said it was pronounced ([name]LIL[/name]-jah?), but I’ve only heard it said along the lines of [name]LEE[/name]-lee-ah [the first two syllables said very quickly] or like its English equivalent, [name]Lilia[/name], which sounds more like [name]Lillian[/name] with the [name]LIL[/name] sound. I like [name]Lily[/name] - it is short and sweet - but [name]Lilia[/name] seems like a better choice to go with [name]Hugo[/name]. [name]Lily[/name] seems too plain. Perhaps [name]Lydia[/name] could be an alternative?

Take care!

[name]Lemon[/name] :slight_smile:

I don’t have time for a long response now, but I just wanted to thank everyone for taking the time to respond to my concerns! You are all so helpful!

I just wanted to quickly clear up some confusion I have caused. As many of you mentioned, [name]Eero[/name] is pronounced like “arrow” in english and [name]Lilja[/name] is pronounced similar to both “[name]LEE[/name]-lee-a” and “LEEL-ya” (depending on the speaker). I thought that “EE-ro” and “LEEL-jah” might be some common mispronunciations. Again, very sorry!

I will be back to respond to all of your wonderful comments! (and to share a story from hubby about a name experience he had today)

While I [name]LOVE[/name] [name]Hugo[/name] (it’s been on my list forever, but unfortunately it sounds horrible with my new last name… sigh), and think [name]Hugo[/name] and [name]Lilja[/name] are a cute pairing-- I say you should just go with the names you love.
Legitimate names that aren’t so common are pretty fun and most people will remember them after the first mispronounciation. Kre8tive spellings of common names are a much worse offense, in my opinion.
Good luck!

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. Everyone has such wonderful comments and thoughts…and arguments! Many of you mentioned regret, and I’m worried that life will take over and regret will work either way: I’ll regret giving up my favorite names or I’ll regret not going with a safer choice.

I guess it all comes down to talking with the husband and then making the tough decision. Hubby doesn’t really care as much as I do - he encounters difficult pronunciations all the time at work, so he doesn’t think they’ll be a big deal. Today, I went on one of my favorite stationary/card/etc. sites and tried out both pairs of names in birth announcements, holiday cards, graduation announcements, and (using fake spouse names) wedding announcements. I wanted to make sure each choice looked right during each stage of life. I got such a thrill when seeing [name]Eero[/name] and [name]Lilja[/name] together on their birth announcement, and when I saw [name]Hugo[/name] and [name]Lily[/name] I really felt like I was settling for less.

So, after a lot of thought, I think we’re going to go with [name]Eero[/name] and [name]Lilja[/name]. (to me, [name]Lilja[/name] just feels more right than [name]Lilia[/name]…I can’t really explain it…) Middle names aren’t set in stone, so maybe tomorrow or in the next couple of days we’ll be back for some advice on our final selections for our arriving soon baby twins! Thanks so much!!!

Sorry double post

Yay so glad you are going with the two you love, I think you really should name your children the names you fall in love with :slight_smile: