Elena or Eléna?

Hi all,

We’re expecting a little one, we aren’t sure of gender yet, but Elena is our top choice for a girl.

We want to use the Elena spelling and pronounce it Eh-LAY-Nah. Primarily that way anyway, but I have living relatives we will visit in Germany, so I know she will sometimes be called Eh-LEN-Nah which we’re fine. But it steers me away from the Elaina spelling.

Do you think just spell it Elena or with an accent over the second ‘e’ like Eléna? Will it make a difference or will people be confused regardless?

My husband is American and I’m Australian and that is where we live now, if that helps.


[name_f]Elena[/name_f] is lovely!
When I say [name_f]Elena[/name_f], I straightaway pronounced it in my head eh-LEE-nuh.
When I saw [name_f]Eléna[/name_f], I pronounced it eh-LAY-nuh; I am studying [name_u]French[/name_u], so I know how that accent works, but I think others would too even if they don’t know a language with é that makes that sound, I’m not 100% sure though. I think spelling it with the accent could help, but I don’t think it will completely take away the chance that someone will say eh-LEE-nuh or eh-LEN-uh. I’m also Australian.

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I’d spell it [name_f]Elena[/name_f] - the accent would actually cause me more hesitation over the pronunciation tbh. I’d assume it was Eh-lay-nuh as that’s what I’ve heard most often

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so in [name_u]French[/name_u], [name_f]Eléna[/name_f] would be pronounced eh-leh-NA, not eh-LAY-na. I knew two girls with the name in [name_u]France[/name_u] (one spelled [name_f]Elena[/name_f] and one spelled [name_f]Helena[/name_f], which is pronounced the same since the [name_u]French[/name_u] don’t pronounce the letter H). I don’t know if there’s a language where [name_f]Eléna[/name_f] would be pronounced eh-LAY-na but it’s not [name_u]French[/name_u]. é is pronounced “eh” in [name_u]French[/name_u].

I don’t know about Australia but in the US, [name_f]Elena[/name_f] would probably get a lot of pronunciations, including the one you’re after. I think it’s a name that will need to be corrected but I think that’s the case no matter how you spell it. [name_f]Elena[/name_f] is my favorite spelling.


I think the [name_f]Elena[/name_f] spelling is just great. She’s clear and cute! I went to school with an [name_f]Elena[/name_f] (eh-LAY-nuh) spelt that way, and it’s my natural pronunciation for the name. I’m sure some people will pronounce it wrong, but many, many won’t!



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Was going to say the same as above that the accent will a dusky double down on the Eh-le-nuh pronunciation. We had an Elena is our class (in Oz) and everyone called her Elayna until she corrected us to Eh-le-nuh, so your child will probably will get Elayna as default (but maybe ask a dozen people you know without leading then into which one you’re looking for and see what they say). You could otherwise use the spelling Elaina - not quite as elegant-looking but it is a legitimate spelling (from Helaine) and may/will very likely save some hassles for her! I would go the Elaina route myself in your situation with your preference.

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Thank you, as I said in my post, I would consider the [name_f]Elaina[/name_f] spelling, but I have living family in [name_u]Germany[/name_u] that we would like to visit with our baby, so this spelling would make pronunciation more difficult for them. Since it has the “i” letter in it.

That’s interesting and I’ve learned something so thank you.

[name_f]My[/name_f] close friend’s name is Therésa and has always told everybody it is the french spelling and pronounciation (like Ta not T)Ther-AY-Sah.

So I was kind of going off of that -ay pronunciation in her name and the same for someone I know named [name_u]Esmé[/name_u]. But makes sense that it is pronounced more like other central European countries.

Whoops, skim reading got better of me! I think need to weigh up who is likely to have most trouble with it and how much this is likely to occur. But of the two, [name_f]Elena[/name_f]!

Sorry, not sure why it double posted :upside_down_face:

No worries! Thanks, I’ll discuss it with my husband and see what he thinks. A big pull for the name despite the many pronounciations has always been that it is used in both our family’s cultures with the [name_f]Elena[/name_f] spelling.

But I do worry a little that it’ll be painful for her.

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I’m also an aussie and we have an [name_f]Elena[/name_f] but we decided to spell her name phonetically because there seemed to be so many pronouncation options out there and we loved one not the other. If it helps despite us going to great lengths to make it easy for everyone people still get it wrong, so go with what you love and be prepared to correct people or we just introduce her now as [name_f]El[/name_f].

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[name_f]Eléna[/name_f] avec accent makes me want to read it


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Her nickname will be [name_f]Ellie[/name_f], so you were on track there. :rofl:

I’m a little scared to spell it [name_f]Elaina[/name_f] on top of the family thing because in my circle, the only person people know by that name is a student I taught at work. So since its so niche, they’ll think I named her after her.

Well another option might be [name_f]Elayna[/name_f] or you could play around with the [name_u]Laine[/name_u] spelling a bit to achieve the sound you are after and not be tied to any particular person…

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Thanks for all the suggestions, ladies!

I spoke with my husband and he has said he still prefers [name_f]Elena[/name_f]. I told him that she may need to correct people often and his response was “So did I, and I didnt mind!” (His name is Jonathon.) So I guess for now we’re sticking with [name_f]Elena[/name_f]. :woman_shrugging:

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