Ilana is an often top favorite of mine, sometimes rising to my number one or two spot. I admit that I tend to favor Hebrew names above all others aesthetically, and this one means “oak tree.” I think we all like that meaning. But it must be pronounced ee-LA-nə. Not ill-AH-nə. There would be life-long introductory corrections needed (big deal, though!). I am not deterred.
That brings me to Elana which is more phonetic in America (not such a problem in German). I do not prefer the E, and I actually think Elena is too bland compared to Helena (love and WOULD USE Helena Frances or Helena Sophia!) but the spelling Elana is a way to clarify the sounds in American English, but the spelling Ilana is more appealing to me. So slim and elegant.
I do, however, appreciate Elara as an celestial name (a Jovian moon–love the name Jovian for a boy too! Goodness!!)
Then there is the Scottish name Elan, which means “bright and beautiful” (I think) and the English noun “elan”, which means (I’m not looking it up and correct me if I am off) something like “effervescent with style and grace” or something close (I know how I’ve used it). In fact, elan is my probably my favorite word in English.
Also, I wanted to mention Kyria, a surprisingly neglected choice. I’ve never known one Kyria, though I have performed (and composed) plentyyy of Kyries. It’s Persian (which I am) and feminine for Cyrus just like Kira/Kyra, but Kyria really draws me in; it blows Kyra out of the water. I think it means something in Greek too (maybe madam?), but it might just be another feminine name used in Greek speaking countries. Love!
Middle name or pairing ideas?
This is me after morning coffee x2