Maile pronunciation

@katinka @pam

I know that there is a thread for this but i feel like requests on that never get answered.

I just saw someone asking about the name [name_f]Maile[/name_f]. I saw that NB page for it and it’s listed as being pronounced Miley??? It’s MY-lay.


The second syllable is a little short so I can see how it would be confused with [name_f]Miley[/name_f], but it makes me wonder what other names on Nameberry — in a bunch of different languages — are listed wrong like this. I will provide additional credits/sources if my word isn’t enough.

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I have never seen this specific name before so I can’t comment specifically on it but in general I feel like many names have multiple pronunciations. [name_m]Just[/name_m] like words, depending on where you live can affect how you pronounce things. [name_m]Even[/name_m] just within the United States, people from [name_u]New[/name_u] [name_u]York[/name_u] pronounce things way differently than someone from [name_u]Texas[/name_u] which is way different from someone from [name_u]Hawaii[/name_u], etc. And that’s just the US, that doesn’t even take into consideration other countries and languages. It doesn’t necessarily make anyone’s pronunciation wrong though. It’s just the way you speak, you can’t really control it. With names a similar concept happens a lot, and I think you can also choose to pronounce a name however you want honestly since they’re not “real” words, they’re all made up.

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Hawai’i has 1 language and 1 accent, traditionally. All Hawaiian words have a set, agreed upon pronunciation.

[name_f]Maile[/name_f] is a Hawaiian word name. It doesn’t exist in other parts of the world as a word, fundamentally. It’s like pronouncing [name_f]Niamh[/name_f] as NEE-am.

But it exists in other contexts as soon as someone makes it exist in those contexts. It’s kind of like people pronouncing [name_u]Bleu[/name_u] like [name_u]Blue[/name_u] even though in [name_u]French[/name_u] that’s not how it would be pronounced. It’s technically a [name_u]French[/name_u] word (and word name) but people who speak [name_f]English[/name_f] all collectively pronunce it a different way. [name_u]Or[/name_u] like the name [name_f]Aislin[/name_f]. I know traditionally it’s supposed to be pronounced Ash-Lin, but I’ve seen some people with the name who pronounce it like Eyes-lin. Words evolve because the world is connected and nothing really belongs to only one language or accent anymore. And if someone chooses to pronounce a name a certain way I think that’s their choice, even if it’s a common word or common name. Yeah it might be prone to being mispronounced but who’s to really say how something “should” be pronounced? Language is all made up anyway, and especially names.

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I will also say though that I do agree that nameberry should update their entry to reflect the traditional pronunciation of the name. People can choose to pronounce it differently but for the entry if they’re going to list it as a Hawaiian word name then it should have the Hawaiin pronunciation.

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[name_m]Hi[/name_m] everyone – I’m relying here on both research and on a friend named [name_f]Maile[/name_f] – who pronounces her name like [name_f]Miley[/name_f] – MY-lee. Sources online sometimes say MY-lay or more often MY-leh. I’m happy to add all these alternatives but there is a lot of disagreement on which is “correct”.

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What if you took the name [name_f]Niamh[/name_f] and pronounced it NEE-am because you live in the US? That’s basically what it’s like.

  1. Its not culturally appropriate
  2. Its potentially offensive, especially for a dying culture like Hawai’i

Agreed.