Thoughts on Celia "Say-lee-uh"

What are your thoughts on the name [name_f]Celia[/name_f] with the spanish prounciation “[name_m]Say[/name_m]-lee-uh” (like “[name_f]Celia[/name_f] [name_u]Cruz[/name_u]”)? I realize that many people in the U.S. might try to read it “[name_m]Seel[/name_m]-yuh” which I dislike but I think it could be a simple correction and people would get it. We live in the U.S.

We have a spanish surname so it works with our heritage. The other name we are considering is [name_f]Natalie[/name_f] which is more common but still pretty. (We decided against the spanish form “[name_f]Natalia[/name_f]” because it seems half of Americans pronounce it “Na-[name_u]TAL[/name_u]-yuh” which I very much dislike as opposed to the spanish “Na-[name_u]TAL[/name_u]-ee-uh” and it seems many Americans can’t hear the difference. So we are trying to decide between [name_f]Natalie[/name_f] and [name_f]Celia[/name_f]. Which do you prefer and why?

[name_f]Natalie[/name_f] Orellano
[name_f]Celia[/name_f] Orellano

I prefer [name_f]Natalie[/name_f], not just because I think it will save a lot of hassle correcting her name but also because I prefer the name in general. I’m in the UK and I would say [name_f]Celia[/name_f] as ‘See-lee-uh’ so sort of a half way between the Spanish and American ways. You’re right that if you really love the name [name_f]Celia[/name_f] as ‘say-lee-uh’ that a small correction might not be a big deal, but at the same time I think [name_f]Natalie[/name_f] is so lovely and you wouldn’t have to correct people.

I think [name_f]Celia[/name_f] is a much lovelier and more interesting option than [name_f]Natalie[/name_f], which, while classic, feels a little dated in the US these days. You’re right that it’s a simple correction to get the right pronunciation—it’s up to you to decide if you don’t mind correcting people all the time.

I prefer [name_f]Celia[/name_f] to [name_f]Natalie[/name_f], but don’t think anyone who is not Spanish will pronounce it the way you like. It may be annoying for her to constantly correct. My roommate in college was [name_f]Camila[/name_f], but eventually she started introducing herself as “Ca-mill-ah” instead of “Ca-mee-lah” simply because it was easier not to constantly correct.

I love both names. If someone told me the name was pronounced like [name_f]Celia[/name_f] [name_u]Cruz[/name_u] that would be enough to get me saying it correctly. (I am in the eastern U.S. and know of a school named after her.) I think you would just have to be prepared to clarify that early and often.

[name_m]Just[/name_m] remember that you will only be doing the pronunciation corrections for the first bit of her life, she will have to do them forever and you don’t know if she will keep it up the way you prefer.

I also would say “see-lee-ah.” I teach many students with Spanish as a first language and the most difficult issue with names for me is that some students use the “American” pronounciation and others use the Spanish style for the same name ([name_u]Genesis[/name_u], [name_f]Camila[/name_f], [name_u]Angel[/name_u]). I don’t know if that comes from their parents, peer pressure, or what. They are sometimes in the same class!

I am always trying to respectfully say a name as a student wishes, but it is difficult with multiple preferences for the same spelling. I only see them once a week, so I forget by the time they come back. (Remembering names is my downfall despite my love for them.)

[name_m]Just[/name_m] food for thought. I do have [name_f]Natalia[/name_f]’s and [name_f]Natalie[/name_f]’s. And I don’t think there is any problem getting people to use the Spanish pronunciation. It seems more intuitive to me that [name_f]Celia[/name_f] as “[name_m]Say[/name_m]” for the first syllable. Also, I think mispronounced first syllables are more annoying and noticeable.

My name is [name_f]Celia[/name_f], pronounced “see-lee-ah”, I’ve never had anyone say it as “see-lyah”
If you dislike the see-lee-ah pronunciation as well, then I think that while you would have to correct some people you should use [name_f]Celia[/name_f]. It has a prettier sound and it’s more unique than [name_f]Natalie[/name_f], which I find a bit dated.

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I’m American and I’ve only heard [name_f]Celia[/name_f] pronounced See-lee-uh. It’s not the Spanish way, but it’s also not the way you fear the name will be pronounced.

I prefer [name_f]Celia[/name_f] — it’s less common than [name_f]Natalie[/name_f], and [name_f]Natalie[/name_f] sounds a bit dated to me.

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Ok, so I was thinking about one poster’s comments about the experience of her roomate finally using the American pronunciation because it was so much trouble. I’m having doubts about using [name_f]Celia[/name_f] because of the pronunciation, correction issues. What about my other choice, [name_f]Natalie[/name_f]? Several have expressed that it sounds a bit dated. Is it dated along the lines of [name_f]Bethany[/name_f], [name_u]Whitney[/name_u], [name_u]Ashley[/name_u]? I have never actually known a [name_f]Natalie[/name_f], so it doesn’t sound very dated to my ears even though it is a well-known name. Is [name_f]Natalie[/name_f] so dated to make it unattractive like stuck in the 80s or is it still a nice choice for today? Babynamewizard lists it as a new classic. Thoughts?

To answer your question, [name_f]Natalie[/name_f] reached its peak in 2008 when it was number 13 on the popularity lists. That was ten years ago, and while it’s still in the top 50 it has been falling down the ranks ever since. I doubt that it’s going to become more popular anytime soon. I think most of us find it dated because, since it’s on a decline now, that means that it’s going to become even less popular as time goes by and it’ll be stongly associated with the time it was popular (so let’s say 2005-2015), therefore in 15 years it’ll be a dated name, the way names that were popular 15 years ago (and started declining on the ranks) like [name_f]Lauren[/name_f] and [name_u]Alexis[/name_u] are now.
Of course it’s your choice whether that’s something that bothers you. Though if you ask for my opinion, I still think using something more unusual (and beautiful!) like [name_f]Celia[/name_f] pronounced say-lee-ah would be the better choice. Like I said, my name is [name_f]Celia[/name_f] (see-lee-ah) and since [name_f]Sylvia[/name_f] is popular where I’m from I always have to correct people when I meet them because they think my name is [name_f]Sylvia[/name_f]. It never bothered me at all, so I doubt a [name_f]Celia[/name_f] who went by a more unique pronunciation of the name would have too much of an issue.

Thanks for that insight. Actually I have decided I want a little bit more of an uncommon name and especially one that reflects my husband’s latin heritage. Unfortunately my dh has decided he doesn’t like “[name_f]Celia[/name_f]” What do you think of these other more ethnic uncommon choices?

[name_f]Nayeli[/name_f] (I would pronounce this Neye-[name_f]Ellie[/name_f]) a name I have heard in latin american circles. Might be good substitute for [name_f]Natalie[/name_f] as it has similar sound and same # of syllables, but definitely not American either. I don’t think this is familiar enough for people to have pre-conceived ideas about its pronunciation, so I think I could get people to use my preferred pronunciation. [name_f]Do[/name_f] you like this name or does it sound too strange in [name_u]America[/name_u]?

[name_f]Natalia[/name_f] (I would pronounce this the spanish way Nah-[name_m]TAHL[/name_m]-ee-uh) I would have to accept that I would be doing maybe a lot correcting of people that pronounce this Na-[name_u]TAL[/name_u]-yuh)

[name_f]Giselle[/name_f] This was actually my first choice but I rejected it because I thought it would be too difficult to correct the spanish vs english pronunciation. I would pronounce this Jih-SELL with a soft “s” as opposed to Jih-[name_m]ZELL[/name_m] with a “z” sound. It’s still mulling around in my head because I love it the spanish way, but thinking it could end up being a real headache getting people to say my preferred pronunciation since it seems that “Jih-[name_m]Zell[/name_m]” is the accepted pronunciation in the U.S.

Here’s another thought on [name_f]Celia[/name_f]. Since Americans would tend to pronounce this "See-lee-uh, and I am aiming for “[name_m]Say[/name_m]-lee-uh” what about slightly changing the spelling to [name_f]Ceilia[/name_f]. In spanish this would still read pretty much the same [name_m]Say[/name_m]-lee-uh pronunciation, and in english it might change it enough from the traditional form to cause people to ask how to pronounce it? Any other spelling ideas? I also thought of Seliah, but that seems to kind of totally transform the name at least how it looks on paper to me.

[name_f]Celia[/name_f] sounds great next to your surname. I actually pronounce [name_f]Celia[/name_f] the same way you do, though I am outside the US. Go for it. :slight_smile:

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I have elementary students with all of the names you have suggested- [name_f]Natalie[/name_f] (several in kindergarten, so it doesn’t sound dated to me), [name_f]Natalia[/name_f], [name_f]Nayeli[/name_f], and [name_f]Giselle[/name_f].

I would pick [name_f]Nayeli[/name_f] because it looks exactly as you want people to pronounce it.

I believe the s vs z sound of [name_f]Giselle[/name_f] is more about how the syllables are stressed (first syllable vs last syllable). All the sources I checked use the z in the pronunciation key. [name_f]Giselle[/name_f] is used in many countries and languages and has many corresponding and legitimate pronunciations. I believe it is lovely in any pronunciation but if you don’t then I would avoid it.

Have you considered [name_f]Maricela[/name_f]?
A combo of [name_f]Maria[/name_f] and [name_f]Celia[/name_f].

I havent considered any [name_f]Mari[/name_f] names because they just don’t seem to have the same grace in english as spanish. In english would it be “Mahree” or the typical “[name_f]Mary[/name_f]” pronunciation? either way, I don’t like it in english.

[name_f]Celia[/name_f], definitely. It’s pretty, easy to write and spell, and has a beautiful meaning. Yes, some people will pronounce it English style rather than Spanish, but in this case they’re not so far off to be a deal breaker. A lot of kids in Spanish speaking country, where I live (on the Border) are used to their names switching pronunciations from context to context.