Tongue-twisting names to avoid giving your child

Does your child have a name that people trip over? We look at the most tough to pronounce monikers!

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Naming your child can be fun and exciting, but it can also be a nerve-wracking experience. You definitely don’t want your child to end up hating his moniker, or be inconvenienced by it, throughout his or her life!

That said, there are plenty of people whose names have intrigued everyone they meet and boggled others’ minds. From doctor’s appointments, to job applications and school paperwork, these labels cause raised eyebrows and provoke plenty of questions!

Some of these names are given to honour specific traditions, or a heritage, while others are given simply to give the child a “unique” name.

Cultural reasons

Certain naming traditions require unique pronunciations, contrary to how the names are spelt phonetically in English. For instance, you wouldn’t use English spelling rules to pronounce Irish, Spanish and French names.

Some of these names are given to honour specific traditions, or a heritage, while others are given simply to give the child a “unique” name.

Many Irish names come from the Gaelic branch of the Celtic languages. You’ll see names like Caoimhe (pronounced Key-va), Niamh (pronounced Neev) and Aoife (pronounced Ee-fah).

In Spanish, or Latino cultures, there are several commonly mispronounced names, too. By now, you should know that Jose is supposed to be pronounced Ho-Seh, but did you also know that Vergara (as in Modern Family actress Sofia Vergara) is pronounced Vair-gah-rah instead of Vur-gah-rah, and that Rodriguez (like in Fast and Furious actress Michelle Rodriguez) is pronounced as Roh-DREEG-ehz, instead of ROD-rig-ehz.

Africa is another culture whose names have interesting pronunciation. In a language spoken by the Kalahari bushman, called !Kung, the exclamation mark is voiced by a click sound made by touching your tongue on the roof of the mouth, in the same way you make the tick-tock sound of a clock. The language was featured in the 1980 movie The Gods Must be Crazy, and one of the characters was a native Namibian bush farmer called N!xau.