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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Zahna Eklund

Mum picks 'hard to pronounce' name for daughter - but worries she's being 'cruel'

Choosing a baby name is no easy task, and even when you have picked out a name you love, there's always a chance that something will ruin it for you - just like one mum who ditched her favourite moniker because of a popular Disney movie.

And now, another expectant mum is looking for opinions on the name she wants to give her daughter, as she isn't sure if she's being "cruel" by giving her a name with a somewhat complicated spelling.

The mum, from Australia, said she's "really drawn" to Irish names and wants to call her daughter Niamh, but is concerned that she'll be making her child's life more difficult by giving her a name that people in her home country won't know how to pronounce.

She's worried her choice could be 'cruel' (stock photo) (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

She also said she's considered changing the spelling to match the pronunciation but feels uncomfortable with the idea because it "takes away from the history" of the popular Irish moniker.

In a post on Reddit titled "Is it cruel to name a child something hard to pronounce?", she said: "For context, I live in Australia. My husband and I are both really drawn to Irish names, in particular Niamh, however, I worry naming a child this (or similar) in Australia would be cruel as they'll be forever explaining how to spell/pronounce their name.

"Am I overthinking it? Do you have a hard-to-pronounce name and does it bother you? I don't like the simplified spelling because I think it takes away from the history/origins of the name, so I think I would give it a miss altogether if spelling it that way would make the kid's life hard."

Several commenters on the post offered the mum their experience with having a name that some struggle to pronounce, and many of them suggested the mum consider a different name.

However, others said that Niamh is one of the Irish names that is most well-known outside of Ireland, and there are many people who know how to pronounce it without being Irish themselves.

One person said: "I have a name that is easy for Irish people, but unintuitive for non-Irish people so, growing up, it wasn't a problem. But, I'm trying to imagine growing up elsewhere with this name and I think, honestly, as a shy child, I wouldn't have enjoyed correcting people or explaining the spelling.

"I think, if you're not Irish, the appeal is only aesthetic and not really worth imposing on the child. On the other hand, I think Niamh is one of the relatively well-known 'wacky Irish names' and probably wouldn't be a huge problem in Australia."

While another added: "My name isn't hard to pronounce but it's pronounced differently than it's spelt. Having to correct people is probably my largest source of social anxiety. There are people I've known for years who still call me the wrong name because I couldn't bring myself to correct them, and now it feels too late.

"I will NOT do this to my children."

And a third posted: "I knew a woman named Niamh and literally everyone mispronounced her name. I have a standard name that is spelt differently and having to explain that over and over again for 30+ years is tiring enough. I gave my kids east to spell and pronounce names because of this."

"Don't do it," a fourth cautioned, "it's exhausting to have to constantly correct people."

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