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Thread: Nevaeh?!

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    976

    Re: Nevaeh?!

    I was thinking of this name in terms of those who have already posted saying that it just doesn't make sense visually. I have mixed feelings about it. A lot of people are in favor of particularly Irish names that don't make any sense in English. There is a part of that that is wonderful, that this is a language somewhere that makes any sense, but the letters look pretty jumbled to me sometimes, and are not in any way intuitive for a person who only speaks English. Just felt like pointing that out. This is a way that names can be completely established and yet we are unwilling to anglicize them only to retain their spelling in a country where they would not make any sense. For authenticity's sake, which I don't think is a really great reason to keep an unintuitive spelling of a name.

    Similarly, some names from other cultures are also somewhat non-intuitive in English, and still pass on the fact that they have become common or recognizable enough to pronounce them as they are in some other country, if we are to be "correct." ch pronounce sh is not intuitive. ci pronounce ch or sh is not intuitive. e pronounced ay is not exactly intuitive. We just become used to imports and adapt our expectations to the original language (sometimes they vary according to local preference, but sometimes we count the foreign pronunciation as more correct or preferentially exotic than the local interpretation - e.g. CarolINE-a vs. CarolEENa, or HeLAYna vs. HELen-a. Heaven forfend we spell something with a -lyn to distinguish it from the phonetic -LINE, people should just know instead of resorting to a tacky "invented" spelling.

    Anyway, I don't really like Nevaeh. I don't think there's anything wrong with pronouncing it Nev-ay-ah. Neveah seems a little closer to that pronunciation, but I'm not concerned with it, although I think this is the only valid alternate spelling in use. Nev-a-eh. How would you pronounce that? I think it appeals to a lot of people just by the sound of it. It's weird that being "heaven spelled backwards" is of high importance, because otherwise it loses its meaning, right? A lot of names are taken to have no correct spelling and anything goes, except for Nevaeh, because without its spelling, it is really just a pile of letters.

    It has a sound quality that is really appealing. It has a distinct invention about it, that I think in a hundred years, will be really historically cemented in her descendants. When you look into your own family tree, I'm not sure you frown on names which were invented or altered in some way, that must have had significance to someone when they chose it. It becomes quaint and an historical oddity in an endearing way. We are so quick to point out what is wrong with everything today. I guess I can agree to the point that there is nothing linguistically "correct" for Nevaeh, it is an anagram rather than following any language rules, and it's meaning is therefore, not of some root word, but of the root of its anagram, Heaven. If I had to guess, I think some of the appeal of Nevaeh is actually that (ae) look to it, that if someone wanted to name their daughter Kaylee, they might spell it Kae- to be unique. This "anything goes" spelling treatment is already included in Nevaeh. A lot of times when people trick out the spelling in a name they've heard, they don't know much about language construction and will just go to town with combinations of letters they have seen in other words, Latin mixed with Greek, mixed with Gaelic, just a big mush anyway. I think Nevaeh is not so totally bad if it stays fairly recognizable as a reversal of Heaven. It goes a lot worse when people start playing with it, and I think for the most part, people leave it alone so it retains its only meaning. I think that is significant enough.

    I don't love the name, but I think we have to evolve - names that we consider "real" have a potential and a right to change with the times. What seems shallow is merely modern. So-called established names must have seemed pretty weird and unusable to some parts of the population at the time they were introduced - trendy even, and from our perspective, get some gloss of respectability from wide use a couple generations ago, a sense of permanence and interest because we are not able to be there at the time and say, well, this is just weird and unseemly, it makes no sense, what a linguistic travesty, etc. Instead, we think they are awesome and rare examples of what they did in olden times, what a "real" name could be when everyone else was Mary and Catherine and John and Thomas. How novel to them seems established to us, so goes Nevaeh, in my opinion.

    Anyway, for an alternative:

    I know a little girl named Novia, which I believe means "bride" in Spanish. It's a little weird, because the girl is Chinese, and her parents, especially her mother, know very little English, so I don't know how they heard of this name - I have not even thought of it as a name until I met them. However, it is really cute and unique. NO-vee-ah. It hits a lot of the elements of the sound of Nevaeh without a lot of the backlash.

  2. #18

    Re: Nevaeh?!

    I had no idea until this threat that I was pronouncing the name incorrectly in my head. I've never heard it spoken and assumed it was neh-VAY-uh and didn't understand all of the hate.

    Now, I get it.

  3. #20
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    OC, Califonia
    Posts
    2,852

    Re: Nevaeh?!

    I've never heard of it pronounced like Mariah. I've always been told it was Nuh-VAY-uh... though to me it looks like Nuh-vayh.

    I like the suggestion of the Nivea spelling, that's actually quite pretty. My biggest problem with Nevaeh is the spelling, it just looks a mess to me!


    P.S. I secretly love Haley too, along with most names with the A sound. :-)
    Proud mama to two sweet boys:

    Dashiell David Rowe
    and
    Flynn William Warfield


    "Real babies are more difficult than ideas of babies... Or even pictures of babies."
    -James Franco

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