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  1. #1

    Changing Given Name? (Rachelle Mireille)

    I'm not certain this is the correct place to post this; however, I figure you're a good group to get opinions from.

    My name is Rachelle Mireille Unusual-three-syllable-French-surname-beginning-with-G. I'm 28. My birth father is French (a Quebecois), but I do not speak French. I may eventually add my partner's surname to my name. It sounds similar to Emily but is stronger-sounding and more androgynous.

    I'm not sure how I feel about my first name. Rachelle (pronounced Ra-SHELL [the first part is something between a "rah" and "ruh" sound]) has always been the name I've gone by, so it feels "right" in that way, but I'm not certain it suits me. It may just be that I simply don't like it anymore because it's outdated, time-bound, and not altogether uncommon in the area to which I've relocated. Moreover, I love names with history and depth. My partner is James Andrew (he goes by Andrew) and our daughter is Alice Cordelia. In a sense I feel my '70s/'80s "Rachelle" is out of place with Andrew and Alice. There is a sort of gentleness about these three names that unites them, though.

    I've always been Rachelle. My mother is proud of my name, so that pride rubbed off on me for most my life. I continue to have a mild appreciation for the "pure/ewe" meaning of Rachelle. I haven't had any well-established or broadly-used nicknames. I've gone by "Ella Minnow Pea" on the Internet, but only one person has called me Ella, and it's not a name I'm too fond of, particularly due to its recent surge in, and fading, popularity. I'm not sure how I feel about Elle, which is an intuitive nickname for Rachelle. I do not care for Chelle or Shelly. My partner sometimes calls me Roxy, but this isn't something I'm attached to or would like to be called by everyone.

    I haven't flirted with the idea of using Mireille as my first name until recently. I've always considered my middle name to be special and unique (although it isn't as rare in the nearby French community where I live now). I like its history and literary associations. As a first name, I worry about its ease of use, approachability, and pronunciation. (I feel Elle is more friendly-sounding, approachable and down-to-earth than Mireille, for example.) The initial pronunciation of Mireille has been brutalized by the English speakers I've encountered. Perhaps Mireille Enos' popularity will promote its correct pronunciation? Besides the rolling R French pronunciation, it's generally pronounced mee-RAY or meer-AY. I like the more subtle meer-AY. To be honest, I'm not sure I'm brave enough to use this name. It feels a bit "showy" or pretentious, if that makes sense. I'd likely feel embarrassed to introduce myself as Mireille, but that may simply be because I've been Rachelle for 28 years.

    In any case, I'm not looking to make a legal name change. I just want to go by a name that has a good fit, you know?

    I'd love to hear your thoughts on the thoughts I've spilled here. What do you think of my name(s), nickname possibilities, the whole business of name changing, et cetera?

    I look forward to your feedback!

  2. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Well, this isn't the proper place to post this, but you have so much good content that I'm not going to complain too much

    I can see what you mean by Rachelle not fitting you, especially with your partner's/daughter's name. I'm tempted to say that you should find a French name that begins with A, because if you're going to have a conscious choice in your name you might as well make it match. Anabelle/Anabella, maybe? You still get Elle/Ella, but a softer name that fits better with your family.

    Personally, I love Roxanne/Roxanna as a name. I think it's beautiful and fascinating, and in your case it's close enough to Rachelle for those around you to make the switch. If you don't want anyone but your partner to call you Roxy, you simply tell them that it's Roxanne. I know a Jacob who never goes by Jake, and corrects everyone who calls him that. It's not nearly as big of a deal as people make it out to be.

    As far as Mireille goes, I think it's an awesome name, and it would only be weird the first few weeks of introducing yourself as it.

    I'm not sure if this was helpful or what you're looking for, but I tried.
    I'm not feeling incredibly profound at the moment. Check back later.

  3. #5
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Admittedly, I didn't know how to pronounce the name Mireille the first time I saw it - that was on a nameberry blog some time ago. Then I googled it. And that was that. So yeah, you might have to explain the pronunciation to people, but once you do, they'll get it. No big deal. And I personally think it's a great name

    Oter than that, celianne pretty much took the words of my mouth, haha. Sorry if this was no help.
    "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by it's ability to climb a tree, it will spend it's whole life believing that it is stupid." - Albert Einstein.

    14, writer (, and obsessed with names since forever.

    Plucky Heroines - Lyla, Waverly, Caroline, Lucy, Linnea, Early, Arielle, Ariadne, Felicity 'Fliss', Livienne, Ketura 'Kit', Laura
    Dashing Heroes - Waylon, Luca, Wilder,Stephen, Daniel, Lysander, Levi, Nathaniel, Adam

  4. #7
    Thank you kindly for your responses, even though I've clearly posted in the wrong place!

    I haven't really thought about my feelings on the name Roxanne before. I'll read up on the name, but I don't think it's a handle I'd wear well. I have non-blood relatives named Roxanne and Annabelle, so these names are not really appropriate for me.

    Since you're writers, what kind of character is an Elle?

  5. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    My feeling is that a name change at this point in your life is a) not going to stick with your family and friends and b) will probably never seem quite right. The only time I feel like name changes work is when you are making a major life change/relocation. I've known some people who've been able to switch to a new nickname or their middle name when going off to college in a new state or when moving to a new town to start your first job. One of my good friends in college was Rianna, who really didn't like her name, so when she moved to a new place for her first job after school, she introduced herself as Corinne (her middle name). Everybody there calls her Corinne, and she changed her facebook name to "R. Corinne" but I don't think I'll every be able to think of her as anything but Rianna.

    You might have some success with switch to Rachel or Mireille, but it will probably be an uphill battle.

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