Name Help is a series at Appellation Mountain. Every week, one reader’s name questions will be discussed.
We’re relying on thoughtful comments from the community to help expectant parents narrow down their name decisions. Thank you in advance for sharing your insight!
Sarah writes –
I keep waiting for the “yes, that’s it!” moment, but it hasn’t happened yet.
We have three daughters: Julia, Simone, and Calla.
Here are the names we’ve considered:
FRANCINE – I’m worried about Francine because I don’t like the nicknames Franny or Frankie. It feels inevitable that she’d use one of these nicknames, and I don’t like the idea.
MARLOWE – I love! Partially because it is a surname and I dropped my surname (which started with an M) when I got married.
ANGELIE – A long-time favorite. I like both Annie and Gigi as nicknames.
SOLENNE – Love the sound! It’s similar to Belén, which we’ve considered for a middle name. (Given the spelling/pronunciation issues, we don’t want to consider Belén as a first name.)
We’d love some help narrowing it down!
Please read on for my response and leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.
Dear Sarah –
I don’t think you can go wrong with any of your choices.
But they are all very different, right? I can see why it’s tough to narrow them down.
Let’s look at them in the order you’ve listed them.
I think you’re probably a decade ahead of the curve here. I’m hearing more parents consider Irene. Maxine is back. Josephine is the new Charlotte. While Darlene and probably Maureen have another thirty years left to hibernate, I can imagine Francine roaring back.
But I can also imagine Francine being shortened. If you loved, say, Francie or Cici or some other reasonable Francine nickname, it might work just fine. And plenty of parents successfully insist that their child is Sebastian, not Seb; Isabella, not Belle. But … eventually your Francine will have opinions of her own, and if she loves being Franny or Frankie? Then yes, it’s an issue.
At first glance, it’s a mismatch. Julia, Simone, and Calla are feminine. They’re clearly given names. And while you’ve found less and less common names for each daughter, they still sound like they go together – and could’ve gone together a century ago, or fifty years from now.
Marlowe feels modern. Sleek. It’s a twenty-first century name.
And yet, the longer I say the names together, I think they really do work. Julia, Simone, Calla, and Marlowe. It’s tempting to suggest Margot or Marlo instead – but it sounds like Marlowe’s surname style is part of the attraction.
Angelie is new to me. It seems French, except it’s also used in Scandinavia – and really, in very small numbers everywhere. Just 65 girls were named Angelie in the US last year. All that said, it’s a great name – and I think it pairs well with Julia, Simone, and Calla. In fact, like Simone and Calla, it feels just a little different, in a good way.
But maybe the biggest bonus here? There are two great nicknames, and you love them both.
Solenne is a lovely, sophisticated name. Belen takes a minute to pronounce correctly – putting the emphasis on the second syllable doesn’t quite flow in American English. But Solenne, somehow, seems to flow better. But it does seem a little close to Simone. And while it’s a good alternative to Belen, maybe it’s actually just an unsatisfying runner-up?
Based on all of this, I’d narrow your list down to Angelie and Marlowe. They’re different from your older girls’ names, but somehow sound nicely compatible. And it sounds like you greater have hesitations around Francine and Solenne.
But I think the community may have more suggestions. And to help narrow things down, let’s include a poll, too – with all four names listed.
Over to you: what would you name a sister for Julia, Simone, and Calla?
Julie G says
Love Angelie! I have an Annalie and we call her Annie. So Angelie nn Annie is definitely my first choice !
I voted Angelie because Marlowe and Solenne don’t seem to match the other names’ style and you prefer Angelie’s nicknames. Also it’s a long-time favorite.
But I suggest Heidi or Audrey, too.
I’m Julia and my sister is Freya.
Perhaps mismatched in the 80s, but less so now, and definitely less mismatched with Calla and Simone in the mix.
So I’ll add Freya. 🙂
I second Freya! It’s beautiful and goes well with the other girls’ names.
My suggestions (warning: kind of long!) :
Evelyn (has the -n ending like Simone, while Julia and Calla both end in -a, so you have 2 frillier names and 2 that are more tailored)
Corinne (pronunciation could be a potential issue, as I’ve heard Cor-RIN and Cor-REEN, but it has a similar sound and style to Simone. Both are more tailored, while Julia and Calla feel a bit frilly)
Cassidy/Kassidy (added the K version in case you don’t want another C name)
Frances (less chance of her being called Frankie or Franny than Francine)
I voted for Angelie because it’s a long time favourite and you like the potential nicknames.
You could get the same nicknames from Evangeline (same ending as Francine), but I wonder if it’s a bit long for your tastes; or from Gianna which I like with your girls names, but might be a little rhymey next to Calla or too similar to Julia.
I also really like Giselle in this group and you could easily use Gigi as a nickname.
My other unrelated thought was Bethan. I’ve heard it most often in full, but Beth or Annie could be nicknames if you want them.
All the best!