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!
Our first baby, a girl, is due next month.
I fell in love with the name Analia after seeing it on a name site. (Not yours!) I was pronouncing it like Anna-Leah.
I’ve since learned that maybe it sounds more like Amalia with an n? And someone pointed out that the first four letters aren’t great.
So now I’m wondering: if we want to name our daughter Anna Leah, how should we spell it?
Also, middle name ideas would be great. We were thinking about Analia Rose.
Congratulations on your new daughter!
Spelling can be challenging, right?
I do see Analia and say it more like Amalia. It has an accent in Spanish: Analía. In Portuguese, it’s Anália.
While it’s traditionally listed as a smoosh of Ana and Lucia, there are lots of -lia ending names that could blend together to form Analia, and I suppose the two names you start with would inevitably influence the way you’d think about pronunciation. Because when you mention the way you’re pronouncing it, well … I immediately see Ana-Lia.
The name got a big boost in the US thanks to Telemundo’s El Rostro de Analía, which aired in 2008 and 2009. The name Analia debuted in the US Top 1000 in 2009, and while it’s bounced around the rankings since then, it’s still seeing steady use.
Of course, that makes me think that I’m not alone in seeing Analía as a different name than Anna-Leah. Since it’s the full four syllable name you’re after, let’s consider the options.
ANNA LEAH, ANNALEAH, or ANNA-LEAH
I think hyphenated firsts tend to be a headache in the US.
Every state sets standards for naming. I’m not aware of any US states in which a hyphen is explicitly forbidden, but I’ve heard accounts of hyphenated names mangled by databases.
In principle, I don’t think we should ever do anything because we don’t want to upset a database. (I mean – really!) But in practice, if you don’t have a strong preference towards Anna-Leah, it’s easy for me to knock that one off the list.
That leaves Anna Leah and Annaleah. Anna Leah will probably find herself listed as Anna L. on class lists and other official forms. A small headache, easily corrected, but again – Annaleah doesn’t have those challenges.
That said, Annaleah doesn’t look quite right to my eyes – while Anna Leah is quite appealing. So let’s look at some other options.
Analia does invite some anatomical jokes. It’s easy for me to say it’s no biggie – I am not ever going to go through middle school with the name.
But it’s also true that Annalia looks different enough to me that I read “Anna Lia” more easily. So I’d give a slight edge to Annalia.
So far, this is my favorite visually.
But … this is the age of Rylea, where the “lea” is pronounced “lee.” Would Annalea be misunderstood as Annalee? I’m not sure.
Would trading the ‘a’ for another vowel make a difference?
MY VOTE: ANNALEAH
I’m surprising myself by going back to Annaleah. I think Anna Leah might be my favorite of them all – and it’s a name Iike very much! But there are drawbacks to using a double name, chiefly the potential to go through life explaining that you’re not Anna L.
Let’s have a poll …
MIDDLE NAME OPTIONS
Rose is elegant, spare, and works well with Analia/Annaleah, no matter how you spell it.
I wonder if you’d also consider:
CLAIRE – I love the crisp sound of Claire with Annaleah.
HOPE – Such a great middle!
MAE – Like Rose, lots of parents use Mae. But I like the idea of Mae because it’s often associated with Mary … and Maria, your name.
QUINN – A modern surname name that balances out the romantic, elaborate sounds of Anna combined with Leah.
RUTH – Another strong, short name.
VALE – Unconventional and unexpected, but a great option to consider.
Overall, my favorite is probably Claire – as classic as Rose, but not quite as familiar as a middle. But all of them, including Rose, are great choices.
Readers, how would you spell Analia/Annaleah? Hyphen, double name, smoosh? And what middle name would you match with it?
My daughter’s name is Annaleah. We were originally going to spell her name without the h, but we realized many people would then pronounce her name I correctly. My Annaleah is now 14, and still the only one we know. ♥️
Oh, please go back to the drawing board. I was in my late 30s when a young woman walked into my office with this name. I thought the man introducing her was intentionally mispronouncing her name. I mildly scolded him about making an inappropriate joke. It was a really awkward convo. People have mentioned middle school concerns here. I also wouldn’t want to be a young professional introducing myself and having people think of sexual scenarios.
C in DC says
I might go with Annalia or Annaleah but write it as AnnaLia or AnnaLeah. I know a number of JoAnns who have little difficulty with this.
I like the name Annaleah and don’t like Analia because of the first four letters. Due to Analia becoming more popular I would choose Annaleah to make the name more unique
I like Annalia, Annaleah and Annalea in that order (Annalea looks beautiful but I think of Avonlea and want to say Anna-Lee). This flows like one name and not like two names shoved together, so I wouldn’t do Anna Leah or Anna-Leah, or any options that are two separate names. The Annelia/Anneleah/Annelea options are pretty too. It’s a lovely name.
I think Annaleah makes the name most apparent, and avoids hyphenation and double name issues. If you can’t resolve spelling, perhaps Anneliese floats your boat.
I’m afraid I *immediately* saw the unfortunate word in the first four letters, but Annalia and Annalea are both lovely! All of the suggested middle names would be awesome.
I’d never seen this name before! I love the Amalia-with-an-N pronunciation. But since you’re going for a different name, I’d definitely change the spelling. Anna-Lia is my vote. Although I would also factor in if you’re planning a nickname or would dislike her dropping part of the name of its hyphenated. My cousins daughter has a hyphenated first (and not a common one) and she dropped the second part early in elementary school.
Annalia avoids the unfortunate first four letters and eases the pronunciation so that gets my vote. Annalia Quinn is equal parts traditional and cool, and I think it sounds awesome.
I picked Annalia, but prefer Annelia. It reminds me of Anneliese, although I can see how it could be misread as Amelia (especially when written by hand).
I’d go with Annelia Mae, Annelia Grace or Annelia Rose.
I read Analia as Amalia with an n, and I was also immediately struck by the unfortunate first 4 letters…
I think the name you are intending is absolutely beautiful, lovely pick! My preferred spelling is Annaleah, close second Annalea or Annalia. And you can’t go wrong with any of the middles in this article! I do love Annaleah Rose.
Another Emily says
Same here. Those spellings are my favorites too!
I think double names can be a real headache and hyphens even more so, so I would probably use Annaleah to get the pronunciation you want. Analia is likely to make people think and say vulgar things. Annaleah is pretty obviously a combination of Anna and Leah, like Annabeth or Annalise, etc., and quite pretty.
Erin Beth says
Visually, my favorite option is Anna Lia, but I find Annalia and Annaleah quite appealing too. Annalia Claire is wonderful!