After much speculation, it appears that the rumors are true: People is confirming that Natalie Portman and Benjamin Millepied have named their son Aleph.
I should note that this is not an official birth announcement, but People is pretty reliably reliable.
There are plenty of number names for babies – from Seinfeld’s joke about Seven to Sixx Design’s Five, as well as more conventional picks like Una and Octavia, but this one is new, at least in the English-speaking world.
What do you think? Is he a fresh, more meaningful, and attractively international version of Alex? Or is Aleph destined for the “Weird Names Celebs Give Their Babies” lists?
I’m late to find this but would love to see Aleph featured as name of the day. There’s a very interesting history and more to it than simply the first letter of the alphabet. I’m thinking Paulo Coehlo’s The Aleph, which is an amazing read. The idea of Aleph being the ‘one that contains all others’ feels very powerful to me. I love Aleph!
Aleph isn’t my cup of tea, but there are plenty of good, “normal” English names that are also letters. Bea or Bee (short for Beatrice or Bonnie), Dee (or DeeDee as a nn), Kaye, Jay, Elle, Emme… Etc. Also plenty of people go by initial nns, like J. R., L. C. (Lauren Conrad). I personally have a friend who goes by Kacey, derived from Kathleen Carol.
In short, names-that-are-letters are common. It’s a weak point to call her on that.
Another one in the “expecting more” group. It does stand out as a good choice compared to some celebrities (Pilot Inspektor, etc), but I was expecting Portman’s choice to fall more into the stylish and a bit out there category (Gideon, Abel, Seraphina, Vida, Cosima). There are some very nice names that aren’t in vogue right now. Aleph doesn’t seem like a name to me. Aleph looks like a name, but I’m sure most people get that it really isn’t. So, it isn’t as bad as some but she could definitely have done better.
I agree with the sentiment “I was expecting more from her.” Natalie has always come across as kind of pretentious to me, so I figured she would choose something more substantial. But then again, she IS a Hollywood celebrity.
Yes, how DO you pronounce Aleph? Is it [ah-LEF] or [AL-ef]? I’m mighty confused. As for the name itself, I prefer the Alef spelling, I think, but I’m not totally sure. I don’t hate the name, but I don’t love it. And, boy was I expecting Natalie and Benjamin to choose a quote-on-quote normal name for their kiddo! I really didn’t think of any boy names that I thought they’d use, but I was imagining Eliza on a girl. Don’t ask me why. If she was to pick an unusual name, a Hebrew name would be what she’d use – and she did just that. I guess I just pegged her for more of a, I don’t know, Dominic kind of girl. I mean, kid’s already got an uncommon last name!
I’m assuming it is ah LEF, but given the number of languages in play, it could go either way, right? I guess we’ll have to wait for an interview …
It’s ah-LEF, confirmed, Having a friend with a PhD in Biblical Languages has unexpected benefits sometimes 🙂
If they’re pronouncing it as you would the Hebrew letter, it’s AH-lef—accent on the first syllable, not the second. I have no idea how you’d pronounce it in French, though…
for Your honor says
As a speaker of Hebrew, I can confirm that Guest is right – it’s AH-lef, not ah-LEF.
I don’t mind it, but I was expecting more from her. I like that the name means something, and it looks really nice written. Also very fresh, and I’m all for new names being introduced! I’m wondering about pronounciation.. AL – EF, EL – EF, ALF?
Weird. They’re trying too hard to be ‘original’. Aleph/Eleph/Elephant — that’s what I’m hearing.
I think it’s ridiculous. I was expecting so much more from her– or at least, I was expecting a NAME. Sure, it sounds like a normal name to an English-speaker, but it’s not. It’s a letter. I have a friend from Israel, and apparently it’s just like naming your son A in English. Oh well, I suppose celebrities have named their kids worse…
I like Aleph although the only one I’ve met in the flesh (fur?) is my friend’s elderly cat. I had a dog named Omega for a number of years too. I think it sounds a lot more normal than Sparrow or Dweezil or Pilot Inspektor.
:thumbsup: from me. I don’t mind the letter thing, and I too am a fan of “P”, in this case ” PH”. I love that ph! I also like the possible Al/ Ali. So it works, I say. 😀
I don’t like Aleph at all. It’s like naming your child Dee or Eff.
I like it! I think it sounds fresh. I also like that it connects to her culture. I do wonder if naming the baby Aleph as the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet is like naming the baby A in English. Either way I think its an nice pick!
Also since you mentioned Octavia in your post can I put in a request for Octavia as NotD?
Elizabeth Johnson says
She already did Octavia.
ah! Thank you! I did not see it on the master list.
The master list needs some clean-up!
I really like it.. I think its a fresh face for Alex and Alec with added style.. I also am really in love with P’s in any name.. I know its weird to have a relationship with a letter.. but mine is P. I also like number names.. favorite one is Octavius . Two thumbs up for Natalie.. i think its the perfect mix of uniqueness and tradition plus it blends well with modern names, and if he really wants he can just be Al.
“Two thumbs up for Natalie.. i think its the perfect mix of uniqueness and tradition plus it blends well with modern names, and if he really wants he can just be Al.”
Ditto this. Ali is a cute nickname as well.
It seems like a form of the Norse names Olav and Olaf, so it feels “real” enough to me.