Sunday Summary 10.25.15Here’s something I struggle with: where is the line between imposing your personal style – and perhaps values and worldview – on others, and providing helpful baby naming advice?

I recently spotted this name on a baby name forum: Aareighlynn. What do I really think of Aareighlynn? I think it’s a tortured spelling, needlessly complex and, despite all of the extra letters, still confusing. Is it Aria-lynn? A-ray-lynn? A-ree-lynn? Airy-lynn, maybe?

Do I forecast a life of misery for the child named Aareighlynn? No. Just like some children will love having a quirky retro name like Winifred, and others will demand to know why they weren’t named something cool, like Sloane, it’s impossible to say how children will feel about their names.

Still, I do think phonetic transparency is a good goal when inventing names. And I do feel like it’s fair to say that the name could stand to shed a few letters. But is that snobbery? Bad advice? Or, if Aareighlynn has made it to that mama’s shortlist, is there any point in saying that I find the spelling problematic?

I’m just not sure.


That’s all for this week! As always, thank you for reading, and have a fabulous week.

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

You May Also Like:

What do you think?


  1. I know two kids who have an original surname that is a mash-up of mom’s and dad’s surnames. One I think works very well and the other feels a little forced.

  2. I have to agree on the spelling issue – it’s fine as long as you can tell what the name actually is, and make a guess as to how to pronounce it. I can’t even take a stab as what name Aareighlynn is meant to represent: nothing that I’ve ever seen before, I’m sure. If you’re going to invent a name, don’t invent a new system of spelling as well.

    There is an Australian DJ named Lewis Galaga, but he’s probably just got his stage name from the arcade game. It’s very eye-catching, and almost vintage in a way!

    1. Funny – now that you say it, I do get a sort of old school vibe from Galaga. I guess the game *is* vintage by arcade standards, right? I did find a very small number of people with the surname Galaga in the database. It looks like one family came from Ireland – weird respelling of another name, maybe?

      1. Also – “if you’re going to invent a name, don’t invent a new system of spelling as well” is pure brilliance. Beautifully said!

  3. Oh boy do I like Larkin. I could totally do a sibset of Larkin, Aster and Wren. That last name piece is interesting! I know a lot of families who’ve made up a new family name, but none that has given baby/kids a new one and left the parents’ alone! My kids have my last name despite its difficulty (case in point: the county misspelled my littlest’s last name on her birth certificate, and that started a landslide of misspellings in paperwork, gah!) and my inlaws were…vexed. To put it mildly.