Sunday, April 5, 2009

What's in a name?

My wife’s name was Amalie. Now that is a bit unusual, but shouldn’t be too hard to pronounce. It’s AMalie, with the accent on the first syllable, and that first “a” is a short “a”, as in “cat”. Her sisters and I often just said “Am”, or if I was kidding her, I might have said “the great I Am”.

Well, you might be surprised at the permutations her name brought about. AHMalie (the first syllable like the “ah” when your doctor says, “Open your mouth and say ‘ahhh’”. uhMALyu. ahMALee, EMily (very often), and some others I don’t recall. Am used to say she didn’t care what you called her as long as you called her to dinner.

Envelopes addressed to her had all kinds of misspellings, but interestingly, the spelling was the same as the last part of the capital of the American Virgin Islands, Charlotte Amalie, though that is pronounced ahMALy. The first time I heard that I thought, “No, no, wrong pronunciation!”, but of course they can pronounce it any way they wish.

Some people, when first being introduced, said, “What an unusual name” or “What a pretty name!” I always thought so.

Fun time! I don't know if you would find these funny, or cute, or what, but here they are in time for Easter. They are called



  1. Thanks for sharing, Don. She looks like she was a very nice lady.

  2. I have loved your wife's name since you first wrote it here. Since I am from Texas, we always use short a's in names and words, so I got the pronunciation right.

    She looks like she was a delightful partner for you. You two were blessed.


  3. Amalie is such a pretty name and it sounds pretty even mispronounced! My parents could have made my life easier had they named me "Lynn Ann" instead of "Lynann" I've been called "Linen" and "LINE-en" and it's been misspelled every which way including "Lyman." Having a simple name is no guarantee, though. My father calls my daughter whose name is "Emily" "Em-lee."

  4. Whoa whoa waiiiiit a minute. *I* always called her AHMalie. That's the way I heard it when she said it way back when.

    Lovely photos. Thank you for those. She was a dear.