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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Lana Cara

Jenn writes:
I'm due with my first baby July 12th, and it's a girl!  I want her middle name to be Cara after my sister.  The first names we narrowed down are Lana, Olivia, and Lily.  My husband and I are really favoring Lana at the moment, but I'm wondering if that name really goes with Cara.  (the pronunciation isn't Care-uh, but Ca-ruh - the a sound as in cat).  Our last name is Weber.  My sister doesn't know yet I'm honoring her with the middle name, so I don't want to ask too many friends or family or they might spill the beans.  I'd love input from you and your readers.

Thanks!


I think it depends on a few different things. First, are you pronouncing the La- of Lana more like the lla- of llama (so that Lana rhymes with Donna) or more like the la- of land (so that Lana rhymes with banana)? Now that I say both aloud, I think either one works with Cara in its own way: one by repeating/enforcing the vowel sound of Cara, the other by contrasting slightly with it. But some people might like one way and not the other. (Though I'm having a little trouble figuring out how Cara is pronounced. Is it like the word car, followed by an -ah/-uh sound?)

Secondly, is yours the sort of family where children are routinely called by first and middle names together? If so, it's more important that that names go together. If not, I consider the honor name to completely trump issues of whether the fit is perfect.

Thirdly, what do YOU think? The sound of two names together is highly subjective: one person may love a sound combination while another can hardly stand it, but neither person's opinion means the name objectively DOES or DOESN'T work. We could all vote on every name combination, and you would find us split on every single one, with some people saying "It's great! I love it!" and others saying "Dear me, no, that doesn't work AT ALL!"---so the important thing is whether you think the name works well enough to use, taking into account the considerable benefit of being able to use an honor name.

But in any case, my vote is that it's fine: if when you say it aloud you're not immediately thinking it's an obvious and impossible clash, then it's not too much of a clash for an honor name situation. And depending on how Lana and Cara are pronounced, I might in fact think they're wonderful together.

21 comments:

Brigid said...

Lana Cara is a beautiful name and lovely tribute. If you like it, go for it.

If flow is in fact a big concern, Cara Alana (nicknamed Lana) flows very well.

Anonymous said...

Lana Cara reminds me of a Hawaiian word in the way that it flows. Personally, it probably wouldn't be my first choice because I prefer a more pronounced separation between the first and middle name when you say them together...for example I also don't like Annabel Lee or or Lily Anne. I know a lot of other people do though, so obviously we're in the zone of personal style like Swistle says.

Of your other choices, I like Olivia Cara the best. Or I might try to tweek Lana and make it into three syllables to get a flow I liked better. Linnea seems like a great option to me, as does Helena (any of the pronunciations), or Leilani.

Carolyn said...

I hope the OP follows up with more pronunciation guidelines, just out of curiosity! I'm thinking LANE-uh Cah-rah would be really pretty. And LAH-na Cah-rah does sound very exotic. It even looks pretty written out. I think it's great that you are honoring your sister. It will tie the three of you together in such a special way.

Anonymous said...

Both are beautiful names, however, as someone who speaks Spanish fairly well, seeing two common words side-by-side made my brain switch immediately to Spanish, translation: "wool face." If it were just 1 name or the other paired with another name, I don't think the connection would be so strong. Of course, if you don't have a personal connection to the language or live in an area with many Spanish speakers, this might not matter to you at all, but that was my immediate reaction.

Rita said...

I think family significance trumps euphony 99% of the times. Lana Cara flows like a double first name - not my personal preference but I think it's perfectly fine.

Other ideas:
* Lana Olivia Cara - you get to use the names you like but it flows better.
* Liliana Cara - you use Lily or Lana as nicknames

Milana, Ilana, and Alana are other -longer- ways of getting to Lana.

Anonymous said...

Would you like Leonie Cara?

Anonymous said...

At first sight I thought...hmmm I dunno. But it just takes saying it aloud to realize it's not really a problem at all. In fact it sounds quite pretty, sort of like Greta Garbo or something from old Hollywood. As some one mentioned, the Spanish translation is a little funny, but my rule is if it doesn't translate to an insult and it is an established name in another language then it's a non-issue. I wonder if you wouldn't like Leona Cara? Just a suggestion if you're not 100% sold on Lana. I considered Alana for my own girls list. Good luck!

rosamonte said...

I speak Spanish and I also read "wool face" when I saw Lana Cara. I have to say that it also sounds vaguely medical to me - I think I must be thinking of vena cava. I do like the name Lana, and Cara is a pretty name and nice in the middle spot to honor your sister. There are lots of lovely names for girls with l- and n- sounds, so I personally would look for a longer first name. I like Leonie as suggested above, or Helena from Monday's posting. Or Eleanor, Eleanora, Leonora... Lucinda?

Portia said...

I think the two names together are a bit choppy, but certainly not a deal-breaker. However, I LOVE the previous poster's suggestion of Liliana -- it gives you the opportunity to use two of your three favorite names as nicknames(plus it has some of the flow of Olivia), and Liliana Cara is lovely. You could always call her Lana if you preferred, but I think it's nice to have the longer name option as well.

Kayt said...

I think the Spanish translation is slightly amusing. Lana -wool Cara-face. Each of them paired with another name doesn't spring the association to mind, though. If it wasn't for the weirdness of the two in Spanish together, I think they're just fine. Have you thought about Alana or Linnae instead of Lana? To me, honor names are much more important than flow. My daughter is Fiona Margaret, which doesn't sound bad, but doesn't flow to my ear, either. Margaret was a must have, and we used the name we liked most for the first name. If I was picking out of ether, I think Fiona Daphne or Fiona Maeve sounds better, but it deprived her name of meaning for us.

Sorry to ramble, but bottom line, the Spanish is a bit weird, but not a dealbreaker unless you have Spanish speaking family, as far as I'm concerned. The name doesn't have the best flow, but it's not terrible, and honor is important.

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of Larnaca in Cyprus.

StephLove said...

I like it.

Wendy said...

Just an idea... if you reversed the names, it makes a beautiful double name: CaraLana. Kind of like Caroline or Carolina, but keeping the honor name and your chosen name, and change the sound of it a little bit.

Best wishes!

Tee said...

I love the suggestion of Liliana nn. Lana! You could also do Liviana nn. Lana. Or even Oliviana.

Meg said...

Separately I like both names but together it's too... I don't know. It sounds like a medication you'd see an ad on tv for. I'm sorry! I really think Cara needs a longer first name that's a little more common or a little longer to distinguish the two names from each other a little more. I know it's not terribly your style but I really like Eleanore Cara and think you could stretch the nn Lana out of it!

Katie said...

Why not use Alannah/Alanna as a longer first name. You could call her Lana for short (just like Kathryn's who always go by Kate). That way you avoid some of the near rhyme/too similar issues.

Anonymous said...

I, too, love the Liliana (with Lily & Lana nn options) suggestion! It seems to keep a similar style to "Lana" as well (somehow Linnea and Leona feel a bit different ..but perhaps not depending on WHY you like that name, I suppose ..).

Also, the "cah-ruh" with the "cat" or "rabbit" sound vs. "care-uh" distinction (and, both of them being different than "car-uh") made me smile --- mostly because I spent years trying to hear the difference between "Mary," "marry," and "merry" (I say all three exactly the same!)... I suspect it's a similar deal with this name. Perhaps it's something dependent on a regional ear that's sensitive to such sounds. Or maybe I just need to learn some nuance in my speech ;)

Anyway, sorry to ramble. One final thought: the Olivia Cara with a "Livie Cara" nn would be adorable :)

Karen said...

Hi, I'm from Australia and Leilani is a popular (but not TOO popular) name here. Leilani Cara sounds divine, I think.

Jenny Grace said...

I think Cara needs a longer first name. As it is I saw the 'wool face' thing and also it sounds like an Rx. I like suggestions of Liliana, etc.

Kim said...

Are you planning on using the nn Laney?

If so, what about Elaina, Lorraine or Melaina/Melanie nn Lainey/Lanie? Lorraine can also have the nn Rainey.

I think Leilani is a good suggestion but maybe Leilana would be more to your liking with the nn Lana.

Leilana Cara is very pretty.

Good luck!

Sarah said...

The Mary/merry/marry distinction is apparently very regional. I am from Philadelphia and all three are distinct words; my fiance is from Allentown (still PA) and all three are the same. I read "Cara as in cat" as also like Carrie rather than care. Similarly, I say my name (Sarah) with a long A (first syl. rhymes with bear, care, etc.) rather than the A of cat (like the first syllable of Larry). However, people from Long Island often pronounce Sarah in the latter way.