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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

Supergirly

At This Very Moment There Are Over 100 Babies In the U.S. Named “Khaleesi”


Technically Khaleesi is a title, not a name. If you’re looking for baby name inspiration from Game of Thrones‘ Daenerys Targaryen, the one who holds that title, the more obvious choice might be… well, Daenerys. Or Dany. But hey. She has weirder titles. Parents could be naming their daughters “the Unburnt,” “Mother of Dragons,” or “Queen of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men” (Queenie for short), and wouldn’t that last one be awkward when they have to learn to spell it?

According to The Baby Name Wizard Blog there are now 146 American girls named Khaleesi, up 450% from 2011. Before then the name “was completely unknown,” much to my lack of surprise. (Though not a single book reader named their kid Khaleesi before the show started? No one? Bueller?) I can’t imagine the whole “but it’s not a naaaame” thing matters much to the parents who named their kid that. They probably just liked Game of Thrones and/or Daenerys and/or thought Khaleesi sounds cool. More power to you, procreating fellow nerds.

Though it does raise the question of how parents will teach these kids to pronounce their name. According to Dothraki language creator David J. Peterson the way most people pronounce it—”ka-LEE-see”—is wrong. Technically speaking it should be “KHAH-lay-see.” But hey. The world is full of brave souls who buck authority and pronounce things the way they want instead of the way their creators say they should be pronounced. (Looking at you, .gif. The g stands for “graphics.” I don’t know where you’re getting the soft g from. Come at me.)

Godspeed, baby Khaleesis. May you and all the little girls named Arya grow up to take over the world.

(via: Nerd Approved)

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  • jenovapooh

    “I don’t know where you’re getting the soft g from. Come at me.”

    Easily my favorite part of the entire article, and that’s passing up all the other baby names mentioned herein.

  • Victoria Ramirez

    can’t really blame the fans for pronouncing Khaleesi the way they [and me] do. they pronounce it like that in the show.

  • Robert McCoy

    There’s nothing wrong with naming your child after a fictional character. Religious people do it all the time.

  • Anonymous

    Every name is “made up.” In a hundred years, “Khalessi” will be considered a classic while parents of the future make fun of the next new thing. Or whatever.

    Go, nerds.

  • kieron George

    Stop being ridiculous. Plenty of names are based on noble titles. For instance any freaking name with rick/rich in it. rick just means ruler or king, like the latin for king “rex”. Richard being “hardy ruler”, Patrick being specifically “nobleman”, Henry(henric) being “home ruler”, Frederick being “peaceful ruler”. And that’s just name with rick in it. There’s other names too, look at William.

    So yep Khaleesi is as much a stupid name as Dick or Willy.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    Except I never said there’s anything wrong with naming your kid Khaleesi…?

  • kieron George

    You were saying it’s a title not a name, but really I just wanted to make a immature joke at the expense of those named Richard or William.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    Got it. Though my dad’s name is Dick. DID YOU JUST CALL MY DAD’S NAME STUPID?!?!?! :)

    Yeah, while it IS a title and therefore may seem a bit weird at first glance, people can name their kids whatever they want!

  • Anonymous

    GRRM’s old website (I haven’t checked the new) used to include photos of the many Sansas, Aryas, and Brans born to fans. I think there was at least one Daenerys in there, too. Book fans have definitely been naming their kids from the series for years!

    Confession: If I didn’t have a firm rule for myself about naming future children after fictional or roleplayed characters, I would absolutely name a hypothetical future daughter Brienne.

  • Stewart Zoot Wymer

    The thing that really distresses me about naming kids Khaleesi is that too many fans of the show seem to think that’s Dany’s actual name. Which makes me facepalm.

  • Anonymous

    Unfortunately, statistically speaking you’re still more likely to meet someone whose name is 100% unique than you are of meeting a Khaleesi.

    (Still crunching numbers on likelihood of meeting dragons.)

  • Anonymous

    Yes, exactly what I was thinking!

  • Mina

    A bit rude, sir.

  • Clara Koenig

    I’m a strong supporter of “who the fuck cares” in the gif debate, with a personal leaning towards hard G pronounciation.

    However. That is not how initialisms work. Otherwise we would pronounce NATO nah-to, not nay-to, for instance (since it’s ah-tlantic not ay-tlantic).

    If you’re going for hard-g pronounciation you might want to point out to the similarities between the spellings of “gif” and “gift” (which is pronounced with a hard g). There is no reason for there to be a difference in pronunciation when they are morphologically so close, spelling-wise.

    Besides PNG is a much better image format.

  • Curuniel

    I’ve heard this in quite a few places too, I guess because it’s a commonly used form of address. But if you’re not a big enough fan to get that Khaleesi is the feminine equivalent of Khal, a title… why are you naming your daughter after Daenerys Targaryen?

  • Anonymous

    Or, what’s depressingly probable, die in some unspeakably gruesome way.

  • http://dft.ba/-alex-ander Alex Ander

    Take a joke.

  • Mina

    Yeah, I really didn’t express much upset there. He can say his joke. I can say my mild objection to his joke. We can all go home happy. Cheers!

  • Anonymous

    Very true. Face-melting dragons, anyone?

  • Anonymous

    This times a thousand. I’m 100% okay with folks naming their kids after fictional characters, but it’s super risky to name one after a character with an open canon.

  • Anonymous

    In Arya’s case, at least in the current part of the books, I suspect the sanity train (or at least the “I still have a functioning moral compass” train) started to pull out of the station a while back.

  • Eric Robbins

    Well seeing the creator of .gif says it pronounced jif as in Jiffy Peanut Butter your argument is invalid. Also have never seen some one say Oh check out this cool animated png I created…

  • Eric Robbins

    Does Drako count?

  • Furiouser and Furiouser

    Nope. “The world is full of brave souls who buck authority and pronounce things the way they want instead of the way their creators say they should be pronounced.”

    The creator could insist that gif should be pronounced “potato” and I’m still not going to care.

  • LifeLessons

    But of course.

  • samantha muka

    Except in New Zealand. They just released a list of banned names and royal titles are on there. I wonder if Khaleesi counts…http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/01/world/asia/new-zealand-stange-baby-names

  • Sara B

    I’m a American and I have always pronounced it with a hard G. I didn’t know there was any debate about it until reading this piece.

  • http://www.lifetimemoviereviews.com/ Jen

    I once knew a woman named “Kerry” who had always pronounced it “Curry.” (It wasn’t an accent issue, she called other Kerrys “carrie”) It kind of blew my mind that, where names are concerned, you can just tell people it’s pronounced however you want. Her name could have been spelled “Jessica” and she could tell people her name was pronounced “Curry”…and what are you supposed to say? That she’s pronouncing her own name wrong?

  • Mike Pants

    And Alexander Graham Bell wanted us to answer the phone with “ahoy.” Just because you invent something doesn’t mean you get to dictate every aspect of its use.

  • Anonymous

    You say that like it’s a bad thing.

  • Glitter Somerset

    What religious “characters” are fictitious?

  • Em

    God, for one, or every angel/demon ever?

  • Anonymous

    The issue isn’t whether the characters are fiction, but whether they’re recognizable as names. So, say, Juliet wasn’t real, but your kid won’t be constantly spelling and pronouncing it for people. Most of the characters in the Bible, etc have fairly widespread recognition by this point.

  • Anonymous

    And these parents are volunteering their kids for a lifetime of headaches in order to make it happen.

  • Anonymous

    Hodor.

  • Anonymous

    I think there’s a reason this took off after the TV series, and was less of a thing when it was only books. Most people who read for fun have critical thinking skills.

  • Anonymous

    She pronounced actual Kerry as “Carrie”? All the Kerrys I knew pronounced it Ke-Rie with an “eh” sound. Was she Midwestern? Those people always screw up my name (Laura as Lara).

  • Anonymous

    *shrug* Rex and Regina mean king and queen.

  • http://wrongsirwrong.blogspot.com/ Magic Xylophone

    Fo shodor.

  • Anonymous

    Lots of people have names people decide to make fun of — or get wrong — for no reason.

    I knew a girl in school named Abigail. Bullies called her A Big Gal. I guess her parents really messed up there by giving her a name thousands of years ago.

    My boyfriend has the perfectly traditional and common (to a fault, really) name of David, and he got plenty of headaches as a kid on well-meaning people who insisted on calling him Davy Crockett. Or Davy Jones. Or calling him Dave when he preferred David. Or going “Daaaaaaaavey” a la Davey and Goliath.

    Heck, my name is Gloria. It’s Latin. It’s extremely old. It’s in hymns and songs (oh so many rock songs….). It’s pretty much pronounced the way it’s spelled. And people still can’t get it right. I’ve been called Glora and Glory. And Mr. Gloria.

    If we accounted for others being mean, ignorant, or plain careless, we’d never do anything.

  • Anonymous

    It’s her name.

    I’ve got a friend named Caroline. There are a few pronunciations of Caroline, none of which are tied to the spelling. So people get hers “wrong” all the time. So she just tells them the one she likes, and it’s all good.

    My family is Chinese, and there are some sounds that are just not common in the Cantonese language. So when somebody calls me “Gloria”, it can sound more like “Goh-lay-ah.” Is this wrong? Is it right? I don’t really know. It’s not the original intention, but I kind of like that I have that option.

    Most (or at least a lot of) names are not real words. I think it’s pretty proper that there’s no right or wrong.

  • Anonymous

    I have trouble actually pronouncing Daenerys (speech issue) and sometimes have to refer her as Khaleesi.

  • Anonymous

    Name: Anneke (pronounce like Anika) people (mostly teachers) pronounce it as: A-neke, An ne-key (popular), Ah-ne-ka, Anakin (yep, it happened more than once), Aneke and then you get the typical ticket box seller’s typos. despite the fact that I give them my card for identification which clearly has my name on it. -.-’

  • Stewart Zoot Wymer

    Fair point, but at least you know the difference between title and name. If it was your daughter, for example, Annie – there would be a host of names within the show that may suit your speech better which are worthy of merit, no?

  • Anonymous

    It may be true that some kids will be picked on no matter what their names are.

    But to pretend that David has as much lifetime aggravation as Khaleesi in constantly having to correct pronunciation or spell things out is ridiculous.

    I grew up with a hard to spell last name, and although it’s a harder to avoid situation, it was a constant pain in the neck until I finally changed it. Not to mention all the botched yearbooks. Yes, this will happen to some people no matter what, but when you can help make it happen LESS often for your child but choose not to because of your taste or desire to be different, that is selfish.

  • BlueJuniper

    There possibly were children named Khaleesi before 2012, it’s just that SSA won’t “chart” a name unless it was given to more than five children of the same gender in one year for privacy reasons.

  • stolenxnametag

    Who names their kid God?

  • Dean Vance

    No, they don’t think that Khaleesi is her name, because she was obviously called Daenerys before she was called Khaleesi in the show. It is just a title that they call her by sort of like people called King Robert, the King.

  • http://elisabethflaum.wordpress.com/ Elwyne

    seriously!! people pronounce .gif like the peanut butter?? what is WRONG with people??

    kidding. mostly.

  • Janesaw

    Rena’s also derived from “queen,” right? That’s kind of cool to have two names with origins in noble titles, but which are completely different.

  • Guest

    Wait… is that weird? Crap. (also, almost changed my

  • Anonymous

    Don’t know about you nerds, but I pronounce it “giraffe-ic”.

  • Anonymous

    And then it turns out the P is silent, it’s actually pronounced “ng”.

  • Anonymous

    I feel a little bad for the guy, as he obviously put a lot of effort into making a sensible phonemic system out of the slightly-crappy book version, and nobody follows it.

  • Anonymous

    You think they remember that? There’s an adjustment period for most beginning GoT viewers where everyone’s just called “white hair girl” or “dwarf” or “hot guy” until they learn their names.

  • http://agentclaudia.livejournal.com thecynicalromantic

    Personally, I think Mr. Bell was on to something there. “Ahoy” is fun.

    Then again, I have also been known to answer the phone with “Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Pryce.”

  • Dean Vance

    Maybe you are a part of the ‘viewers where everyone called them those random things’ but certainly no one I know does that. But there are, literally, people like that with every single show in existence. Why on Earth does everyone think it is so fucking horrible that some people call her Khaleesi instead of Daenerys?

  • Dean Vance

    Well I guess we could just completely ignore the fact that the creators of .gif specifically stated that it is pronounced ‘jiff’ I will admit the fact I pronounce it incorrectly by saying ‘gif’ but at least I am smart enough to do research rather than asking what is wrong with people without having the slightest clue what I am talking about.

  • Anonymous

    Actually, I’m the exasperated fellow who has to remind everyone around him who all the characters are but has long since stopped trying to use their actual names. “You see, Melis– uhh, Red Witch wants to…” “These guys are mad at Grego– uhh, Horse Decapitating Guy because…”

    You’re right, of course, that there’s an adjustment period for every show with a large cast, and that it shouldn’t really matter if people name their kids after names or titles.

  • http://elisabethflaum.wordpress.com/ Elwyne

    OMG YOU AWAKENED THE SLEEPING SUPER-NERD.

    Seriously, I had a whole reply written with all these tossed-off reasons why it’s dumb but then I had to go and LOOK IT UP. I still think their reasoning is silly and I’m not going to use it; language is for communicating, after all, and when I talk about gifs I don’t want to have to explain some software dude’s stupid joke. But I also went and looked up a bunch of other stuff, like why ‘giant’ has a soft g and how Gimli should be pronounced since I never asked Tolkien and NOW I’M GOING TO TELL YOU.

    Hard g is a Germanic sound; soft g before certain vowels is a Latin convention, and occurs in English words of Romance origin (that haven’t since been modified). But English is a primarily Germanic language; given Tolkien’s interests, it seems likely he intended Gimli to be pronounced with a hard g. ‘Gift’ and ‘giggle,’ the other examples I pulled out of my behind for my original response, are Germanic in origin. ‘Giant’ is from Old French, a descendant of Latin. While ‘graphic’, the source word for ‘gif’, is Latin in origin, the g does not occur before a front vowel and therefore takes the hard pronunciation.

    Basically, the creators of the .gif are free to say it however they like, but native speakers of English are going to pronounce it differently. I have the same problem with my own surname. People who use alternate spellings or pronunciations are going to struggle, but if they do it on purpose I don’t really have a lot of sympathy for them. They have only themselves to blame.

  • http://elisabethflaum.wordpress.com/ Elwyne

    OMG YOU AWAKENED THE SLEEPING SUPER-NERD.

    Seriously, I had a whole reply written with all these tossed-off reasons why it’s dumb but then I had to go and LOOK IT UP. I still think their reasoning is silly and I’m not going to use it; language is for communicating, after all, and when I talk about gifs I don’t want to have to explain some software dude’s stupid joke. But I also went and looked up a bunch of other stuff, like why ‘giant’ has a soft g and how Gimli should be pronounced since I never asked Tolkien and NOW I’M GOING TO TELL YOU.

    Hard g is a Germanic sound; soft g before certain vowels is a Latin convention, and occurs in English words of Romance origin (that haven’t since been modified). But English is a primarily Germanic language; given Tolkien’s interests, it seems likely he intended Gimli to be pronounced with a hard g. ‘Gift’ and ‘giggle,’ the other examples I pulled out of my behind for my original response, are Germanic in origin. ‘Giant’ is from Old French, a descendant of Latin. While ‘graphic’, the source word for ‘gif’, is Latin in origin, the g does not occur before a front vowel and therefore takes the hard pronunciation.

    Basically, the creators of the .gif are free to say it however they like, but native speakers of English are going to pronounce it differently. I have the same problem with my own surname. People who use alternate spellings or pronunciations are going to struggle, but if they do it on purpose I don’t really have a lot of sympathy for them. They have only themselves to blame.

  • Dean Vance

    I can picture that a lot of people who just state ‘hot guy’ or ‘midget’ are people who watch the show just to watch or just watch because all their friends do and they aren’t actually going to follow it at all.

  • Dean Vance

    None of that changes the fact that some people (including me) will pronounce it incorrectly while others pronounce it ‘jiff’ just for the sake of being correct.