My name is Elré

A bird is identified by its colours, feathers and sounds. A human, their name.

My name is not popular or available on any key holder, pen or cup at Cardies or on that list’s with “the person on this list will get drunk with you this weekend”, heaven forbid, but my name is special an unique.

Where did it come from? Let me to tell you the story.

Years back when the Golden Acre in Cape Town was still one of the shopping malls to visit, there was a shop called Elrentia. My mom used to walk pass this shop (after taking the train/bus-I kid you not) on her way to work. She loved the name and presented this name suggestion to my dad.

My dad said no. Can you believe it, but he had very good reason. He said that it will be shortened. One way or the other. I will either be known as Elré or Rentia, never called by my full name.

Rentia was already part of my family as this was my cousins name, so she got dibs. My dad just said that Elré it will be.

They consulted my uncle with regard to the spelling. I am not sure if they wanted people to mispronounce it or if it was the way you say it, but my uncle assured them, the spelling is correct as well as the pronunciation.

So, why the struggle with the pronunciation? Well, a lesson in the French language to follow.

You have the sound ee (imagine a dragged out iiiiiiiii sound) and ey (like in a South African name Jeandré). So, when you have an é it can go either way as explained above.

My name is pronounced Elree, like Jean-Marié (ee), but, this little é confused my teachers, lectures, friends, everyone and instead of ee I became Elrey. I gave up correcting everyone at some point, and also wanted to change my name.

I never heard my name, ever. Steadily in my early twenties the name Elri/Elrie started to pop up, and of course then my spelling changed to Elri, but then Twitter gave me a friend with the exact same name as me, just pronounced differently. Her struggle, she was called Elree instead of Elrey!! We had a great laugh because it was exactly the opposite. We both agreed #thestruggleisreal.

Here is Elree and Elrey.

Elré (ee) and Elré (ey)

Nowadays I here my name from time to time, never spelled like mine, but I am out there. It is nice to surprise someone and say “yes” when they call their child. This always presents history lessons of where the names come from. Believe it or not, my name can be built from parents names as well.

Today, I love my name. I am unique in it and I do not hear it often which makes me feel very special.

Do you have a not-so-popular- name? Tell me your name story in the comments below. I would love to hear it.

E xx

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