Rachel's English

How to Pronounce Common Female Names


Today I'm going to go over the most popular female names.

The most common female name is Mary. Mary has the 'er' as in 'share' [] diphthong, Mary.

The second most common name is Patricia. The first vowel sound is the schwa [ə], and the second is the accented. It has the 'ih' as in 'sit' [ɪ] sound. Patricia. Notice that the'ih' as in 'sit' C-I is pronounced as a sh, sh, 'sh' as in 'sh' as in 'ship' [ʃ, and that final vowel sound is the schwa. Patricia.

A common nickname for this is Patty. Spelled P-A-T-T-Y, the Ts are pronounced as a D sound. Patty, with the 'aa' as in 'bat'. Also, a nickname could be Pat, P-A-T, and the T does take the tt sound, Pat. Also, Tricia could be a nickname, simply, the second and third syllables, or even just Tric.


The third name is Linda. Linda has the 'ih' as in 'sit' vowel sound in the accented syllable. In the unaccented syllable, it has the schwa sound. Linda.

The fourth name is Barbara. It has the 'ah' as in 'father' [α] sound in the first syllable, which is accented. Barbara. Really, it is two syllables, the second being -bra, with the schwa. Barbara. However, I think some people probably do pronounce it with a very quick third syllable in between the first and the second, also unaccented: Barbara. Bar-brr, brr, Barbara. So, it would have the 'ur' as in 'her'[ɜ] vowel sound. Barbara or Barbara. A nickname that you might hear for would be Barb, or perhaps Barbie.


Elizabeth. I think that most people pronounce this with a schwa as the initial sound. Elizabeth. However, I have a friend whose name is Elizabeth, and she pronounces it more 'ee'[i]: Elizabeth. Or it can be an 'ih': Elizabeth. In any case it is the second syllable that is accented, and it has the 'ih' as in 'sit' vowel sound. The third syllable is the schwa. The fourth syllable either has a very quick 'eh' as in 'bed' [e] or 'ih' as in 'sit' vowel sound. Elizabeth. Elizabeth. Common nicknames would be Liz, Lizzy, Bessie, Betsy, with a T-S, Betty, here the double T being pronounced as a D, Betty, or Beth, Beth with the open 'eh' as in 'bed'.


The sixth most common name: Jennifer. Jennifer has the  'eh' as in 'bed' [ε] vowel sound in the first syllable, Jennifer, which is the accented syllable. The next syllable is an unaccented 'ih' as in 'sit', and the final syllable is the 'ur' as in 'her' vowel sound. Jennifer, Jennifer. Common nicknames would be Jenn or Jenny.

The seventh name: Maria. Pronounced in American English, both of the A's would be pronounced as the schwa sound, and the I, the 'ee' as in 'she'. Maria, Maria.

Susan. The first syllable is the accented syllable, with the 'oo' as in 'boo'[u] sound. The first S is unvoiced - ss, but the second S is voiced: zz. Sus-, Sus-. And the last syllable has a quick schwa before going into the nn sound. Susan, Susan.


Margaret. The first syllable has the 'ah' as in 'father' vowel sound which slides quickly into the rr, R sound [ɹ]. Mar-, Mar-. The second syllable has the schwa, or barred i sound: -gret, -gret. And it is unaccented, so it is quick and lower in pitch. Margaret. Margaret. As with Barbara, some people would pronounce this with a third syllable between these two. It would be a schwa. Margaret. Mar-guh-ret. Common nicknames would be Maggie, or Marge.

Lisa. The first, and accented syllable has the 'ee' as in 'she'. The second syllable is the schwa. Lisa. Note that the S is unvoiced: ss, ss. Lisa.

These are the 10 most common names in America for women. I will later do another blog entry on the 10 most popular baby names.

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