Weeks ago Laura asked me to do a spotlight on Regina — I try really hard not to forget anyone’s request, even if it takes me a while to get to it. It’s been on my to-post list since then! And today’s the day, woo!
So Regina: What do you all think of when you hear it? I think of Mother Mary first and foremost — she’s always been my first association, maybe because I never knew anyone in real life with the name except for one small baby named Maria Regina, for Our Lady, so again — Mother Mary’s the big association there, for me. It’s a lot less popular than it used to be, so I imagine it might feel pretty dated to a lot of you, especially if you know women with the name.
And then there’s the pronunciation issue … how do you say it? I’ve always said reh-JEE-nah, but I understand there are some who say reh-JYE-nah, which of course rhymes with a part of the female anatomy, and even if parents are determined to have the reh-JEE-nah pronunciation, there’s still the chance that someone will mistakenly say reh-JYE-nah. (Turns out that’s the pronunciation of Saskatchewan’s capital, so … it’s definitely a possibility. Check out Abby’s profile of Regina for more info.) I can see that being the kind of thing a little girl might be mortified over (see the conversation from yesterday about names with bullying potential). (I guess a hard G is also a possibility, according to behindthename. Have you ever heard that?)
But, if that isn’t a concern, or if the intention is to put the name in the middle spot, I think this is just one of those great Catholicky Catholic names — super Marian, super traditional, *especially* paired with Maria. It’s got cute nickname potential too — certainly the familiar Gina, and also apparently Ina (Ina Garten was born just Ina though), and I think Ree could work, or Rina, or Ria.
The variants of Regina, though, are where I *think* most people of childbearing age right now would feel more comfortable: Reina/Raina/Rayna, or the Bulgarian Raya, or the French Régine or Reine (pronounced like wren, or like rain I think — the spelling Raine would make it more obvious if you prefer the latter). The Irish Ríona is quite pretty too, and I’ve also seen Regan presented as a variant of Regina, though I’m not sure how accurate that is since it was mentioned in the comments and not in the official post at BTN (and King Lear’s daughter and the character in The Exorcist ruin Regan for a lot of people, which is such a pity, because I love Regan).
What do you all think of Regina? Would you use it for a daughter? Do you know any little Reginas? What about pronunciation — how do you say it? What have you heard?