We are considering naming our son "Matei", however as we live in a German-speaking country, we worry that native speakers of German would pronounce it /ma'tai/, different from the name's correct pronunciation in its original language (Romanian), which is /ma'tei/. My guess is the latter will be favoured only by those who've heard the name before, but those who haven't would tend to pronounce it in the former way.

I know StackExchange sites are not primarily meant for opinion polling; however, I wonder if in comments to this question, people (ideally those who are native German speakers) could express whether their first impulse in pronouncing this name would be one or the other of the above options.

Thank you in advance.

  • 5
    I didn't know the name and its origin. Intuitively, I would have pronounced it /ma'tai/, just as you expected.
    – Jonathan Herrera
    Commented May 22, 2022 at 19:38
  • 2
    There is nothing you or your son could ever do to completely prevent mispronounciation. Some will butcher it at first try. However, most people will stop mispronouncing once they hear how you or you son pronounce it. Von daher: Nur Mut! (I do know [ma'tei].)
    – starrin
    Commented May 22, 2022 at 20:02
  • 3
    Please vote up this comment if you'd pronounce this name as: /ma`tei/
    – z8080
    Commented May 22, 2022 at 20:49
  • 5
    And please vote up this comment if you'd pronounce this name as: /ma`tai/
    – z8080
    Commented May 22, 2022 at 20:49
  • 4
    The language buffs at German SE are probably not the most representative group to ask though. xkcd.com/2618 :-)
    – HalvarF
    Commented May 23, 2022 at 18:07

1 Answer 1


As a German native speaker, with naive reading of a name "Matei", I would pronounce it /'matai/, with stress on the first syllable.

As a part-time resident of South Eastern Europe I know the name, though, and I would pronounce it correctly, i.e. closer to its Romanian pronunciation with stress on the second syllable, and a clearer "e"-shaped dipthonge "ei" (as opposed to "ai"). I heard the name also in neighbouring Bulgaria (Матей).

Note that in Germany there is a family name "Mattey" in Germany (spelling varies) pronounced /'matai/.

The standard (= most frequent, traditional) form of this name in German is Matthias, the regional derivative of biblical Matthäus.

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