How would you pronounce these names: Lora, Laura, and Lara?
(I say the first syllables sound like lore, law, and scare, respectively. My wife says that both Lora and Laura are pronounced lore-uh, and Lara is pronounced law-ruh. She denies that there’s any such name as lehr-uh. )
I’ve known one Lora. She pronounced her name “LAW-ruh”, but I’d say “LORE-uh” if I just saw “Lora” in a random context and had to read the word out loud.
My cousin Laura is definitely a “LAW-ruh”, so that’s how I pronounce that particular spelling unless corrected. If the bearer is a native speaker of Spanish, though, she’s likely to prefer “LAU-rrah” (“lau” rhyming with “how”), with the “r” rolled so much it almost sounds like a “d”.
I don’t recall ever knowing a Lara, but I’ve heard “LARR-uh” and “LAIR-uh” about equally. I’d probably say “LAIR-uh” if I were reading the word aloud. However, the first name of video game/movie character Lara Croft sounds like “LAW-ruh” when I hear it in commercials, so I’d guess that pronunciation has become the preference of a plurality (if not majority) – at least in circles where the Tomb Raider is known.
I used to work with a girl named Laura who would grill anyone who pronounced her name incorrectly. We made outbound calls to set up appointments and this conversation was heard at least 30 times a day:
“Hello, this is Laura Smith, is Mr. X available?”
“No, it’s LOW-ruh, not LORE-ah. LOW-ruh Smith…is Mr. X available? He is? OK, I’ll hold…”
“Hi, Mr. X, this is Laura Smith with The Widget Company…uh, no, that’s LOW-ruh Smith, sir, LOW-ruh, not LORE-ah. As I was saying…”
I’d think it might, since my instinct is to say both to rhyme with “Sarah” (I hope nobody pronounces that name “SAHR-uh”). However, I’m fully aware that the Stanford women’s basketball coach is “TAHR-uh”, not “TAIR-uh”.
There was one girl named Laura whose name I pronounced “law ra” (you’d have to know her to understand) but most of the time Laura is just like it’s spelled. Lora has more of a longer “o” sound and Lara is as above.
“Tara” is like “Sarah”, although I think the hill in Ireland is not pronounced that way.