How do you pronounce the English female given name Naomi?
I’ve always said ˈneɪəmi. That is also what you will find in Daniel Jones, alongside a less common variant with an unreduced GOAT vowel in the second syllable, ˈneɪəʊmi (notation modernized). As with other -eɪə- sequences, there is also the possibility in RP of compression and smoothing to -eə-, giving ˈneəmi.
But I have become aware of two other possibilities. One has the stress on the penultimate instead of the antepenultimate, thus neɪˈəʊmi. I know two West Indian bearers of the name who use this stressing. It is the only form given in Webster’s Collegiate. To my surprise, I find that this is also what Young’s Concordance gives (1879): NA-O´-MI.
The other concerns variability in the final vowel. Kenyon & Knott’s Pronouncing Dictionary of American English gives (in their notation) ˈneəˌmaɪ, neˈomaɪ, -mɪ, -mə. Mangold & Cho’s Pronouncing and Phonetic Dictionary of Biblical Names (Saarbrücken 1994) lists four possibilities: ˈneɪəmɪ, neɪˈəʊmi, ˈneɪəʊmaɪ, neɪˈəʊmaɪ. But I have never heard -maɪ in Britain, still less -mə.
There is yet another possibility, which I have been vaguely aware of for some time and have now just heard from a returning officer in one of last week’s UK election results. It has a different first vowel: naɪˈəʊmi . I have no idea where this comes from. It can hardly be a spelling pronunciation. Could it be contamination from naïve naɪˈiːv? That seems far-fetched.
The name is of Hebrew origin, נָעֳמִי na’omi ‘pleasant’. In the Hebrew Bible Naomi was the mother-in-law of Ruth.
According to Wikipedia, the name also happens to go very happily into Japanese as 直美 naomi ‘honest beautiful’.