First names (real ones!)(long)

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at
Sat Jan 15 20:41:29 EST 2000

On Sun, 16 Jan 2000 12:19:53 +1100, Sally Odgers wrote:

>The name that always bothered me was Piemur. Is that PIE-mer or PIE - EE -

I vote for PIE-mer.  Not that I get a vote.

>In one book the following examples make me doubt the whole thing.
>SAL-ee for Sally and mar-KEY-say for Marquise are fine, but what about
>SAH-fron for Saffron? MAH-dess-tee for Modesty? per-ISS for Paris?
>I?d have rendered these three as SAFF-ron, MOD-ess-tee and PARR-iss. Maybe
>the author?s American accent is showing. Or maybe it?s my Australian accent
>that's at fault?

No, I think it's just a difference in thinking.  You can pronounce Saffron
the same way from the two examples given, depending on how you read the
phonetic transcription.  See, I'd have written it your way...but except for
per-ISS and PAR-iss, either transcription could result in the same
pronunciation.  The ones from the book are based on phonetics, yours on
actual words (like, a reader would have to pronounce "mod" the same way you
do, which is a fair assumption).
>Siobhan is a name tht is given all kinds of different pronunciations. I've
>seen SHAVE-on, Shevaun, and Shiv-onn (not quite chiffon, but not far

The two people I've known named Siobhan have pronounced it "shiv-ONN."

>Even our daughter Tegan gets mispronounced and misspelled half the time. We
>say "TEE-gan" to echo "Megan", but I've been informed that it ought to be
>"TAY-gan" to echo "Regan". People also try to spell her Teagan, Teegan and
>Teigan... I suppose someone will call her TEG-anne eventually; Her second
>name is Maria, but even that has two pronunciations.

Hey, wait a minute!  The authoritative source of Doctor Who says TEE-gan.
Hah.  :)

>To get to Welsh names again; Nerys is one I like, and Bronwen, Adara,
>Cordelia, Seren, Taryn and Isolde.  Guinevere has unfortunate connotations
>for some people, but how about "Buddug"? I have no idea how that one
>sounds. It's a Welsh form of Victoria, but I can't imagine any non-Welsh
>speaker using it for a daughter, however it might sound.  

In the movie "Cold Comfort Farm" the actress who plays the young Ada Doom
(who saw something NASTY in the woodshed) is named Myfanwy.  That's sort of
ugh to the eye, but it probably sounds better than it looks.

>A case in point is the Greek cloak called a "chlamys". I can spell it, but
>how the 'flippin' 'eck do I pronounce it? I guessed it as "K-lammis', but I
>might be wildly wrong. Any clues, oh educated ones?

Not being a Greek speaker, but knowing the alphabet, it's probably "klamis"
(I think the chi is normally an aspirated K rather than soft CH.  How's that
for sounding educated without having any real knowledge?  I learned how to
do it from Jacob, who is an Expert.)

The one book where I got every name totally wrong was David Farland's
Runelords series.  Shoot, now I can't remember the names...anyway, in that
case I was talking to a friend of mine who was in Farland's writing group,
and he said all the accents are on the second syllables--counterintuitive as
far as I was concerned.  Oh well.  I'm avoiding things again, like housework
and dinner.

Melissa Proffitt
To unsubscribe, email dwj-request at with the body "unsubscribe".
Visit the archives at

More information about the Dwj mailing list