On names, changing them, and pronunciation

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Thu Mar 6 00:26:01 EST 2003

On Wed, 05 Mar 2003 12:43:51 -0700, Robyn Starkey wrote:

>> Anyway, the way we
>>say [Teleri], it rhymes with "celery," and a well-meaning aunt pointed this out.
>I think it is a great name, regardless of the celery problem. My daughter's 
>name - Xanthe - causes a lot of problems. Every time we go to a new 
>activity like dancing or gym, the person who is going to have to call out 
>her name looks at blankly. Many people who hear it rather than try to work 
>out how to say it from seeing it written don't seem to be able to hear what 
>it is. They most commonly hear "Sandy". It's almost impossible to correct 
>this, so I don't bother.

That's exactly what we've noticed.  It's like people are trying to map the
name onto a sound they recognize.  Even our relatives have the habit of
saying Tillery instead of Teleri.  Undoubtedly there is some Utah influence
there, because here in Utah the short-e sound often gets converted to the
short-i sound.  Because I am not from Utah, I am always handing people pins
when they ask for pens.  :)

Melissa Proffitt

English doesn't borrow from other languages. English follows other languages down dark alleys, hits them over the head and goes through their pockets for loose vocabulary.

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