Names (spelling them)

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Tue Sep 23 09:27:32 EDT 2003


The Knowledge Pika wrote:

>Bear in mind that 'spelling' is a modern concept, and if someone
>chooses to use older names there can be exciting and unusual 'correct'
>spellings.

Someone of my acquaintance who has a "difficult" surname -- that is, one
nobody ever seems to spell as it appears in his own documents such as
passport and driving-licence, until they have it spelt out to them
repeatedly -- had a wonderful moment on the telephone a couple of years
back.

He gave his name, and was asked "How do I spell that?"

Now, the person to whom he was talking was never likely to be writing to
him, and would never need to look him up anywhere; he found himself saying
"Spell it however you like, so long as you know who you mean!"

After more than forty years of worrying about always being spelt wrong, he
says it was a wonderful release to decide that it didn't, in fact, matter
one bit how a restaurant spelt him when he was booking a table... and he
has been able to relax about it ever since, and grin instead of snarling.
He's now collecting the variations, in a mild sort of way.

This is not to say that spelling someone's name in a way they don't accept
is "ok", but if the person whose name it is doesn't care, it saves that
person a lot of mild annoyance over a lifetime.

Minnow


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