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changing the spelling of names

(23 Posts)
JRmumma Fri 07-Mar-14 08:39:22

Genuine question.

Why do people change the spelling of names? Best example is May/Mae/Mai. I really don't get it. Why is there a need to be creative with the spelling, especially since the only consequence i can see is a lifetime of correcting the spelling of your name.

In some cases where there is more than one 'legitimate' way yo spell a name then yes you have to choose. But otherwise, why not just go with the original spelling?

tammytoby Fri 07-Mar-14 08:45:20

Good question.

Why are there so many versions of Catherine, Kathryn, Catharine, Katherine etc...?

Or Maya, Maia, Maja..?

I guess names evolve over time.

NoArmaniNoPunani Fri 07-Mar-14 08:50:11

How do you decide what the original spelling is? Mae is Hebrew so I would presume has been used the longest. May is English. Is Mai French? I'm sure cultural differences play a part in deciding which one to use

JRmumma Fri 07-Mar-14 09:02:47

tammytoby i think you've answered my question in the first post! I really never thought of it like that. I suppose that once upon a time each variant of a name was new and 'creative' and over time they are just accepted as a correct spelling.

I didn't know that Mae was Hebrew either and i also thought that Mai was probably French but it does seem odd to me to use them just as an alternative spelling IYSWIM.

I know plenty of people who have put so much thought into how to spell a name to make it different or unique, and it seems a bit pointless to me (and sometimes the result looks a bit ridiculous IMO).

PsammeadPaintedTheLion Fri 07-Mar-14 11:24:28

Different languages pronounce letters differently, so Anja, pronounced by a German speaker sounds like Anya to an English speaker. So the situatiin arises that you have two perfectly acceptable ways of spelling the same name. People chose whatever they like best, even if it's not technically the correct spelling for their language.

Or the opposite thing happens, one spelling with multiple pronounciations like Lucia.

People deliberately changing a spelling to get a more unique looking name are just extending that, I suppose.

AnnabelleLee Fri 07-Mar-14 11:25:48

Because they want to be uneek, without thinking about the poor kid who will have a lifetime of mispelled everything.

NoArmaniNoPunani Fri 07-Mar-14 11:40:01

I don't think it's a new trend of trying to be unique. My mum's friend in her 70's is called May rather than the older style Mae.

SavoyCabbage Fri 07-Mar-14 11:49:34

Mei is Chinese.

4x4 Fri 07-Mar-14 12:00:06

Nothing spells chav more than unique spellings.
Strap the little darling into a juicy couture pram , stick on a headband and go to the registry office , remembering to
double up your vowels and /or substitute an x or z for an s or phonogram .
Another way you can just allude to poor education by spelling the name poorly.
At work recently, I took down the name of a poor babe called Sharlot.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Fri 07-Mar-14 12:01:45

Because some parents want their child to be 'unique'. Forgetting that their child will be unique whatever you call them.

HoratiaDrelincourt Fri 07-Mar-14 12:34:48

Sometimes the parents don't know the spelling - and the registrar isn't supposed to make suggestions hmm

On the other hand, some people think Stiebheigh pronounced "stevie" is in some way intrinsically different from Stevie. Not to the 90% of people they meet who only know them by the sound of their name.

OsMalleytheCat Fri 07-Mar-14 12:35:34

My name is spelt "incorrectly" and whilst it can be irritating correcting people all the time or having it mispronounced I quite like it, I feel it suits me much better than the original spelling. I did ask my DM why she felt the need to alter the spelling and she said that she thought the original looked too ugly written down.

NoArmaniNoPunani Fri 07-Mar-14 12:36:39

Oh, after seeing the bollocks spouted by 4X4 I'm sorry I contributed to this thread

Geneticsbunny Fri 07-Mar-14 12:37:14

May and Mae have different origins. May is from the month and Mae is an abreviation of Mary and has a different meaning. As mentioned earlier mei is Chinese.

JRmumma Fri 07-Mar-14 13:55:18

Ok maybe May was a poor example then as the other spellings have clear origins. But its the taking of a name and just changing the spelling for the sake of it that i don't understand.

I don't think its 'chav' or anything like that, i just think its odd. For example Ashli, Mayseigh, Eyelah. It just looks like its spelt wrong and i honestly don't see the point.

MoFoe1 Sat 08-Mar-14 07:51:27

Just to add...Mai is welsh for May wink

AlanAlanAlAl Sat 08-Mar-14 10:16:16

I think 4x4 is on a par with the obnoxious Katie Hopkins. My daughter's name is very unusual in the uk and part of it may be mistaken for a misspelling or a unique spelling. Although I have no issues with whatever parents choose to name their children, my daughter has a rather common but lovely west African name and importantly it's a family name. I have a teacher friend who insists on spelling it 'correctly' but I'm not sure if she realises. In 2014 Britain you are likely to embarrass yourself if you start trying to dictate which spellings are correct.

RalphRecklessCardew Sat 08-Mar-14 14:00:48

Like Ann/Anne, Susan/Suzanne, Mary/Marie?

I read somewhere that made-up names among black Americans could be a reaction to having been given names/surnames by the slavers. So, Malcolm X.

JRmumma Sat 08-Mar-14 17:03:12

I'm not trying to dictate how people spell thier names. Its a genuine question, not a snidey one. If you decided to call your daughter Jane (for example), and you think hang on, how else could i spell this to make it different and end up with Jainne (again, for example), what is the reasoning behind just intentionally changing the spelling to one that has never been used before (to your knowledge)?

I understand there are already various spellings of names including language variants and that those will have been 'made up' at some point, but why not just go with an already used spelling and try to make up a new one?

Anjou Sat 08-Mar-14 20:24:25

There are some people who want their child to be different/unique and they think that an alternative spelling will help them be different/unique. There are also people who feel some names sound lovely but look ugly when written down. I think that 'Clare' looks clumsy & clunky but that 'Clair' looks quite pretty. I have absolutely no idea why I think this, but I'm guessing there are other people who are just as irrational as means that want what they consider a more attractive spelling. Each to their own.

Frikadellen Sun 09-Mar-14 17:26:22

To add to your suggestion of Mai/May/Mae in Denmark where I grew up it would have been Maj.. I thought it very odd when I saw it spelt May for the first time smile..

Some of the variants will be to do with country and cultures.

alita7 Sun 09-Mar-14 17:30:41

I think some spellings are due to different languages or ways we've evolved to spell things but sometimes people just choose to spell names stupid ways and I think it's awfully chavvy unless there's a good reason!!

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 09-Mar-14 18:10:16

I think there is a difference between spelling Ann as Anne (the latter being the French form) and spelling Maisie as Mayseigh.

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