Scary Spellings

One of my all time favourite names is Chryseis. Would I ever name a child that though? No. Maybe as a middle, but never as a first, even though I adore the name. The reason is because to the untrained, unknowing eye, Chryseis is almost frightening. The pronunciation isn’t obvious, which means you’re bound to get it wrong. This will almost certainly cause problems for your darling offspring in later life.

However, let us consider names currently sitting in the USA’s top 100 baby names:

#85 Ayden (Aodhán/ Áedán)*

#25 Hailey (Hayley)

#67 Kaitlyn (Caitlín)

#75 Zoey (Zoe)

#84 Payton (Peyton)

#89 Katelyn (Caitlín)

#95 Khloe (Chloe)

#98 Mya (Mia)

* The original version of the name is in brackets next to the name

As you can see, name misspellings are more common amongst female, however, is it more easier to pronounce the original or the alternate names? In the case of Aodhán/Áedán vs. Aiden/Ayden, it’s clear that the latter two spellings have a clearer pronunciation. Infact, that could be said for the majority of Irish names. Caoimhe may leave you head-scratching, wondering what could possibly be the correct way to say the name. You look at Keeva however, and all is clear. This is because Aodhán and his irish siblings adhere to a different phonetic alphabet than the standard english one, thus Ao is said Ay using irish phonetics, when in the english version, that phonetic doesn’t exist, it has to be said seperately as a-o.

So it is clear that parents who love the name Áedán prefer to use Aiden, because of the obvious pronounciation. This explains why the latter is more popular than the former.

In the case of Chryseis, I could spell it phonetically as Chreesayiss, but I think you’ll agree with me when I say the former name is much more aesthetically pleasing. Thus proving that not all names translate well into english phonetics. The ones who do however, prosper amongst we english speakers. Caitlín is a prime example of this. Two alternate spellings in the top 100.

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Categories: Name Spellings | Leave a comment

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