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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011

    Using diacritics/graphemes for stylistic reasons?

    I'm not particularly well educated on this subject, so to anyone more knowledgeable - please feel free to correct my usage of any words I may have misunderstood!

    From what I understand, a diacritic is "mark" added to a letter to change its sound, for example an umlaut (e.g. ä ë ï ö ü, as in naïve or Chloë) or an accent (e.g accute accents - á é í ó ú, as in café or Esmée). A grapheme, I'm not sure how to explain, but I'm pretty sure the term does refer to letters like œ (as in fœtus or Œdipus) and æ (as in archæology or Cæsar). Again, as I say, correct me if I'm wrong - I'm going from my own basic knowledge and things I've picked up online.

    Using letters or characters in words they wouldn't fit in under normal rules isn't an entirely foreign concept (see: Ke$ha or BΔSTILLE for example), but I'd be interested to know what people think of this idea in names.

    For example, from what I know, in English æ is pronounced like "ee" (archæology, pædophilia, encyclopædia etc). I came across the name Maery quite sometime ago, which I imagine is pronounced "mair-ee" or even "may-ree", and it stuck with me, as has Maera ("mair-ah"/"may-rah"). However, something about the spellings Mæry and Mæra just seem cleaner to me and I have no idea why. Of course, that would really change the pronunciations to something like "meer-ee" and "meer-ah" respectively.

    Now, note that I would probably never use either in real life and if I did, I'd almost certainly go for the the non-grapheme spellings, but it has made me wonder what people think of the practice in general.

    As one example, I have seen the name Chloé, pronounced "chlo-ee" rather than the expected "chlo-ay" (or something thereabouts, not sure if the true pronunciation can really be conveyed through text!). Likewise, I'm pretty sure I've seen Phaedra spelled Phædra and pronounced "fay-drah" at least once (not certain on what the correct pronunciation is for this name, though).

    Do you think this is acceptable, within the rights of creative licence? Or do you think it is tacky and makes the parent seem uneducated? Have you ever come across this in real life, or heard of anyone doing it before?
    g e n e v i e v e

    Violet Ruby Grace ♀ Alice Pomeline Wren ♀ India Lotus Penelope
    May Tallulah Verity ♀ Lucia Ottilie June♀ Rosa Elowen Chloë

    Ivo Valentine Fox ♂ Shiloh Atlas Grey ♂ Leo Elijah Bram
    Maben Isaac Poe ♂ Emrys Casper Gabriel ♂ Kit Auberon Xavier

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