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  1. #1
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    Pronunciation and history of Alleyne?

    I read and enjoyed Arthur Conan Doyle's historical novel, "The White Company," years ago. My dad is now reading it, and he came to me and asked, "How do you pronounce the main character's name?" Alleyne Edricson is the young squire who comes of age during the story's plot, which is set in England, France and Spain at the time of the Hundred Years' War (specifically the years 1366 and '67.)

    I could only make a guess at how to pronounce Alleyne, and it's approximately what's given on babynamespedia (AL-ayne.) But, consulting Google, I also found sources which suggested AL-een or Allen.

    I'm assuming that babynamespedia is correct in describing Alleyne as a variant of Alan. Does anyone have the scoop on this name? Would this have been a well-used medieval spelling of Alan? What is the correct pronunciation? And why is it only listed on Nameberry as a girl's name?
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  2. #3
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    You are right, it is indeed a medieval version of Alan. It was used in England mostly spelled Alleyn or Aleyne. It can be pronounced AL-ayn, AL-ayn-uh and AL-uhn.
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  3. #5
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    Just had to pop in and mention that Alleyne is Zoe Washburne's maiden name on the TV show Firefly. I like it much better as a boys' first name, though.
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  4. #7
    It's a family surname on my dad's Irish side (but probably brought over from Yorkshire/Lancaster during Henry VIII's reign), and we've always pronounced it AL-ayne, like Elaine but with the emphasis on the first syllable.

    Sometimes when various British accents say it, however, the -ayne becomes slightly more of an -eeyne. There are so many versions of the accent that I think "correct" pronunciation on such an old name can vary from county to county (or country, when considering Ireland).

    Edit: In my family, it's usually used as a girl's name - I have a cousin named Alleyne Rose Mathilde, and several with it as a middle name.

  5. #9
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    Thanks, Ottilie, Gwen and scarlettsensibility, for the replies so far. The clarification on the origin and pronunciation of Alleyne is helpful. It makes sense that the "correct" pronunciation, especially for an old name with a somewhat clunky spelling, would vary a bit from place to place.

    Do others assume, as I do, that Alleyne has come to be used as a girl's name because of its similarity to Elaine? That makes the most sense to me.
    "He telleth the number of the stars; He calleth them all by their names."
    Psalm 147:4

    Still dreaming:
    Tobias Rory Benjamin ~ Crispin Isaiah ~ Ransom Horatio ~ Lucius Olórin ~ James Deliverance
    Una Marguerite/Oona Sylvestra ~ Jessamyn Agnes ~ Branwen Evangeline ~ Alice Emmanuelle ~ Christiana Linnet

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