[LMB] ot: Linguistic Amusement!
Karen A. Wyle
kawyle at att.net
Sat Apr 18 18:49:51 BST 2020
My father's family name was Weihrauch (German for "incense" -- literally, "holy smoke"). Coming to the US, they wanted a name that'd be easy for Americans to spell and pronounce . . . and choose Wyle. Sigh.
Karen A. Wyle (not Weil orWile or Wiley or Wylie . . .)
On Saturday, April 18, 2020, 12:46:24 PM EDT, Howard Brazee <howard at brazee.net> wrote:
> On Apr 18, 2020, at 9:31 AM, adkinslawfirm at mindspring.com wrote:
> I bring you Linguistic Amusement! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KULE3UDdr34&feature=youtu.be
> Lois-Bujold mailing list message sent to howard at brazee.net
> Lois-Bujold at lists.herald.co.uk
Oh, yes. I have the same problem with foreign names. And more particularly, names in science fiction. I have a hard time with names anyway, and if the aren’t close to fitting in to familiar names, I don’t get them.
I wonder if there are translators who translate names as well, making them easier. I know that there are immigrants who modify their names to make them easier for people in their new countries to pronounce. They don’t have to be completely Anglicized, they just have to be easy to say.
I have never met anybody named Penric. But as an American, I find that name easy to say and remember.
I’m not sure of the rules of what makes a name hard to pronounce. I also have no problem with Vorkosigan. But I remember the TV show “Barney Miller”. One character had a simplified spelling of his name, but *still* had to tell people how to pronounce it (Wojohowitz was originally Wojciehowicz).
For someone creating character names who wants to be read around the world, this can be a concern.
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