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  1. #1
    Dimevision is offline Newbie
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    Question How to write non-English names

    Hi
    I'd like to know how do native people prefer to write non-English names with respect to phonetic patterns.
    For example my family name is /ˈmhpeɪkr/ how do you write it or spell it?

    Also, using text-to-speech engines didn't give a solid answer for this. (I don't know how these programs coded to choose the proper sound for an arbitrary word, they have to use some patterns). The parallel question is what are those patterns, maybe they can be used for writing non-English words or names properly?
    Last edited by Dimevision; 03-Jul-2010 at 14:45.

  2. #2
    konungursvia's Avatar
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    Re: How to write non-English names

    Mapeikar is probably the closest you'll get. Don't forget English has a lazy vowel phenomenon: native speakers choose the most important 40 to 60 % of the syllables and pronounce them quite fully, with the others being run on and simplified to a schwa.

  3. #3
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    Re: How to write non-English names

    'Mahpaykar' might work.
    /aeh/ and /aer/ don't exist at the end of English words, so they would be a problem.
    /eɪ/ is always going to be a guess for English speakers - it could be /eɪ/, /i:/, /aɪ/ (as in German).

    You're still left with where to put the stress.

    PS: I just thought of "Ma Baker, but with a 'P'"

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: How to write non-English names

    I think generally people will accept the spelling they're given by the person. There are several spellings for Mohammed/Muhammed etc- I just use the one the person uses.

  5. #5
    Dimevision is offline Newbie
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    Re: How to write non-English names

    1-
    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    Mapeikar is probably the closest you'll get. Don't forget English has a lazy vowel phenomenon: native speakers choose the most important 40 to 60 % of the syllables and pronounce them quite fully, with the others being run on and simplified to a schwa.
    You are right about lazy vowel thing, but in this case we are doing the inverse process by writing new words from their original pronunciation. so I think we can't (shouldn't) skip the H letter.

    2-
    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    'Mahpaykar' might work.
    /aeh/ and /aer/ don't exist at the end of English words, so they would be a problem.
    /eɪ/ is always going to be a guess for English speakers - it could be /eɪ/, /i:/, /aɪ/ (as in German).

    You're still left with where to put the stress.

    PS: I just thought of "Ma Baker, but with a 'P'"
    Actually it is /mh/ which means "moon" in Persian and /peɪkr/ which means "body" or "statue" and /mhpeɪkr/ means "moonlike body" and the stress is on its first syllable.
    /peɪ/ like "Pay" and /kr/ like "Character"

    Ma Baker : It's prononciation is very close to mine and also I love that song performed by Boney M

    3-
    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    I think generally people will accept the spelling they're given by the person. There are several spellings for Mohammed/Muhammed etc- I just use the one the person uses.
    I think it is something statistical. if you write a name with different spellings in Google you will see how many people use that form of spelling.
    for example my first name is "Navid" = /nviːd/ and google shows a result of 3 millions for "Navid" and 2 millions for "Naveed" which means no compromise. However a rock band called Our Lady Peace from Canada has a song and album called by my name and they've prefered to write it as "Naveed" and I think it is correct since it has /i:/ sound and also Navid may be pronounced like David by those who never heard of that. but I keep writing it Navid because of its simple and acceptable form.
    What do you think of that?

    4-
    One more thing about text-to-speech: Microsoft TTS pronounces "baker" like /beɪkə(r)/ , replacing b with p results /pkə(r)/ and it is interesting to me that Microsoft TTS works fine with English words but a little change in the word has such effect on the outcome. why is this thus?

    5-
    At the end, still I haven't get any proper spelling for my surname, but I think it should be among these : Mahpeikar, Mahpeykar, Mahpaykar which one do you suggest?

  6. #6
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: How to write non-English names

    I'd write your name as Navid and another students as Naveed.

    I have a feeling that Mahpeikar might be the easiest for many to remember.


  7. #7
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    Re: How to write non-English names

    Quote Originally Posted by Dimevision View Post
    Hi
    I'd like to know how do native people prefer to write non-English names with respect to phonetic patterns.
    For example my family name is /ˈmhpeɪkr/ how do you write it or spell it?

    Also, using text-to-speech engines didn't give a solid answer for this. (I don't know how these programs coded to choose the proper sound for an arbitrary word, they have to use some patterns). The parallel question is what are those patterns, maybe they can be used for writing non-English words or names properly?
    Phonological problems:

    1. mah: an English speaker is expected to pronounce it like /a/ as in /p a t/. We should write maah so that the reader may understand that it's a long vowel. However, that spelling will violate English spelling rules!

    2. In some Germanic languages ( including English and German) h doesn't occur at the end of the syllable or after a vowel. So mehr (more) is pronounced / m e: r/. An English speaker will ignore the h.

    3. Stress: / m aa h p ei 'kar/. The last syllable is stressed in the Farsi word. I think it may be pronounced: / m ə 'pei kair/ in English. That is:
    / m + schwa + p + ei + k + ai + (r)/
    -ai as in care.

    -Navid may be preonounced: /n + schwa + v + i + d/, with the stress on the second syllable. At any rate, the English pronunciation will frighteningly surprise you!
    Last edited by chester_100; 08-Jul-2010 at 05:40.

  8. #8
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    Re: How to write non-English names

    Of course, it should be noted that the r in mehr is not exactly a voiced sound. The strong voiceless glottal sound that occurs before r turns it into a rather voiceless sound. Now, I'm willing to know how English speakers articulate the syllable. It should also be noted that r is not retroflex in Farsi, and the tongue should be rubbed against the roof of the mouth.

  9. #9
    konungursvia's Avatar
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    Re: How to write non-English names

    Also, a result of British English absorbing Hong Kong Wade romanizations like Mah, in which the h is silent and affects tone, I believe most English speakers would read Mahpeikar as though the h was silent.

  10. #10
    Dimevision is offline Newbie
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    Re: How to write non-English names

    Thanks Tdol; I have the same feeling.

    Quote Originally Posted by chester_100 View Post
    1. mah: an English speaker is expected to pronounce it like /a/ as in /p a t/. We should write maah so that the reader may understand that it's a long vowel. However, that spelling will violate English spelling rules!
    but it is exactly /mh/ in Persian like /pt/ with short vowel, (note that we have both /mɑːh/ and /mh/ in Persian for the "moon" and mine is /mh/) like /mhtɑːb/ which means "moonlight".

    Quote Originally Posted by chester_100 View Post
    2. In some Germanic languages ( including English and German) h doesn't occur at the end of the syllable or after a vowel. So mehr (more) is pronounced / m e: r/. An English speaker will ignore the h.
    Although they don't pronounce it, I think it should be written since it exists in the original form of it. something like Mahjong.

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