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  1. #1
    balakrishnanijk is offline Member
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    Default spelling of foreign names

    Might I be criticized if I wrote

    Nicholas Notovitch
    Nicholas Sarkozy
    Nicholas Copernicus
    Nicholas Wirth
    Nicholas Otto

    instead of

    Nicolas Notovitch
    Nicolas Sarkozy
    Nicolaus Copernicus
    Niklaus Wirth
    Nikolaus Otto

    etc

  2. #2
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    Default Re: spelling of foreign names

    You might. These days we tend to use the spelling the people themselves use(d).

  3. #3
    balakrishnanijk is offline Member
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    Default Re: spelling of foreign names

    If it is so, why do we write Alexander Pushkin, Alexander Solzhenitsyn,Bartholomew Diaz and Anton(y) van Leeuwenhoek instead of Alexandr Pushkin,Alexandr Solzhenitsyn,Bartolomeu Dias and Antonie van Leeuwenhoek.
    Last edited by balakrishnanijk; 12-Feb-2012 at 04:39. Reason: typo

  4. #4
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    Default Re: spelling of foreign names

    'Alexander' is a pretty close representation of 'Алекса́ндр', I think. The other two are hangovers from a time in the past when people tended to anglicise names.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: spelling of foreign names

    The advice is to use the spelling used by the person in their native language, if there are letters that correspond to English. The challenge comes when the alphabet itself is different.

    Look at how many ways are considered acceptable spellings of Hanukkah, all attempts to use English letters to approximate the pronunciation. You'll find the same thing with names and other proper nouns.

    Don't worry about the practice of the past.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: spelling of foreign names

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    'Alexander' is a pretty close representation of 'Алекса́ндр', I think.
    Back 5jj up on that as a native. In Russian I have never come across the translated name Alexandr.
    Here is another proof, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Pushkin.
    We mostly use Alexander or Alex if we need to write the name 'Алекса́ндр' in English.

    I wouldn't criticize you if you called me Alexandr, but I would feel that the name is misspelled.

    I have this funny story being said by a friend of mine.
    His name is Slava that is Слава in Russian. Слава can also be used as a noun in Russian and can be translated into English as a glory or a fame.
    I don't know why but a foreign colleague called him Slave (he didn't write so, he said that). And despite my friend resisting that, the colleague kept calling him Slave.

    P.S. By the way, my name is Alexander but I tend to shorten it to Alex as English speakers are more used to it.
    P.P.S. I was told Alexander and Alex are different names.
    Last edited by AlexAD; 10-Feb-2012 at 17:05.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: spelling of foreign names

    Quote Originally Posted by AlexAD View Post

    P.S. By the way, my name is Alexander but I tend to shorten it to Alex as English speakers are more used it.
    P.P.S. I was told Alexander and Alex are different names.
    Alexander is a very common name in the US. Many go by Alex and some go by Zander. (I think that's kind of cool. I think they spell it Zander, though I suppose they may spell it Xander.)

    There's no difference between Alex and Alexander, except that Alex is a "nickname" for Alexander, like "Dave" for David or "Rob" for "Robert."
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  8. #8
    balakrishnanijk is offline Member
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    Default Re: spelling of foreign names

    I have no idea about Russian orthography,but the story goes that in the beginning we had Aleksandr; then it was changed to Alexandr and finally the Anglicized form Alexander.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: spelling of foreign names

    Wow, . Both Zander and Xander sound cool to me as well.
    I am thinking of getting a new name when going abroad/communicating with foreign collegagues

  10. #10
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    Default Re: spelling of foreign names

    Quote Originally Posted by balakrishnanijk View Post
    I have no idea about Russian orthography,but the story goes that in the beginning we had Aleksandr; then it was changed to Alexandr and finally the Anglicized form Alexander.

    Which story is that?
    Last edited by 5jj; 10-Feb-2012 at 17:22. Reason: quote added

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