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    #1

    "Mari" given name - should I use a diaeresis or something else?

    I named my daughter Mari. I wanted to tip my hat to our Norwegian/French/Welsh heritage so I dropped the e from the end. I intend for it to be pronounced "Marie." Does that mean that it should be spelled with the i that has two dots above it,or is there some other symbol I should be using to encourage the i to be pronounced like an -ee? A few of my friends have gotten confused and asked if her name is pronounced maHr (like Bill Maher) or Mary. What is the proper way to write/spell it so it is easily understood that it is pronounced "marie?" Thank you kindly for any information.
    Last edited by silent_bob; 29-Jul-2019 at 10:06.

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    #2

    Re: "Mari" given name - should I use a diaeresis or something else?

    Welcome to the forum, silent bob.

    Many parents give their children forenames of which the pronunciation is not immediately obvious — condemning them to a lifetime of hearing it pronounced wrongly or being asked by every new person they meet how to say it. Those of us with uncommon surnames have little choice but to endure this all the time, but with given names it's an avoidable burden to saddle a child with.

    Nevertheless, people with an unusual forename usually cope very well with this situation – often loving it and being proud of their heritage encapsulated within it – and your daughter will very likely soon develop her own strategy for making the pronunciation of her name known among her social circle.

    You've probably considered giving her one or two additional conventional names she could use if she absolutely hates Mari – such as Olga, Yvette or Blodwen.

    I don't recommend adding abstruse diacritical marks such as you suggest, which are hard to find on most keyboards for anybody wanting to type it, and which will only confuse non-linguists further, but what do I know? ... we have some very knowledgable, resourceful and helpful people here on UsingEnglish who will probably find a solution that's just the ticket for you.

    Good luck to you and Mari. I hope she has a happy life.
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 29-Jul-2019 at 10:32.

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    #3

    Re: "Mari" given name - should I use a diaeresis or something else?

    Without the final e, I think people will guess that your daughter's name is a variation of Mary and pronounce it as such. If you want to nod to your French heritage, you'll spell it Ó la franšaise as "Marie".
    I am not a teacher.

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    #4

    Re: "Mari" given name - should I use a diaeresis or something else?

    Thanks for the replies. I don't really want to spell it "Marie" with the e because it's a little too... popular. and I'm mostly Norwegian, which I notice they tend to spell it without the e fairly often.

    If I did choose to use the i with the two dots above it, would that clear up any confusion? Would it then be pronounced as Marie?

    Thanks again.

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    #5

    Re: "Mari" given name - should I use a diaeresis or something else?

    Quote Originally Posted by silent_bob View Post
    If I did choose to use the i with the two dots above it, would that clear up any confusion? Would it then be pronounced as Marie?
    I think it could generate as much confusion as clarity.

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    #6

    Re: "Mari" given name - should I use a diaeresis or something else?

    Please, consider this:

    I too was given a "unique" name. It isn't as extreme as to contain foreign diacritical marks (thank God), but it is extremely rare; I've only met one person with the same name in my entire life. It is rare enough to sound non-conventional, foreign, and just plain weird to most people.

    When I was in my early teens, I experienced the reality of living in a world where my peers make fun of my name - "Why can't you have a normal name?", "What kind of name is that?". The bullies didn't even have to come up with a clever way of calling me names; the teachers did it for them by constantly either mispronouncing it, getting it wrong, or just saying a different name that sounded "close enough".

    I hated my name so much that I just didn't use it, and used my nickname instead, even when introducing myself to new people. A typical reaction would be "But what's your real name?", and I was hesistant to say it because I was worried they would laugh (which actually did happen more often than "sometimes").

    I eventually grew up, and now I just don't care. People get my name wrong on a daily basis. When I correct them, they feel embarassed and apologize to me, and I just comfort them by saying something along the lines of "It's okay; I'm used to it. People get it wrong all the time". I usually don't even correct them, and let them call me whatever they want. The only situation when I do correct them is when it is necessary for legal reasons.

    I need to enunciate my name everytime someone has to write it down in an application or something like that, or I just hand over my ID to let them see how it's spelled because it's just easier that way. I've had a few situations when my name caused major legal problems. You've no idea how much of a mess it can be when your driving license says a different name because someone got it wrong.

    As an adult, you may be thinking all I've said is trivial, that giving your daughter a unique name honors her ancestry and it's noble, but this is because you're an adult; you enjoy having your frontal lobe fully developed, and you think rationally. But for most teenagers the severity of their emotional reaction is not in line with the reality of the problem, and she will have to go through adolescence. She will be wondering why her parents, the people who were supposed to love her, gave her a name that is bullying fuel for years. She may hate her name for that, and by proxy, hate you for giving her that name. Teenagers are cruel, and they always find a way to make fun of someone; making fun of someone's name is one of the easiest ways of mocking them.

    On top of all of that, you're planning to use a foreign diacritical symbol.

    It should be spelled with the i that has two dots above it
    You didn't say "Mar´"; you just described how the i umlaut (´) looks. This is going to be her life. "Mar´, with an i that has two dots above it". I recommend you at least make her name conform to English ortography.

    Let me finish my post with a relevant meme:

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    #7

    Re: "Mari" given name - should I use a diaeresis or something else?

    I would automatically pronounce it "MAHR-ee" if I saw it. You might try adding an acute accent mark to the "i".
    NOT A TEACHER. Translator and editor, and I hold a TESOL certificate. Native speaker of American English (West Coast)

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    #8

    Re: "Mari" given name - should I use a diaeresis or something else?

    People aren't going to know what dots or accent marks are supposed to mean. If you want it to be obvious how to pronounce it, then spell it the conventional way. If you want to spell it that way, then be prepared to have to tell everyone how it's supposed to be said.

    I would say mahr-e or mary.

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    #9

    Re: "Mari" given name - should I use a diaeresis or something else?

    At least some Americans would naturally apply Spanish pronunciation rules to MarÝ and pronounce it as "Marie". However, adding the accent would introduce another frequent irritant to your daughter's life as it would be repeatedly omitted by people with no idea how to type it.
    I am not a teacher.

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