Baby Names

foreign punctuation - yay or nay?

We finally decided on Emeline for our baby's name, using the traditional French pronunciation of Em-uh-leen. If we were actually naming the baby in a French-speaking country, there would be an accent aigu on the first e. Technically, this is optional in proper capital letters, and leaving it off wouldn't change the actual pronunciation. I have one in my first name, and leaving it off completely changes the way you say it, so it's on my birth certificate.

Is it worth it to include the accent just for the sake of tradition? I was also thinking it could be on the birth certificate but then we wouldn't necessarily have to use it casually. Any thoughts?

And I apologize if this is rambly, it's 3:30AM and I'm scheduled to be induced in less than 5 hours :)

Charlie 8.06.08
Emeline 5.28.13

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Heart Half Marathon 3.16.2014 - 1:43:30
Xenia Marathon 4.6.14 - 3:39:32

Re: foreign punctuation - yay or nay?

  • I would leave accents where they belong but I'm not aware of one in this particular French name. 

     http://www.aufeminin.com/w/prenom/p5373/emeline.html

  • image BulgariHeart:

    I would leave accents where they belong but I'm not aware of one in this particular French name. 

     http://www.aufeminin.com/w/prenom/p5373/emeline.html

    Thanks! I keep seeing it with and without and I consulted a friend who told me that it's optional on capital letters, which probably explains things. http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Émeline

     

    Charlie 8.06.08
    Emeline 5.28.13

    My Blog

     image

    Post-Baby PRs
    Heart Half Marathon 3.16.2014 - 1:43:30
    Xenia Marathon 4.6.14 - 3:39:32
  • And of course the aigu won't materialize in that link, and i'm too lazy to html it in.

     

    But I swear it's there.
    Charlie 8.06.08
    Emeline 5.28.13

    My Blog

     image

    Post-Baby PRs
    Heart Half Marathon 3.16.2014 - 1:43:30
    Xenia Marathon 4.6.14 - 3:39:32
  • I consulted other French baby names website and only a couple show the accent. Although I think it is just a way of underlying that the first Eh sound is supposed to be a closed Eh, as opposed to an open one, otherwise it would be ?. So if you want to adhere to the French characteristic of this name I would make sure to pronounce it with a closed Eh and maybe keep the accent to make pronunciation clear to others. I can't think of any English names that start with a closed Eh sound right now., to give you an example... Not the Eh in Erica or Emily as those are open Eh.

  • image BulgariHeart:

    I consulted other French baby names website and only a couple show the accent. Although I think it is just a way of underlying that the first Eh sound is supposed to be a closed Eh, as opposed to an open one, otherwise it would be ?. So if you want to adhere to the French characteristic of this name I would make sure to pronounce it with a closed Eh and maybe keep the accent to make pronunciation clear to others. I can't think of any English names that start with a closed Eh sound right now., to give you an example... Not the Eh in Erica or Emily as those are open Eh.

    Much appreciated! I minored in French, so I'm good with the pronunciation. I may keep it in there just as an additional signifier that it's not Em-uh-line.

    Charlie 8.06.08
    Emeline 5.28.13

    My Blog

     image

    Post-Baby PRs
    Heart Half Marathon 3.16.2014 - 1:43:30
    Xenia Marathon 4.6.14 - 3:39:32
  • No problem, this was fun! :)
  • PubliusPublius
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    It's optional but more often than not is left off capitals.  We had this same dilemma for a while (our girl name is ?/Elodie but the kid is a boy).  The reason it's optional is because when typewriters were invented it was possible to make a ? but not an ?.  Now that we have modern keyboards that don't have this problem TPTB have said it's ok to start adding it back in.  

    Just from my own observations from living in a French speaking area, it's more often left off of a capital than included. 

    I definitely understand your issue since I couldn't decide either.  At the moment I'm thinking that it's one of those things where a French speaker knows that there is a missing accent there whereas an anglophone wouldn't know what to do with the accent anyway. 

  • PubliusPublius
    Third Anniversary
    member
    I've also heard that it's not possible to put accent marks on birth certificates or ID in some states.  I have no idea if that is the case in Ohio, but you might want to look into it.
  • I know almost nothing about the French language, but I just wanted to say that I would pronounce Emeline as em-uh-leen with or without the accent mark.

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  • Also be aware that the Social Security Administration does not recognize punctuation in first names, so no matter what her birth certificate says, her SSA card will not have the accent mark.
  • As someone who has one in her first name as well, I say go ahead and put it in. I don't know how often you add yours to your signature and all, but I like having it.

     

    And hope all is going well with your induction!! Best of luck!

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  • I would only include it if it changed the pronunciation. I think in this instance, you will probably have to correct people from "line to "leen" regardless of the accent (just like people seem to have to do with Caroline/lyn, Madeline/lyn, etc.). Also, I find that a lot of people, myself included, aren't always sure how the accent changes the pronunciation anyway, so I'm not sure that would help you out. I love the name, and good luck with the induction!
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  • I have an accent umlaut in my middle name. It completely changes the pronunciation from the actual spelling, but it gets left off 90% of the time, simply because either no one CAN use it on documents or they just don't know how. If it's important that you see the accent if you use it, I would leave it off just for the sake of your sanity. But if you want it there and don't care, I say go for it.
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  • My name is Renee, the french way... with the ' over the e... Never in my life have I or anyone actually put it on paper (except for maybe once on the birth certificate) 

    my dad is foreign, from Lebanon/very french, and is the only reason it's like that.  

    I'm voting nay. I don't even know how to get the darn ' over the e on a keyboard.  

  • image Publius:

    It's optional but more often than not is left off capitals.  We had this same dilemma for a while (our girl name is ?/Elodie but the kid is a boy).  The reason it's optional is because when typewriters were invented it was possible to make a ? but not an ?.  Now that we have modern keyboards that don't have this problem TPTB have said it's ok to start adding it back in.  

    Just from my own observations from living in a French speaking area, it's more often left off of a capital than included. 

    I definitely understand your issue since I couldn't decide either.  At the moment I'm thinking that it's one of those things where a French speaker knows that there is a missing accent there whereas an anglophone wouldn't know what to do with the accent anyway. 

    That was my thought. It won't help most anglophones know how to pronounce it anyway.

     

     

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