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Silly question. Names with dropped letters?

by xanwtf, September 12, 2022

Messages: 3

Language: English

xanwtf (User's profile) September 12, 2022, 12:37:06 AM

Here's a silly question perhaps, but how would you go about saying peoples names that contain dropped letters?

For example, my name is Xan. Do you just.. not translate it?

Asking because Duolingo apparently translates names like Adam into Adamo, etc.

Just started my Esperanto journey today, by the way!

RiotNrrd (User's profile) September 12, 2022, 4:39:11 PM

Remember that languages are made of sounds, not letters. Esperanto is spelled phonetically (i.e., the way things sound), so you use the letters that have the sounds you want.

The first thing to do if we're talking about someone else that you can speak to is to simply ask them how they want to be addressed. That should answer any questions right off the bat. However, if you can't ask them, then we start to look at the sounds in their (or your) name.

If a sound in a name is completely missing from Esperanto, then I would use the closest sound that is there. If the sound isn't missing from Esperanto, but only the latin letter (q, x, y, etc.), then use the letter (or letters) that does have the sound you want. Spell everything as phonetically as you can, and you'll be fine.

For your own name, you can literally do anything you want. It doesn't even have to be close to your own real name, but if you want one that is close, phoneticize iyour name (i.e., spell it phonetically) and add an -o on the end, making any needed modifications to make it easy to pronounce.

Metsis (User's profile) September 13, 2022, 12:59:54 PM

To continue what RiotNrrd said…

In Esperanto as in almost all, if not all, languages with a Latin-based script the names originally written with non-Latin scripts are transliterated or in this case undergo romanization. Thus you not write
  • La eksa ĝenerala sekretario de UN estas 반기문.
However for example for Chinese, Japanese and Korean there are several romanization schemes. Some are old, heavily influenced by the target language (usually English), but even used in other languages with a different pronunciation system. Therefore you see the name of the former UN secretary often transliterated as Pan Ki-mun (so called McCune-Reischauer romanization). Many of the old schemes have issues and thus there are newer schemes, often put forth by the countries themselves, which try to remedy those. To continue with our example that Korean name should currently be romanized as Ban Gimun according to the official Revised Romanization of Korean romanization system.

I do not speak Korean, so I do not know how well Ban Gimun pronounced the Esperanto way corresponds to the original Korean pronounciation or would writing the name as Pan Gi-mun as provided by the hint [pan gi mun] given in the Esperanto Wikipedia article match better.

As names are very personal, it is up to you how you want to be called. However in order to make it easier for different people to pronounce your name

1. If necessary, transliterate your name into the Latin-script (반기문 → Ban Gimun).
2. You can leave it there, or if you think that the name does not get properly pronounced in a certain language, for instance because of a letter/a letter combination represents a sound not present in the language, follow the customs in that langauge. In Esperanto the custom is to spell phonetically.

I assume that the x in Xan is pronounced as ks, then you could write your name as Ksan. Note, that while there is a certain tradition to put an -o (or -o for male and -a for female names) in the end, I do not consider it mandatory.

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