Discussion:
Surnames with alternative spellings
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Ulrich Maier
2018-06-11 10:19:14 UTC
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Hello, in German there are some very frequent surnames that occur with
alternative spellings. The best known example is Maier which appears
also as Meier, Mayer, Meyer, Mayr etc., all pronounced identically.

Do such spelling variants also exist for frequent English names?
(Actually I found some variants, but none of them occurs really frequently.)

I do not mean name variations such as Richards/Richardson or
Robinson/Robson!

Thanks for your help!

Ulrich
bert
2018-06-11 10:40:13 UTC
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Post by Ulrich Maier
Hello, in German there are some very frequent surnames that occur with
alternative spellings. The best known example is Maier which appears
also as Meier, Mayer, Meyer, Mayr etc., all pronounced identically.
Do such spelling variants also exist for frequent English names?
(Actually I found some variants, but none of them occurs really frequently.)
Thomson, Thompson (the 'p' is silent).

Johnson, Johnston (if the 't' is silent).

Johnston, Johnstone.

Grey, Gray. White, Whyte. Clark, Clarke, Clerk.
--
Ross
2018-06-11 10:50:09 UTC
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Post by bert
Post by Ulrich Maier
Hello, in German there are some very frequent surnames that occur with
alternative spellings. The best known example is Maier which appears
also as Meier, Mayer, Meyer, Mayr etc., all pronounced identically.
Do such spelling variants also exist for frequent English names?
(Actually I found some variants, but none of them occurs really frequently.)
Thomson, Thompson (the 'p' is silent).
No it's not!
Post by bert
Johnson, Johnston (if the 't' is silent).
Johnston, Johnstone.
Grey, Gray. White, Whyte. Clark, Clarke, Clerk.
--
soup
2018-06-11 11:11:53 UTC
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Post by Ross
Post by bert
Thomson, Thompson (the 'p' is silent).
No it's not!
Can be. Although I admit there should probably be a "sometimes" or an
"if" in there somewhere.

That's the trouble with names. A LOT (not all but a lot) of the time it
is pronounced differently, spelt differently etc, to what you expect.
Hate it when the wife says "how do you spell <name>? My stock
answer is "it's a name there is probably no right way or wrong way to
spell it".
Athel Cornish-Bowden
2018-06-11 11:20:51 UTC
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Post by Ross
Post by bert
Post by Ulrich Maier
Hello, in German there are some very frequent surnames that occur with
alternative spellings. The best known example is Maier which appears
also as Meier, Mayer, Meyer, Mayr etc., all pronounced identically.
Do such spelling variants also exist for frequent English names?
(Actually I found some variants, but none of them occurs really frequently.)
Thomson, Thompson (the 'p' is silent).
No it's not!
More recisely, the p in Thomson is pronounced but not written
Post by Ross
Post by bert
Johnson, Johnston (if the 't' is silent).
I'm more inclined to say "no it's not" for that one.
Post by Ross
Post by bert
Johnston, Johnstone.
Grey, Gray. White, Whyte. Clark, Clarke, Clerk.
--
--
athel
Athel Cornish-Bowden
2018-06-11 13:22:23 UTC
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Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Post by Ross
Post by bert
Post by Ulrich Maier
Hello, in German there are some very frequent surnames that occur with
alternative spellings. The best known example is Maier which appears
also as Meier, Mayer, Meyer, Mayr etc., all pronounced identically.
Do such spelling variants also exist for frequent English names?
(Actually I found some variants, but none of them occurs really frequently.)
Thomson, Thompson (the 'p' is silent).
No it's not!
More recisely, the p in Thomson is pronounced but not written
and the p in precisely is both written (usually) and pronounced.
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Post by Ross
Post by bert
Johnson, Johnston (if the 't' is silent).
I'm more inclined to say "no it's not" for that one.
Post by Ross
Post by bert
Johnston, Johnstone.
Grey, Gray. White, Whyte. Clark, Clarke, Clerk.
--
--
athel
Ian Jackson
2018-06-11 13:10:13 UTC
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Post by Ross
Post by bert
Thomson, Thompson (the 'p' is silent).
No it's not!
In 'bathing', the 'p' is ALWAYS silent!
--
Ian
occam
2018-06-11 15:20:41 UTC
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Post by Ian Jackson
Post by Ross
Post by bert
Thomson, Thompson (the 'p' is silent).
No it's not!
In 'bathing', the 'p' is ALWAYS silent!
---but visible and yellow too.
HVS
2018-06-11 15:22:45 UTC
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Post by occam
Post by Ian Jackson
Post by Ross
Post by bert
Thomson, Thompson (the 'p' is silent).
No it's not!
In 'bathing', the 'p' is ALWAYS silent!
---but visible and yellow too.
"Johnny, I've told you not to pee in the swimming pool."
"But Dad - *everyone* pees in the swimming pool."
"Not from the diving board, they don't."

(Ah, to be 10 years old and hearing old jokes for the first time...)
--
Cheers, Harvey
CanEng (30yrs) and BrEng (34yrs), indiscriminately mixed
Paul Wolff
2018-06-11 11:00:10 UTC
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Post by bert
Post by Ulrich Maier
Hello, in German there are some very frequent surnames that occur with
alternative spellings. The best known example is Maier which appears
also as Meier, Mayer, Meyer, Mayr etc., all pronounced identically.
Do such spelling variants also exist for frequent English names?
(Actually I found some variants, but none of them occurs really frequently.)
Thomson, Thompson (the 'p' is silent).
Johnson, Johnston (if the 't' is silent).
Johnston, Johnstone.
Grey, Gray. White, Whyte. Clark, Clarke, Clerk.
Feeble.

Wolff, Wolffe, Wolf, Wolfe, Woolf, Woolfe, plus all the muddles that
people confuse themselves with when trying to follow my clear oral
instructions. Double-u, double-o, double-ell, double-eff - I haven't
experienced double-e on the end yet.
--
Paul Wolff
CDB
2018-06-11 13:10:50 UTC
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Post by Paul Wolff
Post by bert
Post by Ulrich Maier
Hello, in German there are some very frequent surnames that occur with
alternative spellings. The best known example is Maier which appears
also as Meier, Mayer, Meyer, Mayr etc., all pronounced identically.
Do such spelling variants also exist for frequent English names?
(Actually I found some variants, but none of them occurs really frequently.)
Thomson, Thompson (the 'p' is silent).
Johnson, Johnston (if the 't' is silent).
Johnston, Johnstone.
Grey, Gray.  White, Whyte.  Clark, Clarke, Clerk.
Feeble.
Wolff, Wolffe, Wolf, Wolfe, Woolf, Woolfe, plus all the muddles that
people confuse themselves with when trying to follow my clear oral
instructions. Double-u, double-o, double-ell, double-eff - I haven't
experienced double-e on the end yet.
When do you experience the double-o listed in your oral instructions?
occam
2018-06-11 15:25:57 UTC
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Post by Paul Wolff
Post by bert
Post by Ulrich Maier
Hello, in German there are some very frequent surnames that occur with
alternative spellings. The best known example is Maier which appears
also as Meier, Mayer, Meyer, Mayr etc., all pronounced identically.
Do such spelling variants also exist for frequent English names?
(Actually I found some variants, but none of them occurs really frequently.)
Thomson, Thompson (the 'p' is silent).
Johnson, Johnston (if the 't' is silent).
Johnston, Johnstone.
Grey, Gray.  White, Whyte.  Clark, Clarke, Clerk.
Feeble.
Wolff, Wolffe, Wolf, Wolfe, Woolf, Woolfe, plus all the muddles that
people confuse themselves with when trying to follow my clear oral
instructions. Double-u, double-o, double-ell, double-eff - I haven't
experienced double-e on the end yet.
That spells "Uuoollff" to me. Perhaps it should to be added to your list
of variations.

I have a particularly odd combination of letters in my surname. In my
youth I used to collect all envelopes with the wrong spellings. Quite a
collection, I will see if I still have them somewhere.

Richard Tobin
2018-06-11 11:52:37 UTC
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Post by bert
Thomson, Thompson (the 'p' is silent).
Dupont, Dupond.

-- Richard
Athel Cornish-Bowden
2018-06-11 11:19:06 UTC
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Post by Ulrich Maier
Hello, in German there are some very frequent surnames that occur with
alternative spellings. The best known example is Maier which appears
also as Meier, Mayer, Meyer, Mayr etc., all pronounced identically.
Do such spelling variants also exist for frequent English names?
(Actually I found some variants, but none of them occurs really frequently.)
I do not mean name variations such as Richards/Richardson or Robinson/Robson!
Foulkes/ffoulkes, and others on the same pattern, like French/ffrench
and Forde/fforde

This last reminds me that without pretentious spelling we have Ford/Forde

Other pretentious ones:

Cholmondeley/Cholmeley ['tʃʌmlɪ]
Featherstonehaugh/Fanshaw/Fanshawe

Windsor/Winzor
Clark/Clarke
Brown/Browne
Green/Greene
Brook/Brooke
Shaw/Shawe/Shore (this last only for non-rhotic speakers)

and many others.
--
athel
Peter T. Daniels
2018-06-11 11:51:01 UTC
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Post by Ulrich Maier
Hello, in German there are some very frequent surnames that occur with
alternative spellings. The best known example is Maier which appears
also as Meier, Mayer, Meyer, Mayr etc., all pronounced identically.
Do such spelling variants also exist for frequent English names?
(Actually I found some variants, but none of them occurs really frequently.)
I do not mean name variations such as Richards/Richardson or
Robinson/Robson!
Stephens, Stevens
Jerry Friedman
2018-06-11 12:37:05 UTC
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Post by Ulrich Maier
Hello, in German there are some very frequent surnames that occur with
alternative spellings. The best known example is Maier which appears
also as Meier, Mayer, Meyer, Mayr etc., all pronounced identically.
Do such spelling variants also exist for frequent English names?
(Actually I found some variants, but none of them occurs really frequently.)
I do not mean name variations such as Richards/Richardson or
Robinson/Robson!
Thanks for your help!
Friedman, Freedman, Freidman. Of course, the name is not of English
origin, but it's not all that uncommon in the biggest English-speaking
country.

The same kind of thing happens with names of many other origins. Li and
Lee, Abdullah and Abdulla, Kapur and Kapoor. I think the most common
systematic variations are Mc- and Mac-, and -ski and -sky.
--
Jerry Friedman
RH Draney
2018-06-11 12:45:14 UTC
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Post by Ulrich Maier
Hello, in German there are some very frequent surnames that occur with
alternative spellings. The best known example is Maier which appears
also as Meier, Mayer, Meyer, Mayr etc., all pronounced identically.
Do such spelling variants also exist for frequent English names?
(Actually I found some variants, but none of them occurs really frequently.)
I do not mean name variations such as Richards/Richardson or
Robinson/Robson!
The standard example of this is Rogers/Rodgers, for which the two
spellings don't even generate the same Soundex code...there's also
Tolliver/Taliaferro, Louis/Lewis, and two from my own family tree:
Moncrief/Moncrieff and Lincecomb/Linthicum....r
Ulrich Maier
2018-06-11 13:33:19 UTC
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Post by RH Draney
The standard example of this is Rogers/Rodgers, for which the two
spellings don't even generate the same Soundex code...
Precisely this is the background of my question :-)

Ulrich
Ken Blake
2018-06-11 14:52:24 UTC
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Post by RH Draney
Post by Ulrich Maier
Hello, in German there are some very frequent surnames that occur with
alternative spellings. The best known example is Maier which appears
also as Meier, Mayer, Meyer, Mayr etc., all pronounced identically.
Do such spelling variants also exist for frequent English names?
(Actually I found some variants, but none of them occurs really frequently.)
I do not mean name variations such as Richards/Richardson or
Robinson/Robson!
The standard example of this is Rogers/Rodgers, for which the two
spellings don't even generate the same Soundex code...there's also
Tolliver/Taliaferro,
I've never seen "Taliaferro," but I once knew someone who spelled his
name the Italian way: "Tagliaferro."

And I never realized that "Tolliver" was a different spelling of the
same name.
Peter Duncanson [BrE]
2018-06-11 12:57:09 UTC
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On Mon, 11 Jun 2018 12:19:14 +0200, Ulrich Maier
Post by Ulrich Maier
Hello, in German there are some very frequent surnames that occur with
alternative spellings. The best known example is Maier which appears
also as Meier, Mayer, Meyer, Mayr etc., all pronounced identically.
Do such spelling variants also exist for frequent English names?
(Actually I found some variants, but none of them occurs really frequently.)
I do not mean name variations such as Richards/Richardson or
Robinson/Robson!
Thanks for your help!
Ulrich
In Northern Ireland we have Smith and Smyth, pronounced identically
(short-i).

There are a few people here named Smythe. I don't know how they are
pronounced. They might be the same as Smith or they might have the "y"
as "eye" and a voiced "th".
--
Peter Duncanson, UK
(in alt.usage.english)
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