Picture of Gordon Morris
Spelling of English names in Greek
by Gordon Morris - Thursday, 27 November 2014, 12:34 PM
  Hello

I spell my name which is Gordon as Γκόρντον

My wife's name is Brenda and I have always written it in Greek as Μπρέντα but this seems to spell Breda!

I think that ντ together is a 'hard' d so Gordon is correct.

So for Brenda must I make it a double ν? This does not sound correct! Please help me.

Also, our surname is Morris and I tend to write it as Μόρης rather than Μόρρης η Μόρρις.

Which is correct please or if not correct the best to use?

Thanks

Gordon
Picture of Greg Brush
Re: Spelling of English names in Greek
by Greg Brush - Thursday, 23 March 2017, 09:51 PM
  1) Yes, either Γκόρντον (if transliterating by written letters) or Γκόρνταν (if transliterating by spoken sound).

2) The Greek spelling reform of about 30 years ago, which eliminated many double-consonant spellings, shows a very strong preference to transliterate foreign words without using the same Greek consonant twice in a row. The Greek spelling of /d/ as ντ, combined with the contemporary preference to avoid double consonants in transliterations, leads to the problem (and the confusion that you mention) that arises when English d is preceded by n, as in Brenda. You might, on rare occasion, see someone use νντ in an attempt to represent the preceding /n/ sound, but in practice a double ν here in the form of νντ is almost universally avoided, and ντ serves in this instance for both /d/ and /nd/, as well as for /nt/ -- thus βίντεο for video, ριμπάουντ for rebound [basketball], σέντερ for center [basketball position].
similarly:
/d/
Σέφιλντ - Sheffield (UK)
Έντζγουντ - Edgewood
/nd/
Μέριλαντ - Maryland (US)
Έβα Μέντες - Eva Mendes
Λονγκ Αϊλαντ - Long Island (New York)
Έλροντ, Γκάνταλφ - Elrond, Gandalf ("Lord of the Rings")
Χάντελσμπλατ - Handelsblatt (German newspaper)
Γιούνιοντεϊλ - Uniondale (Long Island, NY)
Μιντανάο - Mindanao (Philippines)
/nt/
Κεντ - Kent (UK)
(mixed)
Έντμοντον - Edmonton (Canada)
Εντ Μίλιμπαντ - Ed Miliband (UK politician)
Στέιτ Ντιπάρτμεντ: - State Department
Σίντι Κρόφορντ - Cindy Crawford

By the way, an analogous situation can arise with English b, mb, and mp, where Greek μπ can represent both English /b/ and /mb/, as well as /mp/ -- κλαμπ for club [entertainment; sports], ζόμπι for zombie, Τσάμπιονς Λιγκ for Champions' League [soccer].
similarly:
/b/
Χάντελσμπλατ - Handelsblatt (German newspaper)
Ζάγκρεμπ - Zagreb (Croatia)
/mb/
χάμπουργκερ - hamburger
Ζάμπια - Zambia
/mp/
λάμπα - lamp
χιμπατζής - chimpanzee
Καμπάλα - Kampala (Uganda)

Much less of an issue is g/ng, where γκ represents /g/, and νγκ is normally used to represent ng in foreign words.

3) I would transliterate your last name, a non-Greek name, as Μόρις (by sound) or somewhat less preferably as Μόρρις (by spelling), not Μόρης or Μόρρης, i.e., with Greek ι rather than η, because the -ης spelling visually implies a declinable native Greek name, which Morris is not.

Regards,
Greg Brush

[originally posted Friday, 28 November 2014, 12:08 PM]
Picture of Gordon Morris
Re: Spelling of English names in Greek
by Gordon Morris - Saturday, 29 November 2014, 11:44 AM
  Thank you so much Greg - I understand completely now and thought that to put 2 'ρ' in my name Morris would not make any difference.

Regarding Brenda's name I see exactly where you are coming from but as Brenda is not a name commonly recognised in Greece someone seeing it written might think her name was BREDA.

When we have been in Greece and she is wearing her necklace which has her name BRENDA people have read it and addressed her as that - however she fancies a necklace with her name in Greek and that would have to be spelt Μπρέντα would it not?

Thanks again for your help

Gordon
Picture of Greg Brush
Re: Spelling of English names in Greek
by Greg Brush - Saturday, 29 November 2014, 09:23 PM
  I just did a Google search for "μπρέντα" and got almost 84K results (although this also includes the Italian river Brenta and the Dutch city Breda), while μπρένντα and μπρένδα give virtually zero returns.

The reality is that this issue of the digraph spelling of /d/ as ντ and /b/ as μπ in the contemporary language is just, unfortunately, a weak point when it comes to the system of transliteration of foreign words and names into Greek. Remember, Brenda is not a native Greek name, so many, if not most, Greeks may very well not be aware of how the spelling Μπρέντα should be properly pronounced when referring to an English name. I can only suggest that you will probably have to clue them in that your wife's name, properly transliterated as Μπρέντα on her bracelet, is in fact pronounced Brenda. They should not be overly surprised.

Regards,
Greg Brush
Picture of Gordon Morris
Re: Spelling of English names in Greek
by Gordon Morris - Sunday, 30 November 2014, 01:14 PM
  Ευχαριστώ πολύ και πάλι

Γκόρντον Μόρις
Picture of Blake More
Re: Spelling of English names in Greek
by Blake More - Saturday, 29 November 2014, 02:07 PM
 

This seems a not inappropriate venue to seek help with a tad of botheration I am currently experiencing. Please consider the following sentence from the booklet that comes with the CDs I am using to improve my listening comprehension.

Ελπίzω αυτή τη φορά να ακούσετε κι εσείς εμένα.

The zed in the first word confuses me because it is the first time I have ever seen it in Greek written material and because it looks like a Roman zed. This sentence appears in a section of the selection that seems to be done in italics. Anyway, could someone please offer a reason for the use of this peculiar letter ...

Good wishes

Blake More

Picture of Greg Brush
Re: Spelling of English names in Greek
by Greg Brush - Saturday, 29 November 2014, 09:28 PM
  This is an example of the stylistic use of z for ζ in contemporary sans serif typesetting, and is considered very "contemporary", even "hip". It is not uncommon to see this on posters and banners, and apparently even in CD liner notes.

For a little more about this, see Note 4 at the bottom of "The Greek Alphabet (Το Ελληνικό Αλφάβητο)" in the Resource portion of Elementary 101.

Regards,
Greg Brush
Picture of Blake More
Re: Spelling of English names in Greek
by Blake More - Saturday, 29 November 2014, 09:44 PM
 

To Greg Brush ............. Thanks a million for this. Τι ενδιαφέρων!

Good wishes,

Blake More