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My wife and I want to name our baby Ruud. Would we need to use two dots over the u so that people know how to pronounce it or is it fine the way it is?

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closed as off-topic by Hellion, user49727, RegDwigнt Sep 25 '13 at 17:08

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You can spell it any way you like. Unkind people will still make jokes about it (with reference to 'rude'). –  Colin Fine Sep 25 '13 at 15:16
    
That is a question regarding the language that the name is from, not a question relevant to the English language. –  Tristan Sep 25 '13 at 15:32
    
Putting two dots (trema) over one of the 'u's would make the pronunciation Roo-ud/Rurr-ud which I suspect is not your intention. Here's a thought, instead of lumbering your kid with an unusual name you can't even spell, why not choose something more conventional. –  user24964 Sep 25 '13 at 15:42
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This question appears to be off-topic because it is about the spelling of a proper name, which is not governed by English Language rules at all. –  Hellion Sep 25 '13 at 16:12
    
Please teach him guitar so he can join a SKA band ;) If you are not living in Holland, he will have to spell and get annoyed over misspelling his whole life. Take it from me. I have a French name but I was only ever Michel straight off when I lived in Paris. Anywhere else I am Michael or worse, Mike –  mplungjan Sep 25 '13 at 16:26

3 Answers 3

The letter sequence "UU" does not occur in English spelling, and there are no guides as to how to pronounce it. Most English speakers will pronounce a name spelled Ruud as

  • /rud/,
    i.e, the same way the English word rude is pronounced.

This is unavoidable in Anglophone areas. However, even worse is a name with any diacritics, especially one as variable as a diaresis (umlaut) mark. English does not use any of them and most keyboards don't allow their use, so it would become optional in most cases.

Further, while words like coöperate can indicate that a double vowel letter combination has a special pronunciation, it doesn't indicate what that pronunciation is.

In the case of a potential Ruüd, the only likely result would be that one of the U's would be pronounced /u/ and the other as /ə/, like "Roo-udd" /ruəd/ or "Ruh-ood" /rəud/. And anyone who knows German is likely to mistake it for a U umlaut, a sound which does not exist in English.

All in all, Ruud is not a name that's well adapted to Anglophone countries.
If all this doesn't bother you, and you don't think it will bother your child, go ahead.

P.S. The English words rood and rude are pronounced identically, and rood is a very rare word.

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I think some of the answers you have received are slightly unkind. I suspect you may be a person of Dutch or German origin. If so, why not give your child a name in his ancestral language? Seems a perfectly natural thing to do in my view. As to whether to add the two dots, if you live in the UK I would say add them. I can't speak for other English-speaking countries. Your little boy should grow up enjoying using his two dots and early learn to explain to people why they are important. Most educated people in Britain, teachers etc would encourage him to employ his dots with pride.

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Whilst English language rules can't be properly applied to given names, in Britain I would suspect that most people would pronounce the name "Rood".

Ruud Gullit and Ruud van Nistelrooy are fairly widely known.

You can add whatever accents and inflections to the spelling that you like but people will pronounce it how they think is correct.

Personally, I wouldn't care how others perceive the pronunciation.

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