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I have the word "Carr" (short for the name Carrie).

Is there a way to write the 'a' so that a person reading the word 'Carr' would pronounce it like care ('kær), opposed to pronouncing it like car (kɑr)?

Something like Càrr, Cárr, Cãrr, etc...?

migrated from linguistics.stackexchange.com Feb 2 '14 at 10:06

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    This question, formulated thus, is tricky to interpret for speakers of certain dialects of English (mine for example); I wouldn't transcribe how I pronounce care as [kær]! – musicallinguist Feb 2 '14 at 3:27
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    No. English spelling is not made to represent Modern English vowels, and deviating from standard spellings merely introduces more randomness. – John Lawler Feb 2 '14 at 4:55
  • I think that this might be better in EL&U since it's specifically about English orthography and not IPA or phonology in general. – acattle Feb 2 '14 at 9:59
  • I wish there were a solution to this problem, but I don't think there is. I would not recommend using non-English characters: most people would have no idea what you are trying to represent, or you might misrepresent the sound based on usage in another language (eg, á sounds like "aw" in French). But context speaks for itself. If you have a friend Carrie whom you frequently call "('kær)", then she would know what you mean by "Carr". If you are writing a story and refer to a character as "Carr", then you either have to explain the pronunciation some way or accept that it might be mispronounced. – nxx Feb 5 '14 at 1:57
  • ...or just spell it "Care'. – nxx Feb 5 '14 at 1:57
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As John Lawler notes in the comments:

No. English spelling is not made to represent Modern English vowels, and deviating from standard spellings merely introduces more randomness.

The closest you can achieve is to completely alter the spelling to similar to CoolHandLouis' answer.

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Cair could be a spelling actually used for such a name if you don't want the connotation or confusion with the word Care. Also, if fiction, introducing the rhyme "Cair Bear" could help the reader. Also funny enough, "Carrie Berry" rhymes

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    "Carrie Berry" only rhymes in (most of) the U.S. – Peter Shor Feb 6 '14 at 13:10
  • That's a good point, Peter. They do not rhyme in the UK. – Tristan r Feb 6 '14 at 14:19
  • How about Cair Bear (I'm assuming Cair would be generally considered the same as Care)? I can modified my answer as needed. And what is the pronunciation? Does "Care" rhyme with the first syllable of Carrie? – CoolHandLouis Feb 6 '14 at 14:32
  • "Carrie Berry" only rhymes in (most of) the U.S" <-- Exactly why referring to such (or similar) as rhyming would be a way to establish the pronunciation. – CoolHandLouis Feb 7 '14 at 10:53
  • Care, Kerr, Cair, Kair, Kare. If that's really what you want. Kerr has the advantage of being a real name already, and it could be short for Kerry. – Maverick Jul 11 '15 at 4:43

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