My branding department (read my friend from work) has suggested the word "vâlid" with a circumflex over the A as a way to brand my product. He just likes the way a lowercase a looks in typography.

Can anyone tell me how that would be pronounced, or what it would sound like in different languages?

I read this wiki page, and think it's the same "a" sound, but with a stronger first syllable?

enter image description here

  • 3
    Most people would be confused, and some would be put off by it being "too cute". I'd pronounce it either as normal or as "va-LID". (Just winging it, mind you.) (I'd also, knowing it was an advertisingism, work on finding other ways to mispronounce it, and likely use a different pronunciation every time.)
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Mar 23, 2015 at 13:01
  • 9
    A circumflex has no meaning in English orthography. It'll mostly just confuse people.
    – Mitch
    Commented Mar 23, 2015 at 13:11
  • 5
    I would probably think it was meant to look pseudo-French and therefore apply (pseudo-)French rules, pronouncing the â as [ɑ:] (like the a in father). Commented Mar 23, 2015 at 13:14
  • 3
    I'm not sure what his affection for the lowercase a has to do with his decision to suggest a circumflex. Commented Mar 23, 2015 at 13:49
  • 5
    It is not a standard symbol in phonetics, nor in English phonology, nor in English spelling. There is no single way that English readers would pronounce it, since they would figure that it must not be the real word valid because that isn't spelled that way, so it must be a foreign word that's pronounced differently (and who knows what it means, anyway -- if it was really valid, they'd just say so, right?). So readers would hafta figure it out, and they'd each come to their own pronunciation. If they bothered to. Which most wouldn't; after all, it's just an ad. Commented Mar 23, 2015 at 14:19

3 Answers 3


Most English speakers wouldn't know what to do with an â inside an otherwise English word and no context regarding source language. Some people will simply ignore the circumflex and pronounce the English word; we've seen companies do this enough times that it's lost part of its charm. Some people will go out of their way to pronounce it differently, but they will not be consistent about it.

Eventually, people will find a source of record. When we have the opportunity and the curiosity, we will ask a person how they pronounce their unusual name. Similarly, those who have the opportunity and interest will ask someone affiliated with the name (an owner, manager, or other employee) how it is pronounced.

  • 5
    See also Häagen-Dazs, Spın̈al Tap,TETЯIS, Plymouth Volaré, Mötley Crüe, Queensrÿche, Blue Öyster Cult, Deathtöngue, Fahrvergnügen, Micro$oft, Orac£e, Womyn, &c ad furōrem.
    – tchrist
    Commented Mar 23, 2015 at 14:53
  • Fahrvergnügen is unlike the others (it's a regularly spelled German word) Commented Mar 23, 2015 at 18:16
  • 1
    @tchrist Has Accenture applied for a Unicode codepoint for their greater than t? I always found that one unusually irksome— there are countless existing characters to misuse, from Наӥв to Hλlf-Life; why suggest a new one?
    – choster
    Commented Mar 23, 2015 at 21:20

I went to a French Wikipedia page on circumflex. It has the advantage over the English page in that it shows how different languages treat vowels with a circumflex.

Under the French section, it says:

Dans d'autres cas, il résulte d'une voyelle double (âge pour aage, rôle pour roole) ou d'une simple évolution de la prononciation...

It would make the a in to a double (length) vowel, as vaalid. That is, the speaker would stress the (already stressed) syllable by lengthening the time that it was pronounced.

-=-=- Edit: Example -=-=-

(It may be difficult to think of a double-length vowel in English. Think of a trendy person saying, "Daahling, can you tell me the way to M&S?" Linguistically, what is happening is a doubling of the vowel length (and the deletion of a post-vocalic r)).

-=-=- Edit ends -=-=-

There is only one vowel with a circumflex in the "Breton" section: the letter e. It says that it replaces the dipthong ae, as in encyclopaedia.

  • 1
    You may find this interesting as well.
    – user98955
    Commented Mar 23, 2015 at 20:56
  • The English Wikipedia page also covers this now. It's used in Welsh, spoken in part of the UK, as well as in various European languages, and some Japanese romanization schemes, so the odds are reasonable that a UK citizen would have some knowledge of it from other languages.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Jun 27 at 12:41

This is neither a French, nor an English, nor afaik any other language word.

If it were French, it vaguely would sound like vaaalid [the 'a' as in car, annyway]. Maybe in English it was "valid with a hat" or so, though "valid" (as is, no change) would be the most probable reaction, I guess

In the end it is YOU to decide. Make it a fun topic, like Citroën called themselves Zi-Trön in Germany (for a short time), as non-frenchspeaking Germans use to "pronounce" it.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.