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My last name is Noe. The e is supposed to be pronounced, but the majority of people think it is silent. I would like to put some kind of stress mark over the e so people will start pronouncing it correctly. What kind of mark should I use?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Mari-Lou A, Chenmunka, Misti, Edwin Ashworth, ScotM Jun 16 '15 at 1:50

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  • Put a mark just to the right of the “O” that looks just like the lowercase letter ‘y” so that it looks like the last part of the name “Joey” ;-). On a more serious note, You might also consider something like how Zoë Saldana spells her name. – Jim Jun 14 '15 at 3:08
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    Like "Noé"? I got the accented e from french.typeit.org – Greg Lee Jun 14 '15 at 3:18
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    Before we suggest which accent mark, we'd have to know exactly how your name is pronounced, which is somewhat problematic since accent marks are the probably the best method to textually convey pronunciation. Is this pronounced like the E in enough, the E in eh, the e in Pokémon or some other way? – Tonepoet Jun 14 '15 at 3:30
  • It's pronounced like the e in Pokemon.(no - followed by a hard e) – Help me please Jun 14 '15 at 3:47
  • @Jim Noël as opposed to the monosyllabic Noel is a similar case, though the diaeresis is often omitted. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 15 '15 at 22:08
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Your objective is to get people to pronounce your name the way you pronounce it. So, what matters isn't what might be technically "correct", but what you could write which will make people look at the word and make the right sound.

Unfortunately, I don't think there's anything which fits the bill. The most accurate mark is probably the diaeresis (Noë), but as this Wikipedia article points out, it's archaic in English. And if people understand it at all, they'll pronouce your name to rhyme with Zoë (zoh-ee), which isn't quite right.

You say that the e is pronounced like in Pokemon. If you look at their website, you'll see they've chosen to use an acute accent - Pokémon - to solve the same problem. But that's not quite right either. In Britain at least we would assume the é was French, and pronounce it to rhyme with hay.

So, sorry, I don't think there's a perfect answer. Still, you might choose Noé, if you think that no-ay is less annoying than no.

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You could use an accent to stress the fact that it should be pronounced. You could do this like so:

  • Noë
  • Noé

You could also include a phonetic transcription if you really want to explicitly tell someone how it should be pronounced.

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The accent Jim is using is called umlaut it has different uses in different languages e.g. in German. It is becoming common to use in English to make a vowel and a silent vowel into a diphthong. In that case it is called a diaeresis and used in naïve to prevent it being pronounced "nave". The next problem is typing it on a computer keyboard. On my Mac I press and hold down alt then press u and then release alt and press i.

  • @BrianHitchcock Fixed the formatting of the keys in this answer; they show up now. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jun 16 '15 at 13:12

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