Can the letter "y" be used to represent the "ee" sound in the middle of a name, like it is at the end of baby, lady or Lacy.

What I mean is, is it okay to spell Khaleesi as Khalysi etc.

  • 1
    Many Americans have a creative approach to spelling where first names are concerned. I'd say go for it, but people will still ask how to pronounce and spell the name – Mari-Lou A Oct 1 '18 at 10:30
  • Americans like to stick Y in the names of their baby girls. Instead of Lidia they may write Lydia. Instead of Carol they may write Caryl. But the pronunciation stays the same as the original. – GEdgar Oct 1 '18 at 10:43
  • 1. Just about anything is okay with given names. 2. It may not be fair, though, to confound people about how to pronounce the name. @GEdgar Non-natives speakers may not pronounce "Lidia" and "Lydia" alike even if they are meant to be. – Kris Oct 1 '18 at 11:19
  • If the question is broadened to include any word in the English language, that would be very interesting (and more appropriate here on ELU). – Kris Oct 1 '18 at 11:20
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    'Lydia' is the standard spelling, but the 'y' is pronounced like 'i' in 'pin' rather than 'ee'. (I would pronounce 'baby' and 'lady' like that too.) – Kate Bunting Oct 1 '18 at 16:08

There are no rules about whether it's "OK" to spell certain sounds certain ways in names. People would only be able to give you their opinions on the matter, not any kind of definitive answer.

If you use an unusual spelling, people will be more likely to mispronounce the name. When surrounded by consonant letters, the letter Y usually represents the sound /aɪ/ (as in psychic) or /ɪ/ (as in physics), not /i/.

It's only usual for Y to represent /i/ in unstressed syllables, and when there is no following consonant letter (as in lady or karyotype). As Kate Bunting mentioned in a comment, some British English speakers use the sound /ɪ/ instead in these contexts.

(Because of certain regional sound changes turning /ɪ/ into /i/ in certain other very specific contexts where these sounds do not contrast (either before /r/ or before /ŋ/), some American English speakers may also have /i/ instead of /ɪ/ in the word lyric, and/or in the word lynx, but neither of these is relevant to your example.)

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