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Re: [Mgs] Common Language

To: Paul Hunt <>
Subject: Re: [Mgs] Common Language
From: Charles & Peggy Robinson <>
Date: Thu, 08 Jan 2009 00:41:32 -0600
   It is opined that the various spellings of common names on the books 
in the USA are engendered by the lack of vocabular of the scribes who 
recorded the names for posterity. I.E.:  If they didn't know how to 
spell a name, they asked. You can imagine how the unlettered might respond.

   Many aristocrats couldn't read or write.  But they were taught, at 
least, to spell their name.  Their spelling, then, became subject to 
fading memory.

Paul Hunt wrote:
> Like many aristocratic names that seem to be pronounced illogically, it stems
> from said aristo's not knowing how to pronounce 'foreign' names in titles
> often awarded to them after winning battles abroad (Beaulieu being a case in
> point, as is Blenheim), and no one having the courage or temerity to tell them
> otherwise.  Interestingly in Beaulieu's case there is the original charter on
> the wall in one of the rooms of the house, and it has 'Bewly' in brackets
> after 'Beaulieu'.  On the death of Diana, Princess of Wales her birthplace
> Althorp was often mentioned and pronunciation varied between what you see and
> 'Althrup'.  In the end it turned out that only her brother Earl Spencer used
> 'Althrup', everyone else used the more obvious.  Although in that case it
> seems that his pronunciation is historically more correct, it is the modern
> spelling that is incorrect
> That is the cause of many differences in pronunciation and spelling in the UK.
> More confusion stems from people from one part of the country writing down
> names in another, where none of the locals could read or write and so tell him
> how to spell it.  While doing family history research I came across a female
> ancestor in an original parish register with the name 'Cafern'.  It took me a
> while to realise it was almost certainly 'Catherine' but in a strong dialect
> that the vicar from another part of the world didn't really understand so
> could only write down phonetically.
> PaulH.
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