Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Letter C for Carrots
photo by Pink Sherbet Photography via Flickr

Changing a C name to a K name is very popular right now, so I am not surprised when I see Krystal or Kamden. But when I was doing research recently, I came across a new (to me) phenomenon. There are several parents turning an S name into a C name.

In the English language, the letter C makes both a hard and a soft sound. There is "cat" with the hard C and "cemetery" with the soft C. Just as the hard C is used in many names, like Calvin, Catherine, Claire, and Cody, the soft C is used as well, in names such as Cecily, Cedric, Celine, and Cynthia. As this article explains, the vowel after the letter C usually determines the sound it makes. If the name you love originally makes an S sound, you love the letter C, and the vowel behind it allows it, why not make the change? I can definitely see the logic behind the move. I question the "look" of the name, but that's probably what the parents like about the variation.

Here are some examples from 2011 with the number of children given the name. I only included the spellings of the names that replaced the traditional S with C, not all variations of the name (i.e. Cydnee and Cyrentiy).

Cebastian 9
Cera 17
Cerena 6
Cerenity 74
Cidney 15
Cienna 102
Cierra 181
Cilas 5
Cincere 19
Cydney 68
Cymone 6

Once someone takes a look at the name, he or she will know how to pronounce it. But there will be hesitation and in a few cases, confusion. If anyone is like me, he or she may not get past the fact that Cidney looks like Kidney. Maybe that's nit-picky, but it's something parents might want to consider before choosing the unique route. Something else you may notice, Cera sounds like Sara, but the first vowel was changed in order to make the C soft. Cara has a hard C sound and is a completely different name. Another example of this seen in previous years is Cebrina.

If a C can replace an S, why not the other way around:

Secilia 7
Sedric 17
Seleste 8
Selia 7
Seline 8
Sindy 25
Sy 20
Syrus 55

These names make no qualms about their pronunciation. Since S has only one sound, there wouldn't be as much confusion as with the C names. Other examples I've seen in previous years are Secily and Sinthia.

The names listed below are some examples of a similar exchange: Sh instead of Ch...

Shantel 36
Sharice 5
Sharlene 22
Sharlize 5
Sharlotte 15
Sheyenne 19

In my humble opinion, Sharlotte just doesn't have the same classic feel of Charlotte.

While the Sh names leave no room for various pronunciations, the three possible sounds of Ch (represented by the words church, champagne, and charisma) create problems when replacing Sh with Ch:

Chania 9
Channon 5
Chayne 6
Cheila 7
Chelby 5
Cheyne 5

I know a Cheri and had no problem accepting Sherry as the pronunciation, so maybe these spellings are perfectly fine. But there is always the possibility parents want a harder Ch sound at the beginning of the name for something entirely different. Because of that chance, I'm not sure these names could be met without some hesitation.

What do you think? Could these letters be interchanged without any problem in pronunciation?


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