Spelling and your perception of a name

[name]How[/name] much does spelling change your perception of a name? I picture a [name]Catherine[/name] differently from how I picture a [name]Kathryn[/name]. I’m partial to using traditional spellings for names but even when both spellings are common and “normal” I still have different feelings about the name.

To a surprising degree, spelling affects my perception of names too. [name]Catherine[/name] and [name]Kathryn[/name] are perfect examples. When the spelling is known, they feel like different names to me. I prefer traditional spellings too. One of the few sets of spellings that I am on the fence about is - [name]Catherine[/name] and [name]Katherine[/name]. I think I prefer [name]Catherine[/name] (or [name]Catharine[/name]), but since I had a great grandmother who spelled her name [name]Katherine[/name], I see it as fairly traditional too. Usually, I have definite opinions about spellings and almost invariably like the standard form of the name.

The spelling of a name really changes my perception, but more with trendy spellings. [name]Michaela[/name] is such a great name but when you spell it [name]MacKayla[/name]/Mykayla etc it is totally ruined! Or the name [name]Jasmine[/name] is nice but [name]Jazmyn[/name]?! What? It looks horrible.

A related story… I have a sister-in-law named [name]Kerry[/name]. When I was in college my roommate left me a phone message that said “[name]Carrie[/name] called at 6pm”. I looked at it and said “I don’t know a [name]Carrie[/name]” and asked my roommate if it was right. She said yeah, you know, your sister-in-law. I felt a little silly and surprised that I didn’t recognize her name when it was spelled differently.

Quite a lot. [name]Caitlin[/name] is fine, but [name]Katelynn[/name] just looks like [name]Kate[/name]+[name]Lynn[/name], as if it doesn’t have the same origin at all. I’ve noticed that I tend to prefer C spellings of C/K names.

[name]Chelsea[/name] looks… I don’t know, more serious than [name]Chelsey[/name]. Maybe I just don’t like the ey ending (see below). But no, there are some names that are acceptable with it.

There are some rules that are absolute. A name that is a word must be spelled like the word. [name]Destiny[/name], not [name]Destiney[/name].

I agree that the spelling of a name can influence how you feel about it. I’ve also noticed that people can affect how you feel about the way their name is spelled.
If you would have asked me 7 years ago if I preferred [name]Catherine[/name] or [name]Katherine[/name], I would have said, without a doubt, [name]Catherine[/name]. However, my sister-in-law’s name is [name]Katherine[/name]. In the years of getting to know and like her, I found that my preferred spelling of her name is now with a K.

Some alternate spellings (think ‘yooneek’) just look wrong. For example, say you wanted to name a daughter [name]Clara[/name]. [name]Clara[/name] is lovely, but, to be ‘distinctive’, you decide to spell it ‘Khlaira’. A Khlaira would end up spelling her name to everyone at least once a week, and the name might attract negative comments. "Your parents misspelled your name’.

When an alternate spelling is traditional, however (as in [name]Madeleine[/name] instead of [name]Madeline[/name]), it can be just as lovely as the original.

I think it depends. My first name is spelled unconventionally, pronounced traditionally; my middle name is spelled the “right” way but pronounced according to [name]Texas[/name] twang. :wink: As it is, I love that my name is spelled the way it is- people always have to double check the spelling with me (or worse, never bother to learn!), but that’s never bothered me. With my name spelled the way it is, it ends up looking frilly (on the coattails of [name]Clarissa[/name] and [name]Jessica[/name]) and sounding grown-up (more like [name]Jennifer[/name] or [name]Heather[/name] [sorry for this '80s flashback!]).

But even all this respect for my name doesn’t stop me from cringing when I see others with unconventionally-spelled names! xD Haha, isn’t that terrible? Worse, I extend it to streamlined versions of names (I actually prefer [name]Mathilda[/name] to [name]Matilda[/name] and [name]Frieda[/name] to [name]Frida[/name]).

Ultimately, people like what they’re used to seeing, until it begins to bore in which case they adjust their tastes just a smidgen for creativity’s sake.

Spelling definitely alters how I feel about a name. For example I love [name]Lucia[/name] but I met a Lucyah and that made me cringe. [name]Even[/name] names that have two acceptable spellings seem different to me. I love [name]Hannah[/name] but I think of the name [name]Hanna[/name] in a different way. I think it’s because [name]Hannah[/name] is one of my best friends and a [name]Hanna[/name] I know is really rude. I think everyone has their own spelling preferences, I definitely prefer classic spellings. I know some people prefer youneek spellings, something I’ll never understand.