Final Word from Friday, July 11, 2003

Czech has no accepted system of transliteration into English, other than to drop the diacritical marks. The Russian name Dasa conveniently becomes "Dasha" in English, but the same name in Czech, Dáša, becomes simply "Dasa." This can make life difficult for a Dáša, Šárka or Alžběta. Foreigners often have no idea how to pronounce their names. MFD wrote yesterday that more and more Czechs are moving away from traditional children's names and using names of characters in their favorite soap opera (Esmeralda, Kelly, etc.). For our young Czech readers, though, a more important issue might be how to deal with transliteration, as they prepare their newborn children for the global society. The simple solution is to choose names like "David," "Marie" or "Martin" that work equally well in many languages. The big problem, though, is that there aren't many of these.


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