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I have the word "Carr" (short for the name Carrie).

Is there a way to write the 'a' so that a person reading the word 'Carr' would pronounce it like care ('kær), opposed to pronouncing it like car (kɑr)?

Something like Càrr, Cárr, Cãrr, etc...?

This is for an English-Speaking company name.

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    Nothing that anyone would actually understand without an explanation, I don't think. – snailcar Feb 1 '14 at 22:21
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    I, too, am at a loss as to how to write the a, but you might consider spelling the word like Cair. At least it would be pronounced right, and not confused with the word care. @Jim - I remember being in grade school when a boy name Jared was the first in our school to don a pair of Nike sneakers. The company name was on the back of the shoe; most of us initially assumed it rhymed with "Mike". – J.R. Feb 1 '14 at 23:58
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    You've obviously considered replacing the letter "a" with other symbols. The fact that those others look similar to "a" isn't really relevant - they're still different symbols. But why cling to the misleading representation "Carr" in the first place? Your only chance there is to put (pronounced "care") after the first use. But if you transcribe it as "Kerr" most Anglophones will guess correctly how it's pronounced. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Feb 2 '14 at 0:08
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    @Fumble - I would assume "Kerr" rhymes with "her" or "fur". – J.R. Feb 2 '14 at 0:39
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    I'm voting to close because it's an exact cross-post to multiple SE sites (only a minute apart, without mentioning it): english.stackexchange.com/questions/149378/… – snailcar Mar 8 '14 at 19:12
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Difficult problem, Carrie. What about a French spelling like Cair? Actually the spelling ai for the sound in care is used in English: chair, hair, fair, lair.

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    The O.P.'s name is Michael, not Carrie. – J.R. Feb 2 '14 at 9:31
  • @J.R. It's possible to read the answer more like ♫ "How do you solve a problem like 'Carrie'". ♫ – Tyler James Young Mar 10 '14 at 15:15
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I think what you're looking for is a macron over the 'a': "Cārr"

Even if people aren't familiar with the symbol, they will at least see it as a sign to pronounce the word differently from how they usually would and "Care" is really the only alternative.

For extra help, you could even write "Cārr(ie)", so that people understand that it is a shortened name and pronounce it as they would the first part of "Carrie".

  • Many reading primers use the macron (like on ā) to indicate "long" vowels (such as this one), and the breve (like on ă) to indicate "short" vowels (such as in "rat"). – Jasper Dec 1 '15 at 7:19
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If you are trying to represent/invent a shortened version of a word, why not use a contraction?

Car'e

It's a bit informal, but so are many contractions… and nicknames. But the contraction form serves to shorten the pronunciation and representation of a word while further suggesting how it should be pronounced.

That seems to fulfill your intentions here.

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English words don't end with a short syllable in a stressed position, so people will naturally lengthen it. Since your choice of name breaks the rules of English phonology, you need to specifically teach it people.

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    hat, cat, sit, lip, cup, top, chair, bear, stare? – Peter Shor Feb 25 '14 at 14:12
  • What you meant was that English words don't end with a short syllable before an 'r' in a stressed position. This is not true for Irish, and is debatable for some American accents. For instance, if you speak with an American accent that merges Mary and marry but not merry, then care has the same sound as carry and Carrie, which you might call a "short a". – Peter Shor May 3 '14 at 17:48

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