Letter : Family name is a happy burden

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The Independent Online
Sir: In the light of your recent correspondence concerning the pronunciation of Dean Inge's surname may I settle this matter.

As the Dean's great-nephew sharing the family name, I have so often had to spell my name out after pronouncing it that it has become almost automatic. We are one of those families whose happy burden is to have a name that is not pronounced as its spelling would suggest it should be. In short, the name is Inge as in "sting" but not in "cringe".

It is an interesting question as to why sometimes a name may be spelt other than as the rules of pronunciation would suggest it should be or as to when indeed the change in spelling/pronunciation may have taken place. In our case, the pronunciation seems to have remained constant as ancestors going back a few hundred years actually spelt the name without the final "e".

Yours faithfully,



26 February