Spelling Tip for Creative Baby Names – Hard G vs. Soft G

Gordana Gehlhausen was a contestant on Project Runway this season. Before the season began, I assumed her first name would be pronounced with a hard G, like Gordon. I was wrong. She pronounces her name with a soft G. I wonder how many other people also got it wrong?

Typically, when the letter G is followed by E, I or Y, it’s soft. Otherwise, it’s hard. Gentle and giant have soft G’s, while gargoyle and gurgle have hard G’s.

The rule can also be applied to names. Geoffrey and Gillian have soft G’s; Gavin, Goldie and Gus have hard G’s. (Exceptions like Gertrude and Gideon do exist.)

If you want to personalize a name that features the letter G, or substitute a G for a J, pay close attention to the vowels that follow. Taking an E out of George turns the name into a geological formation. Forcing a G into James gives you Games. (And playing Games with baby names is usually not a good idea.)

5 thoughts on “Spelling Tip for Creative Baby Names – Hard G vs. Soft G

  1. Gordana with a soft G? Even Tim Gunn couldn’t make it work. To me, the name looks like a Spanish endearment for a chubby little girl (“gorda” = fat).

  2. In high school I dated a guy named Gerdine, which was a hard-g name. He got it pronounced wrong all the time, and he’d point out “Gertrude! Get! It happens!”

  3. Speaking of geological formations, 12 baby boys in the U.S. were named Gorge last year.

    Just for comparison’s sake, 124 were named Canyon.

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