Obscure punctuation help needed!

You know how little things just drive you batty? I engrave things for a living, and a customer wanted something a little unusual done for a new baby. The child’s name needed to be engraved just like she wrote it…except she used punctuation that is not available on a standard keyboard, even in our foreign punctuation section. We told her we would have to use a standard hyphen instead of the mark she wanted, but after she left we realized what she was trying to do…but we don’t know what to call the mark.

The child’s name was Mi-cai’ah, but instead of that hypen between the i and the c, she wanted a floaty, hyphen-level dot. We realized that what she wanted is the dot placed between syllables in a dictionary’s pronunciation guide area. All we can surmise is that she looked in a baby name book, saw the marks used to syllabicate the name and indicate which syllable gets stressed, and decided that’s how she wanted to “accentuate” her child’s name, not realizing that you can’t type that on a typewriter!!!

But what I want, no, need to know is…what is that hypen-level, floating dot called? I place my sanity in the hands of the boards now…please be gentle.

Would a bullet work?

What, for my irrational customers? Or is that what you think it may be?

HTML calls it a “middle dot”, or a “Gregorian comma”. You make it like this:


If you have a Windows keyboard, try Alt + 0183


Wil that work?

For what it’s worth, the character map associated with the Times New Roman font has two characters that look like what you’re asking about. One is called “Middle Dot” and the other “Bullet Operator”.

They both look like this: ·

A bullet looks like this: •

I have a Windows keyboard, but the engraving software won’t recognize anything clever like that. I’m glad I know how to type it now, though.

How on earth do you pronounce Mi-cai·ah? And does the poor child have a middle name she can escape to?

I swear, sometimes I think there should be laws about what you can name your kid.

I’m scared that a woman that dumb has procreated.

Ah, fretful, you fail to see the beauty of this woman’s plan. She used the markings straight from the pronunciation guide in the baby-name book. So it’s pronounced mi-cai’ah…meh-kai-uh…with the stress on the cai. And fortunately, or unfortunately,depending on your point of view, that is the child’s middle name. The first name is simple and unisex, so I’m not sure if it’s a boy or girl, but compared to some of the names we get in, this is almost mainstream. It’s just the insistence on awkward and unnecessary punctuation that baffles me. I really wonder how the birth certificate looks…I don’t think that middle dot will go over very well…and wait till the poor thing gets to school and the school secretary tries to type it in on her old, trustworthy Selectric.

Are you allowed non-standard characters in official names?

Maybe she’ll be ‘Micaiah’ on databases and ‘Micaiah’ in her signature and to friends.

How does your engraving work? What does the software do?

Is it possible to use a superscript full stop, or a full stop and move the thing a bit first, or just carve the *· dotr yourself afterwards?

Thanks for the interest, shade. Adding that middle dot with the engraving program we use (at a national chain of personalization gift stores) is relatively easy for an experienced engraver. The problem, which I neglected to mention earlier because it really didn’t matter in regards to my question, was that we were calling this name in to be embroidered on a blanket at our Central Monogramming Facility, and they don’t do anything fancy there. They are strictly basic in every sense of the word, and they won’t even change thread colors, much less fiddle around with odd punctuation.

The engraving we do right in the store, in an hour, and our new, Windows-based software gives us a lot of flexibility to be a bit creative, though I would kill for some new designs and fonts, just because I’m bored with the regular stuff. But if you give a customer too many font choices, they can’t make a decision, so the classic styles are the best.

I’m curious as to why you think she’s dumb. She’s just doing something cute with an engaraving for a new baby to show how her name is pronounced.

No…she wants the world to use a non-standard form of punctuation every time they print, write or scribble this child’s name, and she will get upset if you imply that it can’t be printed that way…that’s the way she wants it, logic be damned.

Oh, the pronunciation nightmare stories I could tell…like the girl whose name was Teresa… “but I pronounce it Trisha”. So don’t expect me to spell it correctly without your help, honey.