Cimberli: I really get a cick out of you

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A 33-year-old middle school principal in Houston is being accused of having an inappropriate relationship with one of her 14-year-old students. There are about 10 news stories like this every day, so I’m not very interested in the details of this one, except when it comes to the principal’s name:

Cimberli Johnson.

She probably thinks her name is pronounced “Kimberly.” No doubt that’s what her parents had in mind when they named her. But there’s a problem here. “Cimberli,” spelled that way, would be pronounced “Simberly.”

English has rules, people! Many of those rules have exceptions, yes, but there are rules!

The letter “C,” when followed by an “I,” “E,” or “Y,” will always make an “S” sound: circus, cinema, cinnamon, Cynthia, century, censor, prophecy, concentrate, calcium, principal, officer, etc. (Words like artificial and special have a “sh” sound rather than “sss,” but the “C” is still functioning as an “S.”)

If you name your daughter Cimberli, you are not being original or clever or unique. All you’re doing is failing.

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