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Sven Nijs? Nys? Nice?(5 posts)

Sven Nijs? Nys? Nice?triangleforge
Oct 23, 2002 11:32 AM
I've seen Sven Nijs' name spelled Nys just about half the time -- and Velonews takes it a step further by spelling it one way in the headline and the other in the online story text on his win at Ruddervoorde last week. I can understand different spellings of words & names from cyrillic, arabic, or especially non-phonetic languages like Chinese (Peking v. Beijing, for example). But I'll wager that Sven's last name is the same on his UCI license and driver's license, and in the lettering system us English-speakers are familiar with, so why the two different spellings?

re: Sven Nijs? Nys? Nice?eurochien
Oct 23, 2002 12:11 PM
Agree with you. Probably laziness and ignorance on the part of journalists and proofreaders regarding euro names. It goes both ways though, I'm French and get annoyed at how the French press butchers English names (ever heard of a "slooping" top tube? all the rage over there). Even worse, have you ever watched the video of the CX World Championships in Poprad where Matt Kelly, according to British commentator, is supposed to be a young lad from "Wisconsin, Ohio, Iowa" [not making this up!!!!]). I thought journalists were supposed to be educated? I don't know Flemish, but I'd bet money that the way his name is pronounced is "nees" or "neesh", not "nice", but that's for Phil Liggett to learn.
Oct 24, 2002 2:18 AM
At least, that's the way they spell it on

In Dutch, the ij combination is read as a vowel and it takes the place of 'y' in the alfabet. Wijn ("wine") comes after woest, wrak and wurgen in the dictionary, between Wx and Wz if there were any words that started with that combination. Sometimes it happens the other way around - if Sven's last name is Nys it would still be pronounced the same as Nijs and many Dutch/Flemish speakers would spell it that way. Perhaps it's one of the subtle differences between Dutch and Belgian (I know Afrikaans uses 'y' and not 'ij').

And the pronounciation "nice" is about as close as an English speaker can get without extensive training :)
re: Sven Nijs? Nys? Nice?eurochien
Oct 24, 2002 9:12 AM
So much for laziness and ignorance... Thanks for the linguistic info. Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen are right after all...
re: Sven Nijs? Nys? Nice?goetz
Oct 24, 2002 2:20 AM
The name is Nys or Nijs. Both spellings are common, as is just a variant of in Flemish orthography. Look for instance at, where You find Nijs and Nys side by side. or is pronounced like the in engl. .