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August 26, 2009


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I'd go with the soft g, based on the familiar words "virgin" and "Virginia." I don't know any equally familiar words starting with "virg" that take a hard g. I guess it depends ultimately on where you instinctively divide the word: if after the g, you're going to choose a soft-g; if before the g, you're more likely to choose a hard-g. But I think most people would divide after the g, because of the familiar words noted above.

My first reaction was the hard "g", immediately followed by, "Why choose a name nobody will know how to pronounce?"

I first read it with a soft "g," probably based on the association with "virgin." After reading the last post I felt sort of misguided and was persuaded I had been wrong, but my first reaction was to say it as the company claims it should be said. Meanwhile, I'll take this chance to say thanks - I always enjoy reading this.

I would do it the soft way, but only because of seeing the Star Wars card thing! I thought maybe it was the company being clever with the word 'convergence'. It might also be because I'm a mathematician, and also because of being so used to bad spelling in various places online.

To me the current state of the poll (the soft 'g' leading two to one) just suggests that standards of spelling are falling rapidly.

Forget the first three letters because they're irrelevant to the discussion; can anyone think of any word in English where a 'g' followed by an 'a' has a soft pronunciation? There's not one instance in the four pages of 'ga...'s in my dictionary.

I chose the hard-g...because I read the horoscopes - Virgo. However,I like the sound of the soft-g because it's easier to say-Virgil. I also agree with Mary.

My initial reaction was for the virgin pronunciation. On second thought I thought for a second about the hard G pronunciation, but that seemed wrong on more counts than the soft G, so I'm sticking with the soft G.

Yep, soft G was my first instinct, and even after reading your post it's hard for me to hear the hard G in my head.

I also think of it like virgin or verge.

Hard G. I can't think of many words in English with soft-G -ga-, and "Virgance" doesn't seem to me as though it should be in that category.

I figured soft G because it looked as if somebody was trying to combine "virgin" and "vengeance."

Generally, G is soft when followed by E, I, and Y. Otherwise, G is hard.

We don't say Joojle, right?

I assumed, just from the spelling, that it was going to be a "virgin" reference. The hard g also seems much harder to actually say out loud. I guess I don't expect company names to make sense.

I think people are being incredibly judgmental here, accusing people of contributing to, or falling victim to, rapidly falling standards of spelling. When you look at a new word, in the form of a brand name, I think you have to take into account not just the way the word is spelled but also the intentions of the company. Virgance, with a hard g, just doesn't make as much sense. It is an ugly-sounding word. Also, subconsciously, when I looked at the word, I think I must have thought of words like "convergence," or "divergence," which, although they are spelled differently, struck me as similar. Whether it is spelled a certain way or not, I think context and gut feeling tell you how to pronounce it. Besides, think of how many spellings there are that could be pronounced a number of ways... "-augh-," for example. It could be pronounced is in "laugh" and "draught," or as in "taught" and "haughty." Without context or prior knowledge, one is lost in terms of pronunciation.

@Simon and @Jenn: Suppose the name were Zirgance. How would you pronounce it -- hard G or soft?

I looked at it, thought, and applied the rule. Hard G. There is also virga, the rain that falls from the cloud but evaporates before reaching the ground.

I think I'm too tainted to vote. Having read your post, I'm leaning towards soft "g", but I know it should be hard so my brain can't handle it. Poor choice of spelling is my vote!

Incidentally, I'm also leaning towards the soft "g" because it looks like "Virgil" (and virgin, I guess). If it were "Vergence" or "Virgence" I might see the "convergence" link or give them a pass on the soft "g".

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