In a message dated 5/23/2007, Mikekarsen@... writes:
<< I am putting up a stone for my wife, Melanie, who died last year.
Her Yiddish name was Masha and I am getting two different
spellings >from equally qualified experts.
What is the correct spelling in the Hebrew alphabet? >>
==Masha, according to Beider's dictionary, is a Yiddish name derived
(at some distance) >from Miriam, which has many forms in Yiddish.
He has just two listings with Hebrew spellings, one is Mem-shin-aleph,
the other Mem-`ayin-shin-aleph.
Mem-`ayin-shin-aleph, ">from before 1690" is not a good spelling.
In standard Yiddish, the `ayin has the sound of the letter E as
in 'bed' (unless there is an `ayin in the original Hebrew, and
there is none in Miriam). Indeed, Beider transliterates this
form as Meshe.
The other spelling, Mem-shin-aleph, >from Prague in 1575, is also
not appropriate for current Yiddish since it does not indicate
the first vowel, patach, with the conventional aleph.
In my mind, the only "correct" way to spell Masha in current
Yiddish -- and have it correctly recognized by those who visit
the grave (which is, after all, the purpose of a memorial),
is to spell it Mem-aleph-shin-aleph.