Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I was born in Europe and have a name that is recognizable in most Western languages, but is often mispronounced.  When we first moved to the US I was in preschool, and my name was pronounced in many different ways, but at that point I didn't speak English and was pretty shy about that so did not correct people.  As time went on, some friends pronounced y name one way, some another, but I didn't fight it. 

Then in high school my Dad got transferred back to Europe and I went to an international school in my home country. Being with kids from all over the world just added to the number of pronunciations.  The locals pronounced my name properly, the Americans pronounced it what had now become the "American" way, and then people from other countries pronounced it differently. 

By the time I got to college I made a point of introducing myself with the pronunciation I wanted, and it worked for a while. Then as I started working I got lazy.  I would meet people and if they were someone who I knew I would have frequent contact with I would make sure they would use the correct pronounciation, but sometimes I would meet someone and then fail to correct them not realizing that the wrong pronunciation would go on and on.  It's only gotten worse since we moved out to the burbs and had kids.  I meet people all the time, and sometimes, they know my name as it is written before we actually meet (from a school directory, or email) so they think they know the correct pronunciation, and by the time we finally meet face to face, it may be a couple of times before they actually use my name.   At that point it almost seems too late to change it. Or I meet someone and they mispronounce it and I think I probably won't meet them again, so it doesn't really matter any more so I don't bother to correct them. And then there are others who I have corrected but they still forget and then it gets awkward to try and correct them again.  I have neighbors I have known for over 8 years now, who mispronounce my name.  I know I should have set them straight ages ago, but now it's way too late. If they do finally realize that they've been pronouncing it wrong for a long time and show any form of embarrassment, I usually just let them know that my name has been mispronounced for so long I answer to most possible versions of it, but that doesn't help either.  They just continue mispronouncing it as they had been. 

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I love all your comments, but admittedly have been a slacker about replying to all your kind words. I've recently received a bit of spam on my posts so will now be moderating any comments - and not allowing anonymous commenting. I hope that will help me stay on top of replies.