Want to hear your name mangled in crazy (and hilarious) ways? Just ask an American to try and pronounce it. It’s one of the things you’ll surely have to get used to if you study in the U.S.
I was at a coffee shop with an Armenian friend of mine, and the person who took our order asked for a name to go along with it. I immediately said to myself, “No way am I about to spend half an hour going through ‘Nareg’ with this white American,” and then I looked at my friend. His name is “Shant.” I sighed and said, “Joe.” It was a coffee place, after all, and so “Joe” came naturally. Ever since, Joe has been my “restaurant name” in the States.
Some people take this idea even further and choose an American name to use during their time in the States. Neither Tara nor Nick were born with those names, and Jihye introduced herself to me first as Jade.
So, for the Question of the Week we’ll be looking at having a foreign name in the U.S. …
[Update: See what our bloggers had to say about having a name Americans can’t pronounce]
Do Americans have trouble pronouncing your name? What strategies have you used to help them out? How do you feel about your name in America – is it funny, embarrassing, annoying, or a mixture of all three when Americans can’t remember how to say your name?
Want to hear an example?
My friend Kate recently appeared on our Cambodian radio broadcast to pick the winners of their monthly contest (winners get an ipod or a Flip camera! If you’re in Cambodia you should enter). Here she is trying to say the name she picked out of the hat – Air Kaoleap:
How do you think Americans would pronounce (or mispronounce) your name?