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And Your Name Is?

I have a question that’s cropped up a lot for me recently.  I’m in my mid 20’s and have begun attending community college.  I try to make sure I know people’s names, but I often forget so some people go unnamed. My real problem is in making sure I actually have someone’s name right, which I’m fairly conscious of because people often mispronounce my own.

For example here are two situations I recently faced.

I have made fairly good friends with someone from a class I’m taking. We even met up outside of class with some friends of hers. She’s an older lady in her 60’s, named “Rachael”. I knew her name was spelled “Rachelle” and even commented on the unique spelling. She never corrected me, nor did her friends.

Today we were buying some things at a student sale, and a classmate saw her name and said, “Oh! I’m so sorry. This whole time I thought your name was Rachel, but it’s really Rachelle isn’t it? Which do you prefer?”, and she laughed awkwardly and said, “Either is fine”. When I tried to ask which she preferred she bean dipped like a pro and I had to be polite and drop the matter.

In another example, from the same class, one woman was named “Joanna”. I had asked her myself and double checked. I continued to call her Joanna, until I heard another student call her “Juana”. Then I realized most students were now calling her Juana. In that case I’ve been muddling along, either avoiding calling her anything or continuing to call her Joanna. She’s never corrected me.

What do you do when this happens? Do you change to the proper name? This has happened more than twice recently. When someone gets my name wrong I usually correct them off the bat. What is the proper way to go about it? I’m really upset I’ve been calling people by the wrong name, especially people I like a lot. 1207-15

My name is spelled “Jeanne” so I get variations of “Jean” and “Jeannie” with people asking which I prefer.   I don’t really care.  I do correct them if they say my name “Gee Anne”.    You asked both people and they both gave you an answer so you are off the hook and can relax.  I would listen to her in conversations to hear how she pronounces her own name (like when she introduces herself to someone) and then follow that preference.


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  • abby January 7, 2016, 8:33 am

    Have to laugh at people calling Admin Gee-Ann.

    When I was about 10, I was reading a book with a character named Duane. I thought it was pronounced Doo-Ann (like Die-Ann or Dee-Ann). Funny stuff.

    • admin January 7, 2016, 8:43 am

      I almost always get called Gee-Anne from phone solicitors so I know they have no idea who I am and I don’t know them. I am so going to call the next Duane I meet Doo Ann.

      • Eve_Eire January 8, 2016, 8:23 am

        I literally started reading a book this morning where I came across the name Duane for the first time. I was pronouncing it Doo-won in my head – I know it’s wrong but I can’t work out what it was supposed to be!

        Also admin – just out of curiosity – how do you pronounce your name? My friend is called Jeanne (pronounced Jan) and would definitely correct anyone who called her Jean or Jeannie (by people she’s going to see again, if it’s a once of with a stranger she doesn’t care). So seeing your comment has now confused me – do you pronounce yours Jean?

        I have a very Irish name, the spelling of which is completely lost on anyone who isn’t Irish so I get all sorts of confusion over my name when I’m away from home.

        • admin January 8, 2016, 9:16 am

          It’s my understanding that “Jeanne” is the French spelling of “Jean” and would be pronounced like “Jan” with a soft J. But I live in the US so I go by “Jean” as does every other Jeanne I’ve known.

  • Karen G January 7, 2016, 8:38 am

    Well, Juana is the Spanish form of Joan or Joanna, so there’s that. 🙂

  • Mojo January 7, 2016, 8:39 am

    I dated a guy whose own parents couldn’t agree on how to pronounce his name!

    Don’t worry about it. If someone has an unusual name, they’ll be used to different pronunciations and will correct you if it bothers them.

    • Kiki January 7, 2016, 2:50 pm

      That sounds like my parents…lol. My name is Kirsten. My mother pronounces it Key-ihr-sten like Kiersten (which is my preference and how I pronounce it). My father pronounces it Curse-ten, which I still find quite acceptable and won’t correct. I only correct it if someone calls me a variation like Kristen, Kristina, Christian, Christine, etc. Even then, if it’s a quick interaction where I’m probably never going to see the person again, I don’t bother correcting them. On a funny note, I was once on a call to customer service (with a complaint so I was a little prickly). She kept calling me Kristen and I corrected her numerous times. Finally, she gave up and asked to just call me ma’am. I told her that was fine as long as she could help me straighten everything out (which she did).

  • Suomynona January 7, 2016, 8:39 am

    My name is one that can be easily confused in a variety of ways. At this point in my life I’ve just accepted the fact that some people cannot (or will not) say it correctly. Not out of spite, but if someone learns it wrong and it gets stuck in their head wrong, there is no changing that.

    Honestly, it’s stopped bothering me. One of my coworkers will call me two different things, both of which are similar but neither of them is my name. I don’t think any less of him, he’s actually one of my favorite people to be around!

    I think the fact that you’ve asked is awesome, and if they’ve told you either is fine, they may just be used to responding to either and have no preference. If it doesn’t upset them, don’t let it get to you.

    • Huh January 7, 2016, 9:50 am

      I gave my oldest a name that, while not super popular, was one that I thought would be very easy to pronounce. Apparently, I was very wrong. And like you, she’s just accepted the fact that some people cannot say it correctly, and says it doesn’t bother her. I never hear her correct people anymore. If they ask how to say it, she will tell them, otherwise she just shrugs it off.

      The only person it seems to bother now is me! I have literally said her name, and people will turn around and pronounce it another way. You seriously cannot hear the difference?

      • Tracy W January 8, 2016, 2:42 am

        I have a slight speech disability, and I can get a sound wrong again even a few seconds after hearing it correctly.

        I sometimes wonder if it’s related to what I went through before treatment. I had no idea how to pronounce my problem sounds correctly no matter how recently I’d heard them (eventually a speech therapist taught me how to move my tongue and lips step by step for each of them) so perhaps my subconscious decided there was no point in remembering corrections and it still occasionally goes back to that old way.

    • Winter is Coming January 7, 2016, 12:17 pm

      My name is pronounced one way on the East coast, and another way in the Midwest, which is where I live. Parents are from the east, so say it one way, which is the way my entire family of origin pronounces it. But I was born in the Midwest and lived here all my life, so friends, co-workers, etc. say it another way. I answer to either, and refer to myself as either, depending on who I’m talking to.

  • Wild Irish Rose January 7, 2016, 9:15 am

    I have one of those names that’s similar to another name (Patty vs. Patsy, for instance), and I get called that other name all the time. I always correct people when they call me by the wrong name. I think one’s identity is at least important enough to get it right. I once worked with a woman whose last name was Wesselschmidt. She corrected me on the pronunciation of someone else’s name and told me, “When you go through life with a name like Wesselschmidt, you learn to pronounce people’s names.” Point taken.

  • DGS January 7, 2016, 9:18 am

    My name is the most traditional variation of a name (think “Catherine” vs. “Katherine” or “Kathryn”), and I get all sorts of random spellings and variations and pronunciations of it. If it’s someone I am going to see again, I bother correcting them. If it’s a phone solicitor or a bank clerk, I usually don’t bother.

    My closest friend’s son’s name is Charlie. Not Charles, just Charlie. She typically has to assert that his full name is Charlie “Middle Name” “Last Name” for medical offices, his school, etc. Of course, all of his little friends call him “Chase”, so there’s that…

    • Mags January 7, 2016, 11:01 am

      I get that too, surprisingly enough. For the longest time, when someone had to write my name I’d say “Margaret, like the queen’s sister”. Not as many people know that now, though. But the number of times I’ve been Margarette and Margarethe and Marguerite boggles my mind. And the number of people who aren’t trying to make it fancy but just can’t spell Margaret is also astonishing. It’s not like it’s an unusual or uncommon name.

      • DGS January 7, 2016, 2:25 pm

        Mags, one of my good friends is named Maggie, full name Margaret. Her MIL when she was first married, repeatedly addressed mail to her as Margrette. It was not until Maggie gifted her MIL with a silver-plated double-frame holding a wedding photo of Maggie and her husband on their wedding day and a wedding invitation that MIL got the hint of her DIL’s correct name spelling by reading the invitation!

      • The Elf January 7, 2016, 3:00 pm

        But never Magrat?

        (Discworld reference)

        • Mags January 10, 2016, 2:53 am

          Never, but that would be AWESOME!

      • Amanda H. January 7, 2016, 3:38 pm

        I had that problem with my surname before I got married. It’s spelled just like it’s said (two common words strung together), so it shouldn’t be that hard, right? And yet because we grew up one state away from a town with that name but a *slightly* different spelling (something like “ote” instead of “oat”), everyone in the school district offices misspelled the name for the 12 years I was in school. They finally got the hang of it by the time I graduated, so at least my younger siblings got a few years with it spelled right.

        And then I went to university halfway across the country, where the name was more common and thus spelled right, and yet no one could *pronounce* it correctly, despite it being made of and pronounced just like two very common words.

        I did tease my husband when I married him that I was going to bring the surname curse with me. He swore it couldn’t happen, because he had a super-common surname spelled in the most common way (something like Smith). Sure enough, within that first year of marriage, two different people misspelled it (something like Smythe).

      • Serryce January 7, 2016, 4:23 pm

        “Note Spelling”!

        I have a name that has multiple spellings, with variations between S/C A/E, and E/I depending on the language and whether people are thinking of Canadian singers. My surname is of Chinese origin. Spelling my name over the phone is an effort.

        Although not, apparently, as much as it is getting co-workers to spell my name in emails, when my name is correctly spelled in the header that is right before their eyes!

    • Kate January 7, 2016, 9:49 pm

      I’ve had Charlie’s problem too – my name is Kate (not Katie or Katherine), but when I give my name in an official capacity, I’ve had people pause or ask “and is that short for something?”.
      I also have no middle name and I’ve been told “we need your FULL name for these records”. Hey, it’s not my fault my parents have no imagination!

      • Amanda H. January 8, 2016, 2:52 pm

        My family has a friend that likes to tell this story about one of her husband’s ancestors.

        When said ancestor was born, his parents weren’t exactly literate. (Either that or they didn’t understand the concept of paperwork for giving a newborn baby a name.) So when the doctor presented them with paperwork for naming their baby officially, they signed the line for his name the same way they signed everything else…with an X. This kid spent his entire childhood as “X [Surname].” Finally, when he was a grown adult, the census taker came by his house to get the household’s information. The census taker absolutely refused to believe anyone could be named just “X,” and insisted there HAD to be more to his name. So X picked a basic middle name on the spot and the census taker wrote it down, thus officially renaming X to “X [Middle] [Surname].” All because someone refused to believe his first name could be a single letter.

        • Kate January 8, 2016, 8:43 pm

          That is an excellent story, no wonder your family friend likes to tell it!

          I thought my dad’s story was bad – he’s gone through his whole life as Gary, which was listed on his school records, driver’s license, etc. He went to apply for a passport about 15 years ago and discovered that legally, his name is Garry – his father filled out the birth certificate and added an extra ‘r’ by mistake. He had to legally change his name to Gary-one-r in order to get a passport even though all of his other ID, and his entire life, was in the one-r name.

          • Mags January 10, 2016, 2:57 am

            I can one up that. My grandmother went through life with one name, and when she applied for a passport in her sixties, found out that she officially had an entirely different first name. Sort of like Susan and Barbara. She said she thought that the nurse must have filled in the paperwork and put in her own name instead of listening to the parents.

          • Amanda H. January 10, 2016, 9:27 pm

            Stories like Kate’s and Mags’ are why I’m glad not only that Hubby and I got to fill out our kids’ birth certificate information ourselves, but that we also have copies of said certificates (as well as our own). Much less chance of mistake if we’re the ones filling out the paperwork, and the birth certificate on hand to verify that the spelling is actually correct.

  • AudioPuppy January 7, 2016, 9:21 am

    Name pronunciation spelling is a pet peeve of mine and I admire those who let mispronunciations of their name slide. My first name, maiden name and married name are all often misspelled and mispronounced.

    Our family name is pronounced ‘Pet-Tree’ like on the Dick Van Dyke Show. It is commonly mispronounced as ‘Pea-tree’ I correct people as politely as I can but it bugs me.

    When my daughter was in third grade, her teacher told her she was mispronouncing her last name and called her by the ‘Pea-tree’ pronunciation. Sadly it took a meeting with the principal and pastor of the church to convince the teacher she was wrong. UGH!

    • LadyV January 7, 2016, 11:15 am

      Maybe you’re dealing with a lot of scientists that are used to “Petri dishes”? Seriously, though, I can understand your being annoyed by it – but at least you remain polite. And this is the SECOND time in recent days that I’ve seen a story about a teacher telling a student she is mispronouncing HER OWN NAME. Had that happened to me, politeness would have gone out the window!

    • NB January 7, 2016, 11:32 am

      Oh I find it so presumptuous when people tell others they are pronouncing their OWN name wrong. My parents come from India where name pronunciations slightly differ based on what part of the country one is from (since many states have their own languages, emphasis on certain syllables tend to vary). There was this girl I went to college with who took immense pleasure in going up to random kids (myself included) and telling them they were pronouncing their name wrong. How rude! I got her to shut up by saying “well this is what my parents call me, and they named me. So if you have an issue, please take it up with them.”

    • Kiki January 7, 2016, 2:57 pm

      Oh, boy! You’d think a third grader could be trusted to know their own name…lol. Some people get things in their head and can’t grasp the concept that something may be pronounced differently than what they’ve heard. I had a school secretary that insisted that my mother misspelled my name. She kept trying to correct Kirsten to Kristen. My mom finally had to say that she would be correct if my name was Kristen, but it’s not. It’s Kirsten.

    • Amanda H. January 7, 2016, 3:39 pm

      Ugh indeed. You would think people would know how to pronounce their own name correctly, no matter how “odd” it may be, wouldn’t you? What kind of teacher tells a kid they’re pronouncing their own name wrong?

    • EchoGirl January 8, 2016, 7:46 pm

      My mother has an uncommon spelling of a common name (she actually had the common spelling on her birth certificate, but changed it when she was a teenager because she didn’t like being ordinary) and I had a teacher at the daycare I went to when I was in half-day kindergarten who was convinced that I didn’t know how to spell my mother’s name. My mother had to actually tell her that no, her name was actually spelled the way I said it was.

    • Arwen January 9, 2016, 6:41 pm

      My middle name is spelled in a slightly unusual way – I’m named after my great-grandmother who spelled it that way (most likely it was Americanized and spelled with a missing letter when she immigrated). My 3rd grade teacher also tried to tell me I was spelling it wrong, even after I explained the story behind it, and told me I was back-talking her. My parents also had to get involved. Geesh.

  • AthenaC January 7, 2016, 9:22 am

    Oh goodness – I thought this was going to be one of those stories where the person said, “Oh I don’t mind either way” in the moment and then talked smack behind the person’s back: “They can’t even get my name right! How inconsiderate / dumb they are!” So I’m glad it’s not one of those stories.

    It does seem a bit odd to me that even when asked directly, Rachelle didn’t give you a direct answer. Even if she doesn’t have a preference, in many ways it’s easier to just give an answer and follow it with “but I don’t really mind either way.” That way everyone stops talking about it more quickly, which seems to be what she really wanted.

    • PJ January 7, 2016, 11:17 am

      I would change to the proper name and at least go forward getting it right. In the mean time, don’t feel too bad about it, as you were trying to get it right, and they said they had no preference. I’d take that as a sign that they’re not viewing you as rude or incompetent for your pronunciation.

      I appreciate that you clarify your name right away. With so many names from different language origins, one can’t always know how to pronounce a name just by reading it.

      I had a college friend who introduced himself as (replacing with something similar to maintain privacy…) Surapong Choudhury, and he said it so quickly it sounded like one word and I had to ask him to repeat it. He must have heard that before– he smiled and said “people call me Paul.” I was embarrassed then and wanted to call him by his given name and not need him to make an exception for me, but gradually I found that everyone really *did* call him Paul– even those who shared his country and language of origin. Another friend took the opposite approach and helped me with the pronunciation of his name (Jun) so I could get that extra-soft-“J” sound that wasn’t familiar to me.

      I sum it up as: some people will kindly “work with you” to get it right, and others will really honestly not care as long as you are close. Either one is fine– just follow their preferences, and you stick to your own!

  • Mara J January 7, 2016, 9:39 am

    OP, I’ve been on both sides of the coin. I’ve had friends and colleagues with unique names that find no offense when the same situation happens as you but instead just shrug it off and politely say what their preferred way of saying it is.
    When it comes to my name, I’ve come to terms most people don’t know how to pronounce it and I’m perfectly fine by that. All through my school years, and even to this day, most will see my name a pronounce it with a U in the spelling (Like Maura) or someone would say it as Mare-ah (like Marathon). I’ve even had one band teacher call me Mirah for two years straight! I just find it easier to polity correct those who miscall my name a couple of times, then let it go if they continue to mispronounce it as truly it doesn’t offend me. As Suomynona said very well, some people will just get that way of saying a name stuck in their head and continue to say it as such.

    • Hmm January 7, 2016, 2:11 pm

      Every Mara I know pronounces it like the first two syllables of “marathon.” How do you pronounce yours? I think this is a regional/dialectical thing more than anything else.

    • Aletheia January 7, 2016, 2:44 pm

      Just out of curiosity, how do you pronounce your name (if that isn’t rude to ask)? My name is very, *very* similar to yours (like, swap out the first letter similar), and I pronounce the vowels in it like the second, “Marathon” example you gave. 🙂

      • Aletheia January 7, 2016, 2:46 pm

        Er… so what I mean is, I guess, is that would be my default go-to if I saw your name written down and not pronounced, so it would be nice knowing another way to pronounce that letter combination just in case! 🙂

    • Victoria January 7, 2016, 2:56 pm

      I would have guessed “Mare-ah” as well, like Cara (Care-uh – short for Caroline).

      Is it Mahr-uh?

      • JMon January 8, 2016, 10:54 am

        That’s so weird. Everyone I know named Mara pronounces it MAH-rah. I have never in my life heard it MARE-uh.

        • NostalgicGal January 10, 2016, 8:44 pm

          And unless corrected I’d say MAR-ah. You never know.

    • Mara J January 9, 2016, 2:05 am

      @ Aletheia @Hmm @Jmon @Victoria

      Not all all do I have any offence to being asked. The version of my name is pronounce Marh-ah. (Like the start to Mars). I have a running joke with a friend who calls me Mars-bars Mara and use that sometimes to help as a little ditty of sorts to help those on the internet with my name. 🙂

      @Hmm Maybe. With going back to the origin of my name meaning, Scot-Irish, it very well would be pronounced differently in other regions.

      I’ve only ever come across two other known Mara’s, but have met none in person. One I knew about through a online home school group, though she was many years my senior so I never had class with her. The other known Mara that I know about is the then child actress from Matilda, Mara Wilson. Both had the same pronunciation as mine 🙂

  • Mustard January 7, 2016, 9:43 am

    I don’t really mind the wrong spellings of my surname which in its most common form has an e in the middle which mine lacks. Even if I spell it out, the e is usually inserted though. Obviously legal documents have to be right; my dentist’s receptionist was really annoyed when I corrected her and insisted my spelling was ‘wrong’!

    • Karen G January 7, 2016, 1:07 pm

      My last name is like yours – mine ends in “mon” instead of the vastly more popular “man”. When I correct people on the spelling, they usually say, “Oh, Blank-MON!”, emphasizing the last syllable. I then have to say, “No, it’s pronounced like the other one.” 🙂

      • Amanda H. January 7, 2016, 10:43 pm

        My college roommate’s surname ended with “sen” instead of the more common “son,” and she had issues with people constantly misspelling it too.

        • PJ January 8, 2016, 11:27 am

          My maiden name was the same situation, “-sen” instead of “-son”. I was used to saying “It’s Carsen with an ‘e'” until someone interpreted that to mean c-E-r-s-o-n. I just can’t win!

  • CW January 7, 2016, 9:59 am

    My name has a very different spelling than what most people are used to seeing (think seeing Katie spelled as Cady), so they often pronounce it a bit off. I’ve gotten used to and it doesn’t really bother me if I see it spelled wrong anymore, unless of course someone can see my name written out and then spell it wrong right after that (like in an email).

    • LadyV January 7, 2016, 11:17 am

      That’s the one that always gets me – I have more than once had someone respond to an email that not only has my name in the signature, but the email address itself has my full name in it (it’s Vicki, for the record) and still manage to misspell my name.

  • LonelyHound January 7, 2016, 10:06 am

    I have a first name that has a variety of different spellings and different pronunciations. I have a maiden last name that should be rather easy for people to say, but continually got butchered. When my husband first told his mother my maiden name she yelled at him that of course it mattered, in fact it was very important to know my maiden name. She did this not realizing he had actually told her my last name. That is how bad it could get. Now I have a married last name where people go, “You mind if I just call you (first name)” because our last name is odd to say and hard to spell.

    I do have a story to share on this topic though. I was in Officer’s Camp for the Air Force, and we were out on a wilderness retreat. The CTA, which is a college student who has already taken the Camp and chooses to come back and train others, kept calling me by the incorrect last name. After about two or three times of getting yelled at for not responding to the name he had given me I figured out he was talking to me. I was extremely sick during this camping trip so I barely had energy to do what we needed to do let alone correct him. The morning of the last full day of the camping trip I apparently looked like Death warmed over. The CTA spent two minutes at the head of the flight calling to me asking if I needed the Sick Call. I was so out of it I did not register my “new” last name. Finally, some one spoke up quite forcefully (I got the story later) that my name was not Matthews, like the CTA had been calling me, and he better get it right from then on. I come back to the action when the CTA put a very heavy hand on my shoulder, called me by my correct last name, and said I should head out to sick call. As I fell out he stopped me again, and told me that no one had the right to call me by the wrong name. I still hold to that. For me my name is part, albeit a small part, of my identity so I gently correct people who get it wrong.

    • Bellyjean January 8, 2016, 9:16 am

      +3 for awesome story. Good on your team mate for letting the CTA know, good on the CTA for owning it and giving you a great motto to live by, and good on you for being proud of your name and learning from the CTA.

    • Bellyjean January 8, 2016, 9:17 am

      One more thing: Thank you very much for your service. We appreciate your sacrifice and courage.

  • The Elf January 7, 2016, 10:08 am

    Some people (like me) really aren’t that bothered by mispronounciations. My name is unusual, but becoming less so because of immigration. Unfortunately, that group pronounces it differently than my family did. On top of that, I go by a nickname with family and friends. I could spend all day correcting people, but I don’t. I used to, but it never made a difference. One or two people might learn the correct pronunciation, or the nickname, but most didn’t. So I just taught myself that there are more important things in life and learned to let go. I find that other people are far more upset to learn that they’ve been mispronouncing my name for years than I am that they have mispronounced it. So, when asked, I give the correct pronunciation. And I don’t bother to correct people when they inevitably get it wrong.

    OP, you need to relax. I think both Rachelle and Juana aren’t bothered by your error. You asked for the correct pronunciation. Your task is done. Change to the correct name, if you know it, and forgive yourself.

  • JD January 7, 2016, 10:16 am

    One of my names is Joan, as in Joan of Arc (how English speakers say it, anyway), Joan Crawford, Joan Baez, Joan Cusack, Joan Lunden…. and I get called Jo-ann all the time. Drives me nuts, because Joan is a real name, spelled correctly, and has been in use for a very, very long time. I always correct them politely and with a smile when they say it wrong. I figure it will help them not to be embarrassed later and maybe it will help the next “Joan” they meet. I feel for the OP, because she asked and Rachelle really didn’t answer her, and Joanna didn’t correct her, assuming OP is even wrong in saying Joanna. OP, I’d say call them what you have been calling them and maybe one day ask again what they prefer. Maybe, just maybe, they’ll answer you this time.

    • Lisa H. January 7, 2016, 11:23 am

      I have to comment; my Mom had a friend whose name was JOAN, but pronounced Jo-Ann. She said she never got a good explanation from her Mom on why she did that.

      • Jd January 7, 2016, 7:06 pm

        That makes me want to hold my head! Agh!

      • Becca January 7, 2016, 11:49 pm

        Here mama was probably like mine. A bad speller. My middle name is “Lee”, spelled “Lea”…”It’s the girl spelling of Lee!” “No, mom…that’s Lee-uh” “Your middle name is pronounced ‘Lee’, don’t get mouthy with me! ” *face palm*

        • Lerah99 January 8, 2016, 9:37 am

          Actually Lea pronounced as “Lee” is pretty common.
          That’s my middle name as well.

          Traditionally Lee-uh would be spelled Leah instead of Lea.
          Though now, I’ve had two friends name their kids Leah and pronounce it “Lee”.

          Language is always fun in the way it evolves and changes over time and by region.

          • Becca January 8, 2016, 2:38 pm

            Everyone in this area says “Lee-uh” when they read it, so I’ve always said my name then spelled it to make it clear in those situations.

            That’s interesting though. My mom is over a different area where pronouncing things is different…that’s part of my speech problem, being raised by two people who have their own accents!

        • PJ January 8, 2016, 11:34 am

          I have a friend who did the same– named her daughter Khalia, pronounced ka-LIE-la, (with an invisible “L” in there). Khalia isn’t old enough to be correcting everyone yet, but her mom is starting to realize the problems she’s caused!

          • Amanda H. January 8, 2016, 2:57 pm

            I think that’s my biggest naming pet peeve: naming a kid something with “invisible” letters. It’s one thing to use an unusual or ethnic spelling. That’s all well and good; there’s at least linguistic precedence for the name. But to name a kid something that has, for example, only one L in the spelling but is said as though there are two? NO ONE except immediate family is going to get that right.

  • Unsinkable January 7, 2016, 10:19 am

    Our daughter has an ethnic name that is pronounced traditionally. We have very close relatives that see her all the time, and have mis-pronounced it her entire life. (Long “e” vs. short “e” at the beginning). All of us tried correcting them, but after 25 years we just gave up. Our daughter does say her name the correct way when they introduce her, however. 🙂

    • @just4kicks January 9, 2016, 8:05 pm

      My sister was born in.Honolulu, and my mom wanted to name her “Leilani”.
      We have a very difficult Polish name to spell and pronounce, and my dad said “No Way!!!”

      • @just4kicks January 9, 2016, 8:07 pm

        ….Sorry….our LAST name is Polish….

      • admin January 9, 2016, 8:40 pm

        I thought the naming custom in Hawai’i is to give the child a Hawaiian middle name.

        • @just4kicks January 10, 2016, 7:17 am

          @Admin, or should I say “Gee Ann”? 🙂

          You are probably right, I don’t know about the middle name custom.
          My dad served two years in the army in Honolulu, then it was back to farm country in Pennsylvania.
          My dad was afraid my sister would get teased because of a Hawaiian first name and Polish last name.

  • theLadyBugg January 7, 2016, 10:34 am

    My family name is fairly easy to pronounce, but my poor sister! Her first and surname *almost* rhyme. When she introduces herself just by her first name, everything’s fine. But in a full name situation, nobody ever gets it right. Say her name is “Sharon O’Bannon.” For some reason people will insist on calling her either “Sharon O’Baron” or “Shannon O’Bannon.”

  • Christina January 7, 2016, 10:38 am

    ^ With this name, I definitely understand! It’s one thing if an acquaintance misspells it in writing (like with a K instead of Ch), because I chalk it up to them possibly never seeing my name written before. But my name is not Christine, it’s ChristinA. But the older I get, the less I do about it. It just got tiresome constantly correcting people. My husband is awesome, though. His family often mispronounces it and he jumps in to correct them. I never asked him, too, so it was nice to see. I do, however, correct people if they take it upon themselves to shorten my name or give me a nickname. I don’t go by Chris or Christy or Chrissy, so I find it odd that people assume they can use those. If I introduce myself as Christina, I’m letting you know that’s what I go by. Some people are nice enough to ask, of course, if I go by a nickname. And I do, but it actually has nothing to do with my given name! 🙂

    • Rattus January 7, 2016, 12:15 pm

      People always shorten my name, and I don’t care with people I know (and like). However, I am less than pleased by people who shorten it at first meeting. It’s not an unusual or particularly lengthy name, so it isn’t difficulty with pronunciation – it just shows a presumption of familiarity that I don’t appreciate. I never bother correcting them because, as mentioned, I don’t care about what form my name takes, but I do know right off the bat that the presumptive shortener is not someone I wish to develop any sort of relationship with.

    • Kirsten January 7, 2016, 1:03 pm

      Yeah, my name is not Kirsty, and I don’t answer to it. That’s someone else’s name.

      My surname is generally spelled with an a in the middle, but ours has an e, which is very uncommon outside of a small part of West Yorkshire. I have spent my whole life saying “Kirsten [surname] xEx” and watching people write xAx. Then I say no, Ex, and watch them write xAxE.

      And then I beat them to death with their own pen.

      • stacey January 7, 2016, 7:50 pm

        “I beat them to death with their own pen…” Epic! I’m stealing this one liner. Sometimes even a common name can pose difficulties… “Stacey” has been “Tracy” an awful lot. Then there’s the college professor I had who habitually ran through all of the permutations in an effort to remember… “Tracy… Casey… Tacey?…” She seldom hit on Stacey, and there were only seven of us in the class!

    • Kry January 8, 2016, 7:15 am

      I have the opposite problem to you.
      My full given name is Kristy and even now (age 40) I have people either insisting that my name is Christine (or similar) or its really Kirsty and I have mispronounced it all my life!
      (Strangely enough, one of my high school teachers continually called me Trixie the entire two years she taught me. She got everyone else’s name correct)

  • manybellsdown January 7, 2016, 10:43 am

    I spent almost 4 years working as a PA for a real estate agent. It wasn’t until I gave my notice and started training my replacement that I discovered I’d been pronouncing my boss’ name wrong the entire time. He never brought it up. And I was answering the phones like that and everything! For 4 years!

    So don’t feel too bad OP. It happens a lot!

  • PWH January 7, 2016, 10:52 am

    Name mispronunciation doesn’t seem to bother some people. It could be that they are used to their names being muddled and they don’t care or that they are just tired of correcting people. I went to school with a guy whose name was James but people called him Jamie all the time. He never corrected anyone and responded to either name. I also have an in-law whose name is French and is constantly said the English way and she never says anything because she said she’s used to it. On the other hand my maiden name has a ph in it (I still use it hyphenated with my married name at work). I’m constantly correcting people who pronounce it as an f like phone. It is a two part last name that is split between the p and the h. There are people that, after repeated corrections on my part, still pronounce it wrong (even my Mother-in-Law does) and in those cases I’ve just given up.

    • Kirsten January 7, 2016, 1:04 pm

      So, like if Stephen was pronounced step-hen?

      • Cheryl C January 7, 2016, 7:31 pm

        I had a pet mouse that I had to take to the vet when I was in my early 20s and when the receptionist asked his name I told her Alphonse. She started to spell it Alfonse and I corrected her by saying “We spell it with a ph.”. She immediately apologized and corrected the spelling. I was so tickled that I almost laughed because she was so serious. Then they called him back by “Alphonse Crawford” (my last name) like you would a human. It was all so serious.

        On another note, I once had my name pronounced like something close to “cereal” by a girl new to our school. We were in the eighth grade, but with her deep Kentucky accent she mangled my name for a couple of years. I knew who she was talking to so I never took offense. She finally got it right.

      • PWH January 8, 2016, 8:56 am

        Something like that 🙂 My last name is Scottish and it is a last name that originated with what my ancestor’s did – something like Baker or Butcher – but it involves two words. The correct pronunciation makes sense to me, but I think so many people are used to ph being an f.

  • Skaramouche January 7, 2016, 11:08 am

    OP, I understand your dilemma completely. I also like to say names correctly and in their original non-anglicized form where applicable. I’m good with languages…I can do it…really, just give me a chance, LOL. But generally, people don’t give you the chance exactly as you mentioned. Not knowing whether I’m saying the name correctly really troubles me but I guess there’s not much we can do about it if the owner of the name will not clarify :).

    On the flip side, I often give the same “either way is fine” answer because even though I have a short 4 letter name, there’s a challenging ‘r’ and ‘t’ in it that’s very difficult for North American tongues. When asked if ‘xyz’ pronunciation is okay, I generally say yes unless they’ve completely butchered it. I always humour those who ask me how it’s pronounced but they rarely get it. We go back and forth a few times and I end up saying…”yes, you got it” to something that’s not quite right. I always REALLY appreciate the effort though.

  • Becca January 7, 2016, 11:14 am

    My last name is Dutch and not even folks back in the homeland agree on the pronunciation. Most people ask about it and how to say it. They try and regardless of how much they slaughter it, I grin and say “close enough for me!”

    I just don’t care. It’s not in me because I have a speech impediment. When you have a hard time forming your words, even as minor as mine are, as long as you try and arent disregarding me as “Roberta” instead of Rebecca, I don’t hold any ill feelings.

    Which is funny the comment above mentions having a hard name makes you mindful to always say others right

    It hurts me and I withdraw when people correct me unless it’s someone I’m close with. It feels like you’re being lectured and told you’re stupid. I cannot make my mouth say specific words “right”, so people who are so easily offended can remember, it’s not on purpose. Granted, I wont say it wrong again because you won’t hear me speak around you again depending on how much we interact.

    I have caught myself calling someone the wrong name and I apologize and correct myself. I think you’re doing it perfect by catching differences and asking the person. Now understand that everyone is different, if they say both are fine, they’re fine. You can call me Rebecca, Becca or B. I’ll probably sigh inside if you’re not familiar and call me Becky though. Family name. I tried ditching when I was 7 but family doesn’t care, bleh!!

    • Another Michelle January 8, 2016, 12:57 am

      I have a Dutch surname too, and when my father immigrated to Australia, he anglicised the pronunciation of it (he pronounced it the anglicised way as well) as noone would have been able to pronounce it correctly!! (It starts with an “R”and the “r” MUST be rolled as we come from the east!!) Even then, my anglicised surname gets mispronounced!! And it’s basically two common words put together!!

  • Devin January 7, 2016, 11:16 am

    I have an androgynous name, so through written correspondence I often get address as Mr. Devin. If it is someone I will remain in touch with I correct them, but usually its a great heads up that its a telemarketer or spam email. The only time it was an issue was when my health insurance provider denied my request for a Well Womens’ Exam because they had me listed as Mr. Devin. One quick look at my forms, they quickly realized their error.

    • LadyV January 7, 2016, 5:46 pm

      Then I can ask you a question about something I’m concerned about! I often have to send written/emailed correspondence to people that have, as you put it, androgynous names. Would you prefer that someone uses the wrong title, or that someone addresses you by your first name? I feel rude jumping right to a first name, but equally rude calling a woman “Mr.”, or vice versa.

      • Ciotog January 7, 2016, 6:20 pm

        My husband has a hyphenated French first name that starts with “Jean.” We get so much mail addressed to just “Jean” with a “Ms.” in front of it. People make an androgynous name out of one that isn’t. It drives me nuts.

        • Amanda H. January 7, 2016, 11:02 pm

          While I don’t understand the people who ignore the fact that your husband has a hyphenated French name, I can at least understand that some people think “Jean” alone is feminine, or at least androgynous. My middle name is Jean. It’s the same middle name as both of my grandmothers and one of my aunts, as well as my youngest child. I’ve always thought of it as androgynous at the very least (at least in part because, thanks to things like Star Trek, I’m also familiar with it as a masculine name of French origin).

          • Eve_Eire January 8, 2016, 8:55 am

            I think it’s only the pronunciation that’s androgynous though? That Jean is a woman’s name and Gene is a man’s name (short for Eugene). I might be wrong though – I’ve just never come across a male that spells his name Jean unless it has a second part to it (like the Jean Luc example you give) in which case it has the French pronunciation?

          • keloe January 8, 2016, 9:59 am

            In French Jean is a name on its own, it doesn’t have to have a second name attached. And (in French) it’s very definitely male, the feminine equivalent is Jeanne. They are not pronounced the same.

            But I realise that in English Jean is a female name, pronounced completely differently.

            I’m lucky to have a name that’s practically the same in most languages, so I don’t have problems introducing myself to people. Of course, they usually pronounce it in their own way, but there is very little difference – just in the vowels – and it’s always recognisable. Only the nicknames are different in various languages, but I always introduce myself by the full form, so it’s allright 🙂

            A weird name thing for me is that sometimes – email, Facebook, etc. – I use both my first and middle name. There are people who for some reason keep referring to me by my middle name. I would understand if we only communicated in writing, but they do so when they see me in person too, even if no one else around does.

  • Lisa H. January 7, 2016, 11:28 am

    I grew up with a 3 syllable last name that had a Z in it, and NO ONE could pronounce it correctly. If you sounded it out phonetically it would be perfect, but that was too easy; people always had to twist it around to make it harder than it was. The first day of school attendance was always dreaded but like other posters, a give away with phone solicitors.

  • Rayner January 7, 2016, 11:30 am

    I actually think it’s pretty weird and bad practise to not correct a person on how to pronounce your name, the first time. If someone continues to do it, then maybe you let it go depending on the relationship (for example, if it’s your boss, then maybe you don’t have enough standing to keep correcting it and need the job).

    But when someone offers you a chance to correct it – “is it this, or have I been saying it wrong for so long?” – and you don’t take it, it’s very weird. And a bit… not rude, but goes against social norms. Why beandip about your name?

    • The Elf January 12, 2016, 9:08 am

      Because people feel so bad about mispronouncing it and, really, truly, sincerely, I don’t mind. I wouldn’t beandip about it, but I get why people do.

  • Vicky January 7, 2016, 11:40 am

    I don’t mind the mispronouncing of my name but then again, it is rare since I have an easy first name (Vicky) and a easy last. My maiden name is Icelandic and used to get butchered all the time so I was use to correcting and didn’t mind.

    I must admit, although I don’t correct it, I am annoyed when I get work emails from people misspelling my first name in the salutation. If it wasn’t for the fact that I have communicated with these people before and my full first name is actually in my email address, it would not annoy me. But it demonstrates a lack of attention to detail in their professional communications. It seems minor but it makes me pay attention to other details in the emails more and double check all quotes as a result.

    • Green123 January 8, 2016, 3:28 am

      Until recently I had a colleague who consistently got my first name wrong in her email communications with me. My name is not an unusual one, but in emails I would get a ‘Dear Vikki’. My name is not Vikki, and contains neither a V nor any K’s or I’s, so goodness knows where she got that from, especially as my full name is in my email address AND she called me the correct name when she spoke to me!!!

      I tried adding ‘Just to let you know, my name is actually [myname] not Vikki’ and various polite variations on that to my replies to her. Eventually, when this was ignored time and again, and I was starting her find her misspelling my name rude rather than funny, I took to gradually increasing the font size of my name in my email signature when I replied to her. The coworker recently moved departments (to a customer facing role…. yikes!) and I no longer have dealings with her, but at last count my name had reached 120pt font and bright red… 🙂

  • LadyXaviara January 7, 2016, 11:47 am

    I once had a neighbour named Mike. For a year, “hi Mike! Good to see you Mike!” finally he met my husband. “Oh Mike, this is my husband Matt!” “hi Matt, I’m dave”

    … This guy let me call him Mike for a year and never corrected me. I about died.

  • Aly January 7, 2016, 12:14 pm

    I use my full name (Alyssa) professionally, but have gone by “Aly” personally/socially my whole life. There was a huge problem when I started at my current job over the spelling of my name. Even though I had gone by my full name in all of my application materials, at some point someone in HR heard me called by my nickname and decided to write that on EVERYTHING – my email address, my office door, business cards, etc. Except because they had never seen it written, and had only heard it, they spelled it “Ali.” The first few weeks were such a nightmare trying to get that sorted. Whenever I brought it up to someone, they would indignantly say, “But you must have listed it on HR documents as your preferred name!” Somehow I think I would have spelled my own name correctly. (My email address is still officially misspelled, although they did set me up with a separate correctly-spelled account that forwards to the incorrect one. Yay, corporate bureaucracy!)

    On a somewhat related note, my husband has a unisex name, and when people see it written they assume he’s a woman.

    • Becca January 7, 2016, 7:54 pm

      Oh my goodness…I know a girl who got labeled as “Kim” when she goes by Kimberly. They made her email “kim at company dot com”, she most certainly made it clear to everyone that she did business with her name was actually Kimberly. That would drive me mad dealing with, what a disrespectful way to treat a new hire. Type-o’s happen, anyone who can’t own up to it and graciously say “Oh goodness, gee I’m so sorry about that, let me fix it…costly error since now IT and printing are involved but human error all the same!”

  • Cora January 7, 2016, 12:17 pm

    Admin is right — you haven’t done anything wrong, and it’s not worth worrying over for either of these two people anymore. My own last name starts with a “Kn” and I’ve never understood why so many people think it’s really, really weird. I mean: knee, know, knight… it’s the same thing; why is my name so hard? I do remember one colleague being embarrassed that he would pronounce the “K” (so , for example “ka-night” instead of “knight:); but since that’s actually the correct German pronunciation, I don’t see the point of getting all worked up about it.

    And Admin is right too that it is a GREAT tool to weed out the marketing calls. I suppose it’s mean of me, but I get a sick charge out of picking up the phone to hear, “Hi, can I speak to Cora……. uh…. Cora…… um…..” and thinking, “You are so TOAST”.

  • NostalgicGal January 7, 2016, 12:51 pm

    My first name was a very common one at the time, but it has a very very common ‘diminuitive’ form and everyone (relatives and friends) address me that way. I have finally gotten most of them to use the other short form that is one syllable. My maiden name was a nightmare especially since when the (large) family migrated early 20th century there developed three spellings and nobody has a hope on any of them. My married last name is a common enough word but it’s not pronounced anywheres near the common word so we’ve just learned to answer to that and give the name that way too so it gets spelled right.

    The only one I tried very hard to learn to pronounce was a hmong Vietnamese name, Nha Nuygen. The language has very subtle inflections and if you don’t say something with the right inflection it means something different. I sat down one day and asked him to please teach me how to pronounce it correctly. I could HEAR the inflections but it took a while. He sighed that sigh after about two dozen times, then he realized I was homing in on it, and kept up. I did him the respect of learning how to pronounce his name correctly and by later expressions managed to continue to do so. Most names go in one ear and out the other, being a person myself that got mine mispronounced all over, I seriously tried. I am now old enough to explain I’m catching old fogey-I t I s (It keeps splitting it into two words) and I’m massively sorry but your name falls out the other ear. I’ll try my best

  • Calli Arcale January 7, 2016, 12:52 pm

    If it’s a name with many variants and they haven’t bothered to correct you, don’t sweat it — they’re probably so used to the variations that they hardly even *notice* when the wrong pronunciation or spelling is used.

    My real name is like that. Can be spelled about a dozen ways, and has at least three common pronunciations. I’ll answer to all of them. If people ask the correct pronunciation and spelling, I will tell them, but I also tell them I’ll answer to anything broadly approximate and it’s no big deal. 😉

  • EllenCA January 7, 2016, 12:58 pm

    Ellen, Helen, Eileen, Elaine, Ellie, Ella, Elsa, even Alan…

    I had a co-worker who decided she was going to call me Elle. I finally just stopped responding when she used it. It’s one thing to get someone’s name wrong, a whole other thing to just assign someone a new name!

    • Lady Catford January 7, 2016, 9:18 pm

      I have had two co-workers (not at the same time) who insisted in calling me Betty, which was not at all close to my name. At one job I actually had my name on a desk plate. Didn’t make any difference, I was still Betty. I gave up 😉

    • Miriam January 11, 2016, 12:33 pm

      I temped for over a decade, and was frequently in a new environment (so busy trying to learn the procedures/technology) and I never *heard* other people’s names, sometimes even missing my own I was concentrating so hard on getting what I was doing right.

      So good luck to anyone expecting me to answer to a name that wasn’t my own…

      I had one woman get *really* tetchy that I wasn’t responding to Mary-Anne – I genuinely thought she was looking for a Mary-Anne, not a Miriam – and pointed out that I was Miriam, and wasn’t answering because I assumed she wanted a response from a Mary-Anne.

      I think it took her about three days to get her head around the idea that calling out “Miriam” if she wanted my attention would be a good idea… Seriously, in a room of over 20 people all talking on the phone, (the majority of whom are temps [so names & faces changing frequently]) how on earth am I supposed to know what random name to answer to today?

      People getting my name once and then apologising – no problem, but getting irate when I don’t answer to someone else’s name will eventually bring me to speak slowly and clearly as though I am talking to someone stupid. I won’t be rude, but don’t expect *me* to apologise to you after I’ve corrected you more than a couple of times!

      • Miriam January 11, 2016, 12:35 pm

        Sorry – I meant “getting my name *wrong* once”

  • ginger ale January 7, 2016, 1:10 pm

    My name has 2 pronunciations. People use them interchangeably. I usually don’t even hear the difference. When people insist on finding out what the “correct” pronunciation is, I just find it annoying and confusing. I don’t think there is a “correct” pronunciation.

    OP, if Rachelle and Joanna/Juana don’t want to teach you how to pronounce their names, I think you should just drop it and pronounce them however is most comfortable for you.

  • Coralreef January 7, 2016, 1:25 pm

    Name mispronounciation gets even more interesting when they are said by a non-native speaker. Some sounds just don’t come out right, specially if they are not usually used in the other language, like the “L” sound in Japanese.

    • Tracy W January 8, 2016, 4:05 am

      I have a German friend who spent several Christmases with us. One Christmas her brother joined us and we noticed he was pronouncing her name slightly differently. We picked up on this and apologised for our NZ accents and she said not to worry, it was an obscure German dialect and most Germans couldn’t pronounce her name properly.

  • Dee January 7, 2016, 1:45 pm

    I hated the confusion over my first, middle and last names (and my siblings’ names) growing up. Now I have a married name that’s no better. I don’t bother to correct people that much because I learned, years ago, that it will probably be fruitless and it’s so tiring. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t bother me, just means it doesn’t bother me enough. I can’t understand parents who give their kids odd names/spellings on purpose just to be “cute” so when I had my kids, they got really common, original-spelling names. Doesn’t matter, though, they still get the wrong name and/or spelling. Ugh. What it means, in a nutshell, is that we have a society that doesn’t value language specifics very much. Parents who want to play with language when they name their kids add to the confusion, coupled with an education system that doesn’t emphasis precise rules but instead encourages “creativity” so that even well-intentioned people are not equipped to remember and retain name particulars. Social media posts are proof positive of that – when was the last time someone actually bothered to use good grammar, punctuation and spelling in one of those? It’s as if they don’t care because, actually, they don’t care!

    • LadyV January 7, 2016, 5:50 pm

      Some of us DO use proper grammar, spelling, etc. in social media posts. I do, and the majority of my friends do.

    • Willynilly January 7, 2016, 10:47 pm

      I know of no actual person who uses “text speak”. I have seen it, in memes and articles, etc but everyone I know uses proper spelling, capitalization, grammar, and punctuation in texts, tweets and other social media posts.

    • Jessica January 7, 2016, 11:49 pm

      Honestly, I am not ridiculous with social media but I might say u instead of you now and then in posts or texts but I spend 99% of my time writing legal essays and they HAVE to be perfect so I like to just relax the language a bit for social things. I don’t think its disrespecting the language as much as just having casual conversation. Saying this I cannot stand when people say ‘wit’ instead of ‘with’ ect.

      • Dee January 8, 2016, 1:04 pm

        Maybe it’s a regional thing, but I rarely see comments/posts online locally that are constructed in a way that doesn’t require some work in translating. It’s awful.

  • CJ January 7, 2016, 2:06 pm

    I have a very unique French men’s name. Living in the US it is never pronounced correctly, shoot I do not even pronounce it the French way. I get more annoyed at explaining my name or repeating the correct pronunciation than if someone gets it wrong. I work with older patients and just let them call me Sharron. I use my initials of Cj when I get star bucks or have to give a name for an order. I am sure others feel the same as I do, it is just not worth the effort to get upset about how someone (not close) says your name. But I have had some nasty patients that get upset if I mis pronounce their name. I have a problem with polish or eastern European names with too many constantans. In my mind I am thinking you are older and have been dealing with people saying your name wrong your whole life….have some grace about it.

  • GeenaG January 7, 2016, 2:09 pm

    This is why when I first meet a person I wrangle a free moment for myself and enter their names into a text file on my phone with a description for my personal reference. If I don’t do it I will forget names. It only takes a second and you just look like someone fiddling with their phone.

  • MaryB January 7, 2016, 2:54 pm

    My sister’s name is Betty, not Elizabeth. When she was in parochial school the nuns kept calling her Elizabeth and she would get in trouble for not answering, because it was not her name! My mother ended up going to the school, met with the head nun in charge and tried to set them straight, even the Mother Superior said Betty is not a name it is a nickname. Mom finally got it though their heads that her name was indeed Betty.

    • Pie Luvver January 7, 2016, 6:30 pm

      Didn’t your mother have to bring Betty’s birth certificate to the school when she registered her? It would have been proof that your sister’s name was Betty.

      • Cora January 8, 2016, 12:55 pm

        Omigosh, that just made me remember: when my grandmother was born, she was named Barbara — but the doctor who delivered her wrote “Bertha” on the birth certificate because he thought Barbara was a “Hunky” name (we’re not Hungarian; we’re Slovak). Great-Grandma got her christened Barbara, took the christening certificate down to the courthouse and got the birth certificate corrected. Because of that, her whole life, my free-spirited grandma had close friends and family call her “Bert,” and loved it!

    • Becca January 7, 2016, 11:58 pm

      A nurse telling my dad “Becky” is a nickname not a name saved me from that being my given name. I still want to find her and hug her for it!

      However that story is so painfully “Catholic School moments” that it makes me smile but it must have been such a tough situation for your family to deal with 🙁

    • Mary January 8, 2016, 7:32 am

      I know a 40 year old man named Andy James. Not Andrew. At his baptism the priest kept overemphasizing the James every time his name was said. Due to the fact that James was a legitimate saint name. His parents said there was no point in naming him Andrew since they would never call him that.

      Based on the names I hear at baptisms at Mass now, I’m pretty sure that the priests aren’t as strict since half the time there isn’t a saint name anywhere to be seen.

      • Cat January 9, 2016, 8:09 am

        I knew a girl whose parents were expecting a boy and they planned to name him Richard. When “Richard” turned out to be a girl, they decided to name her Dickie. It was fine until she turned eighteen and got a draft notice.
        She had to convince the draft board that she really was a girl and that she was not just trying to get her brother out of the draft.

      • Asharah January 9, 2016, 10:08 pm

        My brother’s name is Eugene William. The priest insisted on baptizing him William Eugene because Eugene wasn’t a saint’s name. When Mom tried to argue, the priest claimed she shouldn’t be there because it’s the responsibly of the god-parents to bring the baby for baptism, not the parents.

      • NostalgicGal January 10, 2016, 10:07 pm

        If it isn’t a swear word (and I know quite a few in more than a few languages) or they say Vagina (I will try to find out through the usually thick accent if they mean Virginia) or Bidet (it can sound like a cool hip French word and it’s a bathroom plumbing fixture) or something similar, I’ll go for it. Things like ‘Moon Unit, Talula does the Hula From Hawaii* or stuff like that I’ll have a talk with you too. (Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii was so embarrassed by the name she wouldn’t tell classmates what her real name was, social services interviened, removed her from her parents custody, and by court order the name was changed to something the girl chose, then after family counseling she was allowed to return home. Her parents are still furious more about the name being changed than the fact they nearly lost custody of their daughter forever.)

        • hi@just4kicks January 13, 2016, 8:27 am

          @NostalgicGal: ….Oh, wow. That’s awful.
          Do you remember a few years back when a husband and wife who were “proud” members of the Aryan Nation tried to name their new born son “Adolf Hitler”?
          If I remember correctly, social services also intervened and made them change it, not sure if they removed the baby from the home though.
          And, with the passing of the legendary David Bowie (RIP), I remember being very young and my parents saying what an ass he was for naming his son “Zowie Bowie”! Lol.
          I mentioned on this post my daughter’s friend whose legal name is “Bubble Gum”.
          This girl loves her name, and thinks it’s very cool….I would love to see her in 20 or 30 years and find out what her profession is!!!
          “Paging Doctor Bubble Gum to the ER…..STAT!!!”
          “You may now call your first witness, Attorney Bubble Gum…..!” 🙂

          • hi@just4kicks January 13, 2016, 8:29 am

            @NostalgicGal: Do you by chance know what the girl in your story picked as her new name?

  • technobabble January 7, 2016, 3:05 pm

    When I was growing up, there was a little girl who lived across the street from me whose name was either “Cindy” or “Sydney”. I could never quite hear the specific pronunciation and never thought to ask for clarification. Instead I would just sort of mumble through her name whenever I had to talk to her. To this day, I do not know her actual name.

    If the ladies in OP’s story haven’t corrected her, then I don’t think OP has anything to worry about. You asked, and received an answer. If they didn’t like the way you were addressing them, you gave them an opportunity to let you know. Carry on, I say.

  • kalexn January 7, 2016, 3:06 pm

    My name is a pretty common 80’s baby name but with so many variations. If someone is close I normally don’t correct them and just say yes. It doesn’t bother me and so maybe they are just so used to it, it just doesn’t bother them 🙂

  • @just4kicks January 7, 2016, 3:42 pm

    My name is Kimberly, I prefer to be called Kimberly, but most folks call me “Kim”, with a “Kimmie” thrown in once in a great while.
    I don’t “correct” people who call me Kim, but if they ask which I’d prefer, I will say I do prefer Kimberly and thanks for asking!

  • ColoradoCloudy January 7, 2016, 3:55 pm

    My first name can be spelled a few different ways. My parents went for the plainest spelling, which I use for legal documents. I use a nickname in daily life, which I have always spelled the same way, like for example BOB, going by Bobbie. My mother-in-law insists upon spelling my name incorrectly, as in: Bobbe. My name is not Bobbe, it’s not spelled that way, no matter whether we are being legal or informal. I have tried to kindly explain to her that it’s either Bob or Bobbie (my preferred form of address), not Bobbe. My husband less kindly explained after MIL used the wrong spelling of my name on family communications and got other people doing it. At Christmas she gave me a key ring with the wrong spelling on it. After more than 20 years, I have given up trying to get her to spell it right, and just let it go.

    • Jessica January 7, 2016, 11:43 pm

      Bobbe, thats soooooo cute!

  • Amanda H. January 7, 2016, 3:58 pm

    My given name is, thankfully, easy enough to pronounce and (last I checked) doesn’t have any alternate spellings, so I’m off the hook there.

    I managed to give my oldest daughter a name that lots of people seem to have trouble with, despite it being only two syllables long. I keep getting people who stretch it into three syllables, pronouncing it like a longer, differently-spelled name. Some of them even continue to mispronounce it even after I enunciate it for them very clearly.

    As for spelling…. I go by a fairly common nickname of my given name with family and close friends (Mandy vs. Amanda). Hubby has used this in family newsletters more times than I can count, and I sign thank you cards and other greetings with that when communicating with his family. On top of that, our three daughters have, in order, a slightly unusual name that is still simple enough to spell (it’s a very common name with an extra letter tacked onto the end to make a new name, plus she’s 9 years old now so Hubby’s family is quite familiar with it), followed by two fairly common names using the most common spelling. Despite this, Hubby has one close relative who frequently misspells at least one of our four names.

    It came to a head two Christmases ago when said relative sent us gifts. I pulled the gifts out the box they’d been sent in, and started laughing. Hubby asked what was up. I showed him the gift tags. Out of five people in our family, only Hubby’s name was spelled correctly. My name was written as “Mandi,” our oldest had two extra letters tacked onto the end, our middle child had a letter left off the end, and I don’t even know what said relative was thinking when she spelled the youngest’s name, as it shared maybe one letter out of five total with her actual name. Hubby was absolutely boggled. I just kept laughing. We didn’t say anything to the relative, I just made sure that all of our names were spelled correctly and clearly in the thank-you card we sent. And then I took a photo of the misspelled gift tags for posterity’s sake.

  • Kovi January 7, 2016, 4:21 pm

    I had a co-worker whose name was Raquel (pronounced like ‘rah-kell’). But some people, including her mom, pronounce it like Rachel. She always seemed to accept either. I stuck with Raquel because I liked the sound of it. But once you receive an answer, even if it’s ‘oh, I don’t care,’ you’re off the hook.

  • Helena January 7, 2016, 4:55 pm

    I have a name (not Helena!) that is fairly common in Finland but very unusual in my native Australia. People often ask whether I get annoyed that people misspell /mispronounce my name. I say that if I got upset by such things, I’d spend a lot of my life annoyed. While I do try my best to pronounce other people’s names well, I happen to be fairly hopeless with names so reckon I get what I deserve when I get called another thing etc. I reckon my parents got it right with my name. I love it and have never wanted another.It reminds me of my roots and it’s a great conversation starter. When being introduced, I ‘ll gently correct people(more for their own sake) but if another name sticks in their head, I’ll answer to that. The only time it’ s matters to me is when it is written wrong on official programs/cd liner notes etc. Or that one time my misspelled name was engraved on a jewellery box. Whoops!

  • Cat January 7, 2016, 6:50 pm

    A Chinese friend of mine was named the Chinese form of David. We naturally wanted to call him by his correct Chinese name and tried our best until he asked us to just call him David in English. It seems that we were all mispronouncing it and he was tired of being called “Bean Curd’ by his friends.
    I taught high school for many years and, one year, I was calling roll for the first time in a class when I came to a boy with the same last name as one of my former professors. I pronounced it as the professor did and a girl immediately corrected me.
    To her astonishment, the boy told her that I was right and she was wrong. She said, “Do you mean that we have been in classes together for twelve years and you have never told me what your last name is?”
    Lastly, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings constantly stressed that her middle name was Irish and was pronounced Kin NAN, with the accent on the second syllable. If one stressed the first syllable, it was the Scottish pronunciation, not the Irish.

  • Cheryl C January 7, 2016, 7:45 pm

    In the region of the country I live now, I have learned to spell my last name (Crawford) since when I first moved here, it got spelled with a “K”. Of course around here, the name Etienne is pronounced A-chen, so it could be worse. I have also had my first name spelled with an “S” instead of a “C”or, more commonly “ly” instead of “yl”. The most creative spelling I’ve had came from someone who was really confused–Scheryly.

    I have also lived in an area of the country where there were a lot of Eastern European names and I get confused when presented with a bunch of consonants with no vowels in between them. I had some friends of Polish descent who enlightened me with some of the rules of what to do with pronunciation of Polish names, but one gentleman was Hungarian and even though I spelled out his name phonetically on my own notes (I worked with the public and saw many of the same people over again), I still had problems with it. He never corrected me though and never seemed offended but I felt bad about it.

  • lolkay January 7, 2016, 9:01 pm

    My name is a unique spelling of the name “Casey” (And it’s with a K)

    No one aside from parents and close friends spell it right. Not even my oldest brother.

  • Kate January 7, 2016, 9:46 pm

    If anyone mispronounced my name I’d be amazed, so I unfortunately haven’t had experience to assist the OP. I’ve stuffed up a few names in my time as a teacher, though, and most people don’t seem to have an issue with it – they just correct you and move on. I think the only time there would be genuine grounds for irritation is if you mucked up someone’s name, they corrected you, and you continued to call them by the wrong name despite repeated corrections.

  • AnaMaria January 7, 2016, 10:26 pm

    I had a friend who’s name was, we’ll say, Gina, but after two years of friendship I heard someone from her past call her “Jenna.” (I’ve changed it from similarly-equivalent names as this is a sensitive story). It turned out, her mother had wanted to name her Jenna and her father had wanted something else, so they compromised by calling her Jenna and spelling it G-i-n-a. When she was a teenager, her father died suddenly- I got the impression that it was a suicide. A few weeks later, her sister, unable to cope with their father’s death, died of an overdose. To make a long, sad story short, her mother started calling her “Gina” in accordance with the spelling, and it seemed Gina didn’t feel like asking to be called the name her father had given her, nor did she want to reject it, so she went by either name. By the time I met her, she had dealt with her grief and her mother was happily remarried, but she was just used to going by either name. She had introduced herself to me as Gina, so I stuck with that. I think this is an extreme case- I would think (and hope) that anyone going by two different names would have a less painful history!

  • RyosGirl January 7, 2016, 10:28 pm

    My eldest daughter who is 4 is named Elizabeth. We chose that name for her because we love it and that’s what we call her; not as some people seem to think Liz, Lizzie, Betsy or Beth. I have no hesitation correcting someone who arbitrarily decides she should have a nickname. My younger daughter is 2 and is named Adrianna (pronounced with a short a like ‘apple’ so a-dree-ah-nah). I was surprised at how many people ask her name, I respond with the correct pronunciation and they reply right back pronouncing it differently, usually with a long a at the beginning and ‘anne’ in the middle rather than ‘ahn’ like Princess Anna in Disney’s Frozen (so ay-dree-anne-ah). Usually with her name I’ll try to correct them immediately after they mispronounce it but if they keep doing it I let it go. Unless they try to call her Addie. Then I lose my s#!+ lol

    • JackieJormpJomp January 10, 2016, 5:18 am

      Depending on a person’s background, they may not actually hear the difference you find so vital… Their neighbourhood, their family’s ethnic background, even– it might seem like a very different sound to you, but they just don’t hear it.
      I have a first name of Eastern European background. Let’s say it’s “Lana.” The first letter is what linguists call a “dark L”– a deeper sound, similar to how most native English speakers prounounce the “l” sound in the word “full”–but it is at the beginning of the word. In my region, many people get this and hear it and mimic it–and many people–people who grew up 2 doors from me–do not note it and say “l” as in “list.”
      I DO hear that difference. and that shallow-pitched “l” sounds a bit ugly to me–but I understand that other people just don’t hear the difference and/or haven’t the totally arbitrary background that would make them aware of it.

      Unless it is deliberate, it isn’t. People don’t mean it, for the most part, but speeh is tricky, is what I am saying 🙂

      • Amanda H. January 10, 2016, 9:22 pm

        Agreed. The only people who’ve ever had trouble with my first name, and most of the people who just don’t understand my oldest daughter’s name the first time I say it to them, are not native English speakers (let alone American English from my part of the country). A lot of it has to do with certain sounds just not existing in some regions.

    • NostalgicGal January 10, 2016, 9:54 pm

      I had a classmate who had a 4 year older sister and (both had to have speech therapy) so when my classmate ‘Elizabeth’ was born her sister couldn’t say it, so she was called Beth. The teachers were instructed all the way through school to use Beth to address her though the gradebooks had Elizabeth. She used it in her official full signature, and her diploma was issued to Elizabeth.