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Fern
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29 Sep 2023, 4:21 pm

What's the least jerk-y way to get a co-worker to pronounce your name correctly?

I won't get into the details of it (for privacy reasons), but I was born in a place where my last name is common and easy for people to say. However, now I live somewhere where people with the last name "Johnson" and "Roberts" and "Smith" abound. Anything vaguely non-English sounding and they struggle. I have worked and lived here for three years now, and no matter how many times I say my last name for people, not a single one gets it right. What's the best way to get people I work with to stop pronouncing my name incorrectly? I feel like it's rude to point out that they are still getting it wrong, but I also am tired of being called something that isn't my name.



naturalplastic
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29 Sep 2023, 4:33 pm

Finds some common word that rhymes with it, and say its like X buts starts with [whatever letter it starts with].



bee33
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29 Sep 2023, 5:25 pm

When I tell people my name I pronounce it the way an English speaker would pronounce it, so it's easier for them to imitate, and easier to hear and grasp in the first place. It's not a different pronunciation, just has a slightly different intonation.



Fenn
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29 Sep 2023, 6:05 pm

My last name is not all that hard, only two syllables - but people often get it wrong - I mostly “let it go” - my father-in-law actually changed his last name officially because someone told him “you won’t get promoted if the boss can’t pronounce your name”. He removed two “z”’s.
One trick is make your name into a story - I have one with Benn Franklin and William Penn - then wrap up the story with a summary and the correct pronunciation of your name. When I was in college wh had a guy named “Joachim” - somehow he had picked up the nickname “Jerry” but he didn’t really like it. He was living in an apartment with 4 other guys - one day one of his roommates sent an email with a story about a mad scientist - I forget the story but the syllables “Yo!” “Ah!” and “Chem” were the only thing the mad scientist said as he built a kind of frankinstein’s monster then named it “Yo-Ah-CHEM”.

Also now you can google “Wojtyła pronunciation” and you not only get the pronunciation described in text but you get a button to push and listen too.
Some Asian co-workers I have met have simply chosen an “American Name” and had done with it.


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Fern
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29 Sep 2023, 11:31 pm

naturalplastic wrote:
Finds some common word that rhymes with it, and say its like X buts starts with [whatever letter it starts with].


I tried it. Didn't work.

bee33 wrote:
When I tell people my name, I pronounce it the way an English speaker would pronounce it, so it's easier for them to imitate, and easier to hear and grasp in the first place. It's not a different pronunciation, just has a slightly different intonation.


English is my first language, so I already pronounce it with a very (American) English accent. In fact, the correct pronunciation sounds just like three one-syllable words in English. I found photos of those three things and put them on my office door under my name with little "+" signs under it, so that people could remember. I had one co-worker thank me for doing it.... but even when standing in front of the door and looking at the sign she says the wrong thing :shaking:

I am giving a seminar talk at the end of the semester. I am tempted to remind everyone of how to say my name in the beginning of it. I am proud of my last name. I like where I'm from. People just suck. They'll look me right in the eye and want to have the exact same conversation with me about it 100% of the time they have to say my name:
"Oh wow! What an unusual name! How do you say that? Where are you from? No where are you frooooom"

... but then they can't even remember for 5 seconds how I want them to pronounce my name.

I know what the real problem is. It's that people don't care. If they cared, they'd listen. If they cared, they'd try.



renaeden
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30 Sep 2023, 12:41 am

I had a lecturer at uni tell everyone at the beginning of a seminar the right way to say her name. It was Polish and had many consonants. So Fern, when you give your talk, there's nothing wrong with telling everyone how to say your name.

My last name is Swiss/French so anyone who says it for the first time usually gets it wrong. Have had a few nice surprises though, when people get it correct first go.



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30 Sep 2023, 6:56 am

you can't change people's behavior, you can only change the way you react to it.

Perhaps you can think of a suitable nickname or title that you'd like to be addressed by. In many parts of our country (USA) people are called by Mizz jane, Mizz, Missus, or in formal situations by Maam, etc.

I ask people to use my first name in almost every interaction with others.

Its them: They simply can't process my last name. Getting angry does nothing to help any interaction, formal or informal.
It is not deliberately done to insult, it is simply one way any individual may have to be flexible to accommodate others failings.


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magz
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30 Sep 2023, 7:28 am

renaeden wrote:
I had a lecturer at uni tell everyone at the beginning of a seminar the right way to say her name. It was Polish and had many consonants. So Fern, when you give your talk, there's nothing wrong with telling everyone how to say your name.

My last name is Swiss/French so anyone who says it for the first time usually gets it wrong. Have had a few nice surprises though, when people get it correct first go.

Most of my friends just accept foreigners pronouncing their names all wrong :lol: Or having it like "Mr Zh... errrr... Zyy... errr" - "That's me!" Lots of letters with impossible consonant clusters :twisted:
However, it's a common courtesy at conferences that the chairman prepares by finding someone of the same nationality to ask.


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Fenn
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30 Sep 2023, 7:35 am

I consider a name a personal thing - I use different names in different situations. In some cases I have gone by “Mr. F” - one place I do volunteer IT (information technology work) I always introduce myself as “Brian the Computer Geek”. I have a nickname I use with family and friends but never at work. When I was young my screen name was always “Kilroy” and some people used that. So when people mispronounce my name I just consider it a way to tell friend from foe - or “close friend” from acquaintance.
On the other hand - I do try to get other people’s names right.

The woman who cuts my hair goes by the name “My Thai” (sounds like the drink “Mai Tai” or the words “my tie”). She is Asian. Her boss always called her “My” after getting my hair cut for a while I asked her “what was your name as a girl?” Her whole face changed - she looked scared and very uncomfortable and unhappy - she said in a small voice “you wouldn’t be able to pronounce it”.
I persisted and she told me - and she was right - it was difficult to pronounce for me. I tried three times - each time she looked more uncomfortable. So now I just call her “My” and she is happy. She really prefers her “stage name”.


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Last edited by Fenn on 30 Sep 2023, 7:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

naturalplastic
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30 Sep 2023, 7:36 am

magz wrote:
renaeden wrote:
I had a lecturer at uni tell everyone at the beginning of a seminar the right way to say her name. It was Polish and had many consonants. So Fern, when you give your talk, there's nothing wrong with telling everyone how to say your name.

My last name is Swiss/French so anyone who says it for the first time usually gets it wrong. Have had a few nice surprises though, when people get it correct first go.

Most of my friends just accept foreigners pronouncing their names all wrong :lol: Or having it like "Mr Zh... errrr... Zyy... errr" - "That's me!" Lots of letters with impossible consonant clusters :twisted:
However, it's a common courtesy at conferences that the chairman prepares by finding someone of the same nationality to ask.


Yeah. There is a superviser from the next town over from me whom I often work for who...has the same first name as I...but has a long "unpronouncable(to most Americans)" Polish name that starts with C. So while chatting with coworkers I just refer to him as "Andrew C.", and folks know who I am talking about. :lol:



Fern
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30 Sep 2023, 7:49 am

naturalplastic wrote:
magz wrote:
renaeden wrote:
I had a lecturer at uni tell everyone at the beginning of a seminar the right way to say her name. It was Polish and had many consonants. So Fern, when you give your talk, there's nothing wrong with telling everyone how to say your name.

My last name is Swiss/French so anyone who says it for the first time usually gets it wrong. Have had a few nice surprises though, when people get it correct first go.

Most of my friends just accept foreigners pronouncing their names all wrong :lol: Or having it like "Mr Zh... errrr... Zyy... errr" - "That's me!" Lots of letters with impossible consonant clusters :twisted:
However, it's a common courtesy at conferences that the chairman prepares by finding someone of the same nationality to ask.


Yeah. There is a superviser from the next town over from me whom I often work for who...has the same first name as I...but has a long "unpronouncable(to most Americans)" Polish name that starts with C. So while chatting with coworkers I just refer to him as "Andrew C.", and folks know who I am talking about. :lol:


Well that's good for you, but I don't accept people calling me by anything other than my preferred name. I want to be called by my name. My name is not that hard to pronounce, you just have to remember. All through grad school I lived somewhere where no one had heard my name before. No one there had trouble remembering how to say it. Why? Because people cared enough to remember. Hell, even when I lived in Japan, people remembered how to say my name. It's really not that hard to pronounce, and I don't mind people getting it wrong the first time they attempt it. I just hate having to continually explain myself around people who claim to know me well. You just have to do two things: 1. listen, 2. remember.

I kinda suspected people on here being largely English speakers might take my coworkers' side, but I wish more people might see things from my perspective. I don't want to change my name to suit others. I want to be called by my name.



Fern
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30 Sep 2023, 7:57 am

renaeden wrote:
I had a lecturer at uni tell everyone at the beginning of a seminar the right way to say her name. It was Polish and had many consonants. So Fern, when you give your talk, there's nothing wrong with telling everyone how to say your name.

My last name is Swiss/French so anyone who says it for the first time usually gets it wrong. Have had a few nice surprises though, when people get it correct first go.


Mine's French too.

The difference is that your lecturer was talking to students. I have to give this seminar as part of my pre-tenure process, so it's mostly given to more senior faculty members. It's these senior faculty who keep mispronouncing it. Because everyone copies what they do, no matter how many times I succeed at getting people to say it correctly, they go back to copying the behavior of my bosses and it's all for nothing. Maybe it's more polite to go to these senior folks directly to ask them to correct their pronunciation, that way no one has to be embarrassed.



Fenn
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30 Sep 2023, 8:12 am

Original question was “how”:
Recommendation:
“That’s not my name. Please call me (your name here)”
Also: Dale Carnegie says “Always look at things from the other person’s point of view” Why? Because you are more likely to Influence people that way.
Steven R. Covey says “Always go for the Win-Win”. And “Seek First to understand, then to be understood”.
Third: Google DBT and DEAR MAN


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naturalplastic
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30 Sep 2023, 8:56 am

Sounds like a lost cause. :lol:



Fenn
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30 Sep 2023, 9:10 am

What the serenity prayer teaches us about wisdom

Just Saying


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naturalplastic
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30 Sep 2023, 10:14 am

^
Well, yeah...there ya go.

Could be worse.

You could be like this...native born American...with an easy to say American type name... but folks STILL couldnt get it straight because of a certain other gentleman around with a "similar" name (that wasnt even all of that similar).


https://youtu.be/oW96XddVZTo