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Names, Again

I’m suddenly reminded of a girl that told me about how her father had given her younger sister a legal name with non-traditional spelling (well, I would argue incorrect; you can’t say, “My name is spelled J-a-c-o-b but it’s pronounced ‘Ron’” and not be a douche).  I instantly imagined all the future annoyances that the child would have to put up with, probably for the rest of her life, and how, in time, she would probably just cave in and accept the “(in)”correct pronunciation anyway, as some in my family do with their original surname, but in our case, it’s from a friggin different language. My reply to her was short and blunt, “How mean!” I think she was a bit miffed. Understandably so. We both realized the short-term implications of what I was saying, but I wonder if she realized the long-term implications as well. Oh well.

Actually, now that I think back further, the whole conversation started because apparently her sister’s teacher had pronounced it the “(in)”correct way, and had to be corrected. An argument between teacher and child ensued. While a more mature teacher probably would not bother to argue with a child, you can see that it has already begun. Cue timpanis.

What was the name? It wasn’t as bad as “Jacob” and “Ron”, but was very similar to “Helen” and “Helena.” I.e., her name would be legally spelled like “Helen”, but would be pronounced “Helena.” Basically, a ghost syllable would appear out of the ether. I don’t think a reasonable person could expect to know that, especially with a full-blooded Western name.

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