Is pronunciation a big deal to you?

Are you really bothered when people “mispronounce” your name or your kid’s name?

I’ve visited places where my name is pronounced differently (cat-ee vs kay-tee). Im not even sure I consider this a mispronunciation honestly its just a different way. A totally different name bugs me (Kathy vs Katie) but this isn’t what Im talking about.

I was thinking about this when there were discussions about [name_f]Kamala[/name_f] Harris’ pronunciation.

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People (almost every single person I’ve come into contact with) have been mispronouncing my name / calling me by the wrong name since before I was born. It kind of bothers me, but not really since I’m so used to it.

Kind of random, but I was actually just thinking this about the name [name_f]Colette[/name_f] in a CAF I did like 2 minutes ago lol. If I had a daughter named [name_f]Colette[/name_f], it would absolutely drive me up a wall if/when people would say “kuh-let” instead of “cole-ett”. Although like you said, things like that aren’t really a mispronunciation, just a different way of saying it.

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In general, yes it would bother me. I try to keep my shortlist to names that would be less likely to have issues like this. I love the name [name_f]Emilia[/name_f] for example, but it would bother me so much to hear “em-il-ya” instead of “eh-mee-lee-ah” :sweat_smile:

Having said that, I do find myself liking the different pronunciations of some names. [name_f]Anastasia[/name_f] being one of them.

While mispronunciation the first time wouldn’t bother me so much (as I understand that the name may not be something that person’s come across before and they just need a quick lesson/correction), it’s when that person continually mispronounces the name when they’ve already been corrected that really bugs me.

I read a quote from actress Uzo Aduba years ago that stuck with me – she had wanted to as a child change her name to Zoe as no-one could pronounce Uzoamaka (her full given name) and it was bothering her. She said that she announced this at home and her mother had told her that if people “can learn to say Tchaikovsky, Michelangelo and Dostoyevsky, they can learn to say Uzoamaka”. It’s as simple as that. Be open to learning and understanding and show that respect. If unsure, I feel like it’s much better to just ask and show genuine interest in the answer, than to continually butcher a beautiful (and often carefully chosen) name.


It is to me a lot of people mistake my name for [name_m]Kevin[/name_m] and I hate it. I mind but I don’t express it I quickly correct them and move on.


Pronunciation is very important to me, as my own name, [name_f]Elena[/name_f], has two pronunciations in my home country (EL-len-uh and el-LEHN-uh, with my name being pronounced the latter way). Since I get the “wrong” pronunciation quite a bit it irks me, so I’d like to name my kids names which have only one intuitive pronunciation where I am, mostly because it takes a long time for people to adjust to a prn. that isn’t intuitive to them (which I learned when I started college with a bunch of people from the other side of the country who used the former prn.). Because of my experience I also always try to listen to how other people pronounce their names and try to respect that.

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If I’m visiting a place where a different pronunciation or version of my name is common, then no, it doesn’t bother me. Actually it was quite nice to become [name_f]Susana[/name_f] in Poland and [name_f]Susannah[/name_f] in the US. Those are nice names and there was no ill intend.

As a child I’d sometimes get the two-syllable pronunciation of my name, mostly from adults, and that bothered me immensely. It didn’t make sense that people would just call me by the wrong name and still doesn’t; it’s not easier, not more common and not more intuitive for [name_m]German[/name_m] speakers. While I don’t think it would bother me as much today, it would definitely weird me out.

Concerning [name_f]Kamala[/name_f], I don’t know what discussion you were following but there were issues in the past with mispronouncing her name on purpose as a way of showing disrespect. Needless to say that’s low and doesn’t have to be excused the way an honest mistake would.


I agree with this. I am totally understanding about mispronunciations on the first (or even second, third, fourth) genuine attempt — some names can be unintuitive for some people, and not everyone has a keen ear for subtle pronunciation differences.

But when someone makes zero effort or just doesn’t care despite having been told or exposed to the correct pronunciation lots of times feels disrespectful to me.

Even more so when the name in question is culturally “different” in the speaker’s mind and they just make no attempt to pronounce it correctly (or sometimes at all!)

Subtler differences, like Joseph with an S vs Z sound, I would chalk up to accent differences, but things like repeatedly calling @theecstaticnamer Kevin or a teacher giving a student an Anglicised alternative name because theirs is “too difficult” are not OK.


I’m not bothered when it comes from people from other countries. I have a name that is pronounced differently in [name_f]English[/name_f] compared to [name_u]French[/name_u], Italian, Spanish, Portuguese etc. So when I encounter people from those countries, they often pronounce my name their own way rather than the [name_f]English[/name_f] way. I don’t mind it - I actually find it quite charming, because I like the non-English pronunciation. And there’s no ill intent behind it.

But if it’s somebody from my own country pronouncing my name wrong or calling me by the wrong name, I would mind and I would correct them. Same for potential children’s names.

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Eh. It used to be when I was a teenager and constantly was getting called Hallie and/or had people read out my middle name as Al-ann-a or worse, A-llama.

Now, I can’t say that I care as much - the way my
mum explained it to me with my own name after much frustration on my part was, the people who matter the most in your life, those important ones who stick with you, they’ll always make an effort to get your name right. If they don’t try after being corrected, they don’t matter because they can’t be bothered to try and remember a sound. It was actually really good advice for me :woman_shrugging:t3:


It depends on the name, and the mispronunciation. [name_f]My[/name_f] name is not actually pronounced how most people pronounce it. [name_f]My[/name_f] parents heard it on a TV show and gave me the same name, but most people mispronounced it slightly (an “ih” sound instead of an “uh” sound, like hit instead of hut). [name_m]Even[/name_m] my parents now “mispronounce” my name 90% of the time. I’m happy with either.

[name_f]My[/name_f] boyfriend pronounces his surname as either 2 or 3 syllables. He alternates himself, so doesn’t care if other people use one or the other.

I know a woman name [name_f]Cheryl[/name_f] who pronounces it with a “CH” sound, but most people, including her own children, pronounce it “SH”. She doesn’t mind either way.

Personally, I would be aware of all possible pronunciations. If something would be particularly common, I would either be okay with it, or not pick that name. I view it similarly to how I view nicknames. I like [name_f]Elowen[/name_f] and [name_f]Eliana[/name_f], but don’ like [name_f]Ellie[/name_f]. I know if I named my daughter either name she would likely be called [name_f]Ellie[/name_f] by a lot of people, and may choose to go by [name_f]Ellie[/name_f]. Due to that, I wouldn’t pick a name where [name_f]Ellie[/name_f] was a very intuitive nickname for most people.

I like the name [name_f]Vivienne[/name_f], which i pronounce differently to [name_u]Vivian[/name_u]. However, I don’t hate the pronunciation of [name_u]Vivian[/name_u], so it wouldn’t be a dealbreaker for the name, and I wouldn’t mind some people using different pronunciations.


It depends on the pronunciation tbh. People mispronounce my name a lot, but it’s not the worst, even if it can be a pain correcting them. Some pronunciations of names (including legitimate ones) rub me up the wrong way, but others are fine regardless of pronunciation or accent.


I was thinking about how there are other valid pronunciations of [name_f]Kamala[/name_f] even if they aren’t her pronunciation. I swear I still hear it a few different ways even on NPR :joy:

Yes, unless it’s a matter of language differences in which case I’m fine with it.

Smallish anecdote time. Before I legally changed my name to what it is now (a name that is almost never misspelled or mispronounced in the area where I live), I had a name that was frequently mispronounced in English (my native language) and it drove me crazy, to the point it’s hard for a name to get on my list if it’s hard to pronounce. However, I speak some Spanish and took it for years, and my old name was pronounced differently in Spanish. In fact, it was the same way it was frequently mispronounced in English. Yet, I didn’t mind that pronunciation when speaking Spanish, if that makes sense— in fact, I liked it that way.

To me, pronouncing a name correctly (once told/corrected) is absolutely a matter of respect. And the correct way is always the way the wearer of the name wants it to be pronounced, whether or not you consider it to be “correct.” Same with spelling of course.

I’ve had people tell me, not as a matter of language or accent, that they didn’t care how my name was pronounced and they’d pronounce it how they like. Obviously that’s not ok (and I don’t really keep those people around me).