Video: "Difficult" to pronounce names and the effect on education

This is like a puzzle! :face_with_monocle:

I’m sorry you’ve struggled so much with your name. The situation with your classmates and teachers sounds incredibly frustrating at best, hurtful at worst. I bet you learn a lot about other people’s characters just through your name!

I hope you can either make peace with it or find a new name you love and feel proud of.


This is cheering! I actually don’t normally care for the [name_f]Kayley[/name_f] names all that much, but your spelling is beautiful :heart_eyes: I’d know how to pronounce it because we have Scots in the family so I’ve been to many a ceilidh in my time :wink:


Yes, I don’t think people always appreciate what a huge difference it can make!

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That’s a real shame :cry: I bet you made a bigger difference to him than you realise by pronouncing it correctly (I love [name_m]Ismail[/name_m]!)


Me too — or rather, having the privilege of a simple, classic [name_f]English[/name_f] name myself I’m ashamed to say that I’d never really thought about it all that much. That’s what made me want to share this!

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Almost no one can pronounce my name. Literally. No one! [name_f]Every[/name_f] single new substitute teacher I’ve met, every new person, none of them have been able to pronounce my name. It’s [name_u]Day[/name_u]-sha. [name_f]Aisha[/name_f]. But no D, for those of you who don’t know. The mispronounciation of my name it doesn’t really affect my education or life, but it does annoy me and irritates me towards the person.
Some of worst name mispronounciation I’ve ever had was, mainly substitute teachers who I feel didn’t even try to pronounce my name Ay-sha, but they said [name_f]Asha[/name_f] or others.
I’ve had Eye-ee-sha, [name_f]Asha[/name_f], [name_f]Ashia[/name_f], Ee-sha, Eye-sha, there’s more.

I wouldn’t be annoyed, irritate, or hold a grain of resentment if at least they tried. I feel like it’s all a matter of respect and kindness. If people are kind, then they’ll try. But if they don’t, it’s like they’re just dismissing you and your name. [name_m]Even[/name_m] if I correct people multiple times, I still get called [name_f]Asha[/name_f] sometimes.
A common interaction would go like this;

Person: Whats’ your name?
Me: [name_f]Aisha[/name_f]. Ay-Sha.
Person: [name_m]Hi[/name_m], [name_f]Asha[/name_f]!
Me: Ay-sha
Person: Uh, that’s what I said. Eye-ee-sha.
Me: Why do I even try. You’d think I just said my name was something crazy like… Balaborotica, not [name_f]Aisha[/name_f]!

That’s why roll call can be a bit stressful for me. Personally, I love my name and it’s meaning for my family, and I hope that other’s can see that by at least trying to pronounce it the right way.

Oh, and don’t even get me started on my last names…


My first name is easy to pronounce, so that’s good.
[name_f]My[/name_f] last name is one of those names that you know how to pronounce it, but ask just in case (same for spelling).
The only reason I’m talking on here at all is because, for some reason, my second and third grade teachers always called me Alita! Which is NOWHERE near my name. Doesn’t even share first letter. I mean, Alita was in my class, but we weren’t really friends at all, and we didn’t look alike AT ALL.

They also called me [name_f]Olivia[/name_f], and even though [name_f]Olivia[/name_f] and I didn’t look alike at all, she was my best friend, so I don’t blame them for that.

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Wow, what a beautiful name you have! :heart_eyes:

Exactly this. I’m glad it hasn’t impacted on you personally too much, but it certainly could have and it sucks that some people aren’t even willing to make the effort :frowning_face:


I have a name that is difficult to pronounce when reading it and to spell. I don’t write it down as there are less than 150 people with the name worldwide in the past 120 years, give or take.

I had one teacher who gave out candy or a “prize” every hour on the hour if she mispronounced or misspelled your name during that time. I got something every hour on the hour for the full year except for one hour – I don’t think she tried during that hour. It didn’t add to my confidence in the classroom as she was the language arts teacher and I didn’t function well in a classroom to begin with – still don’t to this day.

As an adult, most people don’t get my name still. I go by a nickname, but for official documents, I still have to put my legal name. Makes it tough.

BTW: I get called by my last name more often than my 2 brothers and 2 male cousins (with the same last name) combined.


This feels well intentioned, but also sounds really humiliating for the students with so-called “difficult” names who, like you, got these “prizes” constantly :frowning_face:

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It was. It was great for about a week of 4th grade (ages 9-10), when classes first started. After that it was extremely humiliating and hurtful that she was willing to learn everyone else’s name, but refused to learn mine. Especially for a language arts teacher where language and words were important as a foundation for her subject matter. :sob: :disappointed:

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[name_f]My[/name_f] brother is a primary school teacher and I just learnt he has a list of his students’ names’ pronunciations :heart_eyes:


Smart move. Kudos to whomever thought that up. :grinning:

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@BookSneakersMovie You’ve just reminded me that when I was aged 5-11, I would have teachers and classmates who would confused me and my best friend at the time, [name_f]Katie[/name_f] with each other. So I would get called [name_f]Katie[/name_f] and she would get called [name_f]Carys[/name_f]. I found it really odd because we didn’t even look like each other, and even if we did, she was taller with yellow-blonde hair and I had brown hair. I can briefly remember a couple of occasions where the person calling one of us, by the wrong name, would get annoyed that we were ignoring them.

@penelope_lynson When I was in high school, the system used for the register allowed you to add notes next to each name. I had quite a few teachers who would add a note of the pronunciation if they hadn’t learned it after a couple weeks or a note of their nickname if they preferred that over their full name.

Pretty much the whole younger generation can pronounce my name, thanks to [name_f]Sybill[/name_f] Trelawney from [name_u]Harry[/name_u] [name_m]Potter[/name_m] and [name_f]Lady[/name_f] [name_f]Sybil[/name_f] from Downtown [name_u]Abbey[/name_u].
'Course, there’s always the substitute teacher or person who says ‘Seeblee.’ It sounds a bit like see bee that way. Technically it’s [name_f]Sibyl[/name_f]. '[name_f]Sib[/name_f]-ull’

Name mispronounciation isn’t a big factor on my life, thankfully. I have a younger sister [name_u]June[/name_u], who’s name has never been mispronounced except for one person that english wasn’t their first language who said it Gune. Yeah. Like Goon. That was unfortunate for her, but she lived with it. [name_u]June[/name_u] has an easy name, so she doesn’t really have those problems.

But me. Yes. [name_f]Sibyl[/name_f]. Sometimes, I go by [name_f]Silvie[/name_f] just so it’s easier. When people recognize me and pronounce my name- correctly- it’s amazing! People know me! Recognize me! Pronounce my name properly!
I’ve got to thank HP for making my name popular. Usually, people can pronounce it, so it doesn’t really affect my daily life.

There’s a girl in my class who has an extremely rare name. Guess what? It gets mispronounced constantly. That leads to her automatic disdain of new people, because no one can pronounce her name. She doesn’t like it when people say her name incorrectly. She hates meeting new people because of it. It really makes a difference in her attitude and words when people say her name properly.

All in all, proper name pronounciation is a large factor in people’s, usually child’s, happiness and attitude.


Thanks for sharing this article. When I was at school, there were quite a few students of Polish and other Eastern European backgrounds and the teachers were clueless about how to pronounce their names. Clearly, learning how to pronounce diverse names was not part of their teacher training (but perhaps it should be).


That and how to treat people, especially kids and their parents. Some of these teachers have no skills on how to work with people (and this goes from nursery level up through university). And yet, these teachers go into a field where working with people is mandatory. Before anyone asks, yes, I was trained as a teacher, and no, there were no classes on how to treat/work with people.

My real name, which isn’t really that difficult, gets butchered by teachers everywhere. Variations of their pronunciations include: [name_f]Anaya[/name_f] (the most common), [name_f]Anya[/name_f], [name_f]Ayana[/name_f], etc. It’s honestly very offensive, especially when they can’t even say it after I tell them how it’s said a few times. I usually settle for the anglicized version, but I find it pretty uncool that they can manage harder [name_f]English[/name_f] names and don’t try on mine at all.


You have officially read my mind. Seriously.


Ugh! I so feel that! [name_f]My[/name_f] name gets mispronounced and subsequently mocked because of it.
[name_f]My[/name_f] name: [name_f]Joy[/name_f]
Other people: [name_f]Joy[/name_f]-e? [name_m]Hoy[/name_m]? Oye? And other various mishaps. ( Why they skip J is beyond me)
Me: J-O-Y
Other people: Oh! As in ‘[name_f]Joy[/name_f] to the world’
And they begin singing it
Luckily I usually go by nicknames and currently I’ve got a great group of friends that think nothing about it!:grin: