What’s in the Pronunciation of a Name?

I’ve had countless people mispronounce my name in countless ways.  It only moderately bothers me when I know someone can pronounce it in Spanish but chooses not to.  But it’s no big deal, really.  In fact, I like the way mispronunciations have served as loud and glossy billboards for pesky telemarketers.  

Now, if it were up to Mark Krikorian, a writer for The National Review, I should have to conform and say my name in English.  Goodbye rolled R!  It was nice knowing you.  Here’s what he had to say, in response to the varying pronunciations of Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor’s name:

“One of the areas where conformity is appropriate is how your new countrymen say your name, since that’s not something the rest of us can just ignore, unlike what church you go to or what you eat for lunch. And there are basically two options — the newcomer adapts to us, or we adapt to him. And multiculturalism means there’s a lot more of the latter going on than there should be.”

Sorry, but I don’t buy this for one second.  Why does he lay out only two, extreme options?  I will keep saying my name the way I have since I learned to talk — in Spanish, thank you very much.  Everyone else, you can come along with me for the ride, or keep saying it in English if it feels more comfortable for you.  Last time I checked, this country didn’t even have — has never had — an official language, and that shows that multiculturalism and multilingualism are not new concepts, but have been around with us since at least 1776.

Posted by: Mariela

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One response to “What’s in the Pronunciation of a Name?

  1. Dear LORD, don’t take away my rolled R’s!!

    I absolutely LOVE saying yours and Mariola’s name. If I am telling a story about either one of you and I say your name, sometimes people stop me and ask why I pronounce it the way I do. I always look at them funny, and say, “That’s how you say their name, it’s not my fault you don’t have a talented tongue and can’t roll the R”. I hate “white-ing” up ya’lls names.

    *Actually, I use to sing Mariola’s name to the tune of “hallelujah”, but that doesn’t really have a point in this story except that that is how much I love the name.

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