What's in a name?
As someone with an (almost) unpronounceable, non-anglo-saxon name, I have had a few experiences that have left me flabbergasted, for lack of a better word, and I don't delude myself into thinking that it will go away at any point in time (unless, heaven forbid, I became seriously famous). So I thought I start my blog by giving some thought to this topic, because I am living in a diverse country, teaching in diverse classrooms and working in a diverse environment.
First up, Anke is pronounced as if it were ending in an "eh".
DO NOT. and I repeat. DO NOT. pronounce it as if it ended in "eee" (like Nike, the sports brand - Ankeee).
That makes me cringe like fingernails down an old-fashioned chalkboard. Only one person has so far gotten away with it, because of his brash, unapologetic sense of humour and wide grin on his face every time he says it. He makes it impossible for me to keep a straight mad face and thank God he lives far away on the West Coast (yes, that's you, Brian R). I will manage one day ... :P
The most agonizing situations have occurred when I am waiting in the doctor's office. I can tell already when the nurse comes in and pauses as s/he is reading the name on the chart. I automatically get up. I totally understand their situation - they have to call me in before they have a chance to ask me how to pronounce my name. Conversely, I am in the same situation when I have to call my students on the first day to take attendance.
The most wonderful gesture is when they ask afterwards if they pronounced it right. Unfortunately, that does not happen too often. The absolute worst is when they call me Carroll, since that's the only part of my name that they can pronounce. I have experienced that a million times. Mrs. Carroll would be OK. Carroll is part of my last name. It clearly says so on their charts. It's not my first name. So don't use it as such, only because it solves the problem for you and makes your life easier. THAT. is ignorant. THAT. makes me angry.
Why am I ranting about this? Because your name is part of your identity. Having it messed up without any concern on the part of the other person hurts. Plain and simple.
Here is my request to everyone: if you are not sure, please ask!
"How may I pronounce your name?" Or, alternatively, when you have to call someone first, please ask afterwards "Did I pronounce your name correctly?" and if you see them hesitate, "How would you like me to pronounce it in the future?" (and then make a note on your list).
What it does is show that you care, and that is always a good thing!
It shows respect to the other person. It shows that you want to get it right. And let's face it: it broadens your horizon at the same time, so it's a win-win. Half of Canadians do not have an anglo-saxon name. The majority of people on this planet don't either. Some choose to adopt one. Others not. So please, do make an effort. You don't have to say it perfectly. I will teach you how I like you to say it (I don't insist you say it accent-free like a German would, but no Ankeee please! And no Carroll!)
On behalf of all others who insist on keeping their culturally diverse names: Thank you!!!
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Anke's view on things
As a travelling tourism professor, I explore a lot, whether in far destinations or in my own backyard. I learned to cherish little moments. I take keen interest in the subtle forms of interactions between people. And I love Yoga in case you haven't noticed. That's pretty much what I will be blogging about :) All my opinions are personal and my own.