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weather: mostly cloudy
outside: 7°C
mood: mildly annoyed
Am I the only member of the Please-Pronounce-Dr-Seuss'-Name-Correctly Crusade?

*crickets chirp*

*sigh* Looks like it.

It's German. It rhymes with "Joyce". He pronounced his own name "Zoyce". There is only one way to pronounce a person's name. And that's "exactly the way s/he pronounces it".

It's the ultimate disrespect to insist differently.

Your head goes on a kebab stick if I hear you say "Dr. Soos" in person.

wintersweet gave me the fantastic idea of retorting with "Sigmund Frood". =)

The other one that annoyed me for a while was "Arnold Schwa_zenegger". But I'm not sure about this one anymore. I could have sworn, someone I knew had dinner with him on a trip to LA. He brought back a personalized autographed 8x10 or took a picture of his cement square in front of Graumann's (I can't remember which now). It had only one 'r' which was on the end. I remember it because we joked that "he spelled his own name wrong" for a while. But this picture is the only good one I could find and it looks like there is an 'r' after the 'a'.

Maybe he did spell his own name wrong just that once. I wouldn't put it past him. *shrug* =D

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Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
bride
Dec. 13th, 2002 01:49 pm (UTC)
Re:
Haha =) Dr. Frood. I should say that from now on =D
xinit
Dec. 13th, 2002 01:44 pm (UTC)
I'd say that there's more than one way to pronounce a name... Qunli comes to mind... especially if you're non-Chinese and not corrected by the person so named when you say it wrong...

http://german.about.com/library/weekly/aa020401b.htm

bride
Dec. 13th, 2002 01:47 pm (UTC)
Re:
I have no problems mangling pronunciation when it's not a person's name.

And yeah, I was a stickler for Qunli's name =)
ntang
Dec. 13th, 2002 02:23 pm (UTC)
Huh. I have to admit, I had no idea.
bride
Dec. 13th, 2002 02:24 pm (UTC)
Re:
Haha, now aren't you glad Dr. Seuss didn't come up in our conversation at Milestone's =D =D
ntang
Dec. 13th, 2002 02:34 pm (UTC)
Re:
I guess so. ;) But... kebab can be so tasty...

<homer>Mmmm.... kebab.... glaaaahrhhh....</homer>
bride
Dec. 13th, 2002 02:41 pm (UTC)
Re:
Hehehe =D
flirtykatiegurl
Dec. 13th, 2002 03:09 pm (UTC)
I'll join you in the crusade!! German's my first language so I always pronounced it Soyce and so does my family. People look at you funny when you say it though...
bride
Dec. 13th, 2002 03:10 pm (UTC)
Re:
Yeah, I know. I'm going to retort with "Sigmund Frood" next time... courtesy of wintersweet =D
flirtykatiegurl
Dec. 13th, 2002 03:40 pm (UTC)
Re:
hehe
pne
Dec. 13th, 2002 10:30 pm (UTC)
Pronouncing people's names they way they do it
There is only one way to pronounce a person's name. And that's "exactly the way s/he pronounces it".

I agree, in principle. This presupposes, of course, that (a) you know how that person pronounces it and (b) you can get your mouth around that pronunciation :)

I always assumed that he pronounced it "Soose" because that's what I heard others call him. Do you have any reference for the fact that he said it "Soyce"?

"It's a German name and that's how it's pronounced in Germany" doesn't count; people have been known to change pronunciations or spellings through the generations or even within the same family. (And especially so when moving to another country.)

(Two examples: one of my teachers was "van Cott" but her sister spelled it "Vancott"; I know of brothers named "Grzan" of whom one pronounces is "Grit-tsan" and the other, supposedly, "Shan" or "Gshan" [which is probably closer to the original Polish pronunciation].)

And then there are those people who can't pronounce their name "properly" -- so you think you know how to pronounce their name, but it's not how they say it. (I'm thinking in particular of people with the Cantonese name Ng, which some bearers of the name, especially non-native speakers of Cantonese, (mis)pronounce as "Ing" or "Nig" or other variations rather than "Ng".)

It's the ultimate disrespect to insist differently.

Similar writing Chinese names in simplified characters if that person uses traditional or vice versa, no?

The other one that annoyed me for a while was "Arnold Schwa_zenegger". But I'm not sure about this one anymore.

I've always seen it spelled with an r, and it makes sense to me. ISTR he once gave a translation of his name as "black farmer", which only makes sense if it's "Schwarzenegger" (from "schwarz" black + "eggen" to till (ground) with a harrow).

(I've heard that that derivation may be folk etymology, though; the alternative given was from a placename "Schwarzenegg", but I don't remember what they gave as a meaning for the "-egg" in such [south German or Austrian] placenames. I think it was a regional word.)
bride
Dec. 14th, 2002 12:38 am (UTC)
Re: Pronouncing people's names they way they do it
Do you have any reference for the fact that he said it "Soyce"?

I'd heard that he pronounced it "Soyce" himself. That and I know that it's common for foreigners to give up correcting English-speaking folks because they just don't seem to get it no matter how many times you correct them, whether it's from plain laziness, pure lack of consideration for others or whatever.

The mentality is "if they're going to mangle it anyway, at least I'll have them call me something I can accept."

And then there are those people who can't pronounce their name "properly"

I absolutely understand that there are phonemes outside of some peoples' native phonetic inventory that they just cannot differentiate. But the difference between "oy" and "oo" is well within the abilities of any English speaker. To me, that's plain lazy and inconsiderate.

Similar writing Chinese names in simplified characters if that person uses traditional or vice versa, no?

No. I don't think many have as strong an objection to simplified characters as I do. I think very few attach an emotional component to it like I do. Simplified characters for surnames is just fine. It's something like an abbreviation.

I've always seen it spelled with an r

See, this is what I'm objecting to. Everyone says, "well I always spell it this way" or "I always see it this way", implying that they cannot fathom that it can be wrong because they spell it that way.

And like I said, "Schwarzenegger" in particular, I'm not sure about anymore. I thought it was him, but maybe it isn't.
pne
Dec. 14th, 2002 03:45 am (UTC)
Re: Pronouncing people's names they way they do it
And then there are those people who can't pronounce their name "properly"

I absolutely understand that there are phonemes outside of some peoples' native phonetic inventory that they just cannot differentiate. But the difference between "oy" and "oo" is well within the abilities of any English speaker. To me, that's plain lazy and inconsiderate.
Sorry, a misunderstanding there I think.

I was referring to situations where someone goes out of his way to pronounce someone's name "authentically" only to hear that that's not the correct pronunciation.

My example was coming across someone called Ng and pronouncing that name just with a velar nasal /ŋ/ and hearing "no, that's wrong, my name is /nIg/".

That is, cases where the owner of the name pronounces his own name "wrongly" according to some standard (in this case: not like the standard Cantonese pronunciation of ), so that those who pronounce the name correctly (by that standard) pronounce it incorrectly (by the standard of the owner of the name) -- even though they made a special effort to get it right.

That sort of thing just makes it more difficult to "do the right thing".
bride
Dec. 14th, 2002 11:00 am (UTC)
Re: Pronouncing people's names they way they do it
cases where the owner of the name pronounces his own name "wrongly" according to some standard... That sort of thing just makes it more difficult to "do the right thing".

Oh, okay, I completely missed that. But yeah, I know the "Ng" example and yes, the anglicized pronunciation is different - most people here pronounce it "ing". But I still think it's important that you say it the way they want you to say it.

I don't get this worked up over this issue outside of this post =D I mention the Soos/Soyce thing in passing when I hear it, but after that, it doesn't matter.

It's just that I've had more than a few people say to me, "You're the only person who tries to say my name right, thank you." And it's very clear that they appreciate their name pronounced correctly.

It's not just surnames in foreign languages either(!!!) Commander Data is played by Brent Spiner (SPY-ner). People had mangled his name so often he actually had to give a pronunciation lesson in his convention presentation. He said that a lot of people say "spinner" and even put an extra 'n' in there to make it "spinner". =P

Things like that just make me go, "what the hell is wrong with people?!?!"
pi2infinity
Jul. 9th, 2003 10:58 pm (UTC)
Re: Pronouncing people's names they way they do it, even if it's nonsensical...
I had a coworker named John Nguyhen. I am from Miami and Toronto and have had many different cultures and tongues to contend with, using only my caucasian abilities. Politely, I asked him how he pronounced the name on his nametag on the first time I met him (after he introduced himself as simply, "John"). He freaked out on me like I've committed some crime and said "'When.' The name is pronounced 'when.'" I really think that, fine, I may have been a tad naïve and perhaps I should have asked another coworker of ours instead of Mr. Nguyhen himself. But, c'mon! 'Nguyhen' = 'when?' That was just too much for me to handle.
bride
Jul. 9th, 2003 11:05 pm (UTC)
Re: Pronouncing people's names they way they do it, even if it's nonsensical...
I totally sympathize. Vietnamese has one of the most unintuitive phonetic systems I've ever seen from an English point of view.

Not to confuse you further, but I was told it was "ven" (as in "Venn Diagrams"). It's probably something in between or it could be different depending on which of the two dialects of Vietnamese he speaks.
pi2infinity
Jul. 10th, 2003 09:37 am (UTC)
Re: Pronouncing people's names they way they do it, even if it's nonsensical...
After he said, "The name is pronounced 'when,'" I repeated it with the way I pronounce the word 'when,' which sounds like 'wen.' He repeated 'When' until I pronounced the "h."

Ay, geez.

And you're right-- he's very much Vietnamese.
pne
Jul. 9th, 2003 11:28 pm (UTC)
I say potahtoe, you say poteighto.
I'd heard that he pronounced it "Soyce" himself.

(Incidentally, standard German pronunciation for "Seuss" would be "Zoyce", not "Soyce". But I know there are regions in Germany where syllable-initial "s" is pronounced /s/ and not /z/.)
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