So on occasion, you may have noticed, I have complained about the regular and sustained mispronunciation of my name here in the United Kingdom.
You may have wondered, why does it matter anyhow? Well let me tell you.
- It is rude and lazy to mispronounce someone’s name after they have politely pointed out the problem. I admit that Caroline and Carolyn are very similar names and I understand why you might mispronounce it once or twice, but this should just make it easier, rather than harder to make the correction. It is also lazy when the spelling of my name is provided in all of my email addresses and you still spell and mispronounce it incorrectly. Just read to the last syllable. It’s not hard.
- Caroline is not my name. It never has been my name. And while it is a lovely name (in fact, I have friends named Caroline, they are awesome) is not now , will not ever be and never has been my name.
- My parents chose this name for me with much deliberation. I am named for my grandmothers. Their first names are both variations on Ann so I received their middle names . These names have history and tie me directly to two of my favourite women. When you mispronounce my name you insult my Grandma Kohl, and she will haunt you. True fact. She could hold a grudge like you would not believe. The Harrisburg Red Lobster is still shamed by her boycott in the 80s. (interesting sidenote here, I was almost named Brynn Anna, but my father wisely pointed out that the kids would almost certainly call me banana so that idea was scrapped.)
- It is disrespectful. It is especially disrespectful when you do any of the following: roll your eyes at me like I am being unreasonable by expecting you to correct a very easy error to correct, tell me ‘it’s kind of a tomato / tomahto situation’ (It’s not. My name is neither a vegetable or a fruit, it is my NAME). Or insist on calling me by the wrong name on purpose just to be annoying. And yes, people have done this. People at work, people in my family, people I’ve just met.
- It messes things up! If the incorrect name is written down on something it could screw my life up in a variety of ways. It makes it more difficult for me to collect packages if the name on my ID doesn’t match the name on the address label. It could potentially screw up my Visa process, which is why I took an exception to Mr Tomato/Tomahto the other day as I settled in for my Life in the UK test, if my name had been misspelled on any of that paperwork it would have caused me troubles down the road. The Home Office, never messes up my name and they are not very understanding in general. My hunch is that they would not stand for typos.
- It doesn’t reflect well on you the stubborn mispronouncer. If you can’t be bothered to make the effort to get something so easy right then you are either lazy or a jerk. Maybe both. And why would you want to be either of those things?