Pronouncing My Name: You’re (probably) doing it wrong…
This was originally published in June 2011. I’ve since relocated to another country where my surname is even less common, and I’ve eased up quite a bit about correcting people on how to pronounce “Paz.” To my new friends and colleagues who might find their way of pronouncing my surname in this post, fear not, I still adore you.
Despite having the shortest name in my graduating class, I probably had the last name most often mispronounced. My whole first and last name is only two syllables; not a lot to screw up there. Yet still, no matter how many times I correct people there are those who think my last name rhymes with “jazz,” but (in English) it actually rhymes better with “claws.”
Those two words do not sound the same so mispronouncing my name in the typical way is painfully obvious. I think I am so used to it that now I can seamlessly answer to either pronunciation of my last name. Actually come to think of it I don’t usually even correct people any more, I just let them call me what they want.
It really gets old having to correct people. No, it’s not their fault. My last name is Hispanic, so pronouncing it in English becomes fair game. I’ve even had Spanish-speakers correct me on how to say my own last name. What a sad life I live huh?
A very English-sounding first name accompanied with a Hispanic last name gets some very interesting combinations of pronunciations.
It won’t hurt my feelings to take a shot at pronouncing it correctly. But I’d definitely prefer (if you’re interested) an inconspicuous inquiry. I know it’s not easy, they even get it wrong in Spain and Puerto Rico (where they call me “Jun”). Just know you won’t hurt my feelings by asking.