Things tend to get a little confusing because there is a big difference in how words (and names) are read (and pronounced) in English and in Spanish.
If read in English, my kiddies' names all have a very nice ring to them. But read in Spanish, they become something totally different. For example, the "J" in Spanish sounds like the English "H", so Jack Alfonso becomes HACK Alfonso.
And because the English "TH" is very hard for many Spanish speakers to pronounce, Ashley Faith becomes ASH-LAY FIGHT.
Since the Mexican "CH" is never pronounced like the letter "C", Nicholas Patrick becomes NEE-CHOH-LAWS PAW-TREEK. His first grade teacher, refused to pronounce his name in English, claiming that since we were in Mexico, his name had to be read as if it were in Spanish. Finally after a couple of months, she started calling him Nick.
This isn't the only problem Nick's had with his name. When we first moved to Mexico, Hubby's grandmother was waiting for us at my in-laws house, anxious to meet her great-grandchildren. As soon as she picked Nick up in her arms, she asked us what his name was, to which we both replied, "Nicholas Patrick." She looked at us kind of in shock and said, "Nicolas Parches? What kind of name is that???" Parches is Spanish for "Patches". She thought we named our son, Nicholas Patches.
Oddly enough, Hope's one syllable name causes the most confusion.
The "H" in Spanish is always silent, so Hope Nicole becomes OH-PAY NEE-COLE-AY. Sounds a little like Pig Latin doesn't it? But no, it's how most teachers have pronounced Hope's name over the years. When Hope explains the proper pronunciation, the name Hope is then mistaken for HOBE, which is the Spanish pronunciation of the Biblical name, Job. Which then leads to the following conversation...
"Isn't that a boy's name?"
"Yes, Job is a boy's name. But my name is Hope, it's the English word for Esperanza."
"Then why didn't your parents just name you Esperanza?"
"Because my mom's a Gringa!"
But wait, the fun doesn't stop there.
Remember, everyone in Mexico has two last names. Hubby's last name, Limón is easy to pronounce: LEE-MOAN. But my Gringo maiden name? Not so easy! "Harris" has that darn silent "H" and the double "R" so it becomes AH-RRRREEEESS. (UPDATE: As per a new law in Mexico, my US born children only have one last name to match the name on their US birth certificates. Read more...)
I told you it gets confusing.
Thankfully, my kiddies are all great sports and really don't mind having to go through this year after year on the first day of school. They are proud of their names and like the fact that no one in school has the same name.
Have you ever had someone mispronounce your name?
For more posts like this, be sure to read The Name Game.