Please resolve the spelling of your name

The English language is very irregular. It was comprised from a mishmash of incompatible cultural influences, archaic words, and defiant grammar rules. But when it comes to names, we have a unique opportunity to resolve some incongruities. I understand that most names have as rich a heritage as anything else, but I think with it being The Year of Our Lord 2010, we’re ready to start streamlining.

I believe that if a person or place’s name is pronounced opposite of the spelling, it deserves to be mispronounced. We need to come together as a society and decide – will we keep the spelling or the pronunciation? But when a word includes very clear and unambiguous spelling rules, but the pronunciation ignores them, we have no right to be annoyed when a person mispronounces.

Here is a list of what I’m referring to:

  • Newfoundland, a Canadian province, pronounced “NEWfinland”
  • Anna Faris, actress, pronounced “AH-na”
  • Spokane, a city in Washington, pronounced “SPO-can”
  • Alonzo Bodden, comedian, pronounced “BOH-din”
  • Poughkeepsie, a city in New York, pronounced “puh-KIPsee” (that one really gets stuck in my craw)

Of course, I had more examples in my head but I didn’t get my blog started quickly enough to retain them all. But you see what I mean. The thing that really chaps my ass is that people who are used to using these names love to condescendingly correct people who mispronounce them – people who may have only seen them in print and were following established spelling rules. If we’re married to these pronunciations, we need to edit the spellings, period.

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