What’s in a name? Or who’s in it? Our names are how we identify ourselves to everyone. In Australia, what does it mean to misspell or mispronounce a name?
Names are important.
They tell a story of who we are and where we come from.
In a multicultural, multilingual country like Australia, we’re not all going to be called “John Smith”, which is good because you can imagine how confusing that’d make any coffee run.
But it does mean sometimes, some names are misspelled and mispronounced.
If you want to see what this looks like on live TV, check out this clip from The Ellen DeGeneres Show, shared on Twitter a couple of years ago
In it American comedian Hasan Minhaj, who comes from a Muslim Indian background, joined Ellen on the couch. And she got his name wrong right off the bat.
As Hasan explained, it’s something that happens all the time.
But, as he goes on to say, rather than change his name to something a little more talkshow-host-friendly, he’s stood by it.
“When I first got in, you know, started doing comedy, people were like, ‘You should change your name.’ And I’m like, ‘I’m not going to change my name.’ If you can pronounce ‘Ansel Elgort,’ you can pronounce Hasan Minhaj,” he said.
There are a few things we love about Hasan’s approach.
He’s direct – not afraid to interrupt Ellen and correct her error.
But he does it in a way that’s cool, calm and collected, explaining everything in a light-hearted tone, and using humour to get his point across.
She probably doesn’t feel that bad about getting his name wrong.
But she’s definitely not going to get it wrong again.
Most of us are pretty attached to our names.
But most of us are also probably pretty attached to not having to need to wear a nametag 24/7 to make sure our names are spelled and said correctly.
So, what should those of us with commonly misspelled and mispronounced names do (aside from booking an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show).
Here are four things you can try next time your teacher, boss, mate or even barista accidentally adds a couple of vowels or consonants to your name.
The way we address each other matters and everyone deserves to have their name said and spelt correctly.
If someone is getting your name wrong time and time again, try one, two or all of those tips.
And if the shoe is on the other foot, make sure you take to get someone else’s name correct.
It’s a sign of recognition and respect.
Do you have a story of your name being spelled (or said) incorrectly? Or are you constantly fumbling over other people’s names? We want to hear your story.