The Importance of Pronouncing Names Correctly to Create a Feeling of Belonging

El Duginski, Staff Writer

 Freshman student Aileni Robles constantly gets her name mispronounced by teachers and substitutes. 

“Honestly, sometimes I find it kind of embarrassing. It has happened enough for me to get used to it, but there are always times where I feel embarrassed about having my name mispronounced,” said Robles. 

Mispronouncing a person’s name is a common mistake made daily. It’s easy to mispronounce a name. For example, people could generally try to guess how to pronounce a name the way they think it is, hoping for the best. 

Along with Robles, I am someone with a difficult last name to pronounce. After some time I will get frustrated constantly reminding others how to pronounce it. However, I can’t blame people. It is hard to pronounce it correctly, but at this point, I would find it more beneficial if people would ask before trying to sound it out. If I constantly repeat it to someone and they continue to mispronounce it, then it gets to the point that it is really annoying because the constant reminder should not always be needed. 

As people, it’s not uncommon that we all somehow mispronounce names. According to ZMEscience, a “cognitive glitch results from how the brain categorizes and stores these names. The names of people closest to our social circle are stored in their own folder, so to speak, while the names of acquaintances, distant relatives, or people you just recently met are stored in another folder.”

The cognitive glitches and the memory of names may cause the mispronunciation; however, it does not excuse names constantly getting mispronounced. I like it when people ask me “How do you say your last name?” Then I can tell others how to say it which helps both me and others out. It saves me from the awkward feeling of making a correction and people won’t feel bad or guilty for mispronouncing my last name. Making this change of asking people how to pronounce their name prevents the mistakes that result from cognitive glitches and memory issues. 

In District 303 this year, we have all been reminded of the motto Be here, Be you, Belong, and respecting the correct pronunciation of names falls into the category. Taking the time to make sure you’re saying someone’s name right is a sign of respect because some people have names from different cultures, so by pronouncing all names correctly we are showing respect and politeness of all the different cultures. 

For people who are getting their names mispronounced, they might feel nervous to speak up, or they might not care. I recommend they should say something; it might be awkward, but it’s important to let people know how to say your name correctly because otherwise others might get the wrong impression. 

It’s extremely important to pronounce both first and last names correctly even if it doesn’t seem all that necessary. People should know that many names have a great significant meaning behind them. Pronouncing names correctly is also showing a deep connection and that people do care while it also makes communication with others less awkward.