Around the net this morning, I saw this post from a teacher entitled, “Just Us.” It was a short, ranting; “People, when you name your babies, please just use normal spellings. I know everyone wants their children to be ‘unique.’ Let them do that on their own, not by how you spell their names.”
As my loveys know, I am one of those parents.
My older son is named after a former basketball player who has a Spanish name, but is African American. I wanted to ensure pronunciation appropriate to my son’s jewish/southern american heritage so he got a phonetic spelling. Luckily for the ePrince, I can read and write so it was actually an accurate use of phonics. Who knew that Apple was going to make it big with a product called iPod using the same phonetic twisted spelling I enlisted in naming my first-born babe over 16 years ago!
My younger son, from my second marriage, has an authentic Irish name, spelled exactly as it would in the original dialect – that doesn’t go over well either. He is not Sinéad O’Connor, but try telling that to the parents and teachers in our community. And his name is the original Gaelic version of Kenneth. Kenneth is my twin brother, but is also the name of my uncle and several generations of uncles before that.
Inevitably, each school year, I do a little lesson I like to call cultural awareness. In it, I explain to all who are new to our family circle the cultural histories of each of my children. Usually they begin to get it. If they don’t, well then I have evidence of a pretty telling perspective on their social and political tolerance. And here would be one of those telling little gems from a commenter in the original post, “There were some Spanish kiddos whose name was Jesus. But the J was pronounce like H and the e was short not long.”
As you know, over here in the border states that buttress Mexico – that is the correct Spanish pronunciation.
If we, as Americans, can enjoy naan, pita, and tortillas, why on earth should we settle for the white-bread version of naming our children?