August 23, 2011

What's in a name?

I'm a sucker for a cute Kiwi accent. Slowly I'm learning how to perfect it, how they change e's to i's and i's to e's... think bid for bed. Or how they toss around slang so nonchalantly and I sound like a terrible tourist, think easy as (sounds like ass), or choice. But I never thought my name would make a Kiwi tongue-tied!

Since I've been keeping busy for work temping, I've had a chance to work in a handful of offices, and each time I start somewhere new, they try to figure out how to pronounce Sara.

"Is it Sear-ah or Saw-rah?"

I thought was just a Kiwi accent thing, turns out they really do have two ways of pronouncing Sara, all depending on how you spell it. Sarah or Sara has it's own sound.

I find this hilarious! I get asked each time I meet someone how to pronounce it, and it never fails, I tell someone Sara, someone next to me will say "I thought it was Saw-rah!". And I think, that's what I said? So I say Saw-rah next time, and someone else calls out, "Not Sear-ah?!" Ah!

It gets so out of hand, that my managers in all offices have sent out communication on how to pronounce my name so they can get it right! (You'd think I had made a complaint or something!) And one office decided to just call me by last name, but then worried it was offensive. I thought it was grand, having grown up with a sports loving family, using a last name to call on someone is common. In fact, I was often referred to as "last name's sister", I thought it was soooo cool that the last name calling was just for me, no longer referred to someone's sister!

In any case, I still haven't figured out the "right" way Kiwi's pronounces S-a-r-a, and I seem to cause commotion each time I introduce myself. Maybe I should just spell it S-e-r-a as I prefer that over Saw-rah. What's a girl to do? At least no one is cracking the lame old joke, "Oh so your parents forgot the H eh?"

Do others get your name wrong? What do you do when you don't know how to pronounce someone's name? Oh, that reminds me of the time I called Jesus, but it was a Spanish Jesus and not the Jesus I thought. And this was a time when I didn't know that the letter J could be silent and pronounced as an H, so I seriously didn't understand when others would say Jesus. And I'd say, oh Jesus?

In other news, posting is a bit light, turns out that you can cry over spilled red wine, because it will destroy your precious laptop. Le sigh.


  1. haha who would have thought you can pronounce your name so many ways :)

    and your spilled wine on your laptop??!! OMG :(

  2. Ummm, so not having met you - I actually thought your name was Sah-rah. That's how we pronounce Sara (with no H) in NZ...they are definitely two different names and I don't know anyone called Sarah that spells it without an H...until now!

    I have actually noticed that difference here in Canada - I work with a Sara (Sarah) and at work I have to ask customers names all day - I get TONNES of Sara's (and I have to ask "with or without the h?"). Very interesting!!

    My name is constantly pronounced wrong here - I have to say it with a faux-canadian accent, because if I say it in my kiwi accent people think I am saying Laia - like Princess Laia. It's LEA - AH people! But I recognise that my accent is a little heavy on the vowels, so instead I over pronounce the leeeee bit haha! Then again - some Kiwi's used to pronounce it Lear (like a lear jet) because they were too lazy with their accent to do the ah bit at the end haha!

    Oh the little things huh? I love your blog because I am experiencing the exact same things - just the opposite!!

  3. Oh no! I definitely do not have this problem, as "Kim" is pretty easy to pronounce over here. My husband's name is Sachin (pronounced "such-in") and he has heard it all - "satch-in," "sasha," you name it! I hope you figure out a way to get everyone to pronounce it correctly :)

  4. The Kiwi accent is tricky. I had a roommate when I was in Washington DC and her name was Vanessa, but because she was Kiwi, she pronounced it Va-nee-sa. I always felt bad that I was pronouncing it incorrectly!


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