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Monday, March 30, 2009

What's In A Name?

It is Friday, finally, and I am picking up Giancarlo from pre-school. I hear my son talking before I actually see him.

“That’s not my name. It’s Giannn-CAR-looooo.”

He speaks slowly and loudly so that the mother of his pre-school playmate can understand him. He is looking at her, waiting for a response, but she says nothing. I know what Giancarlo will say next and, because I am on the opposite side of the room, there is nothing I can do to stop it.

“Say it, please. Say my name. You can do it. It’s Giancarlo.”

The Mom does as she is asked and Giancarlo turns to me and says, “Mama! Did you hear? She finally said my name right.”

Long before I ever had kids, I knew that I wanted them to have Italian names. And while Giancarlo’s name maybe the equivalent to Bob Smith in the Italy, it is still different from the norm here. At age three, Giancarlo has been referred to in a variety of different ways, including Jean Carlo (in French), Juan Carlos (in Spanish), John, GC, and Carlo.

Dear Abbey advises her readers to try not to be embarrassed when people mispronounce your name. She recommends simply correcting them and moving on, knowing they probably won't make the same mistake twice. Since Giancarlo has been old enough to talk, he has been correcting people, loudly…even when I don’t.

After a lifetime of facing this issue myself, and ultimately resorting to “just call me Fran,” maybe there is something to be learned from my son.

-Francesca
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66 comments:

peewee said...

well I make people say my name right too.

SAY IT CORRECTLY...YOUY CAN DO IT....GO ON...

YO-GAAAAA-BIIIIITTCCHHH.

Ronnica said...

I don't make people pronounce my name correctly (I get "Veronica" instead of "Ronnica" a lot), but it sometimes leads to embarrassing situations if I let it go on, so I probably should go on. I have a strangly pronounced last name that's even worse...most of my friends don't even know the correct pronounciation! People give me a hard time when they hear me say it and realize they've been saying it wrong all along, but the thing is I never hear it because they don't have to specify which Ronnica they're talking about/to!

Helene said...

I totally empathasize with your son...people mispronounce my name all the time and you'd think it would be an easy name to say...Helene. Seems easy to me. Giancarlo seems like an easy name to say too..sometimes I just think people are lazy. Good for him on correcting people!

♥georgie♥ said...

LOL...well I hafta agree with him...people NEVER pronounce my name correctly which is why i went to georgie-

TrueLoveIsaMama said...

I was just telling my sister that my kids actually say my name right (!) and that i have 10000 % given up on everyone else,(who is not hispanic anyway), I say it once,.. Cloud- ee-ya...then they repeat 'oh, Clawdia', I say, yeah...

resplendentlife said...

G has the right idea. My name was butchered and mispronounced throughout my childhood. Finally, I give gentle instruction, but whew! What a time I had for the first twelve years!!!

Mrs. D Lightful said...

That's good advice from Abby. My name is pretty easy to pronounce. Until you get to my middle name...I just don't use my middle name unless I absolutely have to! But I think it's SO awesome you kept the Italian name tradition. I think your kids will appreciate it when they are older if they don't already!

Cammie said...

dont get me started......

Vanessa said...

Cutest 3 year old EVER!!

Vickie said...

What a cutie!! People use to mispronounce my maiden name wrong all the time. Really, Culver?

Now they misspell my married name. Which is Les. People are always adding an extra s.

Heidi Ashworth said...

Let that kid shine! I have to admit, though, I'm surprised people don't know how to pronounce Giancarlo. Italian names are all spelled phoenetically. Duh!

Jo said...

Uh oh, maybe I am saying your name wrong in my head. Fran-chess-ska. Yes? No?
I can't even count how many times people call me Jill. It is TWO letters people, TWO! You would think it wouldn't be that hard. Sheesh.

Heather said...

I think my kids will have the same problem, but with their last name, it's Herakovic and no one says it right. Hanna is 3 and can't say it so it should be interesting to see how she corrects people!

Daisigirl said...

I kind of have the opposite thing going on. My mom named me Kim, just Kim, not Kimberly. People want to call me Kimberly and I have to say no, it's just Kim. :0) Kids are so funny aren't they? They can be so bold and just let people know exactly what they feel and think! Then we become adults and we try to be so diplomatic all the time. I think we should be more like our kids! -Maybe just for one day!

Meg said...

That is way too funny.

Susan said...

Good for Giancarlo! He is learning to be proud of his name!

Kristina P. said...

How would you feel if he decided to go by Johnny or something?

Ethan, Zach, and Emma's Mom said...

Good for him. People are always spelling my name wrong. (Ester) So I emphasize the h when I spell it. EstHer.
Lucia's name is pronounced Loo-chee-ah, right? Just checking.

He And Me + 3 said...

That is hilarious. Good for your little guy. They pronounce my sons name wrong all the time too. Always leaving out the L. But it is a very important letter.

Jane Anne said...

I love it. I love your son's honesty. Sometimes I just wish I could be as honest as my children!

It is really bugging me right now because a neighbor is calling my son Jon when his name is Jonathan. We have never called him Jon. And, sometimes I am confused or caught off-guard and say, "Oh Jonathan" and yet, she still calls him Jon. It just seems strange. And my son, he could care less! I guess that's why I haven't said anything. But, it still bugs me.

Mary@Holy Mackerel said...

My first name was nothing compared to my last name. I ended up telling my teachers just to call me Mary Bottle Of Whiskey. I was Polish...what can I tell you?

Kimmy said...

This is too funny! I actually have had that issue but with the spelling of my lasst name (present and maiden). Annoying as it is, I have learned to correct and move on also.

As a young girl, my grandmother's boyfriend (at the time) would call me Timmy instead of Kimmy. NOW THAT irritated me. Since when do I look like a boy??!! lol

Your little boy is too funny!!!!

Barbaloot said...

Hey---at least when people find out his name they won't respond, "Hey-that's my grandma's name!" Yeah...I get it. I have an old lady name.

Lady of Perpetual Chaos said...

My name is almost always pronounced wrong. We've lived in this neighborhood for over 7 years and people (that I know) still say it wrong. My real name makes my blog name seem short and sweet!

♫ Spasm ♫ said...

that is soooo cute! My son will totally correct anyone who typically shortens his name.

I like his tenacity

Grand Pooba said...

I love that he corrects people himself! Mama taught him well! And I totally feel your pain. People are constantly mispronouncing Grand Pooba.

Grand Poop
Great Pooh Bear
Gross Poopy diaper

The mistakes go on and on.

I have such a hard life.

Juls said...

so, so true... I love it. Go Giancarlo, you totally rock, kid!

Sneaky Momma said...

Good for your boy!
I have a weird last name. It is spelled the same as a common word, but pronounced differently. My husband never corrects others who mispronounce it. At our wedding rehearsal, I was shocked when my SIL came up to me and told me that the preacher had mispronounced my soon-to-be last name. Turns out, I had been mispronouncing it, too! :)

Shalee- Be Speechless said...

I use to hate my name when I was a kid. I don't know why people had such a hard time with Shalee ( pronounced Shay-lee)
I wanted to change my name to Shea... haha

But I soon came to embrace my name. :D I love it now and so does my husband.

Alicia said...

How cute! What a smart young man you have there!!!

blueviolet said...

I think both of your names seem pretty straight forward but it's when people have a pronunciation that is unlike their spelling when it gets me.

I had a friend named Jeanne but it was pronounced like Jeannine. ????

Amy said...

I guess he told you....LOL

Heather of the EO said...

I love what Heidi said. It seems like it would be pretty easy to figure out...but then again, I've been called Heater. :)

It rocks that he's so confident. I love it.

Megryansmom said...

You and Giancarlo need to hang with more goombahs, people KILL my last name all the time.

Technodoll said...

Like they say: from the mouth of the babes!

I've never heard that name but love it :-)

Mainly a midwife said...

That's adorable.. And I love his Italian name (my maiden name is the equivalent of Smith in Italy too but it's unusual here...which is why I always loved it)

Counselormama said...

Ugh, my name pronunciation has been a problem my whole life. Example:
Uh-von
Yuh-von
Evan
etc.
I want to yell, It's pronounced
EEEEVonnn!

xoxo s said...

Dear Francesca,

I did notice that my blog was a little lackluster due to a certain someone missing. I'm glad the stars are aligned and you're back.
I'm very much like your soon, just 22, tall, black female correcting people whenever they can't say SEVERINA.

I'm glad you're back and I hope you're birthday was amazing!

xoxo s

rebel said...

How cute. He sounds so smart. He knows they need to try to pronounce his name correctly. And he sounded sweet about it.
I was on my way to your blog when I saw you had stopped in at mine. Funny, great minds think alike!

The Rambler said...

giggle.

love it. I let some old guy call me the wrong name for years. I tried to correct him a couple times but he never took to it.

One day he just said my name right. maybe I needed your son!

:)

mommy jac said...

Hi Francesca thanks for dropping by I didn't know that something has been missing from my blog kindly inform me again if something might appeared again and sorry for that. I appreciate your kindness thank you ^-^

Connie said...

Go get 'em Giancarlo! It is good to see such confidence :)

My daughter has been spelling her name forever... Honor h o n o r. Although she doesn't get huffy about it and tends to love all sorts of nicknames too. My son though likes only his name, and keep it straight, that's Brian with an i, NOT y!

Quiskaeya said...

Well Ms Lady, I'm glad you made it back to my blog because it hasn't been acting right since you were on hiatus.

Next time could you give me a heads up before your next disappearing act. HA! So glad you stopped by!

Nothing irks me more than people who claim they can say my name better than me. And this is AFTER I tell them how it's pronounced. The nerve.

Deb said...

Princess' nickname is one most commonly given to boys, so she has also done the exaggerated correcting thing on adults. It's a tough one for me, because I want her to be respectful, but I also want her to be able to assert herself, and being called by the right name is an important part of identity.

Gotta love parenting.

Stephanie said...

I think it is great that he corrected her and "encouraged" her in the name pronounciation.

My daughter's name is Alyse (like Elyse but with an "A" sound") Pronounced A-leese.
Because we live in the south she gets A-lie-ce a lot and some people call her Alice. Our last name isn't easy either. Sometimes I feel bad for her, but I still love her name and would never change it!

BTW: Glad you are back from your little blogcation. I took a little Spring Break myself.

Lolli said...

I can relate! My own husband, before we were married said my name wrong for months, but I though tit was just his slight Southern accent and I let it slide, eventhough I had grown up correcting people (let's just say it was Law-li instead of L0w-li, as an example....I'm sure you can imagine) It caused quite a stir when he heard me correct someone else. Haha!!

ymk said...

I used to ignore if people pronounced my named wrong, if it were people I knew I won't see again (like at the doctor's office, or the grocery store) Who cares if someone says it wrong, I know how its pronounced.
But with kids I think its important to correct, to let them know its important. Way to go Giancarlo!

Carin said...

Good for him!!!! I love his confidence!!!!! and I LOVE his name!!!!!

Kailey said...

Oh, that makes me laugh, because when I was a kid, I was always thrilled when someone correctly prounounced my name!

P.S. Yes, I had missed you! Glad you're back.

Sarah said...

You wouldn't think people could mess up "Sarah", would you? They can.

I say good for him for correcting them. Of course, if I were to ever meet him, he'd probably correct me, too. As I'd probably say it with much twang thanks to a southern accent. :)

Jessica@Foodmayhem said...

I think it's great that your son corrects people. My husbands name is Lon and inevitably gets called Ron. My name Jessica seems so common and easy yet many people manage to call me Jennifer. =/

Mr. and Mrs. Nurse Boy said...

I would say he is a very smart boy! That made me laugh. Since my name is Heather, I am afraid I just can't relate. But, everyone wants their name to be pronounced correctly!

Mrs. Nurse Boy

Beth (A Mom's Life) said...

Your son is proud of his name! That's awesome. And he will stand out among a sea of Rileys, Jacks, Chases and Seans.

And I think the name Francesca is beautiful!

MELISSA said...

Love it. People mispronounce my last name all the time and I've heard some whoppers. Too funny that he sets them straight already! :) I love your son's name (being Italian myself!) and it reminds me of the little boy we sponsor in Guatemala named Aldrin-Giancarlo.

And yes I was totally missing you on my blog so thanks for popping on over!!! :)

Kristen said...

Francesca thanks so much for stopping by my blog!! And for your kind words :) I must say y'all have an ADORABLE blog & even more adorable children!!

Becky said...

Oh, how cute! Good to see he is prepared to keep people in check.
People have no problem pronouncing my name, however, some insist on calling me Rebecca instead of Beck, no matter how many times I ask them not to!
Glad to see you're back :)

Jenni said...

That is cute! And I agree with Abby, there's no need to be embarrassed. Except...I have to say recently someone called me by completely the wrong name and I didn't correct them. LOL For some reason that is much worse than a mispronuciation.

sheela said...

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Cheryl said...

Yeah. Chinese people can't pronounce my name here and therefore don't say it. It pretty much makes me feel insignificant

lov said...

sooooo
i've been trying to figure out exactly how to say his name since the first time i came over to your blog....
but i guess i am not alone!!

i correct everyone who says my name wrong, and i always correct people when they spell it wrong....

i don't know why it has always frustrated me....
but it has....

and i am not able to let people butcher my name....
should i get over it?!?!

amanda said...

ahhh the joys of names. people always ask if breigh is short for something (brianna, brianne) first off. who cares? second off. who cares? :0) and then they get all weird-ed out when i say caitlyn's name starts with a 'c'. they say, oh really not a k. no not a 'k'. last time i checked c and k made the same sound...so again..who cares?!? and i personally LOVE your kiddos names. :0) and your name actually...maybe IF we get to the letter 'f' i'll name my baby after YOU. :0)

wenbren explains it all said...

well let me tell you she won't dare mispronounce his name again and for the most part other peoples's names LOL!!!Good job on correcting and sticking up to your name Giancarlo!

Whitney said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog!!

I think that it is marvelous that he makes them say his name correctly. Good for him! Are you Italian? And do you say your name Fran-CHES-ca? Is that right? I like knowing how to say names correctly, especially because I grew up with a friend name Kajsa. (That's Kai-sa) And I adore the name Lucia!

The High Family said...

this post made me laugh because my son would have done the same thing...ahhh the honesty at their age!

After growing up with a unique name that NO ONE could spell correctly, I decided that my children WILL have easy short names that everyone could pronounce and spell correctly.

Well Kara might be a little hard for some because it can be spelled with a K or C...so I do have some mama guilt for setting her up to have to say, Kara with a K for the rest of her life. But hey, that's better than saying, B O B B I -(hyphen! funny how many people do not know what this symbol is?!) J O...

*sigh*

Megan said...

Haha Good for him! That's awesome that he doesn't let people get away with saying his name incorrectly. =D

thesixkents said...

Whew! I WAS saying it correctly in my head! Of course, we were just in Italy, and I had just been learning some Italian - is that like cheating??

Now if I could only learn to roll my "R's"...