Wednesday, July 12, 2006

You say tomato, I say . . . (7/5/06)

With a name like Neila, you would think I would be used to mispronunciations by now. Yet, it never ceases to amaze me some of the things that people come up with. I get it really bad since my last name is Forssberg. Before I was married, and I was just Neila Young, at least people could get one name right, but over the last 12 years, I've grown increasingly used to people calling me Nellie Frosting.

We went to a cookout the other night at one of our neighbor's homes. I think we had previously met 90 percent of the people in attendance. Sure enough, a lady came up to me and said, "Hiiii! Nikka, right?" Oh, Sweet Lord! "No. It's Neila." She smiled, "Oh, that's right. I knew it was something with an N."

I think I'm going to start doing this to people. The next time I see someone named Jennifer, I'm going to say, "Hiiii! Jacinda, right?" How do you think people would react, then?

Anyway, for the most part, it doesn't surprise me when my name gets mispronounced. I just find it fascinating when people come up with new ways to say it. I think all the standard mispronunciations have been covered - Nila, Neilya, Nella, Neelee, Nellie, and Nina are the most popular. But when someone comes up with something new, I do have to stop and admire their creativity.

All this being said, when I got pregnant for the first time, my one goal was to pick something that people couldn't screw up. I set out on that quest, and quickly became amazed at how difficult it actually was. I didn't want to pick a name that my child would have to spell to everyone for the rest of his life, but I also didn't want to pick something that 50 other kids in his class would be named. So, we chose Eli. At the time, it wasn't very popular. There were a few Eli's around, but not many. Of course, that has since changed because the second I signed the birth certificate, everyone all of a sudden decided Eli was the perfect name for their new bundle of joy. With everyone else, however, it is short for Elijah, so we're at least unique in the fact that Eli is Eli.

After he was born, I rapidly discovered that people can screw up any name you give them. One of the first times was when we were in a restaurant. When they asked for a first name, I gave them Eli because it's much easier than Neila. When I give my first name, the exchange usually goes something like this:

"Your first name, please?"
"How do you spell that?"
"M-I- What?"

And at that point, I usually want to bash them over the head with my coffee mug.

When the time came to call Eli's name over the loud speaker, I heard, "Elly . . . Elly." I think they had to say it about five times before I realized they meant us. I looked at Eric and said, "You have GOT to be f*^#ing kidding me!" He, of course, finds it amusing that I get so frustrated at these things. That's because he grew up with the name Eric. He has not had to deal with these issues for 30 years!

After awhile, I started to accept the fact that, sadly, people were going to massacre Eli's name, too. When I took him to his dentist, the assistant came out to the waiting room and called, "Elly!" Oh for Christ's sake! I have since corrected them 100 times. Yet, every time they called to remind me of my "daughter Elly's" appointment, I just about lost it. The last time they did that, I snapped, and I think I almost made the girl cry. I was so upset that I don't quite remember what I said, but I think I accused her of not being able to read. We have now changed to a different dentist.

The only reason this is all in my head now, is because my neighbor came up to me the other day and asked again what my little boy's name was. Before I could answer, she said, "It's Elee, right?" I said "No." (That's a new one.) "It's Eli." "Oh, that's right," she said, "I always want to say Elee." Not 10 minutes later, I overheard her talking to her husband, saying. "I thought the boy's name was Eli, but it's Elee." Ugh!! I truly think these people are trying to drive me crazy!

The second time I got pregnant, I thought, here is my chance! I can once again attempt to pick a name that people won't screw up! After much debate, and researching every human name ever used, we chose Georgia. This was no easy task. The two runners-up were Sarah and Grace. Both difficult names to mess up, but also waaay too high on the popularity scale. However, I was recently told by the kids' Gymboree teacher that she's surprised how popular the name Georgia is suddenly becoming. *sigh* Of course, it is.

Anyway, it's not that hard, right? It's the name of a state, for crying out loud! As far as mispronunciations go, we're doing okay so far. Since her name is Georgia Grace, the worst I seem to get are people who call her Grace. That, I can handle. The one thing I didn't factor in was everyone's freaky-ass spellings for normal names. When I ordered her birthday cake, and said I wanted "Happy Birthday, Georgia," I saw the woman start to write on her pad, "J - O -," and my eyes rolled heavenward.

1 comment:

Neila-Sabine said...

Hi Neila!

I like your blog, wished I had more time to read.

Blog-searching if anything of me might be found with certain keywords, I came across this post of yours - I realized, that I do not know how the name is actually pronounced, lol. I chose it some years ago as my net pseudo and always write it only. As I am German I would say [naila]. That probably would make you frown - am I right that the English pronunciation would be [ni:la]?

Have a nice day, and happy blogging