Filipe
New languages and old names

I had some free time and caught myself wondering: how to deal with names (in particular, our names) when speaking a foreign language.

I have heard that some people, depending on their target and first languages prefer to choose a new name and rid themselves of the troubles of spelling and correcting pronunciation altogether, but most people I have met choose to deal with those problems and try to use their "real" name in second language contexts, even if for that they have to sacrifice pronunciation and some minutes of explanation every time they meet someone new.

So, now, I was asking myself, what do you think? Are there names that are hard to pronounce? Or are names from particular languages harder than other? Would you prefer someone else to be introduced with their native name, a more familiar name, or it simply doesn't matter? Do you think this is one of those east-west differences?

Mar 16, 2017 1:15 AM
Comments · 3

A few days ago, I started a thread regarding this pronunciation issue. Here it is- https://www.italki.com/discussion/137977

Actually, the pronunciation of a name depends on the sounds present in that language.Different languages use different sounds and sometimes, that makes the name sound weird.  But that's all right and I don't think one should change his/her name for that reason, but it's also ok if someone wants to choose another name which is easy for other to pronounce and for his/her own satisfaction. I came across some thread of Chinese speakers who asked for the suggestion of an English name and I think it's because of the difficult pronunciation of Chinese language which we all are aware of.

March 16, 2017
I personally don't have much of a problem with people not pronouncing right, or not understanding, my name. So far, all of the languages I've been learning have had my name already a part of them. But even if they didn't, I don't think I would change my name and I wouldn't want someone to change their name just to make it easier for me to pronounce. Even if is difficult to pronounce and takes me some time to learn, I would like to show that respect to them and their culture by calling them their given name. If someone wanted to adopt a new name though, for another reason, then I would call them by whatever they wanted me to. 
March 16, 2017

Well, there are "social" reasons why one might change their name, but this is not the discussion I was thinking about when I started this discussion. I was mostly thinking about language and not, you know, gender issues. Anyhow, Sara, right? That is a biblical name, so as long as you stick to languages that have been in contact with Abrahamic religions for a long time (like western languages), I should think you would find a local variant of your name. I find that this is also true for my name, as it is a biblical one.

Anyway, thank you for your input, it's very interesting. Specially because it is always nice to learn what Americans think of this kind of stuff, since usually it is something so different from what Brazilians think.

March 16, 2017