Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Siobhan... Otherwise known as Siobhakjoeiajekoiancieonaiejkjfan

Firstly, for anyone who doesn't know how to say my name, go HERE to hear how it's properly pronounced.

Surprise!!!! That's totally not how you say it at all.  Yet 100% of the people who have never seen my name before have that run through their head after they see it on paper and wonder how it is pronounced.

My name is very difficult to understand/pronounce/read/comprehend. If it wasn't my name, I would probably feel the same way about it as everyone else when they first meet me and hear it: confused and determined to avoid saying it at all costs because of the terrifying chance of completely butchering it (as it is almost impossible not to do) and offend.  Throughout my entire life there's been almost like an unofficial routine when I meet people that involves 1) saying my name 2) explaining how it is spelt 3) watching befuddlement fall upon the face of who it is I am meeting 4) explaining why my name is pronounced the way it is and 5) spending anywhere from the next 5 to 15 minutes discussing, once again, the spelling and the pronunciation of my name.  It's pretty normal for people to either not call me by name for the first week of knowing me, or to say it so quietly that I can't hear it well enough to know if they got it right, but to know it was my name being said. I could go on for hours writing about examples and funny stories of people misunderstanding my name.

Some examples of what I'm used to being called (I find myself responding to any of these names below):
Sio (prounounced Sigh-Oh)
Siob (Sigh-Ob)
Shiv (my usual nickname, it's the first half of my name when it's pronounced correctly)
Sha-bongadkeidhgkdle (I had a social teacher who said the first half of my name and then mumbled random junk afterwards, and it ended up catching on with some classmates)
Assiniboine (this one is way out there, my brother calls me it sometimes)

It's always hilarious watching people struggle to say it properly, and it's probably a good thing that it's something that doesn't bother me at all.  Especially considering the difficulty my exchange student friends and the French people here are having with it.  It is beyond hilarious.  I got introduced to some people the other day by my American friend who first looked at me for a second then just said something like  "This is my Canadian friend who's name I have no idea how to say." Classic.  I've also had about four of five people come back to me after our initial introductions and say "Sorry, so how is it pronounced again?" The way my host family struggles to say it can be even funnier.  Sometimes we get into conversations where I try to explain how to say it but it's hard for them with their accents to make it sound the way I do with my harsh Canadian accent, so it tends to come out sounding like "Shwaun" or "Shobanne" or "Showanne" or "Seeohbanne."  It's awesome.  Yet I do sometimes find myself wishing a little bit that I had a name that people would still know how to say after 5 seconds of hearing it.  I start my first day of French high school today, and I'm realizing a bit too late that I probably should've found a nickname that would be good to tell people they could call me, because now my day will consist of trying to explain, despite a language, barrier how my name is pronounced, and why it is pronounced that way.

For the record, it is pronounced "Shiv-on." My parents are both Irish and in Gaelic, when there is a "b" and an "h" next to eachother (like in my name) it creates a sound like a "v."

Siobhan = Shiv-on = Honestly I'll respond to anything so you can call me what you want :)

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