Como se dice "Gc"?
March 26, 2016 3:40 PM   Subscribe

How does one pronounce the surname "Gc" that might originate in India?

So the admissions office and other admins want all the departments to call the kids they admitted and gave a merit scholarship to, and, fine, I can see the value in trying to connect.

One of the people I contacted had the surname "Gc," or at least that's what's in the spreadsheet I received. I'm guessing from the person's first name that it originates in India, assuming it isn't a typo.

Anyway, does anyone know the proper-ish way to pronounce this? I admit that when I called I bailed and just asked for Firstname.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe to Writing & Language (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Rather than being a surname, it's perhaps a set of Tamil patronymic initials, with the G being the first letter of their father's hometown, and the C being the first letter of the father's name. They're more commonly written before the given name rather than after, but I think not always, and anyways god only knows how the admissions database of an American university would mangle that type of naming convention.

In which case, I think addressing them as Firstname was maybe actually the correct polite form of address?
posted by strangely stunted trees at 4:15 PM on March 26, 2016 [5 favorites]

Next time something like this comes up, I would ask that you take the opportunity to ask, "Hey, we have your last name spelled [spell name here]. Is that correct? And how do you pronounce it?"

source: Someone read my name wrong on one form early in my undergrad application process, and I was dealing with that shit for the next two years.
posted by Etrigan at 4:28 PM on March 26, 2016 [4 favorites]

Seconding that those are probably the initials. For example, I'm Tamil and my initials are S M. On my birth certificate, my name is listed as S M "First Name". When I moved to the U.S., I expanded my initials and moved them to the end of my name. What they stand for is not consistent. I'll also note that in Tamil culture, surnames and initials are mostly only used in forms - they just don't have the importance they do here. Calling them by their first name is exactly the right thing to do. You might suggest that they expand those initials or make it clear in some way that those are initials, as it's likely to be an issue for them whenever they deal with American paperwork.
posted by peacheater at 4:33 PM on March 26, 2016 [5 favorites]

Thanks all. I'm not going to bother someone about it if I'm cold-calling them but would ask in class.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:37 PM on March 26, 2016

I work with dozens of Indian people. They are all called by their given name and not the initials. Whoever inputs their names into the email database fucks this up a lot so there are a lot of address book entries like

MN, Rajkumar
Khubendra, GC

If your students are going to email you, this will work out really quickly. Just call them whatever they sign their name as.
posted by desjardins at 5:05 PM on March 27, 2016

Oh - also, because their names are transliterated, there can be multiple ways of spelling them, and if you have more than one Indian person in the class they might refer to the other person with a different spelling, but still be correct. For example, I asked my coworker Shrikant why another guy was always spelling his name Srikanth and he said that's just how they do it in South India. I asked him how he wanted me to spell it and he didn't care at all.
posted by desjardins at 5:08 PM on March 27, 2016

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