Help me pick an alias
August 30, 2007 7:59 AM   Subscribe

Does my name sound weird to you English speakers? Help me find an alias!

I'm Brazilian and my name is Any. Not Amy eith an m, Any with an n. In Portuguese it's pronounced "ah-nee". It sounds pretty good down here, even if it is an uncommon jewish name. I have lived in the US before, and people either called me Amy or Annie.

I realize Any looks weird, as it is, after all, the word for "whatever", "anything", etc. I am moving back to the US and I would really like to come up with an alternative spelling to my name (to be used informally on notes, e-mails, blogging, etc) so that people could pronounce it closer to what it sounds in Portuguese. And that's where I nedd the help of you Americans, British, Canadians, etc. Help me choose which spelling looks the best and sounds closer to "ah-nee":

- Ahnee
- Anee
- Anny

Any other suggestions?
posted by AnyGuelmann to Grab Bag (77 answers total)
 
Maybe Ani?
posted by thirteenkiller at 8:01 AM on August 30, 2007 [9 favorites]


I think most people who see the name Ahnee will pronounce it how you say your name is actually supposed to be said. Is Any the Portuguese version of Annie?
posted by chunking express at 8:01 AM on August 30, 2007


I'd go with the first one, "Ahnee".
posted by sherlockt at 8:02 AM on August 30, 2007


Ani would make the most sense. There's a somewhat well known musician with that first name, and it sounds like it's pronounced the same way.
posted by malphigian at 8:03 AM on August 30, 2007


Ani looks less awkward , IMO.
posted by signal at 8:04 AM on August 30, 2007


I think people may pronounce Ani, "An-eye".

For your other choices, Anee could be read as An-eee, or maybe even as Anne.

Anny could be read as En-eee or Anne-eye.

People find a way to mangle any name.
posted by chunking express at 8:04 AM on August 30, 2007


But Ahnee is the spelling I find weirdest... isn't it?

chunking, not really :)
posted by AnyGuelmann at 8:04 AM on August 30, 2007


"Ahnee" sounds too self-consciously exotic, which you're not going for. I suggest "Ani" as well.
posted by nasreddin at 8:05 AM on August 30, 2007


I would pronounce Ani as Annie. I would go for Ahnee.
posted by jontyjago at 8:07 AM on August 30, 2007


Ahnee sounds the closest but Ani looks the best. Just go with your real name.
posted by thelongcon at 8:08 AM on August 30, 2007


Ahny or Ahnee
posted by iconomy at 8:09 AM on August 30, 2007


Ani would work for those who have heard of Ani Difranco, since she pronounces her name like yours.
posted by umbú at 8:10 AM on August 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


I also think Ahnee is the strangest in terms of spelling, but I guarantee Americans will mangle any of the other choices listed thus far. If you go with something like Ani I think you'll have more people calling you An-Eye then you will Ah-Nee.

I mean, when I talk about Ani DiFranco, I pronounce it like I would Annie.
posted by chunking express at 8:11 AM on August 30, 2007


I'd go with "Ani" as well - people will pick up on how you pronounce it fairly quickly. I think it's the 'Y' in the original spelling that trips people up.
posted by canine epigram at 8:12 AM on August 30, 2007


Are they equally stressed, ah and nee? Are they changing in pitch?

I think "Ani" is the most likely to work, if the first is stressed and there's no pitch difference. Second choice is "Ahny", to make it different than the common english word symbolizing alternation.
posted by cmiller at 8:16 AM on August 30, 2007


nth-ing ani. People are probably getting tripped up by both the y, and the fact that 'any' is a common English word with a consistent pronunciation.
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:16 AM on August 30, 2007


cmiller, it's Any
posted by AnyGuelmann at 8:18 AM on August 30, 2007


If you want correct pronunciation, Ahnee is the way to go, but I think Ani is going to get you decent pronunciation results (the DiFranco Effect) and it looks much classier and much less eccentric.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:20 AM on August 30, 2007


english not american here but whats the difference in pronunciation between annie and ahnee? Unless it's more of an arnie?
If you just want people to pronounce your name correctly then spell it phonetically, what's worse - an odd spelling or forever being called something that isn't your name?
posted by missmagenta at 8:21 AM on August 30, 2007


What about Oni / Ony?
posted by 0xFCAF at 8:21 AM on August 30, 2007


How about throwing a "u" or "w" in there?

Auni
Auny
Awni
Awnie

They are certainly names that people won't have seen before, but will probably be able to take a good stab at pronouncing.

nthing the DiFranco effect, though.
posted by hermitosis at 8:25 AM on August 30, 2007


Keep your regular spelling. Assume people will mangle your name so get used to correcting them. On your blog, just include the pronunciation in the info section. Plenty of people have names that are pronounced differently from their spelling, but they don't alter their name to the phonetic spelling. If they did, there would be lots of andreas who change their names to ahn-dreeeah and an ahn-dre-ahhh.

But the above doesn't answer the question you've asked, so if you must change the spelling, I'd go with Ani or Ahny.
posted by birdlady at 8:27 AM on August 30, 2007


My name is Sarah. People screw that up. People are going to screw your name up no matter how you spell it. So just embrace having a unique name.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 8:27 AM on August 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think "Ani" is good. There you have the added bonus of some people knowing who Ani DiFranco is and knowing how to pronounce it from that.
posted by frecklefaerie at 8:30 AM on August 30, 2007


Ahni?
posted by idb at 8:32 AM on August 30, 2007


I thought it was ok at "Any;" at least i pronounced it right when i first read it. But Anny, or Ani would work great.
posted by uncballzer at 8:33 AM on August 30, 2007


Ani or Ahni, as Ahnee just looks ridiculous in writing.
posted by Ryvar at 8:34 AM on August 30, 2007


I also think you should spell your name Any and correct people who say it wrong. I'm really not a fan of people trying to figure out ways to anglicize their name, though I suppose that's not exactly what you are doing here.

Ani or Ahni, as Ahnee just looks ridiculous in writing.

What?
posted by chunking express at 8:39 AM on August 30, 2007


Seconding 'Ahni', but 'Auni' and 'Ahny' look pretty good, too.

Also seconding the fact that people are going to fuck your name up no matter what you do, but those three options seem to be the best for minimizing that.
posted by Pecinpah at 8:39 AM on August 30, 2007


I'd go with Ani. People will mangle it the first time, but it's easier to remember that's there's an alternate -rather, proper- pronunciation. If you remained with Any, I'd still find it cognitively weird because it's such a common adjective.
posted by yeti at 8:43 AM on August 30, 2007


Any other suggestions?

Onni
posted by 23skidoo at 8:44 AM on August 30, 2007


Now that you have tons of contradictory advice, let me add more.

Most USians are going to want to pronounce "Ani" and "Ahn(i|y)" with stress on the first syllable. If you want the same stress on the last syllable, then you should probably visually emphasize it with an extraneous letter. I now propose Anee or Ahnee.

Yeah, I know it's ugly. You could spell it with the IPA, ha ha. ɑ-'ni .
posted by cmiller at 8:50 AM on August 30, 2007


Wait, the stress is on the second syllable? I think I would get that wrong with most of the suggestions thus far.
posted by IvyMike at 8:51 AM on August 30, 2007


I say avoid 'Ani'. The cousin of the "DiFranco Effect of Pronunciation" is the "DiFranco Effect of Association". Maybe that's an association you want, or at least wouldn't mind, but it's a factor I think you should consider.

I'd go with Ahnee.
posted by dirtdirt at 8:53 AM on August 30, 2007


I think that Ani is probably the best solution (although Anee works well too.) For those who have suggested Oni or some variant beginning with the letter O this will only work in North America, in other English speaking countries this will result in a very different sounding name, and as you asked for a spelling that works for all English speakers, I would steer clear of using the letter O.
posted by ob at 9:00 AM on August 30, 2007


If you have to change it, I'd vote for "Ani." But consider not changing it -- I have a common name in English, and people here and in the UK butcher both it's pronunciation and spelling every day. (With my name, Brazilians are actually much more consistent with the pronunciation, but more varied in the spelling, for what that's worth.) So no matter what you choose, there will be confusion and errors.

If you do pick "Ani," I think the most common errors will be to rhyme it with "Annie" ("a" as in "cat"), rather than your desired "Ah-nee".

I guess another possibility would be "Awnie," as in "awning," but that isn't very beautiful written.
posted by Forktine at 9:01 AM on August 30, 2007


Ahny - implies accent on first syllable

Ahni - a little confusing, but less so than Ahnee or Ani. People are, I think, more likely to ask you how this is pronounced.

Both spellings look more exotic than Any, btw.
posted by amtho at 9:02 AM on August 30, 2007


I think getting people to say an unusual name properly on the first try is kind of a losing battle. If I were you, I'd just write your name "Any" and resign yourself to explaining it a lot. It'll at least help start conversations.

My sister's name is "Anaka". Some people call her ah-nee for short, and they always spell it "Ani". It helps that she and her friends like the singer.

My name is "traditionally" spelled "Anil", but my parents decided to spell it "Aneel" to make it easier for people to pronounce (it's said like ah-neel). I don't know whether it helped or not, but I've spent a lot of time telling people how to pronounce my name anyway. I went so far as to go by "Neil" in high school to avoid the whole issue, but at some point I stopped getting annoyed at having to explain it.
posted by aneel at 9:06 AM on August 30, 2007


Anii (double I)?
posted by WCityMike at 9:10 AM on August 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ani, on the basis that Ana seems to be understood these days as more Ah-na than Anna.

But just keep it as Any, and make the pronunciation part of your .sig or blogging tag.
posted by holgate at 9:11 AM on August 30, 2007


I like Ahnee & Ani. I am an Australian with a very unusual name that is often verbally mistaken. My daughter has an Irish name, that most people in Australia have difficulty pronouncing.
Ideally, you'd spell & prounounce your name the way your family wanted it, but there are so many variables that your name is beautiful and unique, and you need to preserve that while educating other people.
If I were you I'd go with the Ani DeFranco spellling/pronounciation.
posted by goshling at 9:13 AM on August 30, 2007


There are a lot of good suggestions here about getting that first syllable to sound like the a in law rather than the a in, well, any. Ani was my first thought, as I am an Ani fan, but I also like Onni and Auny/Auni (though that may come out Ow-ni, as in the car company Audi).

But none of these will get Americans to emphasize the second syllable. In fact, I can't think of any spelling that would encourage that, except maybe a'Nee or some variation thereof.

So I think you should either keep the spelling and just tell people how to say it, or, if you really want to change it, go with whatever you think looks nicest, and still tell people how to say it. Just having it be a different spelling from that incredibly common word will help with pronunciation. Even though people are saying they'd pronounce this like that or that like this, at least Ani and the others don't have an established, official, old-as-dirt pronunciation to compete with.
posted by lampoil at 9:22 AM on August 30, 2007


english not american here but whats the difference in pronunciation between annie and ahnee?
Annie is pronounced with the same sound as the a in "cat," while ahnee would be pronounced to rhyme with the "ah" in the exclamation "ah ha."
posted by la petite marie at 9:23 AM on August 30, 2007



Wait, the stress is on the second syllable? I think I would get that wrong with most of the suggestions thus far.

Exactly. This discussion seems to be continuing on the basis that the OP's name is "AH-knee" when it appears that it's really "a-KNEE".

Actually, what about "A Knee"?

That's a joke. Stick with your real name and make people say it right!
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 9:28 AM on August 30, 2007


It might be obnoxious, and it still wouldn't work on a lot of Americans (unfortunately), but you could insist on an accent mark:

Aní or Aný or Äny

Disclaimer: I have no idea what I'm talking about. I certainly don't know what the proper pronunciation of ý is.
posted by puddleglum at 9:37 AM on August 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ani or Ahnee or even Ahni work for me. I lean towards Ani because Asian people will pick up the pronunciation faster.
posted by ilsa at 9:38 AM on August 30, 2007


Ani is an Armenian (female) name pronounced as you seem to pronounce it and the Armenian-American Anis that I know don't seem to have problems.
posted by k8t at 9:49 AM on August 30, 2007


Ahneigh
posted by bluenausea at 9:50 AM on August 30, 2007


Ani recommendation. At least it signals to people that there might be an alternative pronunciation. Ahnee looks like it's a phonetic spelling to me -- I would go with Ani. Or stick with your own spelling and let other people adjust to YOU.
posted by theredpen at 9:53 AM on August 30, 2007


If you pronounce it AH-nee I'd go with "Ani", which looks nice and is well-known enough not to get too many pronunciation problems. "Ahnee", "Ahni", "Anny" and so on all look weird to me.

If you pronounce it ah-NEE, well, I know of someone that pronounces her name that way (from Quebec I think), but she spells it "Annie". Most people would pronounce that as ANN-ee, so that's not really a solution.

Honestly, my instinct is to say that people screw up spelling and pronunciation of even common, simple names all the time, so you may as well just rock the name you've got.
posted by Melinika at 9:57 AM on August 30, 2007


I'd say Ani or sticking with Any is the way to go. I realize it's probably a tiresome conversation at this point to you, but I always really enjoy learning new things, including names I hadn't seen before. I'd always read your nickname here at AmyGuelmann and found this dilemma pretty interesting.

Maybe most people are less easily amused than me.
posted by phearlez at 10:04 AM on August 30, 2007


Ani. It's the most simple, closest to the original spelling, and it's no big deal to correct anyone who pronounces it "Annie." The spellings with the "h" looks like a phonetic transcription to me, too.

I have a bit of a peeve about how often I encounter people who don't think it's important to pronounce names correctly if the name is foreign, so personally, I'd force people to learn that there's a name "Any" that isn't the english word "any." But I get that this may not be your personal crusade.
posted by desuetude at 10:15 AM on August 30, 2007


I just want to say as a Canadian with English as a second language and as someone that has never heard of Ani DiFranco before, I would pronounce Ani the same way I would pronounce the first two syllables of the word animation.

If Any is pronounced the way I think it is, then Ani isn't quite way and Ahni or Ahnni is more close.
posted by tksh at 10:35 AM on August 30, 2007


If you have to change it, I'd vote for "Ani." But consider not changing it

I agree. You're going to have to correct people no matter how you spell it; there's no way anyone's going to say ah-KNEE without prompting. But Any does look funny (and is easily mistaken for Amy), so you might want to go with Ani just on that basis.

Ani is an Armenian (female) name pronounced as you seem to pronounce it and the Armenian-American Anis that I know don't seem to have problems.

If by that you mean people say ah-KNEE without prompting, I'm afraid I don't believe you. If you mean AH-nee, that's not how she says her name.
posted by languagehat at 10:38 AM on August 30, 2007


Actually, you might try Aní—anyone who knows any Spanish would be able to pronounce it.
posted by languagehat at 10:40 AM on August 30, 2007


I'd go with Ani and just be on the look out to correct people's mistakes when they pronounce it -- as many have said, mispronunciation is common for hundreds of names. My name is a fairly common Anglo Saxon name but is pronounced differently by native English speakers depending on whether they are British, North American, etc. I still correct them.

My only reason for not sticking with "Any" is that most people would read it and probably just think it was a typo for "Amy".
posted by modernnomad at 10:46 AM on August 30, 2007


Onni , Onnie, or Onny probably has the best chance of coaxing out the correct pronunciation, but I'd stick with Any and resign myself to correcting people who read it, because that's going to happen with Ani or Ahnee or anything else anyway.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:47 AM on August 30, 2007


I have a friend from an Indian background who's name sounds like yours, but with an M. Her name is pronounced Ah-me (but a little more like Uh-me), and spelled Amee, so my vote is for 'Anee'.

Mind you, almost everyone mispronounces her name until she corrects them, they either call her Amy, or Am-ie.
posted by crabintheocean at 11:05 AM on August 30, 2007


modernomad, that exactly what happens: I e-mail people and they write back "Amy"
posted by AnyGuelmann at 11:17 AM on August 30, 2007


With "Anee", people will think it's a typo for "Anne". I think "Ahnee", "Ahni", or "Ani" are best bets -- or the ones involving Os as initial letter. I think you're right that keeping the "Any" spelling will just cause headaches left and right. I think people will be able to remember the right pronunciation when corrected with the other spellings, but if your name is spelled like an English word that's pronounced differently, people will have a harder time remembering the right pronunciation.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:17 AM on August 30, 2007


Ahnee reminds me of Ahnold Schwartzenegger. It would lead to "AHHNEE!" being shouted in my head in the Kindergarten Cop-era accent. Oni (someone else's suggestion above) are Japanese folkloric demon equivalents.

I'd go with Ani and correct the pronunciation. You will have to do so no matter how you spell it, and that spelling at least looks nice.
posted by fidelity at 11:54 AM on August 30, 2007


(Congrats (and condolences) on having such a popular question, Any.)
posted by cmiller at 11:56 AM on August 30, 2007


àni works for me, but I speak French.
posted by desjardins at 1:11 PM on August 30, 2007


I like Aní or Ani, depending on where the accent is supposed to go.
But I LOVE your real name which I had never heard before. Consider keeping your beautiful name and educating the rest of us!
posted by bluebird at 1:16 PM on August 30, 2007


What about Aani or Aany? People would be tipped off it's not just any-old name (sorry), it's easy to add the extra A, and you'd be the first in aany (sorry) alphabetic listings!
posted by prophetsearcher at 2:03 PM on August 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Don't change your name, but do have a bunch of (greeting/visiting/business) cards made up. After Any, insert a phonetic version of your name in parentheses. Distribute liberally.

Include this in your email signature, on your resume, etc.
posted by rob511 at 3:45 PM on August 30, 2007


game warden to the events rhino: There actually is no response from the OP that suggests it's pronounced as anything other than AH-nee, with the stress on the first syllable. There was lots of conjecture from people that the stress could be on the second syllable, but the OP never confirmed that it was—the conjecture seems to have been read by people further and further down in the thread as closer and closer to fact, sans confirmation of supposed fact.

In any case, I'd vote for Ani. Enough people will get it from Ani DiFranco, and everyone else can be corrected. It's close to your name, won't be confused with anything else, and if anything will probably be mispronounced as Annie—I'm not sure where people are getting this "Anne-eye" stuff from.
posted by limeonaire at 4:44 PM on August 30, 2007


I'll nth Ani, because many English-speaking folks have heard of Ani DiFranco (though the young 'uns may not have heard of her). I would just suggest against "Anny", since some people might read this and pronounce it as "Annie".
posted by zardoz at 6:33 PM on August 30, 2007


Don't change your name!
It is YOUR name. And I really like it!
posted by loiseau at 7:59 PM on August 30, 2007


How about Anais, as in the saucy Hispano-French diarist Anais Nin? It's pronounced similarly to your name, and all the lit geeks will warm to you immediately.
posted by Scram at 9:42 PM on August 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


I really like Aný.

(i) It keeps the original letters, (ii) adds an uncommon accent so that you will not likely have to change any official documentation (i.e., just write and type it like that). Furthermore, (iii) people will likely stress the second syllable properly, (iv) won't mistake the middle n for an m, and (v) will hopefully pronounce it the way you want it, naturally (or at least won't find it odd when coaxed to pronounce it right).
posted by astrochimp at 10:19 PM on August 30, 2007


I am half Armenian and know from the community several people named Ani and Auni, stress on the first syllable. They occasionally get mispronounced as Annie but nothing too shocking comes of it.

However, I have never, ever heard anyone mistakenly accent the second syllable. The only way I can think of to get that to happen naturally is with the French name Annick, which will seem just as weird to non-francophone Americans as Any will.
posted by crinklebat at 11:57 PM on August 30, 2007


Ani, is good; you're still going to get asked how to pronounce it (and suffer fools who don't ask, and butcher it) but you won't get "Amy" any more.

Also good: Anni.

Oh, and don't lose sleep over everyone stressing the first syllable; there's no common usage similar to your name stressed on the second in American English, so you're SOL on that one.

Besides, you can use it to learn a bit about people. I worked with a girl named Danica, and since I pronounced it right out of the box the first time (Don 'eet ca, with a cedille instead of c on the last syllable), she thought I was awesome (which I was, heh) and treated me better for it.
posted by davejay at 12:13 AM on August 31, 2007


Limeonaire: There actually is no response from the OP that suggests it's pronounced as anything other than AH-nee, with the stress on the first syllable

Wrong, the relevant post from the OP is here.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 1:43 AM on August 31, 2007


"Ahni" was what came to my mind.

"Ani" = "Annie" to me.

But, speaking as a person with a bit of a messy first name herself -- I'd just stick with the 'Any.' People really will screw up anything...
posted by kmennie at 1:56 PM on August 31, 2007


Any, I would just stick with your original spelling. When I moved to Brazil, I told everyone to call me by the Portuguese version of my name (only one letter difference). It was easier than dealing with trying to explain how to pronouce my name. Now that I've lived here a couple of years (and my language skills are much-improved) I'm enjoying more and more going by MY name. I just spent a week in the hospital with nurses and doctors calling me by the name I know best and it felt so much more natural. I'm not sure if I'm going to bother getting everyone I work with to change what they call me but I'm considering it.

I think if you try to transliterate your name, you'll still be correcting people and will have people pronouncing it not quite correctly. You may as well go with your original name and give people a chance to learn a little more about you! (FWIW, I think Any is a beautiful name!)
posted by wallaby at 2:06 PM on August 31, 2007


Oops, missed it. Sorry game warden.
posted by limeonaire at 2:08 PM on September 2, 2007


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