The Price of an 'e'
May 13, 2008 8:14 PM   Subscribe

Should I legally change my often mispronounced name?

My first name, as it is spelled, is fairly common for my age group. However, my name is pronounced with a strong e, and the common pronunciation is with a weak e, "eh" sound. Although it's just one letter it makes a big difference. I felt like my parents misspelled my name. I've only met five people with the same pronunciation in my life, so I understand why it may confuse people. When I was younger I begged my parents to legally change my name, so it's not a new thing for me. They had no problem with me changing the spelling but never bothered to look into it.

This spelling has caused me a lot of annoyance my entire life, especially when I was in school and even as an adult when meeting new people. At least half of the time the person I introduce myself to corrects my pronunciation "xeex?, you mean xex? People who have only seen my name in type are confused when they meet me and I feel pretentious correcting people. As I've grown up I've dealt with it and figured out when it's worth correcting people and when it's better to let them call me the wrong name. I can deal with it but it would be nice to have it spelled the way it sounds.

In middle school I started add an extra e to make the strong e sound. In college I switched to adding a line over the single e, although that's impossible to do when typing without drawing it or creating a new character in fontographer.

I live in Cook County, Illinois. I found a FAQ that covers the process for getting a name changed legally here. For adult name changes – the name change must be published in a legal publication for five weeks and filed in court on the date the publication expires. The filing fee for a name change is $294.00. The publication fee varies depending on the publication used.

1. Is adding on 'e' worth $300? I'm cheap and that sound rather steep. There's also the cost of 5 weeks of ads in a "legal publication" whatever that is.

2. Do I need lawyer for this? I prefer not to if I don't have to.

3. Have you ever changed you name? If so, what sort of issues do I need to prepare for. Do I need a new birth certificate, driver's license, credit cards, etc.? How long do I have after the judgment to get that all changed?

My details: Female, 30 years old, not married, don't own a house or car, no kids, no business, no debt. I am on the verge of applying for dual Irish citizenship so it would make sense to do this before I apply, I suppose.
posted by Bunglegirl to Law & Government (51 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
While I'm sure it must be incredibly annoying, has it occurred to you that the people who correct your pronunciation of your own name are idiots? It's not pretentious at all to correct someone's mispronunciation of your name, as long as you do it in a somewhat cheerful manner. For instance: "Hi, are you M(eh)gan?" "Actually [feigned sheepish smile], it's pronounced MEEgan." Anyone who reacts with anything other than an "oh, ok" or "oops!" is an ass, and you have every right to be terse in your further dealings with them.

Unless you are just really tired of never having your name pronounced correctly, I would say that the paperwork, effort, and money involved in the legal change process isn't worth it. This is other peoples' problem, not yours. You shouldn't feel bad about it.
posted by phunniemee at 8:33 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

Ha! I totally guessed that your name was Megan based on the pronunciations, and your profile confirmed it. Now I feel smart.

If it bothers you that much, do it. On the other hand, Meegan? You've probably thought about how it looks, though, so go for it if you want it.
posted by MadamM at 8:33 PM on May 13, 2008

Best answer: 1. I wouldn't think so. No matter what your name is, people will get confused about it. Look at the last name, Saint. It looks pretty easy, right? Like something no one could mess up, right? But any time I have to spell my name over the phone, I have to emphasize that it is "s, as in sandwich" because, otherwise, they're likely to think it's Faint. I also have to deal with people waiting for me to continue-- and often they just think my last name is "St." I have had three different last names throughout my life, and I've had similar problems with each. It's annoying, but it's part of life.

Granted, it sounds like you have to deal with this more than most people.. But don't think that changing your name will mean that no one will ever bug you again.

2. Naw. I've changed my name on my own. It's annoying, there's a lot of paperwork, but it's doable.

3. You'll have to get the changes made, yes. But people change their names so regularly (lots ssociated with marriages) that it was pretty easy. They're used to doing this.
posted by Ms. Saint at 8:34 PM on May 13, 2008

I can't answer 2 or 3, but here's a way to think about number 1. $300 may seem like a large cost, but that's because you're thinking about it as a one time thing. Instead, amortize it over the number of times a mispronunciation annoys you. How many times has that happened so far? 20? We're at $15 per instance. 100? Now we're down to $3.

Is every instance worth $15? $3? If the answer is yes, then do it. $3 is the price of a mocha.
posted by sbutler at 8:35 PM on May 13, 2008

(Also, considering how you'll be switching from a fairly common spelling to a completely unusual spelling, keep in mind that people will keep spelling your name the incorrect way. They'll assume the extra E is a typo, or some other mistake. They will assume when you spell it out loud that you're stuttering or something. They will say, "Wait, was that E, E? Two Es? There are two Es there?" every time. You will continue to see the incorrect spelling constantly. Only, now, instead of it just being an annoyance about pronunciation, it will also become a nuisance for record-keeping and all your important documents.)
posted by Ms. Saint at 8:42 PM on May 13, 2008 [4 favorites]

Imagine yourself 30 years from now, looking back after having changed your name decades ago. Are you happier than you would have been without the name change? Do you miss the three hundred bucks?
posted by winston at 8:43 PM on May 13, 2008

Best answer: In college I switched to adding a line over the single e, although that's impossible to do when typing without drawing it or creating a new character in fontographer.

I have no opinion on whether or not you should change your name, but ē is a standard character that can be input (in Windows, no idea about OSX) with Character Map (just use search to find this program on your computer) or by using one of these methods (e.g., holding down ALT, typing +0113 on the numerical keypad, and releasing ALT). You can also probably set up your own personalized shortcut to type it, although I don't know how to do that -- maybe someone else can explain. I have a quick launch shortcut to Character Map on my start menu, which makes inputting characters like ē quite simple.
posted by Cucurbit at 8:44 PM on May 13, 2008

Best answer: I have a good friend named Meeghan, and people still call her Megan on a regular basis. What I'm saying is that no matter what you may do, people are still going to mispronounce your name, period.
Maybe the name change will lessen that, and maybe it won't. That's your call.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 8:50 PM on May 13, 2008

Best answer: 1. The five weeks of ads can run in a local newspaper, at least that's how it was in Michigan. You just place it in the classifieds.

2. Not necessary. You don't ever see the judge. You just submit a one page form with a brief, I mean brief, explanation of why you want it done, and it is reviewed and approved pretty much automatically.

3. Yes, I have. The birth certificate doesn't change, you just now have a notarized document from the county that you append when changing your name with all the other people who need to know. You can change all your business pretty much at leisure. DL is still valid with your old name, but you probably want to change it first since that's your primary ID. Credit cards etc all need to be changed eventually, but 15 years ago, most places were pretty easygoing about it. I changed credit card info over the phone. No documentation necessary. Definitely do it before getting Ireland involved. Other countries may not be so easy, and you don't want conflicting passport/visa documents.
posted by BinGregory at 9:03 PM on May 13, 2008

Bunglegirl said "In college I switched to adding a line over the single e, although that's impossible to do when typing without drawing it or creating a new character in fontographer."

I wouldn't know what that meant, actually. If anything I'd think it was an acute accent (é), which would come out of my mouth more like "may-gn" than "mee-gn".

I think your situation is not that rare, actually. And Ms. Saint is right -- no matter what, people will find a way to misspell and/or mispronounce your name. It obviously troubles you a lot if you've been bothered by it your whole life, but I personally wouldn't bother to change anything legally.
posted by loiseau at 9:05 PM on May 13, 2008

Heya fellow Chicagoan... I think you've got pretty much everything you need. I have a friend or two in Chicago who've changed their names without issue. It's a lot of paperwork and obnoxiousness, but it's not too hard.

If you like, I might be able to get you in touch with an acquaintance of mine who changed her name (and it wasn't for marriage).... MeFi Mail me if ya like...
posted by twiggy at 9:11 PM on May 13, 2008

Whether it is worth the hassle: I think just having one letter change on your first name will be almost no hassle at all once it is done. Misspelled checks can still be cashed, no one will think you are not you when confronted with the two spellings, etc. People will still mispronounce your name though, like everybody said.

Oh, just remembered one agency that is a minor hassle to deal with: Social security. You'll have to go to the federal building in your area, they will want the court document, they may take a very long time to send you your new card. Your SS# won't change though, and since you never have to produce that for ID, it's not a huge deal.
posted by BinGregory at 9:12 PM on May 13, 2008

My last name is Anglicized as "She" but is pronounces (s'heh - or something like that; it's a weird name in Cantonese as well). Elementary school and early highschool were hard times.

I have granduncles who changed the Anglicized spelling to Shea, but that's even further from what it's supposed to sound.

When people ask me for my last name (like, on the phone - when I'm making an purchase or something)l I'll say "seh*", spelled sierra hotel echo or ess haight ee.

I've stopped worrying about it; eo you really care if some stranger mispronounces your name?

*yes, seh is probably more likely to be pronounced closer to correct by English speakers than any other spelling
posted by porpoise at 9:14 PM on May 13, 2008

I guess whether or not the cost and hassle is worth it depends on how much it bugs you. And like others have said, a certain number of people will mispronounce it anyway. As an alternative, you could always move to Australia, where "meegan" is the much more common pronunciation - I think I've only met one "mehgan" :-)
posted by miss cee at 9:23 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

I've known a couple of other Mee-gans (spelled Megan and Meeghan, variously) and no matter what the spelling they always had to correct people encountering their name for the first time in writing. I think your pronunciation's a bit more common than you'd suppose.

Name changes are a hassle so I think you should avoid it for such a small alteration that likely won't make much of a difference in how people say your name, personally. It may sound unbearably cheesy, but give people a little mnemonic to remember your pronunciation by, and be cheerful about it even if it's a pain. "No, it's Mee-gan -- as in, pleased to meet you!" -- that sort of thing. If you come up with a little phrase you don't feel like a jackass repeating and smile when you say it, no one should resent being corrected. If they do, they are insane and can safely be ignored.

(Also, some people seem congenitally unable to pronounce or remember names of people they don't know very well, so try not to take it too personally.)
posted by melissa may at 9:24 PM on May 13, 2008

Best answer: In California I believe you can call yourself anything you want as long as you're not intending fraud. Just start spelling your name Meegan on things and see what happens.
posted by padraigin at 9:28 PM on May 13, 2008

If you change to a non-standard spelling to go with your non-standard pronunciation, people will just spell your name wrong instead of pronouncing it wrong. Is that likely to irritate you more or less?

-- not Jacqueline
posted by jacquilynne at 9:33 PM on May 13, 2008

I have friends named Megan, Meghan and Meaghan. The first is pronounced Mee-gan, second Meh-gan, and third Mee-gan (but she goes by Meg, with the 'eh' pronunciation). No matter what, someone will still mispronounce it and/or misspell it. I say just correct them with a smile and do it every time to repeat offenders. It's annoying, but it'll get the job done.

As an aside, my first name is Kathleen and people pronounce it Kath-lynn or, inexplicably, Kath-ryn (where's the r? what?) all the time. And I have a friend whose last name is Moore and people can't pronounce or spell it, either. So, unless you change your name to Jane Smith, you'll probably still have problems. Or maybe they'll pronounce it Jah-nay Smythe.
posted by bedhead at 9:44 PM on May 13, 2008

For what it's worth, both myself and the other guy in the office at the moment would pronounce Megan as Mee-gan. I don't know any Meh-gans, though I have a vague recollection of the pronunciation probably from some American TV show. I say keep it as is and correct everyone who gets it wrong.
posted by krisjohn at 9:53 PM on May 13, 2008

Let's rethink this. Considering the fixed cost and effort to change your name, wouldn't you get more benefit from choosing something entirely different? Is there a name in your family tree that you particularly like? Or favorite musician, actor, author? Or maybe Molly, Meg, Muffin, Melanie, Meryl, ..
posted by exphysicist345 at 9:54 PM on May 13, 2008

Don't bother. My name is phonetically correct and people still botch it, as the issue is that it's unusual, and anyone reading it quickly uses a name they think it might be, including a completely different name like 'Alexia' or adding extra sounds like '-irna' to the name.
posted by Phalene at 10:13 PM on May 13, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for all of the quick responses, guys.

There seems to be a general consensus that it's not too big of a deal to do but it probably won't stop people from mispronouncing my name and the cost is worth it if it makes me happy even if it might seem kind of silly to some people. I'll have to think it over again for a while before I decide.

I like my name, so I don't want to change it to Xena even though I've always wanted an x in my name. You can probably tell I also like the fact that it's uncommon so the idea of Meegan being 'different' also appeals to me. I've heard that Australians call all Megans Meegan and most of the other Meegans I've met have been Canadian. Megan (pronounced Mehgan) is the most popular form in the Midwest USA. There were about four Mehgans in my elementary school grade which made my name even harder since they spelled it the same as me.

As for Meegan being visually appealing or not, I've also considered that, being a graphic designer. I've thought about how I would kern the two e's and about the fact that it would be a little longer.

I always figured that Meegan would be pretty clear and easy to pronounce. I see now that even the most basic names have trouble and I realize that a spelling change wouldn't help when I meet someone in person.

Most people (taking an order etc.) spell my name Meghan and sometimes Migan! That doesn't bother me so much as long as they say it right.
posted by Bunglegirl at 10:20 PM on May 13, 2008

If it was me, I would change the spelling for clarity's sake. I would think a lot less people would mispronounce it. You will still have to deal with people commenting on how unusual it is, etc, but Meegan is a clear signal that it's a long e.
posted by gt2 at 10:26 PM on May 13, 2008

Change the pronounciation and keep the spelling. It's cheaper and will solve all confusion permanently.
posted by flug at 11:30 PM on May 13, 2008

Adding my comment to the I-think-people-would-still-say-Megan-anyway pile. People will pronounce things the way they're used to. My friend Michael is a girl and people insist on calling her Michelle, even though it's spelled and pronounced like the boy's name. When she corrects them, they cop an attitude with her and ask her stupid questions like, "Did your mom think you were a boy?" Annoying, huh?

If you did change the spelling, at least people couldn't argue with you as much.
posted by Nattie at 1:07 AM on May 14, 2008

One girl I worked with changed her name on her nametag. Her name was Kassie, pronounced like Casey. She was so tired of people calling her "Cassie" that she changed her nametag to say "KC." (I found this out because one day I asked her what KC stood for.)

Another coworker was named Melisa, pronounced Meh - Lisa. Of course everyone called her Melissa.

So yeah, make your name whatever you want... but if you like it, keep it!
posted by IndigoRain at 1:22 AM on May 14, 2008

Jacqueline :-) is right, once your name differs from the standard spelling/pronunciation people will find a way to much it up.

My last name is very popular here in Ireland but the spelling is Scottish and I have lost count of the time it's been mispronunced, mispelled, and corrected it on paperwork because they thought I got it wrong!

In my experience as a blow in to Ireland, your name troubles will not ease here. Meegan/Megan are not that common, so it may be better to just change your name to Mary.
posted by MarvinJ at 1:58 AM on May 14, 2008

I have a last name that is virtually impossible for Americans to pronounce correctly on the first try. I have dealt with mispronunciations since I was a little kid, and they no longer bother me. I wouldn't change it, because my respect for my family heritage outweighs my desire for a simple name. A first name is different though... you have to hear people say it a lot more, and it often doesn't carry the same ancestral baggage. If it really bugs you, change it, but keep in mind the identity you have forged around your name.

As an aside, my father once had an employee with the last name D'Jesus, usually pronounced "De-hayzoos". She pronounced it "Da-Jeezus". It was hard for him not to correct her...
posted by scose at 2:03 AM on May 14, 2008

I feel your pain.

My name is similar to a common name but just different enough that it gets screwed up all the time.

Might was well change the spelling as long as you don't expect miracles-- I'd say about 5% of people 'get' my name better once I spell it for them, so that's a help at least.

Good luck!
posted by miss tea at 3:51 AM on May 14, 2008

Move to Australia. All Megans all called Meeeegan here. We're such an uncouth bunch.

And we're lots of fun.
posted by taff at 4:12 AM on May 14, 2008

No, don't bother. My first name is "Kia." And it's usually not just "Kia," but "Kia -- pronounced Ky-ah, not Kee-ah, K-I-A." When I was little I longed to be a Jennifer or similar. It used to be bad, and got far worse after the car became popular.

It does have its uses, you must admit. When somebody telephones for "Kee-ah," I offer to take a message, and thus avoid no end of nuisance telephone conversations. It is a way to initiate further conversation with people I like and a way to maintain distance from people I dislike.

But you know all that. The real reason you shouldn't bother is because my last name is "Mennie," and I am routinely "Meanie," "Minnie," "Mannie," etcetera. People will still botch your name no matter how you spell it, and if you go to the hassle of changing it, you'll be all the more annoyed when it's mispronounced.

Or such was my rationalization when I debated changing the spelling of my own name. Best of luck to you whatever your decision.
posted by kmennie at 6:10 AM on May 14, 2008

How long were you planning to stay in IL? Because in some states, a name change is MUCH cheaper. (Like $40 total) Updating passports and so on is usually free, but a hassle.
posted by Salamandrous at 6:13 AM on May 14, 2008

I am Tamil, and have an appropriately long Sri Lankan/South Indian name. Changing it because other people are too lazy or stupid to learn how to say it properly isn't something I've ever considered. Neither should you.
posted by chunking express at 7:10 AM on May 14, 2008

My last name is always, always pronounced wrong. And I don't like the way the mispronounced version sounds, so I feel your pain.

I've always figured that I'd change my surname when I got married, unless my (hypothetical) husband's surname was something completely objectionable. Since you can't do that, I say change it now! You'll probably still come into problems, but I'd say most people would remember that it's Meegan after seeing the new spelling.

Failing that, just develop a chant. I tend to say my last name as "Smith, ess emm aye tee aitch".
posted by badmoonrising at 7:20 AM on May 14, 2008

I know of what Kia first name is Shyana. There is no way to spell it any's as phonetic as can be...but rare is the individual who can get the pronunciation right upon viewing it the first time. I know one Megan (May-gehn) and one Megan (Mee-gahn)...both pronounced differently and spelled the same, but I am perfectly capable of remember which is which.

I guess my point is that the people who correct their pronunciation after you've shown them the errors of their ways are the ones who get it...the ones who don't, never will. Regardless of spelling.

I'd save the $300 for something else. Monogrammed stationery?

Also, the Xena thing made me laugh audibly; My mum always wanted an X in her name...used it as a middle initial from time to time...and she subsequently changed her name to Xochii. My brother and I call her Mama X, which she thinks makes makes her sound very superheroine, indeed.
posted by squasha at 7:28 AM on May 14, 2008

My name is Roccena (pronounced Roxeena) and it is ALWAYS ALWAYS botched. However, I've noticed that it's most often botched as "Rebecca." And I realized that when people saw the "R" and the "C" "C" they filled in the blanks and came up with Rebecca.

I would suspect the same thing would happen to you, even if you changed the spelling of your name. People will see the "M," the "G," and the "N" and they'll fill in the blanks with whatever they want and will still call you M(eh)gan.

There's a term for this (that I can't remember at this time) when people get the gist of a word based on a few letters.

If I were you, I'd save my money.
posted by Sassyfras at 7:44 AM on May 14, 2008

What about the situation where you have spent $300 on changing the spelling of your name and then someone still mispronounces it? How will that fit in the the annoyance calculations?

It could get like a Seinfeld episode.

County clerk: "can I help you?"
Meegan: "ya, I'd like to return a name change."
posted by bdc34 at 7:46 AM on May 14, 2008

Best answer: I vote for a trial run before you spend the $300. Just begin spelling it differently for awhile and see if it gets any easier. If nothing changes to your satisfaction, you've saved $300.

My first name is spelled Jeanne but pronounced Jeann-ee. I have people call me "Gene" a lot (which I hate...bring on the two syllables!). So I threw an "i" in there to make "Jeannie". I still get "Gene" or the very strange "Jee - Ann".

People interpret your name based upon their familiarity with names. It's not you, it's them. On second thought, I only get Jee - Ann here in Chicago so maybe it's the city. What's with that, Chicago?
posted by jeanmari at 8:21 AM on May 14, 2008

Her name was Kassie, pronounced like Casey.

This name is actually misspelled, at least in English. With one S, it would work, but with two, that A has to be short. Megan, though, is ambiguous (Meggan or Meegan wouldn't be, but a lot of people familiar with the overwhelmingly more common spelling would think it's misspelled).

I have a last name with the exact same problem your first name has. It gets misspelled or mispronounced (generally the latter) to the point that I congratulate people who pronounce it correctly on the first try.

I'm afraid you're just going to have to get used to it being mispronounced, like New Yorkers with Houston Street, Bostonians with Quincy, and Torontonians with Yonge Street and Etobicoke. The problem is that a name follows you around, unlike a landmark.
posted by oaf at 9:06 AM on May 14, 2008

My mom's name is Kevin. She is a girl. No, seriously, she gave birth to me and my sister. No, I'm not kidding. Born a girl, identifies as a girl, married almost 30 years to my very dad who is a boy. Not one of those new fangled girls who started out as a boy. Stop giving her dirty looks when she hands over her credit card. Stop asking if she has her husband's permission to use his credit card. Stop trying to pronounce it differently. And, you jerks back in the 8th grade, calling her Kevin Cornball wasn't very nice.

I always thought my mom would want to change her name given all the weird looks and crap she's had to deal with her entire life. She's probably gotten way more dirty looks than you -- she's 57 years old. And she's proud of her name, because her mom thought it was a great name, despite my mom's gender. To make matters worse, we have an often mispronounced last name. I'm proud of that too, and I have no trouble correcting people when they mispronounce it. If people are going to be jerks about the way you pronounce your name, then they obviously need to learn some tact. I say, be proud of who you are and if you like the way your name is spelled, don't change a thing.
posted by sararah at 9:10 AM on May 14, 2008

My name is an anglicized version of a very over-voweled (and ridiculously uncommon) Irish name. Nobody, but nobody, has ever come near pronouncing it right, even though the anglicized name is meant to be more phonetic.

If I ever change my name legally, I'm much more tempted to go back to the Irish spelling. In this way, I'd like to imagine few people would even take a stab at the damn thing, and they'd have to wait for me to tell them how to pronounce it first. This doesn't mean they'd get it wrong, but it does mean that they'd have to spend a lot more effort trying to remember what the actual pronunciation is, once all the normal phonetic clues are taken away.

So in other words, how about Miadhagáin ?
posted by Herman Hermanson at 9:25 AM on May 14, 2008

My first and last name are both spelled phonetically, standard spellings for both, only 5 and 8 letters respectively, and still mispronounced by new people as often as not. There's not a single letter I could change to make the pronunciation any clearer, but I don't think I would if I could, because the problem lies more with whole-word pattern-recognition reading (which would probably still result in your getting whatever pronunciation of Megan is most familiar to the speaker, regardless of spelling) than with the spelling of the name.
posted by notashroom at 9:30 AM on May 14, 2008

To me, Megan looks like it should be pronounced mee-gan. However, apparently the pronunciation of Megan is a hot debate on naming forums (just google: megan pronunciation). Despite spelling to indicate pronunciation, MAY-gans are called MEE-gan, MEH-gans are called MAY-gan, etc. It seems like there is no way you can spell your name and expect for it to be pronounced correctly.

Even if you changed the spelling of your name to Meegan, there is so much media reinforcement for the "MEH-gan" pronunciation (megan's law, actresses megan fox and megan mullaly) that people are going to just go with that pronunciation more often than not.

Based on internet discussion, it seems that people in the UK are confused by the pronunciation as well. MEH-gan seems to be the standard there, and reportedly, closest to the Welsh origin. I have not seen anything about pronunciation in Ireland.

So, no matter what, it looks like you are in for a lifetime of correcting the mispronunciation of your name. I don't think it is pretentious. FWIW, my last name seems pretty simple to me Samee. Sam-EE. Nobody ever gets it right. Sah-meh. Same-e, Suh-MEE/S'ME. it has been pronounced every way possible, and almost never correct. Sometimes I correct people, most of the time I just don't bother. I'd probably care a lot more if it were my first name they were mangling.
posted by necessitas at 10:15 AM on May 14, 2008

Yeah, some of the time I get Meeegan, sometimes I get Maygan (which is what my parents thought they named me but they were SO wrong) and rarely do I get the correct "Meh-gin". Very very rarely. So much so I am thinking of going to Meg just to confuse it all. Spelling makes no difference.
posted by MeetMegan at 11:58 AM on May 14, 2008

Mispronunciation happens. Unless you have the star power of Colin Powell or Bette Midler, it's going to be difficult to get people who don't know you well to accept a nonstandard pronunciation (and in the U.S., as you've no doubt learned, the standard pronunciation is Meh-gan). Hell, even Nevada can't even get the eastern half of the country to pronounce its name correctly--it's Nev[æ]da. (There's a reason why the state's tourism bureau uses the "short a" symbol. If you do go into the graphic design biz, that "long e" bar will make you memorable.)

Does this mean you should change your name legally? I'm with chunking express: it's still your name and you shouldn't have to respell it just to avoid awkwardness with strangers. If people "correct" your pronunciation, they're being rude. If you have to correct theirs, you're demonstrating rightful assertiveness and that's nothing to be embarrassed about.

If you do go ahead with the name change, one small suggestion: Meagan looks so much better than Meegan.
posted by kittyprecious at 1:07 PM on May 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

Me, I've had lifelong problems with my first name. It's a scottish variant of 'elizabeth'. Which is what people always think it is. Or alison. Or a million different weirdo pronunciations. Not to mention the spelling.


I congratulate people who get it right first try, because practically no-one does. I'm up to a lifetime count of four people who have gotten it right - and that's only because they've met another person with my name previously (I've never met another one).

Save yourself the money. Trust me on this - it won't help.
posted by ysabet at 12:47 AM on May 15, 2008

kittyprecious: I was just here to mention the Colin Powell thing as well. I've heard (but cannot substantiate) that when he was growing up his name was pronounced the standard British way (Coll-inn) and it was only due to the standard US pronunciation that he adopted Cole-inn instead. If that's true, I guess he's come to terms with it.

Perversely, there are two acceptable anglicised pronunciations of his surname too- when he first came on the scene, British reporters couldn't decide if he was Coll-inn, Cole-inn, Pou-wull or Pole.

Don't even get me started on how to pronounce Powell in its original Welsh...

My name's Simon Powell - so I often get referred to by the name of that talent show judge. People just don't pay enough attention to names; I don't think changing the spelling will help, unfortunately!
posted by flameproof at 5:21 AM on May 15, 2008

I thought this comic was pretty timely!
posted by phunniemee at 10:48 PM on May 15, 2008

kittyprecious, so does "vad" in Nevada rhyme with "wad" or "bad"? I checked and there was one of each pronunciation in the audio files.
posted by notashroom at 8:28 AM on May 16, 2008

It rhymes with "bad," hence the short-a symbol.
posted by kittyprecious at 10:57 AM on May 22, 2008

Thanks. I also looked for clarification on the pronunciation of the short-a symbol, unsuccessfully, which is why I asked.
posted by notashroom at 12:55 PM on May 22, 2008

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