Tuesday, 5 February 2013

What's in a Name?

A lovely lady on Facebook inadvertently prompted me to write this post today, when she aired her frustrations at her son's name being spelled wrong on official forms and documents. I can 100% empathize with her because apart from the reason there is no excuse to spell her son's name wrong, I have also had this issue all my life. There are of course several ways to spell Kathryn, and I think the most popular one is Catherine or Katherine. But my parents chose to spell my name with a 'K' and ending in 'ryn' for a reason; because they are my parents and that was their choice. Legal forms throughout my life have obviously been filled in by me as 'Kathryn' yet I still receive correspondence from official organisations addressed to Katherine Brown. I get emails on a daily basis addressed to Katherine, emails that have come from companies that say they love my blog and read it regularly, yet the About Me page that these companies claim they've seen has in bold letters above the bio, Kathryn Brown.

It may be pedantic to some and many of you might think I'm lucky if this is all I have to worry about in life, but it's actually very frustrating. Of course there have been and most likely will continue to be many times when people will use the incorrect spelling of my name and I am grown up enough to know that it's inevitable when one has been given a name that could be spelled in different ways. There is a time and a place to turn a blind eye and move on, but when legal and official documents have used the wrong spelling yet you have obviously  spelled your name right yourself, why do they think they have a right to choose the spelling for you? Laziness, arrogance, carelessness... What is it that makes people ignore the correct spelling of a name, even when it's written down in front of them?

The lady's son whom I spoke about earlier has autism. He is a beautiful little boy who could perhaps become confused if he sees different spellings of his name. And the mad thing about this is the people spelling his name wrong are the people who are teaching him in an educational environment. My Facebook friend received several replies all indicating that they have the same problem. Personally, I find that really worrying.

62 comments:

  1. Ahh yes! my real name is Luiza, pronounced Louisa, I once had a teacher pronounce it Loser and most recently a chemist technician! NOT AMUSED! It's actually my birthday today :P (had to slip it in there) and my long lost Grandad sent me a card a few years back for my 21st he's not bothered since, he's long lost by his own fault as well, I guess he is 'lost' again and wrote in it Dear Louise, no, no, no........ everyone calls me Lulu, so it's Lulu or Luiza thank you very much!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hope you had a great birthday, Luiza !

      Thanks for taking time out on your special day to comment here x

      Delete
  2. My name is Vicky, and as long as you can tell it says "Vicky" and not something else, I don't much care how it's spelled - but then, it's a nickname; my proper name is Victoria, and there's really only one way to spell that.
    I find the examples you have presented quite disrespectful - to you and to the young boy. Surely if someone is responsible for a child's wellbeing and education then spelling their name correctly should be top of their list of things to know about them?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Victoria/Vicky is one of my favourite names. I wanted to call Amy Victoria but chose a name you couldn't shorten in the end.

      Delete
  3. My daughter's teacher spells her name incorrectly all the time despite my daughter pointing it out...Hanna (without the h)...my surname is ALWAYS spelt incorrectly ..it's U-P not O-P I find myself saying constantly...& then there's my eldest Sam, why do people insist on calling him Samuel!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can't really get Sam wrong so it is quite ridiculous if people call him Samuel isn't it?!

      Delete
  4. Ah yes. I am Rachel. Not Rachael, Racheal or Rochelle (seriously have had that a few times). My surname can also be spelt a couple of ways and my maiden name, well I won't even go there but suffice to say I couldn't wait to get rid!

    My friend Vikki is actually called Vikki, not Victoria. So imagine her frustration at people assuming it's a nickname!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now I'd always spell Rachel like <<that. The main character in my latest book in Rachel.

      Delete
  5. yes my daughter is Manaia but frequently gets spelt as Mania!
    I think its very disrespectful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is a different in pronouniciation too isn't there?

      Delete
  6. My best friend's name is Kathleen and her nickname is Kate, another friend's daughter is Caitlin, nickname Cait, My DIL is Catherine, nickname Cat, I have to be extremely careful not to muddle them up!
    My surname is Shallcross, you simply wouldn't believe the number of different spellings we get!
    When my youngest was in his first year at infant school his teacher was unable to spell properly, but I guess she must have passed all the requisite exams to get the job in the first place. These days spelling doesn't have the importance placed on it at school that it used to in "the good old days" and now with text-speak, there's no hope really.
    Joy (not an easy one to get wrong, thankfully) xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I bet you've muddled them up occasionally! I agree, spelling should still be paramount but I don't feel it is anymore because of texting.

      Delete
  7. I'm a Philippa and you'd be amazed at the number of combinations of 'l' and 'p' that I've been subjected to! I'm generally known as Pippa but people even get that wrong. I get Pipper, Piper and Pipa. It is lazy and it is disrespectful. If someone can't even be bothered to work out how to spell my name, or ask how it is spelled, it is irritating! It makes me very careful with the spelling of names too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think Pippa is much easier to remember! But I don't know how someone can spell it wrong really. I'm the same, because so many people spell my name wrong, I am careful and look at signatures etc before I write a name.

      Delete
  8. Unfortunately, partly due to text-speak and Twitter character constrictions, people have become lazy and seem to pay far less attention to detail. Spelling and grammar have suffered enormously, but I agree name spellings are something you should never take for granted - not least because of data confusion - and multi-culturalism is going to challenge us even further.
    For my part, the 'a' in my surname seems to be a blind-spot and I'm constantly being referred to as Robert or Mr Roberts (where they get the 's' from, I have no idea) - and, yes, I've even been called 'Robot'!
    To partially alleviate future grief, we named our son a simple 'Ben' - not Benedict or Benjamin, although people will often say the later - and he has no middle name.
    My own life might have been richer if I could have had back all the time I've lost over the years writing my middle name on official documents when it otherwise serves me no practical purpose.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're spot on, Roy. The age of technology has made us lazy, I'd say for definite.

      Delete
  9. a name is so personal...and we feel so much when someone uses our name, to see it misspelled does feel like someone doesnt care enough to get it right...so i hear you...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your name is yours and it's hard when we see it written different to how we're used to seeing it which is why I feel it's important that teachers in particular should use correct spellings.

      Delete
  10. Very rarely to we get anyone spell my sons name correctly. He is Rhys, but it gets spelt the modern way of Reece. It is something that has always bothered him as he is very proud of the spelling of his name. Added to the insult of bad spelling people don't ask how to spell it when they know there are two ways, they make the assumption. He has even had many people pronounce it wrongly, (Rice- as in the grain of rice)i'm not even sure i understand how they can think that the welsh spelling could be pronounced that way.
    Cx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love the name Rhys. I think the modern way is just the way it's spoken so I imagine that's why people use that version. But I understand how he feels. people should take more care and ask.

      Delete
    2. Sutleress can get her name spelt wrong too and as for Olivia(known as Livi by me or Livvy or Liv) and me I am Moira known as Mo but could be Moyra on occasion but often Moria and so it goes on!

      Delete
    3. I love the name Olivia! But I would also shorten it to Livvy.

      I've always thought there was only one spelling of Moira but I guess people have other ideas!! x

      Delete
  11. Hi Kathryn!
    My daughter has a fairly uncommon name (it's only "Kay" for the blog) and I have seen it spelled and pronounced in many ways. I agree with you - it can be so annoying, because a name is all about that individual person and to change it, changes that person too. It's pure laziness not to observe somebody's name.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kay is an easy name to spell, though I know a Kay with an 'e' on the end. Makes it all very confusing, lol.

      Delete
    2. As I say, Kay is only her blog name. Her real name doesn't even begin with K! Her real name causes all sorts of spellings and pronunciations!

      Delete
  12. My DD has a Hebrew name ending in el. I spell it ele because the el ending is for a boy in Hebrew. We get el and elle endings all the time. To make it more confusing, she now calls herself the name with an ella at the end - she likes it. On top of that her two middle names are Hanna Luisa. Sometimes I think I just should have gone with the xxelle Hannah Louisa and be done with it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those are beautiful names and should be respected, especially when you have specifically chosen to spell them that way because of culture.

      Delete
  13. A lot of names can be spelt in many different ways and it is disrespectful if someone deliberately changes it. Sadly if a name has many spellings people will often get it wrong. I have it all the time with my daughter Leila (Laila, Layla, Leela) It's worse for my daughter Cassie though as she is often called Cathy, even on the phone we have to say it twice or spell it. However, ironically, with my name Anne, everyone asks,is that Anne with an e or without, as if it's really important to get it right!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You see I'd say it was important to get it right. I have a cousin Ann and I've probably used Anne and Ann in the past but she's never said anything!

      Delete
  14. Oh I am SO with you on this! My name is spelled Marylin, yet I am constantly bombarded with people writing it as Marilyn! I WROTE IT THAT WAY ON THE FORM FOR A REASON, MORONS! *breathes*
    Yeah... I get you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly, it isn't difficult when it's there in front of you!!

      Delete
  15. My name is Suzie, I'm forever having it spelt Suzy or Susie (I'm Suzanne really but no one ever calls me that and it's a bit late to insist on it now I fear - EVEN THO IT'S MY NAME!!) My sister is Carolyn- When we were kids we got called into the dentist once as Susan and Caroline :-( But, I have the most trouble with my surname, Hoad. It's like road, load and toad, not difficult. I've had Hode, Ho-ad, Hoade, Hod..and the most common Head! When I got married all my bank cards and cheque book had Mrs Head all over them :-(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd insist they called your Suzanne - that's a lovely name. A lot of people call me Kath but I much prefer my full name, Kathryn and I often ask them to use it instead.

      Delete
  16. How about someone changing your name altogether!
    My name is Bethan..."Beth-un" if you want to say it out loud but nope, 90% of the time I am Bethany, I am Beth-anne, I'm Elizabeth or even Stefan? STEFAN?
    This is one of my biggest bugbears in the world - I mean, it's not a completely uncommon name and it's not hard to get it right. Even when I'm emailing people I get replies back to Bethany - it just drives me mad.
    Then again, I've given both my daughters the same trouble. I don't doubt Jessamy will get Jessica her whole life and Lottie will constantly be asked if she's a Charlotte but well, they'll have to learn to deal with it like I have!

    PS. Bought your book today :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now that would really annoy me! Like I said to Suzanne above, many people call me Kath, even my family, but I wish they'd call me Kathryn. To me, Kath is totally different to Kathryn.

      Thanks for getting the book - I really hope you enjoy it x

      Delete
  17. Hello. My name is SonYa. There is no i in my first name. Never has been, never will be. Annoying when people, even family, spell it wrong!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like your way of spelling more, but don't tell anyone as I've used the Sonia version in latest book!

      Delete
  18. Our surname is Nesbitt - been referred to as Naisbitt, Nesbot and the best so far....Nosebag! Spellchecker eh? A braincell is also required to use such a tool! Just my opinion dear Catheter Brine! lol! ooops Katheter! lol!

    ReplyDelete
  19. My partners name is Euan, and after the film 'Trainspotting' he spent about 15 years having it mis-spelt Ewan. In the last 6 years around once every 6 months his bank change it to Evan and we have to complain yet again. It's ridiculous and infuriating. Clearly this is a subject that gets a lot of people annoyed! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't believe the bank change it - an professional organisation, that's quite laughable really!!

      Delete
  20. This made my smile - I am a Catherine (not my blogging anme) but more times than I care to remember, people insist on calling me Caroline! Just got your new book - looking forward to reading it. Well done.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oooh, another one bought my book! So glad it's getting out there. I hope you enjoy it and thanks for your support.

      Kathryn x
      ;-)

      Delete
  21. I agree, people should take more note of people's names in particular when they're written in black and white in front of them. It's just plain rude.

    I've been called Louise on emails because someone's sloppily seen only the final part of my double barrelled name - I go by Emma though, so you can't usually get that wrong. Kathryn, you'd need to check because there are several spellings (I have friends with each of the 3 variations as well as knowing a Katharine).

    I think parents who change a standard name to one with totally different spelling should expect people to get it wrong as you would automatically spell it the 'correct' way. But there's no excuse when you should know or can easily check the spelling.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are too many different spellings of Kathryn - trust my parents to choose that name, lol.

      Delete
  22. Hi I agree people should get the spelling right once they know it is spelt in a certain way, however, if they don't know then spelling it in its most common form isn't that unreasonable i.e Natalie - a woman on a game show was called 'Natalee' - now if someone on the phone said their name was Natalee I think I would spell it as above unless told otherwise. To save all the fuss instead of giving your child a fairly common name with a quirky spelling why not just give your child a quirky name?!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I do agree with you on that; if there isn't usually another way to spell a name then I guess it's acceptable to go with the wrong spelling. Like Addy above for example - Kay. I know someone who's name is spelt Kaye but if you were just told Kay on the phone you maybe wouldn't ask. Perhaps in that case it's up to the person to mention, it's with an 'e' on the end...

      Delete
  23. Really annoying Kathryn, isn't it? I have the same sort of problem with people who manage to leave the e' out of my real (not writing name) so I end up as Audry instead of Audrey! Grrr!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gosh, I wouldn't think Audry even looks right without the e. That is frustrating!!

      Delete
  24. My daughter had a teacher that called her the wrong name for a whole year. Each time I raised it with the teacher she blamed my daughter and said 'if she didn't answer to it I wouldn't call her it'. Sigh. Not just a misspell, a completely different name!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's ridiculous. Sounds like the teacher needed educating rather than your daughter!

      Delete
  25. Hiya!! I am the lady referred to in the blog, nice to meet you all! I am glad to see that I am not the only one who feels this way!! Now, as a few of you have said, and as I pointed out on Facebook, when it's someone on there, replying to a status, or a birthday card with his name spelled wrongly, I have long since gotten over that (even though I use his name on FB all the time and often in the status that someone is replying to, yet STILL spells it wrongly!!) Anyway, I digress. It was yesterday when we received the official minutes of my son's review meeting at school and his name was spelled incorrectly every time it was used that prompted my rant. At NO time have I EVER informed the nursery/school that his name was spelled how they did and I have asked them at least 4 times now to ensure that they have it spelled correctly. They obviously choose to ignore me. His dad and I chose the spelling of his name for a good reason. It is a very uncommon name anyway and does not have a 'recognised' spelling, so why they choose to spell it this way I have no idea!! It does worry me that the establishment responsible for his education cannot get a small thing like his name correct......Even worse was the time I ordered a personalised T shirt, emailed them with the spelling and it STILL was sent out with the wrong spelling!! Needless to say I was less than complimentary on my feedback to that particular company!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for inspiring the post, Laura. You've caused a great deal of commotion here, lol. Raised some interesting points too and it's nice to see so many people joining in the conversation x

      Delete
  26. I am doomed by the same name except my is spelt KATHARINE - even after 23yrs, the hubby can't spell it.
    And me 'real' name isn't 'Lisa' either - which causes tonnes of trouble for me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lol, your hubby can't spell your name?!!

      Actually, my dad could never spell my mum's name - he used to get the i and the e mixed up and he did that all their married life - think they were married nearly 40 years before he passed away!

      Delete
  27. My maiden name always threw people. If they heard it they couldn't spell it, and if they saw it they couldn't pronounce it. I finally quit saying my name, I'd just say Janet and spell the last name. And of course it would still be wrong about half the time. But it's really pathetic when a school can't get a child's name right.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's sometimes easier that way but people should really ask if they're unsure.

      Delete
  28. My full name is Margaret and lots of people miss out the second *a* when they use it, which does annoy.
    I like the way you spell your name.
    Maggie x

    Nuts in May

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Margret... That really doesn't look right at all to me! I have an auntie Margaret - not my real auntie though.

      I like Maggie actually!
      CJ x

      Delete
  29. Having had 29 years of having to spell my surname before I got married, tell people how to pronounce it, and have that moment where a receptionist has a piece of paper in their hands, and goes completely blank and says "errrrrr..." before mangling your name beyond comprehension, we were determined to give Squeaky a name that would be easy to say & spell.

    We were wrong. She's Rachel when I'm not blogging. But the number of extraneous a's & e's we've encountered in the last 3 years beggars belief. Even from the doctors, which is something of a worry, because her medical records are a pretty official document.

    Trouble is, I can't think of any name that doesn't get mangled nowadays.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I've had this all my life too, always being spelled Leslie instead of Lesley. It's sooo annoying. I know someone called Isla whose mother always said it Ayela. Maybe that's a Scottish thing.

    My hubs sister is Julia, and her mum got annoyed with people who said Julia as I would say it, as we were meant to know it had to be said Julya.

    ReplyDelete
  31. My sister's middle name is spent the same as yours and it drives her nuts that people are always spelling it wrong!

    Even more so - my girlie is Genevieve, a tricky name to spell if you never have done before - but if you don't know - ASK! - don't just make it up!!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for leaving a comment. I try my best to reply to each one individually.