What's Wrong With My Name?

I'll tell you what's wrong with it as there are several things.

Let's start with Susan vs. Suzanne. These are two different names and they are pronounced differently as well. Yes, they are similar, but Susan ends in a schwa ə sound for the a before the n. Whereas in Suzanne, you are pronouncing the a as a short a ă as in Anne. This difference in vowel pronunciation affects the en sound at the end of each name. I've always thought that the ə + n sounds lazier than the ă + n sound.

Then we can talk about the middle s in Susan vs. the z in Suzanne. They both sound the same, but I prefer the z for spelling and aesthetic reasons. I like zeds in general as they aren't as commonplace as esses. This my nickname, Suzi, look less sissyish. Check out Susi. Try putting a soft ess sound for the second ess there. It just doesn't work. With the zed, there is no confusion.

Now, let's talk about my last name. Short e Ĕ, two ens, ess. I happen to like it a lot for its brevity. When people see it written, they rarely mispronounce or maim it. I don't think I can recall a time that someone has actually. However, saying it so that someone can write it down is almost impossible which makes identifying myself over the phone quite difficult sometimes. Those most difficult times are also marked by the person trying to understand my last name having a different first language than English and I'm going by my nickname instead of my given name.

You see, my nickname runs into my last name in a sometimes very confusing way - suzienns. I have to pause longer than usual in between my first and last name than I would for others like my angel. With vowel sounds, ē and ĕ, together, it doesn't create a natural pause as most other names. It could have something to do with them both being ee sounds as well. I have developed a particular way of speaking and spelling my informal name that lends itself to be more easily understood which helps me not be frustrated with them. I say my nickname, then spell it. Then I pause for a moment. This pause is very important for processing that what comes next is going to be a new word. I then say my last name, pause again, and spell my last name. I also pause after the first letter of my last name to give it more emphasis that it is its own letter before continuing with the last three letters. That is the most effective way to do it. I can usually gauge the perceptiveness of the person I'm speaking to and can vary the above process up a little and remove explanatory bits to shorten it up a bit. Sometimes it backfires and I have to do it more than once.

I very naturally have developed the best way to spell my name out loud to avoid confusion over the years. My friend TUO wouldn't know about any of these difficulties as she'd never experienced them. And then she made a phone call for me to confirm a reservation. She was quite frustrated by the end of the call because it took her about 5 minutes to get the woman to spell my name properly to find my reservation. Her comment as she hung up the phone was, "Did I not say the E?!?" It was then I truly realized the importance of my method and sympathized with her frustration.

The only place I go by my given name is at work and other professional settings. In these settings, I'm able to write my name down myself or email someone where my full name is spelled out in the email address. When verbally providing my work email address, the underscore in the middle between my first and last names provides the pause necessary for the recipient to process the initial E in my last name properly.

The only other thing is that there are TWO ens in my last name. People like to sometimes only hear one.

And I'm not even going to get into how lucky I am that my first name rhymes with a female body part.

After all that, let me tell you one other thing. I like my name. It's interesting and gives me something to rant about.

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neuba said...

I hear ya! I love my name and always have. My pet peeve - when people pronounce it wrong. Granted I can have some sympathy, perhaps they are just referring to what the know. I can usually just correct them, and all is fine. But I invariable spell my name out in full each and everytime I have to give it out to avoid a mispelling.

Jenn & Owen said...

I'll just ignore the problem by continuing to call you just Suz, to rhyme with that thing I do to people.

R:tAG said...

Yah... two things:

My first name - It's not short for anything. Mom just liked the name.

My last name - No end of trouble in spelling. What's more, people can never seem to pinpoint its source. I've seen interpretations from the old country to Spain to Mexico. It gets kinda silly sometimes.

Suz said...

Everyone has an issue with their name, I guess. It rhymes with something undesirable, spellings and pronunciations aren't the norm, and getting associated with that nationality and it assumed that you can speak that native language. Maybe I got it easy.

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