Wednesday, September 05, 2007

What's in a name

I guess I'm going to have to prime Robin for some bloggable moments because here we go again with the Julia stories:

Last week Julia told me her teacher said that they were going to start using the Spanish pronunciation of her name (like Julio Iglesias, but with an "a" at the end) instead of the English one (like Julia Roberts) because that's how the name is pronounced in Costa Rica.

Let that sink in a minute. Sorry, kid, you're saying your name wrong. Here, let us help.

I crossed the name Julia off our list of baby names the first time I was pregnant for that exact reason - I love the name, but decidedly do not love the Spanish pronunciation of it.

The second time around, I was more confident and figured we could just tell people her name and expect them to use it. And that has been the case, up until now.

Obviously if she decides she wants people to use the Spanish pronunciation, that will be different. But that's not what's happening here.

She's been going to the same school, with the same teachers and peer group, for over a year, and now and all of a sudden her name is wrong? It just didn't make sense, particularly given the school (Montessori) and the teacher in question.

One of the other kids is named Ganesa, for crying out loud. Are they going to correct her too, or is she still allowed to be named after the many-armed Hindu god of intellect and wisdom? Or maybe it's okay because she uses the Spanish pronunciation. Of an elephant-headed deity.

I promised to talk to the teacher about it, but didn't have a chance until yesterday.

So...can anybody guess the outcome?


Scott September 05, 2007 3:49 PM  

Never spit in the wind, Never poke a sleeping lion, and never ever cross Jennifer or Lisa. But they tried I'm sure and they tried to explain to you, a former translator how to say Julia in spanish. Then you had to explain to them no matter what this is how to say Julia and they said no this is how you say Julia. Like I said never ever cross Jennifer and Lisa. I would say that they say Julia the way you want them to, but they are not happy about it.

Dad September 05, 2007 6:54 PM  

Hmmm. Options?

1. A misunderstanding. During Spanish lessons the teacher explained to the class that a typical Spanish pronounciation of the name would be HOO-lia, and Julia ran with it.

2. Julia reported correctly. (Though my take on that school, from your reports and from visiting there several times, plus the general Montessori reputation, lead me to doubt it.)

3. They dug in their heels (not probable - see #2 above) and then obviously you told them that, for the sake of consistency, they'll have to start calling you "HEN-e-fair" and that they need to be prepared for your wrath every time they do.

4. Final outcome: They will address (and refer to) her as "Julia." (As in Roberts.)

Charlotte September 06, 2007 12:30 AM  

Looking to hearing what the outcome is!

We've had the same thing but with the spelling of Lily's name. The German spelling is "Lilli", so everyone, teacher and school included spells her name like that. I haven't intervened but find it irritating. Do I not know the way my child's name should be spelled?

Anonymous September 06, 2007 4:15 AM must start singing that old classic 'you say tomayto and I say tomahto........... let's call the calling off off...'

Fred Astaire... dancing and singing.... you could just dance with the teacher and step on her toes if she really insists on Hooolia.


lisa September 06, 2007 9:43 AM  

I predict that they will agree to call her Julia (Roberts), but they will force her to spell it LLulia.

juliloquy September 06, 2007 1:47 PM  

My guess is they'll nod and act like they're listening to you, then go on calling her Hulia. But good luck. I like what Scott said!

Martín Ventola September 13, 2007 11:46 AM  

I would have thought the /j/ sound would cause more trouble than the /a/...

I´m not a native English speaker, but according to Longman´s Pronunciation Dictionary, the /i/ sound is longer than the /a/, in English. It´s the other way around in Spanish, the /a/ is the core of the syllable and the /i/ just the beginning of the dipthong...

It would be could if she could pronounce it both ways and choose the one she likes the best... besides, it IS the same name, they´re not translating it...

I have no kids nor do I live in Costa Rica... so sorry if I´m mistaken.

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