The article has been automatically translated into English by Google Translate from Russian and has not been edited.

Pronunciation difficulties: how after moving to the USA it turned out that we were 'out of luck' with names

Alena Dyakova

Blog author @dyakova_alena


Alena, Anastasia, Ulyana are excellent Russian names. I had doubts in childhood that not all people are able to reproduce names and surnames in the same way. For example, when a teacher on world art culture called me ApolonInina (my maiden name is Apollonina) ... but it was funny just once! Nobody planned that my children and I would have a period when not a Russian brother would want to contact us, but an overseas English-speaking person!

Photo: Shutterstock

But when we moved to the USA, I realized the scale of the tragedy!

Let's start in order! Most of all our family was lucky Kira, the name is international and does not actually distort. Although there is in her garden both Kiara and Kayra ... sometimes it can be confused. Then my husband was very happy about the new sound of his name, because from Ivan (“fool”), he turned into Ivan (Ivan). He likes the new sound. And recently in Atlanta, Georgia, we even saw a street named after him. Unfortunately, there is no evidence, but why should I cheat ?! The rest of the beauties of our family were less fortunate ...

Anastasia: She is majestically referred to as Anastasia, like the princess of the Disney cartoon, but sometimes Anastasia. Hispanic and Portuguese-speaking people strive to call her AnastAsia in his own way. And recently, in a cafe, they called For a long time Asasiya to take their cocktail ... Nastya was offended and did not go to pick it up. She tried to be Nastya, but Nastya also terribly annoys her. Yes, and Nastya sounds very similar to the American word nasty (nasty), which translates as nasty, nasty, disgusting. Therefore, we agreed that she gets used to Anastasia. Ulyana: everything is simpler here, they call her Ulyana. Although there is a common name for Julian or Gilian, therefore sometimes you still have to correct it.

On the subject: How Americans Relate to Accent and Weak English: The Immigrant Experience

Now about me. Oh, poor me! It is only the Russians who know that there was a period in our country when it was not customary to print the letter E in documents. It was during that period that I received a passport, so the letter E in my name did not move from the birth certificate to the passport. So according to my passport I am Alena, but they still know that Alena! All, yes, not all! When transcribing in a passport, I became Alena, which in turn is read by Americans as Alina. But! Friends! This is a completely different name!


Although it is more expensive to correct them. Because it is even more difficult for them, who speak English, to deal with Aluona, Aliena and others like them ... But I correct, I have been Alena for almost 35 years ... I don't want to be someone else! It's enough for me that I am now Dyakova, not Dyakova! Although, if you urgently need to say your name or when it is checked against your passport, I say: "Alina!" Where to go. I am a hostage of Soviet reforms.

On the subject: Not good enough: how America weaned me from the Russian habit of depreciating myself

I know one Alena, who got married here and just became Lena. A friend told about a friend, whose local name is Alonka ... So, who is what, as they say! And I work with my ego when their name is not me, but I know for sure that they are turning to me!

Original column published on the blog. Alena Dyakova on Instagram.

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