I started writing this post last October but never finished it. I’m finally digging it out of drafts…
After my Random Rant regarding the mispronunciation of the word “karaoke,” a couple of commenters brought up the topic of people “mispronouncing” their own last names.
I admit that I am one of those people who goes around and “bastardizes” my own last name by pronouncing it the way it’s spelled, instead of the way it is supposed sound (in Chinese). I know how it’s really pronounced, but I really hate having it misspelled more than I hate having it mispronounced. Is that silly or what?
Assuming your last name is of Asian origin, do you pronounce it as it’s spelled or as it’s supposed to sound?
RamenGrrl tipped me off to a website that CalPoly Pomona developed to help the campus community more accurately pronounce some common Asian first and last names. In some cases, they provide helpful hints, phonetic pronunciations, and/or sound samples spoken by native speakers. Native speakers who were/are Cal Poly Pomona students provided all sound samples (in .wav format) for Cambodian, Cantonese, Mandarin, Filipino, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Thai, and Vietnamese names.
I listened to a lot of the Mandarin pronunciations… accurate and pretty cool. What do you think?