My name is not pronounced the way you think it is

The passing of former New York City Mayor Ed Koch (above) brings to mind the curious fact that we all have the right to pronounce our names any way we want.

Ed Koch pronounced his last name “cotch.” Charles and David Koch, the billionaire brothers who spend tons of money trying to elect right-wingers, pronounce it “coke.” And I once knew a guy who pronounced it “cook.”

By the same token, I once knew a woman named Yvonne who pronounced it “ya-von” instead of the more common “e-von.” And I knew a guy named Sean who pronounced it “seen” instead of “shawn.”

This kind of thing also applies to names of places. We Americans, especially here in the hicky heartland, tend to pronounce the suffix “shire” as “shyer” instead of “shur.” Hence, Lincolnshire is called “linkunshyer” rather than “linkunshur.” The only reason we don’t pronounce New Hampshire with a “shyer” is that the correct pronunciation has become so commonplace.

Anyway, in light of my right to do so, I’ve decided to change the pronunciation of my name. It no longer should sound like “Pat Cunningham.” I prefer “Prince Charming.” My initials will remain the same, but the pronunciation will better suit my personality.


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