The Correct-Incorrect Pronounciation

It’s crazy how life in another country can alter the way you see yourself. Nothing superbly profound happened to me or anything, but it was something worth pondering about throughout the rest of the day.

On the second day of one of my writing class, my professor was taking attendance. And I have an Asian name, so of course I expect professors to mispronounce it. However, growing up in America.. I’m not sure how this occurred, but whenever I talk to people who are not Tibetan, I always pronounce my name incorrectly on purpose. I don’t know how it happened but to this day, it just naturally happens.

So for the sake of keeping my identity anonymous, let’s take my username as a replacement for my own name: Silly. Now, in Tibetan, the actual way you’re supposed to pronounce “my name” is Sill-eh. However, whenever I introduce myself or correct non-Tibetans, I always say my name is Sill-y.

Anyway, so the professor was taking roll call, and when he got to my name, he actually said it the correct way. Sill-eh (well, more like Sill-ehy but close enough). I was surprised and when he asked me if he said it correctly, I instinctively corrected him with the incorrect way of saying my name (Sill-y).

It got me actually wondering. Nothing specific but just like… I don’t know haha. But I know I’m not the only one. My (white) boss from my summer internship has Tibetan friends and he says they are the same way.  Funny story: my boss and I were eating lunch outside at the time and he asked me about my parents. And when I said my mom’s name he just said “No, not the American pronounciation. How do you actually say her name.” It made me laugh because I hadn’t realized I instinctively said my mom’s name ‘incorrectly’ because my boss was white (even though he is very familiar with the Tibetan culture).

I guess we all do it because it’s easier for non-Tibetans to pronounce? I hope no one takes offense to that, haha. It’s not that we think y’all are dumb. It’s just tiring always correcting people on your name (despite telling them the incorrect version), so it’s more convenient to give an easier pronounciation version of our name so that we don’t constantly get asked multiple times afterward “what was your name again?” or “How do you say your name again?” But honestly, that’s probably just the laziness in me being the reason for that… Hope that makes sense :)

Anyway, cool thing I noticed haha. Have a great day/night everyone!


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