WHEN YOU HAVE AN AWESOME LAST NAME LIKE MINE
By Victor Uyanwanne
As I interact with the outside world, it appears that I meet more people who are unable to correctly pronounce the name than I meet those who are able to do so.
Uyanwanne, that’s my last name. And I love it when people pronounce it properly! Or is it not normal for one to so like one’s name?
I have been using the name for almost four decades now and will continue to do so for the rest of my life.
“That’s expected,” someone may say.
Well, I agree with that! I consider it a great name, not necessarily because it has a deep meaning which accentuates brotherly relationship and trust, but because of the person that bore it – my late father Pa Uyanwanne Bakwunye.
Of course, Uyanwanne was my father’s first name, but now it has become our family’s last name. The awesome old man has passed on since 1994, but the name continues to live on with us and through us; the name naturally lives on in our lives as the identity remains in use by us his sons and his grandchildren.
To the people from my part of Nigeria and to some others outside of it, the name is very easy to pronounce. But some how, as I interact with the outside world, it appears that I meet more people who are unable to correctly pronounce the name than I meet those who are able to do so.
But to people of the outside world, I have observed that it is a different kettle of fish altogether; pronouncing the name could be a mouthful. And that I completely understand!
“It is a 4-unit course” teased one friendly wag, who had difficulty pronouncing the name. All the same it is my name. Well, bear with me.
Here in Africa, and I believe in some other parts of the world, it is not unusual for people to bear long names, with multiple syllables
Over time, I am often amused by the way some people (mis)pronounced the name. Different – albeit irregular- versions of the name could be formed from the way some people have pronounced it in the past.
“Please don’t muddle up that name,” I have heard myself say to some people who mispronounced it.
But then I don’t blame them; they don’t speak my native Ika tongue. They need not!
I am not an expert in Ika dialect grammatical and pronunciation rules either, but the name could be counted into multiple syllables as follows: U/ya/n/wa/n/ne or simply as U/yan/wan/ne. Observing these syllabic divisions will naturally lead to the correct pronunciation.
Unfortunately, when I searched the name using an on-line word processor, it returned the name as a 3-syllable word. Obviously, that’s incorrect as it would result in a wrong pronunciation of the name. So as I said, the correct pronunciation would follow the traditional lines earlier noted.
In any case, some people still think the pronunciation of the name is jaw-breaking. Hence they sometimes feel at liberty when they mispronounce the name.
Do I mind? Not any more! I am aware that they are not intentionally muddling the name. Gladly. Some ‘foreign’ language speakers are able to pronounce it correctly without much ado.
But sometimes, I wonder why some others could not get the pronunciation right, even after being corrected. I wonder too if I do so badly in pronouncing the names of people from other cultures! May be, sometimes!
I am neither Chinese nor Korean so my name couldn’t have been Lee, Chan, Chen, or Chang – which spell mostly in one syllable format
Unfortunately, I am not about to change my last name. In fact, the name will continue to be used after my own generation is gone except of course, if my children decide otherwise. For now, it is the name I am known with and will continue to be known with.
Here in Africa, and I believe in some other parts of the world, it is not unusual for people to bear long names, with multiple syllables. That’s how it is too in the Mid-Western part of Nigeria where I was born.
Take for instance, one of my other names is “Okechukwuyem.” (pronounced O/ke/chu/kwu/yem). You see, the names we bear usually come in multiple syllables. That’s what I am saying….
I am neither Chinese nor Korean so my name couldn’t have been Lee, Chan, Chen, or Chang – which spell mostly in one syllable format – and very easy to pronounce. So please take my last name as it is and employ the best of your pronunciation skills where necessary.
The correct pronunciation of Uyanwanne may be jaw-breaking as some people have claimed, but it is still my last name.
Do people find it very easy pronouncing your name? Please share your experience.
Copyright | Victor Uyanwanne