I was reading this article in Monday’s Guardian by some bird named Mona Chalabi, title: Say my name, say my name: why the “correct” pronunciation is whatever I decide.
Apparently Ms Chalabi’s Arabic-speaking parents pronounce her name “Mu-na.” She herself prefers “Mo-na.”
Quote:If I use the Arabic pronunciation, I’m staying true to my roots and being “authentic.” If I suggest an English-sounding variant, I’m trying hard to assimilate in an English-speaking society.She goes for “Mo-na,” to show she’s assimilated. My first thought there was: Good for you, honey. My second thought was: WHY THE HELL AM I READING THIS?
The answer to that is that I had just got back from the AmRen conference; and as always in big gatherings like that, I’d fielded approximately eighty queries about how I pronounce my name.
Please don’t think I’m complaining. People are just trying to be polite, I know; and I appreciate the courtesy. It’s just that I don’t care how people say it, within fairly wide bounds of approximation. Furthermore, I can never remember how other people like their names pronounced — the author of The Righteous Mind, for example, who I’ve actually met a couple of times: is he Jonathan Height or Jonathan Hate? — so I’m forgiving towards alternate pronunciations of my name.
I say “DAH-bi-shuh.” I’ve heard my American kids say “DER-bi-shire,” though. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for anyone. Just do your best with it. I don’t mind.