Friday, December 01, 2006

Everyone Mispronounces My Name, But I Love it Anyway.

I spent several hours on the phone with Expedia today, because the airlines changed the times of my flights, and they were no longer available.

And the nice lady dealt at Expedia spent a long time figuring out how to get me and my husband to Colorado for Christmas, which, at this point, wasn't easy for them, but we got it done. And actually, the timing works better on these flights than the earlier ones (that I bought two months ago).

BUT.

I had to be on hold several times, and every time she came back from talking to the airlines, or talking to her supervisor, or whatever else it was that she had to do to get my flights working, she said, "Hello, Marsha, I'm sorry for keeping you on hold for so long."

This phrase made me laugh the first time she said it. Especially because the first few times, she corrected herself with a "Marsha - Mar-she-ah - Marcy - Marcia" (for those of you who don't know, my name is pronounced "Mar-SEE-ah"). But by the 12th time, she wasn't even noticing that she was mispronouncing it.

This made me almost sad that I'd told her that she didn't have to call me Ms. Pink Shoe. (No, that's not my last name. But it's all you're getting for now.) I'd rather hear Ma'am, which I hate, than my first name mispronounced.

Now, I don't expect phone-answers from online travel sites to be paid enough to remember my name. I actually feel badly when I correct people, especially service people that I'll never see again. But unfortunately, it's instinct for me, when I hear the name "Marsha" to reply, "Sorry, it's Mar-See-Ah."

After I remind people that my name is pronounced the same as Garcia, but with an M, they remember it. But Garcia is a common last name, and it's almost never mispronounced. If someone said "Garsha," people would think that they were idiots. (Actually, thinking of it, one of my bridesmaid's last names is Lopez, another common last name, yet I've heard people try to rhyme her last name with Ropes.)

As an added hint as to how my name is pronounced, I throw a large accent over the I in my name... but people rarely seem to notice.

When I hear the word "Marsha," I have memories of a line of people saying "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia" (a la Jan Brady) to me, thinking they're cute and original. I think about a boy from high school who had a crush on my who could never pronounce my name correctly - MAR-see-ah, instead of Mar-SEE-ah. I remember thousands of role calls and telemarketers confidently saying my first name and mangling it.

Even though the mispronunciation of my name completely distresses me, I wouldn't change it for anything. I think it's beautiful and unusual and fits me. And I love that my name reminds me of my Italian heritage.

I just wish people would realize that there's no way that "ci" makes a "sh" sound.

25 comments:

v said...

I have a rare, even tougher to pronounce name. Unfortunately Marcia, I lack your confidence so after the second or third mispronouciation I just let it go. Plus it happens so often, I'm happy when they get within the ballpark. But I actually should correct some people more often because someone who pronounces it correctly once may revert to the mispronounciation later on, at which point I sometimes let it slide thinking they'll correct themselves on the next utterance, lol. So don't feel bad about reminding people of the correct way to pronouce your name. Though I do have one suggestion. When tele-service person I think after the 5th mispronounciation you should tell them you go by "Moonbeam".

Wow, long comment. I feel the name mispronounciation fury too!

LiSh said...

Expedia suck ass, thank god we only deal with them rarely at work.

Then again, I got called Brenda..... I figure I just use the most convenient identity at the time

Hugs said...

I've never had trouble with my first name, minimal trouble with my last name. But as a teacher I've had so much trouble with students names. And I'm guilty of saying a name correctly once and then mispronouncing it for the next month until someone finally pips up and corrects me.

So I am making a big mental to look for the accent.

Save Sheila said...

Mine they pronounce right, they just spell it wrong. It's Sheila, not Shelia! Lots of people here (the South) spell it wrong. If I spelled it Shelia, it would be pronounced SHEE-lee-ah, not Shee-lah. That's my rant for the day!

Anonymous said...

funny story because my mom's name is spelled just like yours BUT she goes by "Marsha" or Marcy. It also ticks her off when called "mar-see-ah." moral of the story... people are going to mess up your lovely name name no matter what you want to be called!
-guest

Airhead said...

I'm with you. People rarely mispronounce "Airhead," but they almost always spell it wrong (either with an i, one n, or an e at the end), and let's not even tackle my last name . . . I used to use it as a screening device for bad boyfriends. If they couldn't spell my last name or say it correctly, then they weren't worth it :-)

MC said...

I think the fact that so many prominent people go with the Marsha pronounciation(Marcia Cross, Marcia Gay Harden) is really the root of this problem for you.

From a man with a oft misstressed last name...

Princess in Galoshes said...

I get "Pat" all the time on the phone, even though my name's Cat. I HATE that, it reminds me of the old, "It's Pat!" skit. Blegh. I am definitely not a Pat. So I tend to go by Catherine, when I'm at work, or doing official airline-y stuff.

But I think MarSEEah is a beautiful name, and definitely worth the effort!

ndheathen said...

I once knew a family that did pronounce their "Garcia" last name "Garsha," but they were definitely the exception and not the rule.

Anonymous said...

MARCIA is a beautiful name for a for a lively sprite who is "trouble, but in a good way."

And at least your first name doesn't rhyme with your married last name... that, too, is a curse.(Would you want YOUR name to sound like a line of baked goods???)

You could be Marcia Garcia...

Ryan Oakley said...

You should have gave her hell. You simply cannot allow tradespeople to push you around. Next thing you know the help gets up in arms and society falls apart. My God, Marcia, thanks for bringing the world one step closer to total anarchy.

Logan said...

My name is never mispronounced.

Also : efficient, sufficient, ancient (unless you pronounced the last one AYN-chunt or AYNT-shunt, which, although [t + sh] = [ch], is just a dialect arguement). People's brains piece together how they expect words to be pronounced by relating them to other words they already know (for example, 'Garcia' pronounced as three syllables), but a person can just as likely mispronounce 'Marcia' because of how close it looks to 'Marsha'. So relaaaaax, babe. ;)

Logan said...

Let's pretend that I know how to spell the words 'argument' correctly. A'ight?

Jsto said...

I remember freshman year in college when we used to get telemarketer calls for Mariska Buskler and Marny Neckle

Apricoco said...

my name is often mistaken for Natalie, even though it starts with a "M". NOT "N"! Or even worse people call me Marilyn. That is so irritating! And then you correct them at they look at you funny as if I had mispronouced my own damn name. So, suffice it to say... I feel your pain!

Jules said...

lisa "left eye" lopes pronounced her last name LOPES..weird

Jules said...

oops, meant Lisa "left eye' LOPEZ pronounced it LOPES

craziequeen said...

I say it right - I even have your name in phonetics on my blogroll.....

Because you are my Sweet Mar-See-Ah.

cq

Anonymous said...

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Tabitha Dial said...

I think this is one of your loveliest blogs. For me, it tells oddles about you!

I'm with you on preferring to be called Ma'am (which I, too, dislike) instead of having my name mispronounced.

People saying "Tabita" because they can't say "THA" is fine. I love it, actually. But I'm not "Tuh-bye-tha", or "Tab-thuh."

My mother, whose first name is Neila, has a worse time of it, I think. ;-)

Lena said...

I SO get this. I love my Italian name (Isalena) but was so over it by second grade because everyone called me "Izzy".

So, Lena would be easier right? Wrong.

I saved my last Starbucks cup where they spelled my name A-L-E-N. What the hell?

I love your name too Marcia - it's so YOU. ;)

Oh, and the drink? Any. Time. Bring it.

bobealia said...

My last name is like, well, I think you know it, but for the purposes of Blogger, it's like, Jamestown, or Greenville. Two words that exist in real life put together to make one. Simple, easy words. And people butcher it all the time. Jamestontown, Jelltown, Jontowner, or Greensville, Greenerville, Greenmountain... I really down care, because then I get all condecending and say, "Yes, 'Jamestown', just like it sounds."

bobealia said...

I meant don't care...

Softball Slut said...

We are flying Frontier Airlines from Austin to Pueblo, CO right before Christmas. It's hard getting the right flights.

Carole Eddington said...

Actually, Garcia is routinely pronounced "Garsha" by many people, as in the famous essay, "A Message to Garcia." It irritates me, which is why I was Googling this and then came across your blog.