https://www.duolingo.com/Olja.

Do you have a name that is often mispronounced?

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Does it annoy you? What does it feel like to have your name constantly mispronounced?

2 years ago

68 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Beta-Tron
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Ol-jah? Ol-gah? Ol-yah?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Olja.
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My full name is Olga and I hate it when they pronounce it like [OLGA] with that terrible hard L :))) In Russian it sounds like [Ol'ga] with a very soft L. But most people still pronounce it more like [olga] which I find sounds really ugly :) However, (despite the bolded word) I don't feel strongly enough about it to correct people most of the time, I still know who they are talking about and many people don't even seem to hear the difference between [L] and [L'] :)

My last name (a typical Russian one with the "-ova" ending) is always mispronounced in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and I find it very funny :)

In the Netherlands they called me [ol-kha]. In Belgium (at Starbucks) I once heard [helga] :)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/muscletwink
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"Olga" derives from the Viking name "Helga", so in a way and interestingly enough that Starbucks employee in Belgium wasn't completely wrong :-)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Beta-Tron
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you have a nice name

although you can't blame everyone around the world for pronouncing it a liiiittle differently !

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Olja.
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Thank you :) Oh, I just don't like the way that [L] sounds :)

Aeroflot always calls me Olga Alex, always makes me happy all that :)

afl

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sdr51
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It must be frustrating. I'm American, and never realized before I started a little Russian here on DL that the L was so different. Now that I do, I'd be happy to oblige you with a good pronunciation if we ever met. My own frustration is that I just can't seem to get the hang of that Russian L. I'm usually quite good at that kind of thing. But it's hard for me to hear it properly in the audios, and it may well be that my brain is just not hearing it right. (There's nothing wrong with my ears. But it's the brain that filters the sound for recognition and meaning.) Everyone becomes attuned to the sounds of their own native language as they are acquiring it as infants and toddlers, and the brain learns to target those sounds and pay less attention to others, or to variants. We're hardwired, but not so much that we absolutely can't rewire. It just takes special attention, effort, and sometimes guidance, merely to figure out what the ears are really receiving. And my mouth just won't seem to produce a soft L either, do what I might. The tongue just goes the wrong way naturally, and I can't figure out what the right way is. It's muscle memory, like the unconscious learning that makes us able to walk after we've fallen down a few thousand times as toddlers, or, in fact, to play a violin.

I'll keep working at it, but please have patience with us who are stuck in our ways. It's not easy climbing out of a rut. :)

That's an amazing set of language advancements, by the way!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Olja.
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Such an amazing answer. Thank you very much :)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/aistobe
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When I see the person with the clip-board squint then begin to stammer, that's when I tell mom Let's go. It's us.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bookrabbit
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yes but I am so used to it that it doesn't bother me any more.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/duonks
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Same here, except it's not only often pronounced wrong, but turned into a different name altogether :-p

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bookrabbit
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Mine often gets turned into a different name too. Anyway as an anglicised Irish name I may well be pronouncing it wrong too. Some of the different versions are probably as good as mine, but some bear little resemblance to the English letters and it is baffling as to how the person mangled it so randomly. I don't often tell people my surname as they never remember it properly anyway. My first is very standard, so that suffices.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Luscinda
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Likewise.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Selma-Ibrahim
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Well, it's not really a pronunciation mistake, it's just that people keep telling me I write my name wrong, which yes, is annoying.

In the Middle East, we usually write my name with an 'A' (Salma), but I thought writing it with an 'E' made it look prettier. They said I was just trying to be Turkish - eye roll - but I said that English speakers write it that way too. And then of course, I showed them the movie "Selma" and they shut up. =D

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DragonPolyglot
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With the "e", it does seem nicer to look at in the Latin script. How would you spell your name in the Arabic script?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Selma-Ibrahim
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سلمى. In Arabic though, we don't have short vowels. So it's literally just Slma.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jbusike
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There have been four of five times in my life that people have actually pronounced my name correctly before I told them. Even when I say it for them its difficult, until I tell them it rhymes with music. It does not annoy me, which is good, because if it did, I would be annoyed a lot.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LeviPolasak
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Try pronouncing לוי יצחק without an Israeli or American accent. (It's Yiddish and Hebrew, but the Yiddish is a lot different). Israelis say: Levi itzkhak, Americans say: Lee-vi Yitz-chok. In Yiddish we say Laivee Yitzkhuk

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Olja.
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I would pronounce לוי יצחק like [Levi Izkhak] :)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rosenoiree
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My name's Olga which isn't a difficult or very weird/unknown name in my country, but still, somehow many people think that they've misheard when I was telling them my name and they call me Ola, which is a popular diminutive of very common name (Aleksandra) in my country. But I don't care much.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Olja.
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Poland? :)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rosenoiree
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Yep. But actually my name's Russian (my dad used to have many Russian friends in the ninetees and that's when he picked it). I see, that we share it, that's nice :)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/austintheroux
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Throughout all of elementary and middle school, I was plagued by the terrible pronunciations of my last name (Thèroux). I've heard "thuh-roh", "theerocks", "thuh-rowks". I feel you pain, haha.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BlankSquare.2

What language is your last name?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/austintheroux
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French

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Carolyn250

Actually, I like it. My mother "modernized" my name instead of copying my grandmother's name exactly. But so many people (including my husband) changed it to "Caroline", which I think it should have been in the first place.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Olja.
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"Caroline" rhymes with "fine", "Carolyn" rhymes with "sin", right?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Koopafro
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A funny thought : Caroline is also a pretty popular French name (or at least it was at a time, but not so much now. It was almost mine as well), and the natural pronunciation is that of your "Carolyn". If someone where to make the name more "original", as is common sight now, it would probably be spelled Carolyn and pronounced like your "Caroline".

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Carolyn250

Thanks! Love your comment!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/andre551183

I got used to it really. My name is 'andré', a french name, but in portuguese we pronounce it differently, but sadly the whole world seems to prefer pronouncing my name like the french do, what used to sound awkward to me. But as I said, I've already got used to it.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kajo76
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Today I heard the pronounciation of your name several times... I like it much more than the French or German pronounciation, in fact! :-)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/WildSage
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Yes and not because it is a difficult pronunciation for native English speakers. They seem to get it wrong because they have never heard it as a name before. Their brains seem to want to substitute familiar names instead. I find it amusing. People come up with some crazy things.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/peephole
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People always reverse my first and last name, and then mispronounce my (3-letter) last name. It gets tiring, but I am not annoyed. I teach and have students with all kinds of names and I know the challenge to get some right that didn't originate in languages I'm familiar with.

And French speakers always say "Brah-dee" for Brady, but I can live with it.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/WildSage
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The name reversal happens to me all the time. Even in response to emails where I've signed them.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/peephole
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Surely you do not know which box said first name and which box said last name. Let us help you with that!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Anneysha7
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Yes, people often call me with the wrong pronunciation or sometimes even struggle with the pronunciation itself!
Though, not all.

Earlier, I would mind me being called with the wrong pronunciation, but as time passed and seasons went by, I ignored the mispronunciations. They are not to be blamed, after all. In my country, people speak different languages and have different mother tongues, the pronunciations are often based on the pronunciation of syllables in their mother tongue.
I ignored this to such an extent that sometimes, people told me that my own pronunciation is wrong. :P For example, Bengali does not have the pronunciation of 'Uh', 'U' in the word 'Under'. Bengali has 'aw', 'AU' as in 'laud'. So, my name is pronounced 'AWneshA'.
Hindi has 'Uh', so my pronunciation is 'Uhnesha'. But sometimes, it is not because of languages, probably my spelling is probably what gets people confused. Anneysha sometimes becomes Anneyeshya.

I find it amusing and creative that the silent letters I learn in French can also be related to my name's pronunciation, the 'y' in my name is silent. :)

I was so confused in the recent past that I thought of checking my name's pronunciation on the internet. Not that I really believed on internet but I was hopeful that I could probably learn some more ways to pronounce my name. I was pleased to hear the Internet's pronunciation, it was just the way I pronounce and I had wished it to sound.

My country also has various forms of writing a name. Nandita in the northern India will be spelled as Nanditha in the south. My name, was a modification and a creative change made by my mother.
Usually, the spellings 'Anisha', 'Anvesha' and 'Anesha' are used. So, Anneysha sounds a little fish out of water. People don't make the effort to pronounce my name a little different, it's all from the traditional, root names.

But, why would they? Of course, because, I don't really care anymore the way my name is pronunced, as long as I know that the call is for me. :)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DragonPolyglot
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Yes! Even mis-spelled.

In America, almost no one has accents on their names. And if they do, usually they are immigrants or have a family proud of their heritage enough to spell their child's name as it would be originally. My parents are neither of the above and just wanted a pretty or cool name for their first-born daughter.

Usually my real name would be spelled "Zoey" or "Zoe", but my parents wanted a flare and my mom thought spelling it "Zoë" would force people to pronounce the "e". "Zo-EE", not "zo". But many people say "zo" anyway. I prefer it with the "ee" sound.

They also spell my name without the dots, with a "y", or with the dots over the "o", all of which are wrong in my case. It should be with the dots over the "e". Out of the many people I met outside my family, only five ever spelled my name right. And out of the nine or ten other people I met that have my name, two spelled it like I do. And they have all the same complaints I have about the name spelling confusion.

But I'm very proud to have the name my parents gave me. It is a Greek name meaning "life", no matter how it is spelled.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Olja.
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ΖΩΗ! :)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DragonPolyglot
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:)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lento_Rodriguez
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Yes, it doesn't bother me though. Sometimes I now even introduce myself using a common mispronunciation of my name.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Bobboski
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Yeah me too, I use the original pronunciation in Italian only and in any other language I just mispronounce it. It even feels better to me.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CowboyfromMars

My last name (French) is often pronounced very english here in Canada. But my family pronounces it the same. So it's normal for us.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mjaumjaupurr
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My name gets mispronounced more often than not, and it does annoy me, but I know I should be more persistent in correcting people, so I cannot really blame them for the mistake.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/emak02
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Not mispronounced, but misspelled.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Joao1362
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My name is João, a typical Portuguese name but is almost always mispronounced :c It does not annoy me though, I've grown used to it =p

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kajo76
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I'm absolutely curious about the pronounciation of your name! In my youth I watched something on television and an actor had the name João. I liked him very much.

I'll ask my friend this evening. One question though: Is João common in Brazil or Portugal or both of the countries? :-)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Joao1362
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It's pronounced slightly differently in both countries, but Forvo (the pronounciation website) ilustrates it quite well :) I think it's common in both countries; I can tell you for sure it's one of the most common male names here in Portugal!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kajo76
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Thanks! Just looked it up :-)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HersheyNan

My last name is often mispronounce because it is uncommon and not pronounced phonetically. I am used to it. And I must admit that your name was a real challenge for me when I started learning Russian. Pronounced correctly, with the very soft L, it is beautiful.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/NeonMoogle
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I have a common name but with an uncommon spelling with an uncommon pronunciation. My name is Meagan and I say it as "May-gan" and not like "Megan." It used to annoy me more when I was younger, but not so much anymore. It only bothers me when people I've known for awhile say it wrong or when people say it wrong right after I introduce myself.

I know I'm nitpicking and I need to get over it, but still...

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Shw00
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Yes. My surname is a slightly different spelling of a somewhat more common surname, and it's pronounced like the first syllable is German, and the second syllable is English. Nobody who hears it can write it, and nobody who reads it can say it. If my surname is on an alphabetised list I have to tell them what letter it starts with or they'll be looking in the wrong place.

It's inconvenient, but only mildly irritating. I'm sure it'd be worse if it was my first name.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/cswrawr
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Only little kids, my names Christina and I guess that's too many syllables because I tend to get called Tristina, Skina, or just Tina.

My sister in law, on the other had, get's to regularly hear people butcher the name Zoila. Even the minister at her wedding.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Mod
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Yes, it is very frustrating. To make it easier, I usually just give people the second half of my first name. But, because people perceive me to be a certain gender, if I tell them that part of my name, they spell it the wrong way. If they read my name, they say it the wrong way. It is very odd. If they perceived me to be a different gender, and I wrote it the same way I do now, they would say it right. Or if I were to say it, they would write it correctly. Somehow, under current circumstances, they doubt what they hear and what I write.

The only people who get the whole name correct are the people who send me junk mail. To date, I've only received one error among the junk mail, and that is because they left off the second half of my first name. The exception to the junk mail is my communications professor, who consistently gets my whole name right! That is my favorite professor for many reasons. ^_^

My internet company spelled my name wrong, my doctor still cannot get my name right, my insurance company made the second half of my first name into my middle name and squished my middle name into my last name (which messed up my ability to get my medication!), and it took me 3 calls (an hour long wait each time) and variations of my name and hassles with my pharmacist later, they got it right. And then my pharmacist made fun on my name. -_- The list goes on ad nausea.

Here is an article about how teacher's pronouncing children's names wrong can have a lasting impact on them.

I try to have patience, because I too have a hard time pronouncing names that originate from languages with which I am unfamiliar, or because English pronunciation can be unpredictable. Whenever I mispronounce someone else's name, I'm mortified, because I understand the frustration, and alienation that comes from someone mispronouncing mine.

This is yet another reason (one of many), that having active exposure to multiple languages is valuable. I have learned alternative pronunciations of vowels. This has helped me to navigate at least some names I've never encountered before. :)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/aspielman2
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Also some good reasons to give children names that are readily recognised and pronounced by others (at least in the same language group) - tempting as it may be to customise spellings and pronunciations, it probably doesn't do the child any favours!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Olja.
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Thanks a lot for the article!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Timothyk9

My first name has never been mispronounced (that is if you exclude the Key and Peele skits..). However, the same can't be said for my surname. My surname originates from Germany, but it's taken on an "Americanized" version of the years. Instead of pronouncing it as "K + eyes (this is how it's spelled)," most people pronounce it "Keys." It's not frustrating to the point where I get upset or hurry to correct those who mispronounce it, but it is sometimes annoying considering they're defiling my surname.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/_-ShyGirl-_
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Mine isn't ever mispronounced...But people do tend to spell it wrong...a LOT!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Windrammer
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I have a name which sounds like a big city in Norway. I almost always have to correct the last letter.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/daughterofAlbion
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Yes! I sympathise, I get turned into a port...

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kajo76
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It doesn't get mispronounced, but misspelled a lot! My first name is Kirsten, but in Germany the names "Kerstin" or "Kirstin" are much more common. So people often call me that instead of my real name. I'm used to it, but every so often I think "what the heck, why can't they remember it right"? :-)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Theron126
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Nobody in Scotland can pronounce my name right. This was excellent preparation for Russia, though they mispronounce it a bit differently there :-) Certainly I like it when people pronounce my name right, but it doesn't create any negative feelings for me when they don't. I'm used to it. Even less so in Russia because I chose to go there knowing people would struggle with my name.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KrazyKaderKat

My name is Samantha and although it is an easy name to pronounce, I've heard it pronounced Sam-antha instead of sa-man-tha.

However, that only occurred once and my name is perfectly normal.

At least, I hope it is.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Didi4800

My first name isn't.... but lol, my friends used to spell it like "DeDe" which annoyed me....

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
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When my family moved from the northern to the southern US, apparently people could not understand the way we pronounced our (relatively simple, it would seem) surname. The 'r' in the middle was always replaced with a 'w.' We quickly learned to spell out our name on all occasions. The misspelling continued. It was exceptionally strange. There were some listings with the 'w' spelling in the telephone book, but it was by no means unusually common.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dimidov

Other Dutch people can pronounce my name just fine. (Specific languages speaking) Foreigners do something to it that makes me not recognise it as my name because it sounds off, so I always tell them to just call me the shortened and easy version of my name, hehe.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/WaddlesNMabel

I don't.. but a good friend of mine does. Her name is Arianna, but not like the artist Arianna Grande. She pronounces her name as 'Air-y-anna.' But my stupid American mouth always says 'aRianna,' even though I try so hard to get it right.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/harmonylovesyou2

yes

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Austinr1611

I actually had a question as to how to pronounce my last name. Rudzinski...I grew up pronouncing it (Ruhd-Zin-skee) but as I have talked to native Polish people and have begun learning the language it seems as though I should pronounce it (Rue-Jin-skee). Any thoughts or comments?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sdr51
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In English, the letter combination "sh" gives a non-vocalized whooshing sound. But you can vocalize it (use the vocal cords) to get a sound you might spell "zh", more buzzy. It's actually spelled differently in other words like "leisure". And in Polish, the "z" in Rudzinski might be pronounced more like that "zh". It's a sound that is common enough in Russian and east European languages.

But the "zh" sound is sometimes paired with a "d" sound also: "dzh". In English, we often spell that sound with a "j", or maybe "dg", as in the word "judge". And so the "dz" from the Polish name could easily be a close match in sound to that English "j", which explains your Rue-Jin-skee. I'd say that the pronunciation you grew up with was an Anglicization of the original pronunciation, probably a compromise your ancestors made peace with when Americans couldn't figure out how to pronounce Polish. And indeed, Polish phonetics are not (in general) particularly intuitive to us native English speakers.

9 months ago
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