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Second-generation immigrants mangle name pronunciations by choice




Introductions can be tricky when pronouncing newly heard names.
Introductions can be tricky when pronouncing newly heard names.
YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images

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Writer Mona Chalabi makes a conscious choice when she introduces herself as "MO-nah" instead of using her parents' Arabic pronunciation of "MUN-ah."

As she writes in The Guardian,” the choice faced by many second-generation immigrant kids is tricky because straying from your parents' native-tongue pronunciation can be viewed as inauthentic and a betrayal of your roots in favor of assimilation.

Chalabi explains her choice reflects her life experiences as an English speaker, raised in England: "Where you were raised matters, and I choose my pronunciation in recognition of that. But I also respect others who feel differently. In fact, I respect them a whole lot given how burdensome it is to have to repeat your name in every introduction until someone gets it right."

How have you handled Americanization of your given and family names?

Guest:

Mona Chalabi, data editor, “The Guardian;” she tweets from @MonaChalabi