Thursday, October 23, 2008

What's In a Name?

Last night it occured to me, I don't know why, that not everyone may know how my name is pronounced. And I'd like to think it's pertinent, should I one day be published.

Both my first and last names are pretty easy, I've always thought, though I've had awhile to get used to them. Especially my first...

I've been called John-uh. Jane-uh. And even Yawna. But it's just plain ol' Jan-uh. Like Jana, just not as naked. It's Scandinavian, which I bet my parents didn't know when they picked it. Story has it (at least at one point, I'll have to ask if it was a fib), I was to be named Valerie until some friends of my parents "took" it for their newborn. So in looking for a new moniker they stumbled upon Jan, whom my big sister liked from the Brady Bunch, but gave it a twist. I'm glad they did, because I sure don't look like a Jan. Janna (even with my spelling variation) is the female form of John, which means "God is gracious." Indeed He is. And I think that's pretty cool.

My last name, Qualman, is a bit trickier. It's German and, though misterwrites may be pulling my finger, I'm told it means Dungeonmaster. Neat, eh? Even if not, there aren't too many around whose name starts with that funny lookin' Q... Many struggle over pronunciation, but it's easy - there's no bird, no quail. It's pronounced Kwallman, simply put.

Nicetameetcha.

What about you? Do people mess up your name? And is there any special meaning behind your moniker?

41 comments:

Terri Tiffany said...

I love your name! I'll think Brady Bunch when you are famous!

People always mess up my name ever since we moved to Florida. They call me Tiffany all the time as though it is my first name. I've come to the point where I just answer to it and let it go.
I always told my husband I married him for his name--it sounds good together I think --unlike the German sounded name I had!

Angie Ledbetter said...

Angela (angelic messenger LOL)
Marie (for Jesus' Mommy) DiBenedetto (a variation of "welcome", in Italian).

My twin's name is Alaine Mary. I've always wondered if I should've hyphenated my name when I got married. How's DiBenedetto-Ledbetter sound? :)

thedomesticfringe said...

My name is Tricia...just Tricia. People always say "Oh, Patricia?" No. My aunt is Patricia and I'm JUST Tricia. I've said this about 4 million times so far. I'm getting a bit of a complex. Is just Tricia not good enough? :) My maiden name is Ferreira. Now that was a bad one. I was often called by the name of a sports car. I guess that's ok...as long as it's red and shiny.

Janna Qualman said...

Terri - Those darn Floridians. ;)

Angie - My, what a name that would be! LOVE the way DiBenedetto flows off the tongue, though.

Tricia - I went to elementary school with a "just Tricia" - she even spelled it the same way! I can understand with your maiden name; the "ei" throws me off. Is it pronounced as just an "e", like a schwa sound?

WendyCinNYC said...

Um, YES. Not so much my first name, but almost no one gets "Cebula" right. I defy any of you to guess! Is it:

1) CHE-boo-la
2) SAY-byuoo-LA
3) say-boo-LA
4) Ca-BYUOO-la
5) suh-BOO-la

I could go on and on with the variations.

Janna Qualman said...

Wendy, you do have a hard one. I've always read it as Seh-byoo-luh, which is closest to option #2. *shrugs* Do tell!

WendyCinNYC said...

That's actually pretty close. It's suh (or seh, whatever)-BOO-la.

It's Polish and means "onion." Not quite as interesting as yours!

Janna Qualman said...

Wendy, I'll never look at you the same way again. ;)

Sara Spock said...

Sara. Easy, right? Everyone always says, "Without an H?" Er? Yeah. And I'm from New Jersey, so I say "Sah-rah" but around here, they say "Ser-ah," which is just plain weird to me.

And Spock? Don't even get me started. SPOOK, SPAK, SPAKE. Until you say, "Spock, like the Doctor or the Vulcan," then they get it. Weird, because Spock is so easy and straight forward. Before Ellis Island it was Svak, or Svasky, but that must have been too hard to say and the officials changed it to Spock.

Turkey Lurkey said...

Ohh! I was looking for something to blog about. Great idea! Mind if I take this idea to PT?

:)

The said...

Oh I should add....

I've been pronouncing it correctly in my mind! Yay!

Turkey Lurkey said...

Ok.. that was weird... It posted under the name of The. Hmm...

The above post was mine.

Janna Qualman said...

Turkey! Absolutely, you can use this same idea. And kudos for my name. You get a brownie for pronouncing it right!

The? How odd!

Janna Qualman said...

Sara! I love your story about the name changing at Ellis Island. So neat! And I like how your name sounds with a NJ accent. :)

aaroncrocco said...

I'm surprised people have issues with your name. I never had a second-guess as to how it should be pronounced. The fact that people can't figure it out gives me reservations as to the intelligence of the human race.

It's sad to think about it, but people have issues spelling my first name at times. I give people a pass on my last name, but my name isn't really *that* hard to figure out.

Janna Qualman said...

Okay, Aaron, you get a brownie, too. :D The only "issue" I have with your name is that my fingers fumble to put two r's instead of two a's. But I certainly know how to say it! ;)

Melanie Avila said...

Hey, I pronounce your name AND Wendy's names correctly! And Cebolla is onion in Spanish, go figure. :)

I never had a problem with people pronouncing Melanie until I moved to Mexico. Meanwhile my maiden name has ALWAYS caused problems. Hooyenga. It rhymes with Oing-ga (oinga boinga...) But those double O's really trip people up and they just start making things up by the end. That's why I stuck with Hoo. My brother goes by whodad. :)

Josh said...

as you know, people have issues with Leadbetter....I dont know why, its not that hard lol

Rachel Burton said...

People always throw an extra "a" in my name, but at least they get the pronunciation right. I grew up with a little plaque that said Rachel means "little lamb" in Hebrew, which I always liked. Come to find out, it just means plain old "ewe" or "female sheep." Not nearly as cute. My middle name is Leah which I think means "weak eyes," though I could be messing that up. Weak-eyed Sheep here, pleased to meet you!

Melanie Avila said...

Rachel, LOL!

Dominique said...

Not much to say about my last name, King...

People often mispronounce my first name, Dominique...I get dom-i-neck, dome-i-neek, dom-i-no, mo-neek, dom-i-nick, dan-yell (no idea where they got that last one!).
It should be dom-i-neek (rhymes with unique!)
I also get a good bit of mail addressed to "Mr."

Dominique supposedly means "of God".

I have so much trouble with my first name, I don't even bother to tell most people my middle name! But, for the record, it's Desiree...which means "desired"

:)

Pat said...

Hello Janna, your name is unique to you. You know this is my second blog title I have bumped into tonight. I visited someone's blog, and they also had the same title 'what is in a name'. I think it is catching. I think I have always payed close attention to my names until now, where I just don't pay any attention as I don't feel I associate myself with them, or have a character within the name. I feel I don't call anyone by their names, if i want their attention. Only mabye at work-the manager. Though in general I feel at most ease without the name indentity, though they are still interestingly nonetheless. Lovely to meet you again Jenna. (truelyana from AW)

Pat said...

By the way my full names are Ana Patricia Ferreira Goncalves with the cedilla under the c.

Janna Qualman said...

Wow, Melanie! What origination is your maiden name?

I know, Josh. Who'dathunkit?

Weak-eyed sheep? Man, Rachel, you and Wendy are both askin' for it... ;)

Janna Qualman said...

Dominique - Thanks for stopping by! And your name is so beautiful!

Ana - I love the amount of thought you put into things! Thanks so much for sharing this comment. And how funny; we're the opposite. I always try to use people's names, to both show I care and let them know I've paid enough attention to remember who they are. :) Thanks for coming by again!

thedomesticfringe said...

Ok, that's too weird...another Ferreira reading this blog and a Patricia Ferreira to boot. Thanks for letting me know. I'm going to check out her blog.
-Just Tricia

Melanie Avila said...

Oh! I have a 'just Trisha' friend here. :)

Janna, Hooyenga is Dutch, but if you bear with me I can make this even more confusing. My step-dad adopted me when I was a kid so that's not my original last name. That was Waara (which is now my middle name). Waara is Scandinavian (I forget if it's Swedish of Finnish) and pronounced War-uh.

Joanne said...

My mix up is always Joan!

Josh said...

loved wall-e

crazynance said...

"Full of grace, mercy, and prayer"
Nancy Katherine Marian.. [gotta point out that's an A in the last half of Marian...]

crazynance said...

btw- Wendy? Dzien Dobry! I guessed the pronunciation and meaning! :D

crazynance said...
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crazynance said...
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aaroncrocco said...

I get the double-r thing many times. Sorry to make your fingers stumble!

Kelly said...

I guess I get a brownie too 'cause I know how to pronounce both your
names! Could be 'cause I've known
you for years... I have to spell my last name a lot now, but no where near as bad as when I was "Story." Its a noun people.

Kelly said...

PS-- I'm bloggy now too! Come visit :-). designsofminebykm.blogspot.com
myfamilyfarm.blogspot.com

Janna Qualman said...

Kelly! Yay! I'm so excited to see you here. Goin' to check your blog now...

Michaéle said...

Oh my....do people mess up my name?

My first name is actually spelled "Michaél" but I added the "e" to make it feminine because I have had more mail addressed to "MR. Michaél" too many times.

My maiden name was Davey. Hard to mess that one up.

Then I went and married a guy named "Alegria." And if you remember any of your Spanish, you'll know it's pronounced "al-uh-GREE-uh." You would not belive how people pronounce it.

Algeria -yes, just like the country in Africa.

A-LEG-ria - close, but emphasis on the wrong syllables.

The pricipal called my son by "A-LEEEG-ria" at his 8th grade graduation. You'da thunk he would have known how to pronounce it after my son had been there from K through 8th grade!

I have learned to answer by anything!

My poor daughter...her first name is "Amadi"....pronounced "AH-madee" but she gets a lot of "a-MAH-dee." That and Alegria? She's hoping to meet the man of her dreams by the name of Smith, Jones or Johnson!

Oh, Alegria is Spanish for Joy.

colbymarshall said...

That's how I've always pronounced it in my mind! Yay for being right so I don't have to re-train myself!

I was named Colby because my mom was watching Dynasty spinoff "The Colbys" the night before I was born.

Janna Qualman said...

Well then you rock, Colby! :) And I think that's neat how your mom named you. It happens a lot, I believe. A friend of mine was named after the heroine of a romance novel!

Melanie Avila said...

How did I forget the dungeonmaster???