Wednesday, August 22, 2007

nicknames and mispronunciations

feet, paws and tail

starting another semester at school always requires the explanation about my name - that it's spelled kerstin but pronounced shashtin since it's swedish. (i'm named after my mormor.) last night lying in bed waiting for sleepiness, i tried to remember all the nicknames i've ever had and mispronunciations i've endured. they make for a sometimes amusing list.

shash and shashy - the two most common ones i've had throughout my life
szechuan - a more recent one that developed because my coworker/friend's mom (who's in her 80's) called me szechuan by accident. TWICE. on separate occasions. she had chinese food on the brain i guess. at least i can say i'm a spicy dish. har har har.)
shashtin on the bus - my nickname for when i'm being bossy, stemming from an incident where i got bossy with my housemate about where we needed to get off the bus)
shashafras - just fun to say
pronounced shashtin - nickname from christina after she created a movie (also titled pronouced shashtin) in her mind, about me being assertive
ksh and kshooshy - both given to me by former housemate geof, who wanted to tease me about how it doesn't make sense that my name starts with k but is prounounced with sh
shashywashy - only lindy can get away with this
shussy - not so much a nickname, as the way my childhood best friend's dad has pronounced shashy since i was three. he's a mumbler and from boston, but i don't know if that's a good excuse. it's funny though how it's just normal to me that that's how he says my name. i'd be sad if he didn't call me this.
chachee (like joanie and __ from happy days) - also not so much a nickname, as how that same best friend's live-in maid has prounounced my name forever

shizzden svendzen (said with a fake, very sing-song swedish accent) - started by boys in fifth grade who thought this is what a swedish accent was like. i think casey johnson was a big proponent of this one. luckily, this one only stuck for one year.
shiz - shortened version of the above

maria - given to me by senor ortiz, my spanish teacher who decided to rename me since shashtin was too hard
ann - given to me by julia, who wouldn't say shashtin

and then there are the mispronunciations. a smattering:
kerstin (understandable)
shloshtin (my 6th grade teacher being mean i think)
justin (common mispronunciation, especially over the phone, even though i don't think i have a deep voice)
shoshtin and shostin (THE most frequent mispronunciations. to me this is the old british lady pronuciation of my name.)
(makes me feel kinda disco)
shashkin (pretty common)

shastin (this one is actually not really a mispronunciation, because in southern sweden they say it more like this than like shashtin)

and i don't even try to make people say shashtin with a swedish accent. i've americanized it.

i don't mind all the explaining i have to do. i'm happy to have my mormor's name. it would be fun to compare notes with other swedish kerstins in the US.

what are some of your nicknames?


Christina said...

My first comment on shash's blog...
I'll start by saying that Pronounced Shastin (the movie) wasn't just about being assertive but being assertive wink wink nudge nudge

My nicknames, you ask?
With a name like Christina Cicoletti they start like this:
family/from childhood
teenerteener (that was my dad - he always doubled all of our names)
Lizzy (middle name elizabeth)
Chick the Dick
My 30s
Chicky, Teener and Lizzy are still going strong


I can relate a bit - my last name is Finnish but not that common, so even though I live in Finland I`ve seen & heard many ways to misspell it... Now when an actor with the same name is popular, people seem to understand my name without me spelling it to them. :)

I`ve always thought Kerstin is one of the most beautiful Swedish names. But I can see why the pronunciation doesn`t make sense to people in USA. :)

dandelion said...

I have a very uncommon surname and NOBODY outside of close friends and family can pronounce it. Like Scaredy-cat, recently a person with the same name became newsworthy and a 'celebrity' and lo and behold everyone started pronouncing it correctly!

briana said...

I looooove Shloshtin. It sounds like an old Jewish Man who hangs out with all his cronies at the bathhouse. Oy.

As a fellow mispronouniciation/misspellng/nicknamed gal, I am not sure what my mother was thinking when she named me after A) a fancy french cheese and B) a hooker played by Jane Fonda in 1974's thriller Klute.

(You asked me once and I don't think I answered, yes Ana is my middle name - the name of my great aunt/matriarch of our family.)

Bri Ana was pretty much unheard of as a name - I got called Rhianna (damn you Fleetwood Mac!) and Brian a lot, until about 15 years ago when the name came into vogue and now if I'm hanging out near a junior high school it can get really confusing.

Said as a whole, my name is pronounced "Bree-Ahh-na", not the popular "Bree-Anne-Na" and somebody once accused me of being a snob for the long "h" sound. Seriously, dude, that's what my parents named me?

As for nicknames, there are too many to list, but Breezy has always been popular a drunken british friend called me "Melanie" for some reason... I am so not a Melanie. Go figure.

Your list is so good - made me laugh and smile, thanks!

lisa said...

that was the funniest frickin post i have read in a long time.

Frances said...

That's the funniest thing! I remember when 'Szechuan' happened and I remember thinking that it was singularly appropriate!
I haven't had too many nicknames - I think it's funny that not too many people try to ammend my name to 'Fran' - my friend Kelly calls me that, my friend Ron used to call me that, and sometimes my friend Szechuan calls me that (sometimes she calls me Francy-pants, and that tickles me), but everyone usually sticks with Frances. I once had a co-worker from Nicaragua who started calling me 'Panchita' because she thought it was funny - she was about five feet tall, and I'm 5'8" so she thought it was hilarious to call me "Little Frances" - her family came to visit her at work once, and when she introduced me, they all burst into laughter because I was taller than all of them by at least a head.
In sixth grade, we all decided to spell our names backwards and Billy Rush thought it was great to run around calling me Sesspool because my name backwards was Secnarf - ouch! I doubt Billy went very far - he was a bit of a troll...

shash said...

heehee. your comments are amusing me. francipants forgot i also call her frangipane.

tara said...

Ag! I'm TAR-a, but I get TAIR-a EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
occasionally a Sara.
My favorite nickname is T-rex (apparently my arms are sort of short for my height and I have a big head), but I also have:
Sis (I'm a sister to 5 little brothers)
Doll (my mom and Grams only call me this)
tar-A (long A sound), after I insisted that my name is just TAR with an A on the end
Tawa (I had a speech impediment as a child and this is what I called all childhood friends still call me this...very embarrassing!)

jenifer74 said...

hm, mine aren't as amusing as yours! jen mostly. jen-fer occasionally. jen-jen comes out sometimes. only 3 people are allowed to call me jeni because they are all dear friends; i was that briefly in second grade, and then the "other" jenny claimed it & i didn't like her anymore, so no jenny for me :)

ms jeni by a few select students (again, allowed by only 2 students!) ms jen by a few people & students. sunshine by the mister, sweetie by the parentals.

& then there is my native american nick name given by my awesome male roommate - "one who always gets her way" :) yep.

we did the backwards name for awhile too, thus, refinej. went by my middle name erin for little bit. the initials came out sometimes too: jes

yours are way better! people never spell my name right though...(one 'n')

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
gracia said...

Yep, you're right, "shashafras" is fun to say. Over here, Sassafras is also a nice place to visit, all leafy & green, and high up in the hills.

Love your list... from someone whose name is, more often than not, also pronounced in peculiar ways. I am forever explaining that is sounds like the colour grey with a "sha" sound at the end.

see you, g

camilla engman said...

When I was a kid they called me Millbert, some still do, because I always had short hair and looked like a boy.

Shona~ LALA dex press said...

I've always wanted to know the Gallic spelling of my name, but it's spelled phonetically, sho-na (long O) but that does not stop people from adding a "w." At some point I got tired of constantly correcting people- if they get it close I don't bother, but I tell people that if I correct them it's because I like them + want to start off on the right foot..

Caterine said...

Here we go for french nicknames...
My sister used to call me "Gagi" (pronounce it "guagui").
I've also been named "Cracrine" "Cakine" or "Catine" by other toddlers. Note : in french "catin" means prostitue-hurrah!
I don't remember all the surnames she gave me but I once worked for an artist who calls me everyday with a new surname : "tante Simone" = aunt simone . I just hate this one I hate it so bad. Another day she would call me "Framboise" or "Cerise" (Raspberry or Cherry) - cuter but not my cup of tea.
Cat, Cate or Caca (= chidren word to say excrement-rehurrah) are commonly used by my friends.
I choose "dite lulu" as flickr nickname. It comes from a little "street show" i do with some friends and I present myself as "Ludmilla dite Lulu" (Ludmilla aka Lulu).
And my boyfriend call me "Gros caillou" (big pebble). I love this one. It's cool to be a pebble.
It was fun to read your post and almost as fun to answer your question.
I'll try to shoot my feet this week :)

Diana said...

I get alot of mispronounciations and spellings of my first name: "Diana". But it's my middle name that makes people do a double-take ("Come again..."): "Morag" - yay for letting the Scottish Dad pick the middle name Ma.
Got to admit though - I kinda like having an unusual name though.

Patricia said...

I have a friend whose name is "Morag" but she goes by Maggie. I guess she thought it was too complicated for us canadians to remember! Is it pronounced the way it's spelt?

As a Patricia I have been named a bunch of things-
Patzy: The nickname given to me by a beloved babysitter. When I was little I always secretly wished people would call me that but they didn't.
Trish: A common nickname but I have only been called that by one person in my first year of university.
Patty-cake: One of my favorites, this is what my 5 closest friends called me in university. It goes well with my motherly nature ;)
Twitty-pooh: One of my best friends decided to call me this and later shortened it to "twitty" or "twit" which I found kind of insulting although she seemed to think it was endearing
Tricia: Another one of my best friends started calling me this because that's what it sounds like when I talk on the phone.
Pat: Somehow my old bosses started calling me this. I always thought it was more of a boy's name so I don't encourage it!

Kerstin Muise said...

Hi! My name is Kerstin. Yep, the english spelling of your name, which I cannot spell, but.. I know what it is, how it is said and what it means because I was named it because the translation to english is Christina, and my parents wanted to name me Christina, but didnt because of an Aunt they didnt like having that name as well. My grandmother used to use the sweedish pronunciation, and I loved it.

I have to admit to you though that the english way of saying it is no easier for english speakers as my name has been butchered over and over again my entire life. THANK GOD in a sense for Kirsten Dunst because at least now people somewhat recognise my name and say, "oh like the actress" to which I reply, yes and no.. I'm older than she is!!

So I feel your pain.. by the way I am 33, married and have a daughter, who I named Izabella.. since it was easy to pronounce and somewhat common! LOL - I didnt want her name to be mispronounced all her life either. Her nicknames are: Bella, Izzy and Daddy and I call her Lala.

My nicknames: Keri, KDT, Kers, Kerst..

Hope this makes you feel better! See us Americans cant even say the English version either.