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I regret the multicultural name...

post #1 of 53
Thread Starter 
I am Polish-American, my DH is Anglo American with a very simple Anglo last name. So when we were thinking of names for our daughter, I thought it would be a nice nod to my culture to give her a Polish first name since she would be taking DH's fairly common Anglo last name.

Oh, but I sort of regret the name we chose. Rather, it is confusing for all of us .

DD's name is Zofia--in Polish, it is pronounced ZO-fya, accent on the first syllable. This is hard for most Americans. Also in Polish, a little girl named Zofia would be called Zosia (pronounced Zosha) as a diminutive.

We thought we would call her Zosia or Zoey, which would be sort of an Americanized nick-name. But we never did. Somehow those names didn't take and we called her simply Zofia or just Zofi.

Everyone else in the world calls her Zo-FEE-a. Accent on the second syllable, like the common Sophia. This is understandable. Now, poor DD doesn't really know how to pronounce her name. She calls herself ZO-fya at home and Zo-FEE-a everywhere else . She has even asked that we stop pronouncing her name ZO-fya because nobody calls her that.

Now, at 3 years old, she says she really likes the nickname Zosia and that we should call her that. But isn't it weird to start calling her a new name now? No one calls her this except for my native Polish family members.

Have any of you had trouble dealing with multicultural names? Why didn't we just name her Sophia ?

I can't backtrack now.
post #2 of 53
You can start a new nickname at any time, as long as the child is OK with the change. I was "Ruthie" through first grade, then I was very adamant about being "Ruth" after that.
post #3 of 53
Aww... i grew up with a 'funny' name.

I used to pronounce my name differently at home and at school until 10th grade, when a boy that I "like" liked, (in the way that only 10th graders can) asked me why I did that. He insisted that he could pronounce it correctly if I just gave him the chance.

That was that! I made up my mind that I'd quit telling people that my name was something different. When I introduce myself, I say my name correctly, and I'll correct just once, and then let it go. Most people will catch on. And quite a few poeple take the time to pronounce it correctly.

I think if you asked your daughter's teachers to pronounce it correctly, her classmates would quickly follow suit.

BTW... Zofya is a gorgeous name.
post #4 of 53
I know plenty of people who pronounce their names differently depending on what language they are speaking (including me). It's quite common around here, actually.
post #5 of 53
Yeah, we are calling the baby (still in utero) Izzy. Her name is Isabel, and I was hoping we would call her Isa (EE-ssah) for short, but somehow Izzy has stuck - it seems to be easier for my husband, who only speaks English. Perhaps it will change after she makes her appearance and I speak to her in a different language.

I really like the polish pronunciation of Zofia. It's so pretty and feminine.
post #6 of 53
FWIW, my name is plain old ordinary American Michelle. When I was 4 I decided I wanted everyone to call me Shelly ... my preschool teacher was named Shelly. A year or two later, I decided I wanted to be renamed altogether: Lavender. Didn't last long ... soon back to just "Michelle." In my teen years I decided it was too orinary and started playing with alternate spellings and pronunciations ... Mi'chele, Michaelle, etc. Then back to Shelly for a while. And then back to just "Michelle" again.

I don't think it's a multicultural name problem so much as just a common fact of having a name at all, kwim? A lot of kids play around with their names. If she wants to be Zo-FEE-ya or Zosha for a while, I'd just go with it ... when she's older she may well appreciate the more unique original, and if not ... well, what's the harm in a unique spelling of a more common American name?
post #7 of 53
I have a friend named Tara. Certain people in her life (her father & stepmother and that side of the family) call her Tair-a (ie rhyme with hair); her mother, friends, husband, and co-workers call her Tar-a (ie rhyme with car).

It's not a big deal to her - it's been that way since she was a child and it's just normal to her.
post #8 of 53

beautiful name , don't give up on it.

our dd is named ada, and we just tell people we say it with ah, not ay. at 6, she corrects people, and doen't mind. 99% of people call her correctly. no one had a problem with it.
post #9 of 53
Oiy...I grew up with a very unique name. Shealaina (shuh-lay-nuh) which was a mixture between Shayna and Layla - as you can tell my user name is actually my nick name and I only started using that nick name in adulthood. Sheal is pronounced like Shell.

I don't see an issue with it if she is asking you to do so. She seems fine with it, I'd honor her request if it were me.
post #10 of 53
Zofia is such a lovely name, though! Call her Zosia if that is what she wants, what is the harm?
post #11 of 53
yes, my DH is Jacques and a lot of our friends call him Jackie of Jack, because, lets face it, Jacques isn't pleasant on the English tongue!

I wouldn't be too worried about it. I went through a phase when I was about 6 or 7 where I really wanted a "normal" name like Sarah or Jennifer, my name is Rachel, totally normal! Kids do strange things with their names!
post #12 of 53
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all of the replies. I just feel bad that I'm giving her an identity crisis or something . Or, really, I'm just being a worried mom.
post #13 of 53
well, my son's name is Avery. I pronouncy it Ave-ree, and had gotten the name from a Dutch family that I know and I loved they way they pronounced their childs name... more like Afe ree, but i cant say it quite right, so I settled on Ave - ree......

so many people say it with 3 syllables Ave - a - ree..... UGH i hate it, it annoys the crap out of me... even my DAD does it sometimes.
post #14 of 53
I think you are just worrying, like you said.

I think it's fine if she wants to be called Zosia - it's a nice nick-name. No more of an "identity crisis" than a Deborah wanting to be Deb or Debi or a Rebecca wanting to be Becky or an Elizabeth bouncing between Liz, Lizzy, Liza, Bess, Betty, or Betsy.

My daughter has about 4 different nick-names based on her English name and we also often call her by her Chinese name and other pet names. My son's name, I thought it was a "no-brainer" to pronounce - but we've found that many of his classmates give is a British pronunciation that we never expected.
post #15 of 53
I am not Polish but I spent 3 months in Krakow 5 years ago, then my husband and I went back 2 years ago for 2 weeks and it's probably our favorite place in the world.

Since my travel I love the name Zosia so much I have considered naming a daughter than even though neither dh or I are Polish. So I think it's lovely.

I personally always try to learn the true pronunciation of a person's name rather than Americanize it (like Russian Ivan is pronounced Eevan,etc..and I try to roll Rs in peoples name) so I would think correcting people is ok. Then again, I understood when people pronounced my name differently in foreign countries.

So maybe let her experiment with Zosia and ZoFEEyah as she wants, but teach her about her culture and the name ZOfya?
post #16 of 53
My DD's name is Antoinette. We use the Italian pronunciation An-t'nette (not An-twa-nette). We are always correcting people and DD (5 years old) knows she can too. Sometimes she does and sometimes she doesn't. Often if someone can't get it right she'll say "Just call me T"; which is one of her many nicknames (others are: Nette, Nettie).

I love Zofia and Zosha!
post #17 of 53
My real name is a VERY common English name, and when I was five, and entered kindergarten, I suddenly decided to change my nickname to something related but totally different, also very Anglo, and our family dealt. And I was five and that was my third nickname!

People dealed. I say, go for it, and let people deal with it. Surely, they have had to overcome more people-pleasing obstacles than learning to say or spell, "Zosia".

One thing you could do to help her is to spell the nickname the English way. It's not like it will be on documentation, so who cares? And that way, people will more automatically put the emphasis on the first syllable, which may help them pronounce Zofia. Just write on the enrollment papers etc. " Zofya 'Zosha' Lastnamehere".

By the way, it's a gorgeous name. A perfect combination of familiarity, good meaning, and exoticism, in my opinion.
post #18 of 53
I think lots of people go through "identity crisis" as kids about their name. My sibs and I all went through several changes of nicknames over the years. My baby sister insisted on being called "Maria Hannah Flower Fairy" for a few months when she was 6. That was how she introduced herself to everyone.

It occurs to me to wonder whether my oldest son was so eager to learn how to spell his name (at age 4!) because he was tired of us spending 10 minutes trying to get Americans to hear his name right. "Ashrat?? AzzRAT?? Ezra??" Now he steps up in front of them and says "No. It's Asrat. A-S-R-A-T."
post #19 of 53
OP, have you seen the movie the namesake? the son starts out hating the name his father gave him, being different from everyone else, and in the end he finally realizes the meaning and appreciates it. very touching.
post #20 of 53
It's not too late to call her whatever nickname she prefers. My sister was known by a nickname since she was a baby. When she was in 4th grade, she announced to everyone that she no longer wanted to be called the nickname, but rather her given name. It took everyone awhile to get used to it, but we did, and it was no big deal.

My older son has a very "American" name, but it sounds a lot like a more common name, and he is forever correcting people. And like a previous poster mentioned, he started spelling it for them whenever he introduced himself.
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