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.
Ruth, single mommy to 3 quasi-adults
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.
Texmati-- Knitter, Hindu, vegetarian, WOHM. Wife to superdad and mom to DS 24 months, and DD 8 months! .
I really like the polish pronunciation of Zofia. It's so pretty and feminine.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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!
I'm crunchy... Like a Dorito.
Mama to Sprout 4.09 and Bruises 7.11 handfasted to 9.07
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.
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.
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?
Happily married to DH for 6 years, in process to foster-adopt 3 children DD4, DS3 and DS2. We may be bringing half brother age 9 one day as well! We are not infertile, we just have decided that since there are precious children who need homes there is no need for us to have biological children.
I love Zofia and Zosha!
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.
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."
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.
As others have said, changing to the nickname per her wishes doesn't seem like a problem. She may ask to change to something else later on. Identity is fluid throughout a lifetime, and there's nothing wrong with having informal names reflect that.
By the way, I love your daughter's given name and her nickname!
Oh, and I was wondering: do you think your ambivalence about her name mirrors any ambivalence you feel towards your Polish-American identity?
Mama to a bilingual (Arabic/English) and cuddly 3 year old, and planning another peaceful homebirth in June.
at 3 my dd would spell her name out to people so they would understand how to pronounce it. she would always correct them.
then at 4 she decided to take a v. american name - rainbowheart. at 5 she had a conversation with her K teacher and went back to her non american name.
i kinda insist on my dd keeping her non american name and so do i mine. i only correct people when they ask if they have pronounced it correctly. i dont mind if they have forgotten it. but i think it is my duty to add to teh melting pot of this culture here. seeing how my dd's name is written ver few can pronounce her name correctly (its the i). but it is simple and easy and so one should learn it. hopefully in some years her name will become common here as common as it is in my culture.
who's 3 year old, Dharma, likes to use the nickname "Zoo" on the internet.
and 1 year old Zoe doesn't have any naming issues....yet. But we often call her "Zo-zee."
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i think i changed the spelling of my name atleast 5 times growing up. i really wouldn't worry about a new nickname. my dad calls me angel eyes more then he calles me addie and it has never bothered me lol i'm sure it will be fine
In a nutshell, I'd say encourage your dd to be proud of her name AND its correct pronunciation. Changing it to an Americanized pronunciation just dilutes its specialness. I like the name and really don't think it's THAT hard to pronounce. It's not like its some strange letters completely foreign to English like some Arabic words are.
Anytime some teacher, nurse, caller on the phone, etc. mispronounces it, encourage her to correct it. My mom never really told me this at your dds age. I know I didn't as a child and I still get mad when I remember how my second grade teacher mispronounced my name for a long time until my mom came up to the school and noticed it. When my mom told her, my teacher was surprised I didn't say anything. I was shy about correcting an adult and still was when it happened again when I was 17 y/o! It wasn't until I felt like an adult (sometime after graduation), I started standing up for my name and its correct pronunciation and meaning (the mispronunciation DID change its meaning).
One more thing is that nipping it in the bud early helps stop the spread of incorrect pronunciations. With my experience, I realized that when people heard others pronouncing my name wrong, others would just repeat it who've never me before and didn't ask me what my name was. Even people who did know my name's correct pronunciation and had known me for many years started pronouncing it the wrong way w/o even asking me first. I guess they thought the 'new' way must be the right way and were too embarrassed to ask themselves!
My own name is Aimee (pronounced em-MAY) and I answer to Amy or my nickname Indigo 95% of the time. Heck, my own mother's name is Maria and tons of people call her Marie. Never quite figured that out.
Or even my husband, Robert hates being called Bobby but lets his grandmother, mother and sister (but not his brothers or aunts & uncles) call him by that childhood nickname.
My family of 3 (plus pup) Indigo (Aimee), Rob (dp), Ryne (ds) & Phebe (dog), plus my BIL's family of 3.
"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." - Alan Kay
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