5/16/2013

How Do You Spell Your Name?


Spelling is kinda' complicated. Especially now that we have developed new, appalling habits of misspelling everything in text messages (which also often take the form of email and FB notes).

Yet we have the compulsion to make it even harder.

Cirio is a simple enough name. But it can still get mangled along the way:

Now, think about the confusing ones. 

Nightmares hound me when I misspell people's names. In my book signing events, I always have a ready pen and sheets of paper where people can write their names before I write them down on my books for a short note.     

This procedure was born out of a very unfortunate episode: the lady who wanted my signature syllabicated her name slowly. Having a friend with the same name, I quickly scrawled down, Kharyl.

She was visibly irked and spelled her name slowly for me. So then I had to scratch off the original name and wrote on top of it what I thought she spelled. 

But the spelling was so unusual, and my hearing dysfunctional, so I scratched off my misspellings maybe four times, and soon the whole page where I was to write my message became so dirty I ended up buying a new book to replace hers. I wish that after this fiasco, she didn't throw my book in a trash can. 

The correct spelling was Charielle. How was a poor author supposed to know?

Thanks, dad and mom, I said under my breath then, for naming me Grace. Surely the word that appears in the Bible almost 200 times, and which is the foundation of our Christian faith, is spelled only one way?

I almost died when, in one of those out-of-town book talks, I met a lady named Ghrace. At another time, I met another one who called me tukayo (namesake) but who spelled her name Grasse. Another one was spelled Graise. But all these derivatives are pronounced simply the same way, Grace.

How about those who spell their names with a capital letter in between?

ThelMa.  KhaRina. DaphNee.

Why can't we spell our children's names the way they were originally spelled?  Boy, not Bhoy; Joshua, not Jhosuah; Maria, not Mharyiah; Juan, not Huwan; Carmen, not Kharmenne. Rose, not Rhoze.

And worse, where did this obsession to give our children second and third names that are even more impossible to spell correctly spring from? 

Their grade school teachers—those patient souls who teach phonetics and how to spell through alphabet sounds—must be having sleepless nights, too.

(A friend of mine had to wait over a year for her SSS pension to take effect because she had to issue affidavits and proofs that the Carlotta, which appears in her birthday certificate, and the Charlota, that appears in her travel documents, are one and the same person.)

Can someone please tell me why we inflict this spelling complication to our already complicated lives?


Photos: grabbed from Cirio's FB wall

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