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So are you saying that if you meet that Armenian whose name you don’t know how to pronounce and you ask them, or they tell you, how to pronounce it, that you’re just going to make up another pronunciation and tell them they’re in ‘Murcia now so that’s not how you’re going to say it?

I get it if you have difficulty with the pronunciation due to an entirely different language, but you don’t even try to respect their name?

It’s not just names from other languages, there are a LOT of English words I don’t yet know how to pronounce. And they come from all different languages and dialects..our whole language is built off of others, that’s nothing new. When I come across a new word, I learn how to say it properly because that’s how you say it.

I don’t know, I guess it doesn’t matter to me how we pronounce Walther since it’s not an individual who I personally have met or know. But I will at least try to pronounce a person’s name correctly just like I would like them to do with me.
I'm Polish American. Born in Chicago. I got used to people not being able to say my name the Polish way. Unless you grew up with it, it's highly unlikely you can even form you mouth to make those sounds.

Growing up in Chicago and coming into contact with people of diverse backgrounds I'll say pronouncing all those names and words in all possible languages is impossible. It just is.

You may try. I get trying to be polite. It's a nice thing. But you will fall short. You will hack it up even when trying. You cannot pronounce like a native 150 languages. You are good if you can handle two or three. Its inevitable and part of the American melting pot experience.

If your name is Mieczysław Chrząszcz you become Mitch Beetleman pretty fast in American circles. Or...you could brow beat English speakers for butchering your name.

That is just one nationality. Times it by 150. Be sure to include the various Asian languages. Don't forget the Native Americans, Inuits and Polynesians.

In immigrant families, the first generation will typically try to maintain their names unless they are in business. The kids though tend to quickly develop American nicknames.

I'm saying try as you might you will cock it up. I get trying to be respectful. Its a nice gesture. But you will fall short. Hell, the Germans can't agree on the "correct" pronunciation due to dialect differences.

Nothing wrong with rallying around an American standard. Its unifying and inevitable anyway.
 

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In immigrant families, the first generation will typically try to maintain their names unless they are in business. The kids though tend to quickly develop American nicknames.

I'm saying try as you might you will cock it up. I get trying to be respectful. Its a nice gesture. But you will fall short.

My Scandinavian roots make for some strange names too and my last name is just spelled phonetically in English. When my mother died my dad remarried to a Lebanese woman and she said that when her father came over, they didn’t even try to get his name right...they just dubbed him a whole new name out of the blue. The family name is essentially lost. I hate to see that.

I totally get nicknames when they know your mouth just can’t make the sound. Hi, my name is Nduhuwebfbd, but you can call me Bob. Whew, thanks, man!

I had a patient today whose last name was (and being Polish you’ll get this), “Sesienski.” I told her I knew I’d mess it up but I’d give it a try...it’s actually pronounced “Selinski.” After doing this for 25 years, I’ve come across a new name every single day...and it blows their mind when someone can pronounce theirs even close to correctly. But if I was wrong, I’d have asked her how to pronounce it and try to get it right the next time. In this case, I had actually worked with someone with that name so she was pretty impressed I knew it. But if I had never seen that name before I surely would have screwed it up on first try. I think some people get a kick out of seeing you try.

Maybe it’s because what I do for a living is on such a personal one-on-one level that I feel the need to know their names correctly. Plus, it’s fascinating to learn.
 

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My Scandinavian roots make for some strange names too and my last name is just spelled phonetically in English. When my mother died my dad remarried to a Lebanese woman and she said that when her father came over, they didn’t even try to get his name right...they just dubbed him a whole new name out of the blue. The family name is essentially lost. I hate to see that.

I totally get nicknames when they know your mouth just can’t make the sound. Hi, my name is Nduhuwebfbd, but you can call me Bob. Whew, thanks, man!

I had a patient today whose last name was (and being Polish you’ll get this), “Sesienski.” I told her I knew I’d mess it up but I’d give it a try...it’s actually pronounced “Selinski.” After doing this for 25 years, I’ve come across a new name every single day...and it blows their mind when someone can pronounce theirs even close to correctly. But if I was wrong, I’d have asked her how to pronounce it and try to get it right the next time. In this case, I had actually worked with someone with that name so she was pretty impressed I knew it. But if I had never seen that name before I surely would have screwed it up on first try. I think some people get a kick out of seeing you try.

Maybe it’s because what I do for a living is on such a personal one-on-one level that I feel the need to know their names correctly. Plus, it’s fascinating to learn.
Hello Thinkokogy. That is no where near the correct pronunciation for the name Sesienski. In fact, a Polish woman would correctly go by Sesienska and not Sesienski.

The woman you were talking to was probably a few generations into the American experience and no longer knew the "correct" way and female form of her name.

I'm not saying this to bust your chops but to reinforce my point. It's a high bar.

I think it's nice you try. It's a nice gesture and shows respect.

I've heard my more elitist co-workers laugh at Americans for saying Joliet, IL or DuBois WY the American way and not the French way.

I certainly dont buy into that. The American way is an inevitable thing in a country as diverse as ours.

Channeling Teddy Roosevelt, the English language is a great unifying force in a country as diverse and large as ours.

I'll shut up now. I think I made my point a couple of posts back.
 

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All I can do is pronounce it the way she and my buddy said it was pronounced.

I thought you might get a kick out of me agreeing with how difficult it is with names like that. You made your point of course. Mine is simply that if I have to learn a new name anyway, why not learn to say it the way they say their own name?

You’re right, there’s too many names to know. But what can you do? I’m not going to tell them how to pronounce their own name.
 

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Regarding the original question, pronunciation of the Walther name, an inanimate object isn't likely to be offended.
Trust me, when trying to develop a handload that would run 100 straight in a long departed PPK/s, I called that pistol many things that didn't sound remotely like 'Walther'.
Moon
 

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All I can do is pronounce it the way she and my buddy said it was pronounced.

I thought you might get a kick out of me agreeing with how difficult it is with names like that. You made your point of course. Mine is simply that if I have to learn a new name anyway, why not learn to say it the way they say their own name?

You’re right, there’s too many names to know. But what can you do? I’m not going to tell them how to pronounce their own name.
My whole diatribe was basically to say we can get too hung up on the correct foreign pronunciation thing. Enjoy the gun. Hopefully it feeds. I wouldnt worry too much about how native German natives from different parts of that country might say it.
 

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He had to because he could see all the perplexed RCA dog cocked heads swimming in confusion when he pronounced it correctly.
I love it.

... When they tell me how they pronounce their name, that is how I pronounce it. ... When I am familiar with the language and already know how to pronounce their name, they are appreciative that I’ve done so. ...

... I usually have to mispronounce Walther just because most people can only read and pronounce it phonetically in American English.

....
That, I think, is the definitive answer: it depends on who you're talking to.

M
 
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