Have you ever felt frustrated that no matter what you do, people still can’t get your name the first time you say it in English? You aren’t alone. Have you noticed it’s even worse when you are on the phone?
You would think that to say your name in English would be easy. After all you have been saying it all your life! But consider this, you have been saying it all your life in your original accent of course.
Say your name in English – ‘Speed’
The first thing stopping people saying their name in English clearly is ‘speed.’
Because your name is so familiar to you, you probably don’t think of this when you say your name in English.
Just slowing right down when you say your name will immediately make a difference to your pronunciation and clarity.
People won’t think you are silly, they will just understand your name the first time. They won’t have to ask several times, and you won’t feel embarrassed to say your name in English anymore.
Tip: Practise this in the mirror at home, or with a friend so that when you are in a ‘real’ life situation your muscle memory can just do it automatically.
Say your name in English – Give the vowels the emphasis they deserve!
Give each vowel in your name its due! If a vowel is a long vowel in English make it long. Don’t shorten it.
You may have to ask a friend or work colleague how they would say your name in English, and notice how they say the vowels in your name. Which are short and which are held on longer?
I recently worked with a client who had to answer the phone with his name and the name of the company he worked at. The name of the company of course, happened to be the name of the owner! Another name to conquer in English!
We worked on slowing the pronunciation down, and making the vowels correct and long where they needed to be long. The next week my client came in with a smile on his face. He told me that his boss had noticed he was now saying his own name and the company name clearly when he answered the phone.
Tip: Again practise this. Five minutes aloud every day for a week and you will notice a big difference.
Because people can’t see your mouth when you speak on the phone, it makes it harder for them to understand your name. For more information about speaking clearly on the phone have a look here: https://www.speakmoreclearly.com/speak-clearly-on-the-phone/
Say your name clearly in English- Learn the new sound
If your name in English has a sound that isn’t in your native language, learn to master the new sound first, and then practise it in your name.
Often people can say a particular sound well by itself, but when it is combined with certain other sounds it can be hard to say. This is especially so if the combination doesn’t exist in your native language. Or it could be the other way around.
For example, in the name Rachel the ‘ch’ sound is pronounced ‘ch’ as in ‘chip’ in English. In some other languages, the ‘ch’ can be pronounced with more of a constricted throat sound like a Russian ‘h’.
I once worked with an Engineer from a Chinese speaking background, who had trouble saying the /l/ sound. His chosen English name was William. You can see how this would have presented problems!
Beside the frustration of having to repeat yourself, your name is usually the first thing you tell people. It is part of the first impression other people have of you.
Isn’t it worth investing a few minutes of your time everyday practising how to say your name in English? Leave me a comment in the comments section below 🙂