December 30, 2007

Braithwaite pronunciation



I saw this search term in my keyword stats, and thought, "How delicious! Someone wants to know how to pronounce my name!"

Mispronunciation of my name has been a lifelong annoyance, and the reason that I make an extra effort to get other people's names right.

Sometimes people are really trying, but a lot of the time, they just butcher it without even making an effort.

For 8 years, the same woman at the same event butchered my name the same way every time she introduced me as a speaker, even after my correcting her.

Now, when I'm going to be introduced at a speaking engagement, I always make sure the introducer can say my name.

It's not like my name is made up of a series of consonants, like a particularly difficult Polish name, for example.

It follows all the basic rules of phonetics that we all learned in first or second grade (unless you learned to read by the whole language method or are from another country and didn't grow up speaking English).

I actually told a nurse last week that hers was the worst pronunciation of my name that I had ever heard. She had a good sense of humor about it. Good thing, too, because she was about to stick a needle into my arm.

So let me walk you through it.

The "b" sounds like "b" as in "bat."

The "r" sounds like "r" as in "rat." When you put them together, they make the same sound as in the word "brat."

The "ai" in both halves of Braithwaite sounds like a long "a." That is, think of the "a" sound in "wait" (hey, that's part of my name!) or "brain" or "mail." Yep, you got it.

The "th" makes the same sound as in "with" or "think."

The "w" sounds like "w" - as in "walk" or "water."

The "t" at the end is not silent and makes the same sound as the "t" in "tomato" or "tickle."

The "e" is silent.

Split the word in two: "Braith" and then "waite."

Now, here's where it gets tricky:

Do you see a "k" in my name? As in "Brake-away"? No.

Do you see an "n" in my name? Or a "th" at the end? Like "Brain-waith"? No.

Are you forgetting to say the "t" on the end, as in "Braith-way?" Good. Remember, the "t" is not silent.

As an extra gift, here's an audio clip of my name:



Speaking for Braithwaites everywhere, I thank you for making the effort to pronounce my name correctly. I will do the same for you!

How do people butcher your name? Vent here!

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15 comments. Please add yours! :

Tony said...

So, is that like Bobcat Braithwaite. I could write books on what people have done to my last name. Heck even I can't pronounce it sometimes.

Timo said...

Thank you! (i didn't search your name pronunciation, but i was thinking about that, too.)
Timo became Time and my last name became Hoff, Oft (which means "often" in German)...
I usually have to spell it, when I introduce myself.

Best whishes for you in 2008, Lisa!

Timo Off (from Hamburg, Germany)

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Tony, that's Bobcat Goldthwaite, which must make us related in some way.

Happy new year to you, Timo and best wishes for better pronunciation in 2008! It just goes to show that a name doesn't have to be long or unfamiliar for people to misunderstand it!

suckingthesuckiness said...

Lisa, no-one ever pronounces Bowring correctly.

It's not Bo-ring

It's Bow - like the "bow" of a tree or a "bow" to a queen.

Vent over.

Happy New Year and here's to a great year where boundaries will be broken, ceilings smashed, and metaphors overused.

Ross

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Ross, you do have an unusual name.

As a Brit, you probably had no confusion over my name. One reason I love traveling in the UK is that no one ever gets my name wrong!

In fact, we went to the village of Braithwaite in the Lake District just so I could tell everyone my name. ;-) Of course, all the other American and Australian Braithwaites make pilgrimages there as well, so I wasn't such an anomaly.

GarthDB said...

The worst and most common for me is Brathwaite. So close to getting it, just missing an i.

BWBraithwaite said...

Interesting to hear how you pronounce your surname. I share the same surname and my family spelling the name like yours however we have always proniuced it "Brathwaite"

Lisa Braithwaite said...

That's funny! Phonetically, the long 'a' sound is correct because of the 'ai' but I've seen some pretty weird pronunciations of names that seem straightforward in the spelling.

MJ said...

Are you saying that the last part of the name 'Waite' is actually pronounced 'Wait' and not 'Way'? I always thought it was a silent 'T'.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Nope, there is no mystery to my name. It is pronounced exactly as it is spelled, with the typical phonetic pronunciation learned by Americans in elementary school. The "t" is not silent.

MJ said...

So is this the standard correct way to pronounce it? I've only ever seen the name as a display for companies etc, never met anyone with it.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Yes, MJ.

MJ said...

Cheers!

Jansen Waddell said...

Yup, same here in Guyana.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Interesting, Jansen. That would drive me crazy!

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