Pronouncing Names Correctly: Yes, It's Important

Pronouncing Names Correctly | The Accent Channel

Pronouncing someone’s name correctly is basic etiquette and one of the simplest ways to show respect. It shows that you are paying attention, that you are interested in the other person as an individual, and that you care about your interactions with them.

Developing Relationships

When a person hears their own name pronounced correctly, they often feel more respected and valued by those around them. And if the person saying the name is an ESL speaker who is not familiar with common names of English, that extra effort means even more.

Building Rapport

Getting someone’s name wrong can cause confusion, and if you do it too many times, it can even cause resentment or hurt feelings. However, getting the pronunciation of names right builds trust because it shows that you care enough about the other person to take time out of your day to make sure their name is pronounced the right way. This deepens any relationship, whether personal or professional.

And this I can tell you from experience.

My last name is Kijowski. No one in America knows how to pronounce it (people in Europe do much better) so I am constantly correcting, spelling, and repeating my last name, because it’s just not a common name that most people are used to hearing.

But occasionally, I’ll meet someone who actually takes the time to ask and learn how to correctly pronounce my last name.

Knowing that someone is taking time out of their day just to ensure that my name is pronounced correctly, means so much! I instantly feel a stronger connection with anyone who cares enough to ask, learn, and practice the pronunciation of my last name. Especially if that person is an ESL speaker who struggles with pronunciation issues related to their native language or accent. I don’t even care if they get the pronunciation right! I’m just grateful that they tried.

Properly pronouncing someone's name is one of the most basic forms of respect we can show each other as human beings. Not only does it show care and interest, it also develops trust between people and inevitably leads to stronger relationships built upon mutual understanding and respect.

Using proper pronunciation is really just basic etiquette that allows for meaningful conversations without any misunderstandings due to incorrect pronunciation. And this creates better relationships and more successful social and professional conversations and interactions.

If you’d like to get some guided training for how to pronounce the most common names in American English, I have the perfect lesson for you! Click here to check it out!:

For more tips on learning to pronounce names as an ESL speaker, check out this lesson from Sarah Sherer, PhD, who is also an Accent Channel Method certified teacher: