Forget the Umlaut – call be me by my first name
Living with a last name that features an Umlaut can be fun – or annoying, depending on the situation. Especially if you live in an English-speaking country like I do. Here in the U.S. people usually ask, “how do you spell that?” or “can you pronounce your last name again, please?”.
Sure I can. And I really don’t mind you butchering my name, either. I understand: Höferle is hard to say if you are unfamiliar with the German language. Changing my last name’s spelling to the English keyboard-friendly Hoeferle also hasn’t helped. It made for funny moments, though. Something sounding awefully close to “hopefully” or “hofferly” has been the usual outcome in recent years.
No matter how often I tell people to just forget about saying my last name and instead stick with Christian, they still try to get it right. Which is a really nice gesture, I think. To help you understand what these crazy dots over the vowels a, o, and u are about I compiled some background information here.
Find a scientific/linguistic definition of umlaut here.
This video should get you in the mood to try pronouncing these strange sounds:
And if all fails remember: My name is Christian.
Also, dear marketers and copywriters: Inserting umlauts into your American brand names, logos or slogans may help you create some awareness. But it will also let you look really ignorant of other languages and cultures.