You can call be me by my first name

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.

5 thoughts on “You can call be me by my first name

  1. I’ve noticed that American marketers will put umlauts in things they would like to sell for an inflated price.

    The umlaut over the “e” in this one hurts the German-speaking part of my brain

  2. Pingback: What’s in a name? | Southeast Schnitzel

  3. Pingback: HUGE Response to Our Post on Names Across Cultures | Cultural Detective Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s