Can people please spell my name correctly?

It’s Rosemarie.

People have been getting it wrong for 3.5 decades and I don’t appreciate it. It’s not even as though it’s hard to spell or pronounce. I’ve seen more complex, or unusual names, or names from unfamiliar languages, that people have managed to get right. Usually the same people who get my name wrong.

Names are important, they mean something. Names are associated with ideas and actions, a personality, an identity. That’s why people change there names when their identity evolves, because they aren’t what was associated with their old name. For example when a trans person transitions, or a person decides they don’t want to be associated with their birth family.

Or the keep their name despite society deciding that their identity has changed. The most common example of this is keep your birth family name when you marry.

It’s inherently disrespectful to repeatedly give someone the wrong name, especially if you’ve been corrected or the right spelling and pronunciation is right there in front of you.

It mustn’t be forgotten that misnaming people has been and still is used as a form of micro-aggression against people who have names difficult to pronounce in English (insert your native language for non-English speakers); if you can’t be bothered to pronounce it correctly or don’t think you should bother because a person has a ‘foreign’ name you’re behaving in a racist manner. It’s not hard to ask ‘how do I pronounce your name correctly?’, or ‘Have we spelt it right?’.

Getting someone’s name right sets the tone for the relationship between parties, e. g. Teachers and students, employees and employers, medical professionals and patients. It’s basic human decency and respect to make an effort to get another person’s name right. If you can’t be bothered, despite being corrected repeatedly, to spell or pronounce a person’s name correctly, a basic piece of information, how can you be trusted with anything more complex, like my education or medical care?

My name is important to me, it’s an integral part of my identity both personally and as a writer, and I need people to get it right. My first name has stories attached to it about myself, my birth, my life, and my last name is my anchor in the landscape, my history, and my future.

2 thoughts on “Can people please spell my name correctly?

  1. I’m very sensitive about this as well. At one point, when I was growing up, I asked people to start calling me James instead of Jimmy. It wasn’t a big deal to me at first, just a personal preference thing, but the way some people pointedly insisted on calling me Jimmy made it a big deal.

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