“The one thing I want to leave my children is an honorable name.”~Theodore Roosevelt
My email account was hacked a few weeks ago. I got this URGENT email from the provider to contact them to verify some information.
It was during that conversation, came the inspiration for this blog post. One of the things that I had to do in order to reset the password was to answer the following question, “What is your mother’s maiden name?”.
I passed with flying colors but it got me to thinking, I have some practicing to do with my own kids. You see, while I might be Dina John aka DJ to you all, before getting married I spent 29 years as “Dina Bazelais”.
Growing up Haitian-American in the 80s was difficult at best. I am embarrassed to admit that I used to try and make my last name sound less French and more American with horrific outcomes in the process.
Mostly every teacher and even the Catholic school nuns had the hardest time pronouncing my last name so I just gave in and agreed with whatever they said. I accepted pronunciations from “bah-zell-us” to “bah-zeal-us”. Our african-american neighbors of over 30 years have and continue to call us “The Beasleys” and never once have my parents corrected them.
Finally in college, I put my foot down and would say it’s “Dina “baa( like a sheep)-zuh-lay” to the bewilderment of friends who accused me of now trying to be bourgoise when in fact I was simply trying to correct years of butchering my name.
The fact is, haitian people are very reverent, however, they can also get very creative when it comes to names in general, especially first names. My first name is not surprising biblical and comes from Genesis 34.
Does your name fall in one of the following categories?
- We love our Roman Catholic Saints: Jacques (James), Jean (John), Michel (Michael), Pierre (Peter), or Jean-Baptiste (John the Baptist) for males; and Marie (Mary), Jeanne (Jane), Marguerite (Margaret), Françoise (Frances), or Élisabeth (Elizabeth) for females.
- Russian names? no problem: Natasha, Vladimir, Tatiana, Wolfsky, Dimitri
- How about two names? We are after all fancy people: Jean Claude, Jean Robert, Marie Joseph, Marie Lourdes, Joseph Lucien
- Endings in “nel”, “ner”, “son”, “line”, “ette”, and “ens”: Woodnel, Woodson, Woodline, Woodette, Woodner, Woodens
- Ambigendrous ( is it a guy or girl?) : Emile, Dominique, Maxime, Ashley
- “Always end the name of your child with a vowel, so that when you yell the name will carry.” -B. Cosby
So, like I said earlier, it might be time for me to practice with my kids not only the pronunciation of their mother’s maiden name but the spelling too.
Say it with me, It’s “B as in boy, A, Z as in zebra.”. They are going to need if ever they are asked the secret question.
Do you like your birth given name? Were you ever embarrassed by it? Why do so many of us not have middle names? That’s for another blog post.