Your story is interesting, amusing, enlightening, and very true. I am a white-bread American in a family of Hispanics, most of whom have adopted easier names, even temporarily, to save time and headaches. Benedicto became Ben, Anastasia is Ana, Francisca is Fran, and Marcela is Marci, to name a few. Some had names that couldn’t easily be shorten to an easy-to-pronounce American nickname so a new handle was chosen randomly. A Chinese student who lived with us is Amber — I still can’t properly pronounce her given Chinese name but I can write it!

Adaptation is sometimes necessary if only temporarily. Even I’ve done the same. My previous married surname is commonly pronounced one way. People easily spell it by that pronunciation, but my husband’s family pronounced it differently. Say it their way and no one spells it correctly. When saying that name in a situation when the other person will have to write or type it, I always pronounced it in the way everyone else but my husband’s family did. He didn’t like it but my “mistake” made life easier.

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