I say tomato, you say paradicsom.
Dear Funny Problems,
I’m an American woman, married to a Hungarian man. When I was pregnant with our first child and we were deciding what to call our baby girl, my husband suggested a traditional Hungarian name that is beautiful but, to the American tongue, practically unpronounceable. As a compromise, we decided we would put the beautiful, unpronounceable name on her birth certificate but call her a more Americanized nickname. The problem? Once she was born, my husband only called her by her Hungarian name. So did everyone in his family. I started following suit–it sounded so pretty when THEY said it–but to this day, every time I try to say her name with the correct accent, it comes off sounding clunky and I feel silly. Now she’s two years old and I’m getting tired of this feeling (not to mention the weird, judgmental looks I get from people when they ask me what her name is). So my question is: since I don’t know how to pronounce my own daughter’s name, is it too late to change it to something else?
What’s in a name?
Dear Mrs. In a name,
Thank you for writing in. It’s been weeks since someone has submitted anything to Funny Problems and no, I wasn’t crying about it, there was something in my eye. Anyway, back to your FP: Is it too late to change your daughter’s name to something else? Absolutely, way too late to give that human a new name. However, do I think it’s too late to give your daughter an awesome nickname? No. Truly great nicknames transcend both age and societal boundaries. I have two dear friends who we all call “Jelly Doughnut” and “Cheese Fries” who are practically running the world. Both women renamed (by me) in their twenties. So, re-christening a toddler is really no big deal. And if you can’t pronounce this kid’s name with the proper Hungarian inflection anyway then it seems to me that we don’t have a second to spare. Now while I don’t speak Hungarian all that great, I’m clearly pretty good at coming up with monikers. And given the limited details I’ve been given, conjuring up this nickname will be my Everest.
–Daisy. Short for “oopsa daisy” we gave you a weird name.
–P. Diddy. Renamed after another great re-namer.
-Baby. Dirty Dancing anyone? And I bet you sort of call her “Baby” anyway so she’ll just be like, “that’s right, get me out of the corner yo.”
I took a few swings but I encourage you to ponder some unique nicknames of your own. If this name is given with love then it’s sure to be a home run.
Now if you’ll excuse me I have my own toddler to look after. P. Diddy! Put the scissors down!