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Writer's Block: Repeat After Me...

How have people pronounced your name? How is it supposed to sound?
Well, my first name is dead easy. No one gets it wrong, except possibly for recent immigrants. And no one has trouble with pronouncing my married name, which is one reason I decided to use it ("just like Fig Newton"). If my husband's name had been Geshltenfuer or something like that, I would still be Karen Wester, even though that is a last name that gets misspelled and mispronounced more than you would think for for two simple syllables.

The problem is, everyone tries to make the uncommon name Wester into something more ordinary—Webster or Western, or even Wister (author of a famous western novel, The Virginian). Back in the days when you could get on a plane without showing ID, I once flew to college as Karen Webster and flew back as Karen Wesser.

But Google has taught me that it's not good to have a dead common name (like Karen Newton, 7,320 hits) so now I always use my full name. So far as I know, I'm the only Karen Wester Newton (510 hits and they are all me).

hit counter


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 10th, 2008 09:57 pm (UTC)
Interesting! Dray is pretty unusual, but I guess rare isn't the same as unique. There aren't as many Karen Westers as Karen Newtons, but there are some. Did you ever think of using your maiden name, too, or don't you like it?
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 10th, 2008 10:07 pm (UTC)
OK, at least it's at the front of the alphabet. I grew up with a W name, so to me that's a benefit. So do you cay that ah-cone-gee-o?
Feb. 19th, 2008 06:34 am (UTC)
Popular, not common ; )
We should have a club.

Feb. 19th, 2008 04:52 pm (UTC)
Re: Popular, not common ; )
I didn't get an e-mail on this one! Interesting to see such a similar e-mail address. I wonder if it's your birth name or a married name. One thing I discovered is most folks who grow up with the last name of Newton almost always get called "Fig Newton" at some point in their lives. True for my husband, both kids, and one sister-in-law.
Feb. 24th, 2008 04:40 pm (UTC)
Re: Popular, not common ; )
But think how confusing the meetings would be!
Feb. 19th, 2008 11:13 pm (UTC)
Sort of my birth name. I was adopted so it's been my name since I was a baby. I've never thought "fig newton" was amusing but haven't heard that in years. At least we don't get called anything else.
Feb. 26th, 2008 09:02 pm (UTC)
My name is Karen too
Down here in the deep South, they pronounce it "Kay Wren". Very hard for a northern girl like me to get used to! I am also Karen Newton, except unlike you, I am KayWren Newton to my friends down here!
Feb. 27th, 2008 02:29 am (UTC)
Re: My name is Karen too
That's interesting because one advantage to the name is there is no real nickname for it. Although my dad did call me Karensky when I was young. My sister Robin was Robinsky. Off when you consider the whole Russian/Soviet phobia of that era.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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