Pronouncing Names Correctly Is More Than Common Courtesy : Life Kit Our names are an extension of who we are. And if your name is mispronounced all the time, you know how painful that can be. In this episode, we're talking about why getting names right is so important — and how to correct others and rectify your own mistakes.
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Why Pronouncing Names Correctly Is More Than Common Courtesy

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Why Pronouncing Names Correctly Is More Than Common Courtesy

Why Pronouncing Names Correctly Is More Than Common Courtesy

Why Pronouncing Names Correctly Is More Than Common Courtesy

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/976385244/985155212" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Photo illustration by Becky Harlan/NPR
A teal name tag that reads "Hello my name is" is filled out "worth pronouncing." The name tag sits on a stack of other name tags against a magenta background.
Photo illustration by Becky Harlan/NPR

Ruchika Tulshyan says she has had her name mispronounced her whole life. And, for most of that time, she didn't correct people. Sometimes she even made restaurant reservations under the name Rachel to avoid the pain and shame. But in the past few years, she has begun speaking up — and even correcting friends who have been mispronouncing her name for years.

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If you're not sure how to pronounce someone's name, the best solution is to simply ask, Tulshyan wrote in Harvard Business Review last year. She recently spoke with Life Kit host Noor Wazwaz about her ideas — for correcting your own mistakes and for correcting others. If someone you know has been mispronouncing your name for years, she says, it's not too late to bring it up.

Listen to Life Kit's interview with Tulshyan by pressing play on the audio above or here.

Pronouncing names correctly is "one of those ways that you can really practice anti-racism and practice allyship in the moment," says Tulshyan, the founder of Candour, an inclusion strategy firm. It's "one of those very subtle but extremely important ways to get engaged and really stand up ... for communities that are nonwhite and largely have faced marginalization."

Have you had your name mispronounced? Leave us a voicemail at 202-216-9823, or email us a voice memo at LifeKit@npr.org. A producer may be in touch with you.


The podcast and digital versions of this episode were produced by Clare Lombardo. Josh Newell provided engineering support.

We'd love to hear from you. Leave us a voicemail at 202-216-9823, or email us at LifeKit@npr.org.

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