Pop Quiz: Name Pronunciation

[UPDATE (9/12/11): Believe it or not, my name's pronounced Hyna (like Heineken, the beer). Remember that when I'm famous and you do a vlog or podcast about me. (Also if you call me Hiney in public, I may use your own mispronunciation stories against you. I'm looking at you Matt MacNish!).]

A silly poll for the weekend. These are the five most frequent pronunciations of my last name, but only one of them is correct. Note that if you know me in real life, you are TOTALLY ALLOWED to vote. I'll update this post with the correct answer on Monday.


  • Heinz (like the ketchup)
  • Hine (rhymes with brine)
  • Hane (like the underwear)
  • Hyna (like Heineken, the beer)
  • Hiney (like the word for butt)


So, I had this speech class my sophomore year in high school. I hate speeches. Before HS, I sometimes intentionally took a zero just so I wouldn't have to give a speech. The teacher was a good guy. He was funny, but he had no inhibitions when it came to student humiliation (as befits a speech teacher, I guess).

Because the class was a general requirement, the students were a cross-section: nerds, jocks, actors, cheerleaders, popular kids, everything. I only had one friend in the class and was in constant fear of what the others thought of me or when they would laugh.

So the worst moment comes; the teacher calls me up for my turn. "Adam..." He squints at the role sheet. "Hiney?" Then he laughs and says, "A damn hiney?"

I laughed it off, but really I wanted to crawl into a corner and die. What's your worst name pronunciation story?

17 comments:

Corinne said...

Your name looks German to me... so I'm going with the Dutch/German pronunciation. Namely, exactly as it's spelled.

Just, uh, in Dutch.

That is, option number four.

I'd do this for my name, but mine is literally impossible to spell out with English sounds :D

Matthew MacNish said...

I'm going with the butt word, because that's how I've always said it in my head.

When I was in school (remember my real last name is Rush) people would always swap the first letters of your names.

So I was Ratt Mush. I hated that.

Annie said...

My favorite is the grocery store clerks who try to look at the receipt to include my name when they say thank you. Heh. They go, "Thank you for shopping with us Ms...Uh...Ccc..Ssss...uh....well, thank you."

Lori M. Lee said...

Gotta go with option number 2. But I'm honestly not sure lol. I have a favorite character from the manga DOGS with the same name and they pronounce it 'Hine' so... there you go lol.

Nancy Thompson said...

Kids would sing a common song when they first heard my (maiden) name. Even though it's not offensive in any way, it would make me so angry because I knew they were making fun of me. I guess kids don't like that of attention.

Charles Eubanks said...

You should have made Hiney answer #2. (badum-ching!)

People usually pronounce my last name right, but spell it wrong; they keep wanting to leave off the E. You know, like Ugene, or ucalyptus. Or uphemism. Totally makes sense, huh?

(BTW, I guessed "Hine." Never occurred to me that there might be a different pronunciation!)

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Opt#2 and I hope I'm right, because I know me, and even if I'm wrong, I'll keep saying it that way in my head. Then, someday I'll meet you in person and TOTALLY blow it. (But not as bad as your teacher. That's just wrong.)

jjdebenedictis said...

The hieney pronunciation hadn't even occurred to me, but now it has. Mwa-ha-ha-ha.

When I'm calling roll at the start of the semester, cI just tell my students to put up their hand if they hear a mangled version of their name. I know my limitations.

Lenasledgeblog.com said...

Funny post. I'm going to say sounds like Brine. I don't often hear my name pronounced incorrectly. But on the occasion that it is, they will usually say, "Lana"

Nice blog. New follower.

Deniz Bevan said...

Oh you poor dear! I wish I'd just once had a teacher that had let me take a zero. I can't stand oral presentations.
No real horrible story - just frustrating when people who haven't met me write to me as Mr... Because they assume my name is a weirdly spelled version of the French name Denis. Grr...

Adam Heine said...

You all have really great stories. I never regret it when I ask you guys a personal question :-)

And, Lori, there's a manga with the name Heine in it? I must investigate!

linda said...

LOL! I can't believe he said that! That's hilarious. Also, now I'm worried I've been pronouncing your last name all wrong in my head! That hadn't occurred to me before. Hm. So far the answer I chose seems to be the most popular one, but that doesn't really mean anything.

And yeah, some people find my last name hard to pronounce properly, so I usually give them a pronunciation that's not quite correct but easy to say, so at least it's wrong in a way I can accept and recognize, haha.

Shakespeare said...

Your speech teacher was a jerk.

I went with /hane/ b/c I went gaelic with it, like samhain.

I just had a lot of people who called me by the wrong name. Becky, Gail, Carol... even though my name is none of these. I was running in a six-mile race in high school, and when I ran to the finish, the cheerleaders from school all yelled, "Go, Carol!"

Then again, they were cheerleaders. Friendly, but not the brightest of species.

Matt Heppe said...

My last name is Heppe.

On the first day of study hall my junior year my study hall teacher called me Herpie... as in the disease.

Got a great laugh from all the knuckledraggers in the room.

How I wish I knew then what I know now. I would have verbally wrecked him. But I just sat there humiliated by the laughter.

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

My maiden name is Pardini and I was always Pardon-me-Pardini to my art teacher in middle school. But that's not so bad. :)

I kind of like having a difficult-to-prounounce last name, because I always know when a telemarketer is calling. "Hello, is Mrs. Schenockizen there?" :)

Amy

Matthew MacNish said...

Okay. Sounding like Heineken is awesome. I just had to point that out.

Matthew MacNish said...

Yours is pretty much the only blog I come back and read later, and it never disappoints.