There's a lot in a name.


I find old war documentaries fascinating. However, as in anything, there are parts that annoy me, particularly those from the Pacific theater of WWII. While I wouldn't stop a vet from pronouncing it buh-TAN (what would be the point at that person's age?), I take exception to that pronunciation from almost anyone else. It's ba-ta-ahn: three syllables, not two. Names are important. One reading of the name Martin can lead you to someone born in Queens or Bristol, while another can lead you to someone born in Madrid or Caracas. The change of a single word can change the need for a passport when it comes to Cape Cod and Cape Town. The misuse of a translation can mean the difference between peace and war. Yes, I know this is a variation of a topic I've often visited, but the repetition is because I find it important, and because I see the situation not only not changing, but worsening. Making the effort to spell or pronounce a name correctly, the way the person or the resident of the place does, is not pretentious, and to scoff at the attempt is not only disrespectful to the person making the attempt, but to the person whose name it is, or to the place that person calls home. Being disrespectful does not earn my respect, and apologizing without changing the offending behavior makes the apology meaningless.

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