A Story Begins With A Name

Junior Berehan Teka says his unusual name is often mispronounced.

By Fatima Blanco-Fernandez

Junior Berehan Teka says his unusual name is often mispronounced.

Briseyda Valladares and Naidelin Sanchez-Lopez, Staff Writer

People around the world have all kinds of names that we’ve never heard, but names have a meaning and also give people identity. Certain Roosevelt students get their names mispronounced and misspelled on the regular. 

One sophomore student has to correct teachers and students a lot at the beginning of the year, “every time in each classroom,” he says. His name is Hannan Sayyad, but people often write “Hannah with a h instead of a N.” 

When people mess up his name he says, “I just correct them.” Even though Americans often misspell and mispronounce his name (it’s HA-naan), he says  he would never change it because it’s his father’s name and it means “leader in Arabic.”

Names have stories, names have meaning. Most of the time names aren’t hard, it’s just not something people are used to hearing so we often mispronounce them. 

Names represent a little part of you, that being your beliefs, culture and so much more. Learning how to pronounce a person’s name can be important. Students may have either high or low self-esteem about their names. There are many reasons why we have the names that we do: because the parents want to honor someone, or because the name means something interesting, or because they like the way it sounds.  

Fajr Kelly is in 11th-grade, and her unusual name often gets mangled. What does it mean?  “Dawn, and it’s the beginning of the first prayer,” she says, but some people call her Fa-junior because of the way her name is spelled. When people mess up her name she says “ if they try to be funny l laugh, or it depends on the mood I’m in.”

Would you ever change you name?  “No,” she said, “I like the way my name is.”  

My name is Briseyda, as in bree-SAY-the. Like Fajr and Hannan, I encounter this a lot. Every single day at school, most people who know me know how to say my name by now, but they still misspell it occasionally. When people mispronounce my name I don’t really mind anymore; during roll call I’m always waiting for that little pause where they try to figure out how to say it, and they still mess it up, but I just correct them and go on about my day. 

I don’t know what my name means because when you search up the meaning of my name nothing comes up. I like my name. My name is what people identify me with, and I wouldn’t change it. My name is part of me, it’s what sets me apart from other people. 

Berehan Teka is a junior, and when people mispronounce his unusual name, he says, “I kill them with love.” How often does it happen? “Multiple times, especially teachers,” he says. It is pronounced BRRrr-han.

Jasir Tremble is also junior, and normally people mispronounce and misspell his name. It is pronounce ja-seer. “It happens all the time so I don’t really mind,” he says, “a lot more than I can count.” The way that people mispronounce his name is “Jsir or Joser” he says. “I don’t know where it comes from but it means warrior of God”. 

Jasir’s name is important to him. “It’s your own identity.”