Ok, go watch this youtube clip from ‘Friends’ about Joey learning French.
You back? Good. Essentially this is what happens almost every time I say my name to a Burkinabé. A sample introductory conversation:
Burkinabé: Hi, what’s your name?
Me: It’s a little difficult to say… Scott.
Me: Sc-o-tt. Scott.
Burkinabé: Haha, there’s no way I can say that.
Me: It’s not that hard, let’s try again. Scott.
Me: What? No. Scott.
Burkinabé: Ah, Scotch.
Me: So close, but just drop that last ‘ch’.
Me: Yup, exactly.
In the end I usually give up and just tell them to call me my Gourmantché name given to me by my colleagues: Yempabou (gift from God). As a result, I have resolved that one day I will give my future children names that can be pronounced in English/French/Spanish equally well (and has caused me to slightly resent other PCVs that have easy to say names in French).
And my lastname of Worthington? Forget it – it’s not even worth attempting for most. Thankfully, almost all Burkinabé know the capital of the US to be Washington, so I’ve adopted that instead.
The worst part is that I get this even from people who have known me for over a year.
For some evidence (on the first name at least), check out the slip I received in my mailbox after receiving a package: