Scotch Washington

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:

Me: Hello
Burkinabé: Hi, what’s your name?
Me: It’s a little difficult to say… Scott.
Burkinabé: Whaaaaa?
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.
Burkinabé: Pascal?
Me: What? No. Scott.
Burkinabé: Ah, Scotch.
Me: So close, but just drop that last ‘ch’.
Burkinabé: Scotch.
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:


4 Responses to “Scotch Washington”

  1. 1 Anne
    January 19, 2012 at 13:32

    Maybe you could try saying your name is Scotland? But l’Ecosse isn’t as bad ass as Scotch.

    • 2 Anonymous
      January 19, 2012 at 13:59

      Haha, I love that episode of friends. :-D My last name has also been written and pronounced in numerous ways in different countries. An american airline once made me – even after spelling it to them – “Carolyn Hunter”. I thought that was pretty close.

      Good idea, Anne!
      Or, since you have that nickname “Gift from God”, how about saying it’s like “God” only with an “S” in front. :-) Never mind the spelling.
      And YES, my kids will also have internationally-working names!

  2. January 20, 2012 at 10:49

    I’ve also been getting “Catch” a lot lately (c-ah-tch), which is funny because “catch” in French is wrestling.

  3. 4 Williamson David
    February 3, 2012 at 21:36

    This is hilarious!! Seems like there’s humor everywhere you look, every day.

    Dave Williamson (my name is not quite as difficult to pronounce.)

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