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French speaker asks if he's wrong for pronouncing coworker's name the 'correct' way.

French speaker asks if he's wrong for pronouncing coworker's name the 'correct' way.


AITA for pronouncing 'Fleur' correctly in the workplace? A colleague wants it pronounced 'Flur' to rhyme with 'blur'

A colleague is named Fleur, but pronounces it the English way. I have always pronounced it 'correctly' but I understand I am in an English speaking country and need to fit in. I am making an effort to pronounce it the local way but I am still making the occasional mistake. She is taking it personally, as though I am mocking her.

Her level of irritation at my genuine mistakes is a bit disconcerting but I don't want to give her a nick name to avoid the issue as I think she would be even more irritated.

It's a stressful work environment due to the nature of the work. Our KPIs can't be met until you cut corners or ignore work processes but if something goes wrong the employee gets in trouble as our employer will smugly point to the SOPs and say we failed to follow.

We can't unionize as that is instant dismissal for some other reason. I think little irritations are magnified by jangled nerves. It's beginning to irritate me me now. Are we all AHs?

EDIT: I am mispronouncing her name probably about once a week now, only when I am very stressed or distracted at work by 1000 other things - she will shout loudly 'IT'S FLUR NOT FLEUR,' how is it so hard etc etc. My colleagues just roll their eyes and we all keep working.

Again an EDIT: I spoke French for the first 15 years. To my ear, I have almost lost my accent when speaking English. My colleagues would not know my background as we only work when we are at work, we do not have proper meal breaks and we all leave the moment the shift finishes. I have some good tips - stop thinking her name is Fleur, just call her Blur with an F at the front.

I have never told anyone 'you are pronouncing your name incorrectly'.

I try not to think about work when I am outside of it as it is so toxic and it leeches into my home life, but this is important. I do not want to be homeless as I cannot get welfare and I will not get such a well paying job easily - it is not an option for me to leave the workplace due to this person's distress.

People who think I am deliberately irritating her - no I am not an edgy teenager seeking drama in the workplace. I don't want people yelling at me at work. It makes me even more anxious. I just want to work well and go home. I also don't want to upset others either, and will try even harder now that I have some ideas on how to overcome this mental barrier.

Questions, comments, answers and updates:

Swirlyflurry says:

YTA. It’s her name - the way she pronounces her name is the right way to pronounce her name.

-LocalAlien says:

But language is something deep within our nervous system, it's something you do without thinking, really. I am a foreigner myself, and everyone where I live pronounces my name 'wrong'. By 'wrong' i mean the way I grew up pronouncing it.

Rednkeew says:

YTA. I was going to side with you until I learn it’s the person’s name. It’s HER name, if it’s spelled “Fleur” and she wants you to pronounce it “Meow” just do it. I don’t know why you want to tell her how to pronounce HER NAME.

mshewakr says:

NTA. All of these commenters have never had the shoe on the other foot. I've lived in England nearly all of my 35 years with a non English name. In that time, I've had a grand total of 3 English people make the effort to pronounce my name properly, even after prompting gently. Question - do you have a French name and does she pronounce it the way you do?

Maleficent_Hope_4593 OP responded:

I anglicised my name many years ago.

HL706REDD says:

Seems like it's really not about the name. Have you thought about putting your CV out there because this working environment doesn't sound sustainable or healthy for you.

Maleficent_Hope_4593 OP responded:

Friend, believe me I will leave as soon as I am able.

Maleficent_Hope_4593 update from OP:

I accept my YTA as you have given me ways to get over this mental block I was getting. I was getting so anxious and worked up I think I had a mental barrier or a mental stutter. It's not an excuse but the reason I was making that occasional mistake. I will visualise her as a literal blur as though she is hazy and then imagine she is the letter F. I will practice at home.

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