It is not uncommon for Westerners to refer to me as ‘सॅनदीप नलकर.’ Initially, I always wondered why that might be the case, when, surprisingly, no one in India has ever “mispronounced” my name. I have always been called ‘संदीप नूलकर’ In India and I have always had one standard way in which I spelt it – Sandeep Nulkar.
So why do Westerners get it wrong? Well, blame it on the skewed ides of pronunciation our ancestors had, I say. We Indians seem to have got English spellings of our names so wrong that we have made it very easy for Westerners to mispronounce them.
This is what Westerners learn – A says ॲ, E says अे, I says इ, O says ऑ and U says अ. On this backdrop, if you look at how ancestral influence has meant I have spelt my name, you will see why Westerners have called me ‘सॅनदीप नलकर.’ Since they have been taught that A says ॲ and U says अ, they pronounce ‘San’ as ‘सॅन’ and ‘Nul’ as ‘नल.’
So, if I want them to pronounce my name correctly, I should spell it as ‘Sundeep Noolkar.’ Have you been spelling your name correctly? It might be too late for us to change the spellings of our names, but, we might want to consider using a phonetically more correct spelling of names, when we name our newborns.