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Mexican-American Couple At Odds After Wife Refuses To Pronounce Son’s Name With American Accent

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One stressful topic every new parent has to face is the naming of their baby.

But this can be even more difficult when the family is made up of more than one cultural background, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor VividTavern struggled with this, as he and his wife both lived in the United States but also had ties to their Mexican heritage and wanted to honor that with their children.

But when the couple couldn’t agree to what extent, the Original Poster (OP) wasn’t sure what to do next.

He asked the sub:

“AITA for asking my wife to stop mispronouncing our son’s name?”

The OP and his wife sometimes disagreed about their heritage.

“My wife and I are Mexican-American. I’m third-generation and she came here when she was eight.”

“As a result, she’s quite a bit more ‘Hispanic’ than me, and we’ve clashed at times because I’m apparently insufficiently enthusiastic about my heritage.”

This carried over into the naming of their children.

“After we got married, we agreed that we’d have two kids and take turns naming them.”

“She went first and gave our daughter a fairly traditional name (Rosa María).”

“Last year, our son was born. I named him Daniel.”

“Ever since he was born, she’s been calling him by the Spanish pronunciation of his name, with an emphasis on the n (kind of like Daahn-ni-yell instead of Dan-yell like I imagined).”

“She also calls him Dani while I call him Danny.”

“She introduces him as Daahn-ni-yell to everyone else and now everyone’s just following her pronunciation, which is frustrating because it was my turn to name the baby, and I feel like she didn’t respect my choice.”

The couple couldn’t see eye-to-eye about this.

“When I confronted her, she said she doesn’t want our kids to have Anglicized names because they’re Mexican.”

“I mean, it’s not that I have a problem with them having Spanish names. I don’t call Rosa María Rose or Rosemary.”

“But it was (as agreed) my turn to name Daniel, and she should respect the fact that I didn’t factor in our heritage while naming him.”

“AITA for wanting my son’s name pronounced the way I intended it to be pronounced?”

After reading the initial comments, the OP offered a few clarifications.

“Quite a few of the comments say she might just have difficulty pronouncing Daniel the way I prefer but isn’t telling me.”

“She speaks English with a very clear American accent. Her Spanish is a bit accented but way less than, say, her parents.”

“We’ve been married five years and together for eight. She would tell me if it was about pronunciation instead of identity.”

“Also, she’s very proud of and not the least bit insecure about her ethnicity, so she would never be too ashamed to admit she prefers her natural accent. I’m not going to rudely probe into that and try to get her to confess what ‘it’s really about.'”

“Also, I don’t want to ‘die on this hill,’ and neither does she. We’re not even fighting about this.”

“We had a simple disagreement about whether we should pronounce my son’s name the way I wanted it to be pronounced when I chose it or in a way that acknowledges his ethnicity.”

Fellow Redditors weighed in using one of the following acronyms:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some were certain there was no difference between the names or that the differing pronunciations were unavoidable, but inconsequential.

“There’s no difference. OP is TA for not accepting that his children have connections to another culture.”

“I’m Puerto Rican. My parents gave me an American name that can also be pronounced differently with a Spanish accent.”

“My parents used the American version… and my extended family pronounces it with a Spanish accent.”

“I use either version, depending on the context. It’s never caused me a moment of stress or confusion.” – ElleMuffin85

“I don’t think that it’s a big difference, and I say that as someone whose name is pronounced one way in English, but another way in most Slavic languages, who grew up with both pronunciations in my family.” – LilBabyADHD

“How is that violating their agreement? He named him, and she’s pronouncing it the way she would say that name. He said that they never considered pronunciation when naming their kids.”

“They’re his kids and they’re her kids too. They can each pronounce their kids’ names how they’d like.” – Interesting_Pop1072

“YTA. ‘You name one kid, I name the other’ is just unrealistic. You’re both parents of your children, you get an equal say on the name of each of the children.”

“She’s not calling him by a different name. She’s calling him by the name you gave him, as it would be pronounced in the culture she’s from. Disrespecting your choice would be calling him by a different name entirely.”

“If you wanted a name that was pronounced the same or very similarly in both Spanish and English, you should have chosen one where that was the case like your wife did.”

“This is the option my parents went with, as they come from countries where different primary languages are spoken.”

“While my name does sound a bit different depending which side of the family you’re talking to, it’s similar enough that it doesn’t end up sounding like two different names.” – 0biterdicta

“He’s clearly going to be called the American version in the public school system. If you really feel it needs to be said, then let all your friends know how you intended it to be pronounced, but their mother pronounces it differently.”

“It can go either way. Why is this a big deal.”

“This is literally an example of why you guys shouldn’t have even dated in the first place. Getting annoyed by dumb sh*t like this.”

“You should be proud he has a mother that doesn’t hate her Mexican heritage like you apparently do. Get the f’k out of here over an accent. YTA.” – Gianette

“NAH. I have a name that is pronounced differently if there’s someone with a non American accent saying it. Very similar to your situation.”

“I used to get annoyed when it was pronounced ‘wrong’. And I use the word wrong loosely because even in America there are different pronunciations.”

“Most people with accents would pronounce it a different way that I was used to, but once I corrected someone they asked how they should pronounce it. They repeated it back properly but with their accent it sounded horrible.”

“If your son has family members who have accents, he will grow up hearing it both ways and probably be used to it. I understand both you and your wife’s points of view, but if she has an accent, it might not sound great when she says it correct.” – colorsinthesky90

But others were adamant the difference between the names was important.

“Unless she walks around pronouncing everyone’s name as it would be in Spanish, then no, she’s not saying it how she’d say the name. She’s choosing to say it one way over the other.”

“From OP’s comments, it seems very likely she’s well aware and capable of pronouncing Daniel in the way OP intended.” – Phantom_Dave

“I feel like if he called his daughter Rosemary, his wife would be upset. Maybe OP should do that to make a point.” – Top_Detective9184

“I am a person named Anna, BUT the ‘Frozen’ kind of Anna (Ah-Na). My mom was from Sweden and my dad was from the USA.”

“My family always said my name right but when I went to school, doctors anywhere (small town at the time) they always called me Ana. Some of my family thought it was funny and be like Annabelle, etc.”

“For others, they might deal with the name change but I have mental illnesses caused from a hard birth and it confused me all growing up till I was 15, gave me an identity crisis for a few years, and led me to asking my parents multiple times how to pronounce my name.”

“Because my mom and my dad say it one way, the rest of my family will be split and tell others the same thing.”

“I am used to being called the wrong version of my name that originally was given to me by people I know, but it’s the biggest pet peeve because it took therapy to get past the identity crises.”

“IMO (in my opinion) because I had to deal with this sh*t, the mother is TA and the dad Slightly TA for not fully putting his foot down.”

“Y’all might think, ‘Oh, it won’t give the kid harm,’ but yes, yes it would.”

“I met other people who had identity crises because their name was mispronounced by close people.”

“The mother needs to get her sh*t together and say the name right or the kids gonna question sh*t as he gets older.” – Cornstics

“My name is unusual and comes from a specific culture. My name has been adapted by other cultures and so there are other similar names that are different but they’re what people think of when they say my name.”

“When someone pronounces my name the way they normally say the other name or the way they think it is and I correct them, not one person has gone, ‘I know your name better than you and I get to say it how I want.'”

“It’s basic respect to say a name with the pronunciation it’s given. If you’re unable to do that, you apologize and ask if there’s a nickname you can use because you don’t want to be disrespectful by continuing to say the wrong name.”

“My name and the way people think it’s said are two different names. I will die on this hill. I’ll never get mad at the initial misunderstanding, because yeah, people can’t magically know which one to use – but it’s basic respect to use the correct way once you know.”

“She agreed to OP picking the name. She didn’t veto the name. Now she’s changing the name to get her way instead of honoring the agreement she made.”

“She’s disrespecting her kid by not respecting the name he was given. She should have vetoed before he was given the name if she didn’t want it.”

“And going around introducing him like that means she’s doing this completely on purpose.”

“I very much dislike people that believe they can treat people’s names like they don’t matter. She’s showing she has no respect for her own word, for her kid, or for her husband.”

“Sorry for the rant. This lady just makes me so angry.”

“She’s pretending to honor her heritage when really what she’s saying is, ‘Well, if we just say it either way, it doesn’t matter,’ which means she believes her own heritage’s pronunciation also doesn’t matter or else she’s a hypocrite.” – Welpuhhi

While the OP felt his wife was disrespecting the name he had chosen for his son while he was honoring her choice for their daughter, the subReddit was more divided.

Some said the name was the same and simply pronounced differently by two parents in varied footing in different cultures. Ultimately, Daniel would be the one to choose how he wanted to be represented in the future, which was when they felt this could become an issue.

But others thought it was more serious than that.

They felt that the mother was expressly disrespecting her husband, her child and a core agreement in their marriage. They also saw negative results eventually coming from this, from the child feeling disrespected, being generally annoyed or even experiencing an identity crisis.

Hopefully these parents can put their child’s wellbeing first and resolve any issues while he’s still very young.

While the OP updated to say it was no big deal, it’s still something he and his wife should probably work out just so they can have a united front should their son ever question them.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.