Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Say My Name, Say My Name

My name, although a simple often used name, but still it seems to be confusing a lot of people. They either make mistakes writing it or pronouncing it or get all mixed up addressing me as a Mr. Or Mrs.

When I was a kid and started learning the English alphabets and then they asked me to write down my name I wrote: E M A N. The teacher was like: no sweetie, it’s: I M A N.
I insisted on the E, because I thought E (which is pronounced eeeeeeee) is more proper than I (which is pronounced as ay) and told her: My name is eeeeeeeeeeeman and not ay-man. And so I kept on writing it with the E. When I grew up and filled my passport papers I wrote Eman, and so it was officially written with E.
In school, university, my friends, in emails, all wrote my name with I , only for the first time that is, as I insisted that they’d write it with an E.
Anyway, I started working and they all wrote my name with I, which actually got on my nerves. I just hate seeing an IMAN, to me EMAN looks more like it, or maybe coz I actually got used to it and am convinced is the right way to write it.
Now when I got everybody to write my name the way I like it, it was the time to leave and start over again in Tunisia, where they don’t only write the name with an I, but they change it totally and wtrite Imen, and some even write it Imene. The reason is because of the way they pronounce the name. They don’t have straight a’s, e.g. they don’t pronounce the a as in “man”, they pronounce it as in “fame”. So they don’t call me Eman, they call me Imen. And when I write it the way I want : Eman, they misread it as another name which is Emna, which in my dialect and in Standard Arabic language is written : AMNA. But once again, they pronounce no straight a’s in such cases so they write it as they pronounce it: Emna.
That’s why when I write my name in some official documents, they get confused. They suppose that my name is Emna and I only made a mistake. And when I explain that my name is written EMAN in my passport, some of them get really pissed off and start teaching me some spelling rules, loool.
But all of this is ok, the problem is with foreign people who don’t speak Arabic and who don’t know if it’s feminine or masculine, and even worse is the case when they know Arabic and know that it’s feminine but can be used as masculine in some few cases, so they really get lost. I don’t blame them at all. It just feels weird that a lady is writing an email and then she gets a reply with: Dear Mr. Eman. Or : Thank you gentleman… lol, it just feels strange. So when I know there will be lots of emails and some really important papers to be sent with my name and marital status on it, then I have to make it clear that I’m a lady Eman and not a Mr.Eman.
Many times I go through this really funny situation. I send an e-mail, sign with my name, and then I get a call from the recipient of my email, and they’d go like: Hi, can I speak to Mr. Eman please.
I: Yes, speaking.
They: no, no, I need to talk to Mr. EMAN, would you please transfer me to him.
I: Believe me it’s me.
They: WHAT?? Eman is a "SHE"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Another funny thing is this lady that seemed to be very helpful, she never was late replying to my emails and always was on time providing information and helping me out with any problem I’d go through, which I found very impressive. But the minute I sent a general email explaining that my name refers to a lady and not to man, I never got anything on time again. Lol, see, I’m a heartbreaker ;)

Anyway, I love my name, and I hate people writing it in any other way, but to be honest, it’s sometimes fun to know people’s reaction to the real you :)