how to pronounce the name siobhan

that’s shuh-VAWN’. correctly spelt siobhan.

in a previous entry, i wrote about the considerations i had to take as i was selecting a name for my then ungendered baby. i wanted siobhan so bad for a girl, but i had some pronunciation issues. since we live in a country of michelles, nicoles and beatrices, and hardly anything more complicated than lindsay and joan, i had to look at how a relatively unusual name was going to impact my daughter as she begins to introduce herself to other people.

i once had a classmate named mavis. that isn’t even a very complex name to begin with, yet schoolteachers who meet her for the first time keep asking how her name is pronounced and/or spelt. so fast forward to adulthood, and imagine how she carries on with call center agents and helpdesk representatives.

as for me, i have a very simple name, but thanks to other pinoys who prefer to vitalize their names (like jun who prefers jhun, or joy who prefers jhoie), many starbucks baristas and ticket agents affix an unnecessary h to my name. this is how i memorized the nato phonetic alphabet: talking to agents and baristas saying things like “my father’s name is ari. alpha romeo india.” lest they make him ahri or something close to that.

long story short: no matter how i like siobhan for my first child’s name, it simply wouldn’t do her well in our culture. so i went with robyn. i have always liked that name (as far as grade school), and the worst that could happen is having it misspelt robin. or rhobin in the world i live in.

that’s robyn. romeo oscar bravo yankee november. robyn.


8 Responses to “how to pronounce the name siobhan”

  1. 1 shan March 26, 2009 at 5:57 am

    A lot of people mispronounce my name, too. Just this morning, one of the guards in our office asked me, “Ma’am, kayo po ba si Samson Vanessa?”


    I felt the urge to correct him and then, perhaps, give a little lecture on French pronunciation, which would have been mean, so I just laughed it off and tried to picture the expression on my dad’s face once I told him about someone calling me “Samson.”


  2. 2 banzaicat March 27, 2009 at 5:19 am

    but Siobhan’s a nice name! 😦

    which reminds me of a a classmate I once had with that name; of course it came with Irish blood. 😉

  3. 3 cat with the fiddle March 27, 2009 at 5:31 am

    hahaha shan… that’s the price of creative names.

    bc, hehe my daughter’s a hybrid as well, but not irish. oh well…

  4. 4 Siobhan January 2, 2010 at 5:30 am

    My name is Siobhan, and yes it does come with the mispronunciation problems, but I wouldn’t change my name for the world. Yes I had to grow to love it, but in our world of “Michelles, Nicoles and Beatrices” I stand out. I have never been in a classroom with someone else who shared my name, and I actually think it’s fun to go to Starbucks and see how the barista is going to try and spell my name. And sometimes I get the surprise of meeting people who do know how to pronounce and spell it 🙂

    • 5 cornerseat July 4, 2010 at 11:56 pm

      hello! glad a real “siobhan” dropped by this post. i really like the name and would have went on with it, but i was based in the philippines back then and it was a challenge to have unique names there sometimes. i don’t regret choosing robyn for my girl, but now that we have relocated overseas, i don’t think i would have as big a challenge with siobhan next time… if there is a next time 😉

      speaking of irish names, i also like saoirse!

  1. 1 Topics about Babys » how to pronounce the name siobhan Trackback on March 25, 2009 at 12:08 pm
  2. 2 Baby name meaning and origin for Mavis Trackback on March 31, 2009 at 4:21 am
  3. 3 Baby names their origins and meanings in one easy to use site Trackback on April 10, 2009 at 1:34 pm

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