Saturday, April 07, 2007

Mr Elspeth Duncan

I don't think Elspeth (a mere two-syllable name) - is difficult to pronounce or spell. Also, it sounds quite close to Elizabeth, so even if it wasn't my name and I'd never heard of it, I would assume that it was a female name.

Once I got correspondence concerning my BWee Miles (containing my new card). The envelope was addressed to Mr. Elspeth Duncan (in addition to which Elspeth was spelt wrong on the card - Ellsbeth). I contacted BWee to inform them of the right spelling and gender.

Then recently I got correspondence from Caribbean Airlines with a new card (supposedly with the corrections). This time the name on the card was spelled correctly, but it stated 'Mr. Elspeth Duncan'. I called and told them yet again ... and the woman said a new card will be sent in the mail with the correct thing. I wonder what it will say this time.

I have a client based in England. In one e-mail his secretary addressed me as 'Dear Mr Elspeth Duncan'. I wrote her back and told her it's 'Ms' not 'Mr'. The client (not the secretary) wrote back apologising profusely. But obviously he didn't say anything to his secretary because she sent me an e-mail yesterday beginning "Dear Mr. Duncan".

For some strange reason many Trinbagonians seem challenged by 'Elspeth' - spelling, gender, pronunciation - unless they've come across it somewhere before. E.g. A woman I met the other day at the silent retreat excitedly pronounced my name correctly the first time I said it (i.e. when the silent part was all over and we were talking). "Ohhhh! Elllspeth!!! I've read books with that name in it when I was younger!"



Blogger Kaivalya said...

'Elspeth' has always been one of my favourite names and I'm amazed you have so much trouble with it. It's so obviously feminine! I have rarely experienced that sort of thing with my own (given) name, even though it's quasi-masculine. Weird!

8:44 AM  
Anonymous Kelly said...

Yes, this surprises me a lot, too! It's such a beautiful and very feminine name, I can't imagine how it would be mispronounced since it is pronounced--I assume--just as it's spelled.

10:01 AM  
Blogger [a} said...

Haha, I can TOTALLY relate! My name's Asma, which is pronounced


However, when I was living in Canada, EVERYone would think it was pronounced Azma--as in "asthma"! One guy even asked me why my parents had named me after a disease!

Elspeth is such a gorgeous romantic-sounding name. It's one of those names I keep in my mental "story box"--for character's names in future stories, etc. It doesn't sound male at all!! :D

p.s. i moved to

5:19 PM  

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