Published May 25, 2015 in Episode 5
You may remember the prank pulled on a local San Francisco TV news station over the names of the pilots of an Asiana airline that crashed upon landing in 2013. The anchor read over the air names like Wi Tu Lo and Sum Ting Wong, thinking those were real names. The station later had to apologize for their embarrassing mistake.
Some Vietnamese names, when spelled faithfully, will resemble inappropriate English words when said out loud. But each name actually has a beautiful meaning behind it.
I’ll go over some of the common tricky names with their Vietnamese pronunciations, provide their meanings, and then provide the acceptable pronunciations in English.
The first is Bích, which means emerald green. If it is a bit difficult to sound out, try rewriting the name in your head as bic or bit. Those two will come very close to the Vietnamese pronunciation.
The next is Dũng, spelled with a diacritical tilde over the u.
Dũng means courage. The Vietnamese language doesn’t have the letter Z, but still uses that sound and it’s represented by the letter D. The pronunciation of this name can be difficult because it requires a glottal stop during the u. So an acceptable English pronunciation is zoong.
The final name for today is Phúc. It has a diacritical accent over the U.
Phúc means good fortune. You can pronounce it as fook. Admittedly, that does sound a little too similar to the English’s F word. So try spelling it in your mind as foog and that'll help you overcome any hesitation in pronouncing the word correctly.
It is always a good idea to ask the other person how they want their names to be pronounced when you have the chance.
English Phonetic Spelling
Bic or Bit
Nu Wen or Win