Two websites to help you say it right

When I married husband Wayne, his brother Byron warned in his wedding speech that people would mispronounce my new last name, Schneidman. He was right.

Telemarketers get it wrong more often than they get it right. Not only do they pronounce it wrong, but they stumble pathetically in the process of messing it up.

The name is pronounced SHNID-man, with a long “I” that sounds like the word “eye.” And there’s no “er” syllable in the middle; it’s not SchneidERman.

So I’m happy to introduce you to two websites that teach how to say first and last names from diverse cultures. The first is, and the second is

Either one alone is a tremendous help when phoning prospects from a print directory, but the combination of the two is even better. The former has thousands of names to hear spoken by a native speaker; the latter has fewer audio files but often includes phonetic representations, which aid an English speaker who does not have a good ear in replicating the sounds. Also, with two databases, you have a greater chance of finding any unusual name you may be looking for.

Ever wonder how to pronounce “Nguyen”? The Vietnamese surname is said similarly to “win” with no “G” sound.

Or “Xu”? It’s a Chinese surname, pronounced somewhat like the English word “shoe.”

As for Schneidman, technically it’s not on either website. But Schneider is on both. And fortunately, the first syllable is pronounced the same as for Schneidman.


4 responses to “Two websites to help you say it right

  1. Excellent! The pronouncenames site let me upload the correct pronunciation of “Hague”. Dare I hope that telemarketers will look it up and I won’t have to endure any more “Mrs. Hahgoo” or “Mrs. Haygew” or my favorite, “Mrs. Hugo”?

  2. Good point. It’s interesting to see what other people find hard to pronounce.

  3. I am in awe of your discipline, Diana! You stick to the task and stay focused, and consequently, accomplish so much! I strive to emulate your exmaple!

  4. Michele, Thank you for your kind words. My highest objective for 2009 was both to post to the blog and to issue a newsletter with a feature every week since launching early in January. Only one more week to go this year!

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