Duana: In Which We Get Personal about Jacek

July 25, 2013 16:22:38 Posted at July 25, 2013 16:22:38
Duana Posted by Duana
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Hi,
My husband and I are expecting our first baby next year and we really like the name Jacek for a boy. And no, it's not because that's Lainey's husband's name (although that's why I'm writing in), it's just a great name. It's my understanding that the name is Polish and pronounced (Yaht-sick). Neither of us is Polish or using it for a Polish background. I just really like the name and want to use it. Also, I would prefer to pronounce it "Jay-sik".

My question is this - is it horrible/offensive to change the pronunciation of the name to suit me especially since neither of us is Polish (does the fact that we aren't Polish make it worse?).

Any thoughts you (or Jacek) have would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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I want to draw your attention to a line in your letter: “…it’s just a great name.” Yes, it is. So why do you want to ruin it?

I met Jacek’s parents once. They’re Polish, from Poland. And, because I am obsessive about names,  his mother told me, in what is clearly a lovely memory for her, how he could have Anglicized his name when he came here. Could have easily chosen to make it Jack – but he didn’t. He stayed with Jacek.  

Not “Jay-sik”.

What you want is a variant on Jason you can feel cool and trendy about. Look, there are people named Jace. Go ahead if you want to. But don’t corrupt a lovely name and then try to pass it off like it’s the same one.   

It doesn’t sound like the same name. It doesn’t have the same feeling as the same name. And, since “Jacek” is the kind of name that needs to be explained when you first read it, you’re letting people take the lazy way out by not trying.   

Look, if you like the name Jay-sik, who am I to tell you not to use it? But don’t corrupt a name that’s already got perfectly good usage and pronunciation because it doesn’t suit you. That has nothing to do with being Polish or not, by the way – that’s just about having respect for names and where they originate, etymologically as well as geographically.

Also, as is his personality, Jacek was way more laid back about this than I was. I’m not writing in defense of him, I just don’t think we need to be this permissive about adapting names. I mean, I have the same feelings about Alexandria, but that’s another issue for another time.

(Lainey: attached, again, Jacek getting ready for his prom because…HAHAHAHAHAAHAH.)

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