My Name is Not Whiznut
I take a lot of time to learn names, also how to pronounce them correctly. Part of my motivation may be because my last name is easy to mispronounce. It’s Whisnant, pronounced Whisnunt, short for Whisenhunt, meaning “wise hunter.” It is not Whiznat, Whiznit, or Whiznot, or even Whiznet. Sometimes to help new friends remember my name I say I am a whiz at being a nut, but that encourages Whiznut. My name is not Whiznut. In fact, it is not Whiz at all, but Whis. To help with pronunciation, I will sometimes ask, “Have you ever been on a swiss hunt?” One guy said he had. Of course, there is no such thing, but it helps with pronouncing Whisnant.
Studies show that if we pronounce a difficult word or name 21 times, we can get it correct. I remember Larry Kirkpatrick. He was quick to tell me his name was not KIRKpatrick, but kirkPATRICK. Wow, that was tough. But I immediately pronounced it over and over until I got it right, and I never mispronounced his name, because he was important to me.
Sometimes, however, the challenge is just simply to even remember the name at all. Years ago, I forgot the last name of a client while writing information on a necessary form, but I did not want him to know. So I calculated how I could scheme to recover his name without embarrassing either one of us. “Okay," I said, calling his first name, “now how do you spell your last name?”
“S-m-i-t-h“ he answered.
Don Loy Whisnant/Journey Notes 8F17