What’s in a name

Robyn MinorIt’s a good thing that print journalists are forgiven most times when they mispronounce a person’s name.

We just need to be able to spell it properly and sort of say it correctly when we speak to a person.
Just Tuesday I was speaking to the city’s landscape division manager, Jay Dougherty. I only knew how to say his name – it sounded like Dockerty.

So when I asked him to spell his last name, I was a bit flummoxed.

From where I’m from, most people would have kept the gh silent. Jay said, being from the Northeast, he used the correct Celtic pronunciation of the name.

Names are fascinating to me. When I speak to someone new, I generally end up steering the conversation to their last name when I question how to spell it. What are the origins of that I query. Typically it generates a whole new conversation and may even prompt a story idea or two.

So next time someone tells you their last name is Smith, it might just be Smyth.


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