I never expect or expected anyone to know how to pronounce my surname.

(“Expect the worst / nothing, and one will be pleasantly surprised. A lot of the time.”)

If you go back just four or five years, there weren’t many Przybyszes on the web besides a few others and myself, and it wasn’t so common for me to run into folks (outside my immediate family) around town who knew how to pronounce it. (I don’t believe these are related phenomena.)

Now, it’s pleasing to see many Przybyszes pop up via search engines. (Again, I don’t feel personally responsible for this phenomenon either.)

What did start, quite long ago, was friends of mine who took it upon themselves to memorize the spelling of my surname. Too cool!

It’s actually got a nice little rhythm to it:

P r — z y — b y — s z

Easy as pie in the sky, eh? I’m still waiting for the hit single to be released — hooks, loops, and catchier than Kidz Bop.

I owe emails to a few of these extremely loyal friends. You know how something slips, and then it’s gotta be way, way better to make up for the delay. And soon it’s apparent that one will just disappoint?

(Actually, these aren’t right either — I found some material I want to share with these grand pals when I write, and I know I’d mention that material rather than sharing reasonable facsimiles, if I did write before scanning and reproducing cultural artifacts from the tail-end of the twentieth century. And describing something is rarely as provocative as material evidence of the original.)

Back to the name game:

These are kind of cool for pronunciation and such. I should know more Polish. Really, I should. The world is more than piwo and dupas!

http://www.pgsa.org/CrashCourseInPolish.pdf

http://www.answers.com/topic/polish-language

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_language

Update (12/14/2006):

I emailed Patrick earlier.  Months ago.  I figured it was about time to go ahead and post the pronunciation we actually use here.  It’s been verified as one-of-three that would be considered, “correct,” by polished Polish standards:

“shib-bish”

The lack of a beginning p-sound is certainly to my advantage these days, since my Ps lack the punch they deserve.

So there you have it.

Mispronunciation of my own name never bothered me (perhaps because for over half my life I couldn’t tell the difference?).  No, it’s just not that big of a deal:  names should be fun.  That’s not to say that I don’t take the spelling* and pronunciation of other people’s names seriously.  I do notice that, lacking passive access to how other people’s names are pronounced (first and last…), I feel bad whenever I realize I haven’t been pronouncing a name correctly.  So please, as with all things, please do correct me.

* I suspect a great deal of Dan’s drive, aside from the beverage thing, springs out of a dream of one day living in a world where his (straightforward) last name is not misspelled.  I’m an unknown, but Dan’s work has been out there, all over practically.   I am continuing my campaign to convince him to add an author’s note as to the spelling of his last name.  Your help is appreciated.

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