How Do We Pronounce Our Name?

If you have a name like Hasselbacher or something close, you no doubt have heard many pronunciations, seen many misspellings, and have developed your own method of helping people over the phone. This problem has probably been with us forever, and was accentuated when our ancestors were funneled through the ports of America and into its workplaces. Some of us chose, or had chosen for us, new ways of spelling or pronouncing our names.

My family pronounced it with soft “a” sounds: “Hassel” and “bacher” like “father” or “Las Vegas.” (I am not an expert, but this may be an รค sound.) This is the only way I have heard it pronounced in Franconia although German speakers may sound the “ch” harder as in “achtung.”

Like you, I respond to many variations when called to my table at a restaurant. I lived in New York City for a while where harder “a” sounds are common as in to “hassle” someone, and my “back” hurts.

I am told by one of the Illinois clan that their old-timers pronounced their Hasselbacher name with a long “a” sound for the first: “hazel” as the hazelnut tree or the girl’s name; but with a soft “a” at the end like I do.

I met one of the Hazelbakers who pronounced his name like the girls name and a maker of bread– just like it looks!

Some folks have trouble with the “ch” sound at the end. They do not sound a harder “k” as in rock, but a “sh” sound as in wash. In fact, they may even say “basher” as in someone who hits.

How do you spell and pronounce your name? Do you have any stories that would educate or entertain the rest of us? Leave a “comment” at the end of the Blog entry for this item, or email it to me and I will enter it for you.

Your Cousin,
March 20, 2007

2 Responses to “How Do We Pronounce Our Name?”

  1. admin says:

    This is webmaster Peter. I was actually born in Manhatten and went to graduate school there. I recognize the accent. When I was in school in NYC in the late 60’s, there was an Otto Hasselbacher in the phone book. I wish I had been paying more attention then and called him.

  2. mary haselbacher says:

    Have always pronounced my last name “hassle” “back” er. But I was raised in NY.

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