Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

A note on the pronunciation of my name

No, Knippenberg is not pronounced "idiot" or "fascist." But after I was on NPR a friend sent me an email joking about the host’s mispronunciation of my name. For the record, in Knippenberg, the K is not silent.

Which, I suppose, explains a lot.

Discussions - 12 Comments

Sorry, Joe, you live in an English-speaking country. The "K" will be silent for most people...you’ll just have to keep correcting folks (I wonder if English holds the record for the most unused letters in words?).

I hope you didn’t have a kniption when you found out about that.

Do you mean "conniption?"

Did you feel a strong wind - like that of an F5 tornado - pass right over your head before you wrote that, dain?

No...but trolls aren’t allowed to be humorous. They just don’t have the knack (or should that be kanack?).

Sure Dain, it’s clear you got the joke the first time.

My wife and I disagree about how to pronounce the name we share. She pronounces it Ka-nippenberg; I don’t hesitate as much between the K and the n. My pronunciation comes from my dad, who abandoned a small (but decisive) portion of the name’s Dutchness when he immigrated. To wit: in the the Netherlands, the name would end with a sound like that of someone clearing his throat or getting ready to spit.

The only Dutch name about whose pronunciation I’m inclined to annoy people with my pedantry is "Gouda," where the G sounds a little like the "ch" at the beginning of the more or less correct pronunciations of Haifa and Hannukah, and the "ou" should be pronounced "ow" rather than "oo."

Most American Knippenbergs (to whom I am at most distantly related--they came generations earlier and settled in western Maryland and Ohio) are probably Nippenbergs. I don’t propose to tell them to pronounce it differently.

If you think Knippenberg is a problem try pronouncing Sikkenga! Even Jeff can’t do it.

Whatever dain. You’re a troll.

Kni get into this conversation?

Kno you knot.

Had I only known that my name would cause so much grief to my son, I would have changed it to my mother’s maiden name. At my naturalization the INS judge foresaw some problems and asked me if I wanted to change my name, and if so, what would I change it to? I replied that the only name I would consider changing it to would be my mother’s maiden name. "And what would that be?" he asked. "Van Veldhoven" I replied. "Keep your own name" he replied.

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