How Kenya Pronounces 'McLaughlin'

We have known for some time that even Americans can have a hard time with our last name (seen above in a recent art project of ours), but its a special struggle for many ethnic groups. In residency, I just encouraged all my Latino patients not to try, and just call me Eric. However, in a formal culture such as Kenya, such informalities have no place, so people are ardent in their attempts to wrap their tongues around "McLaughlin". Two such attempts:

1. Eric in the ICU.
Kenyan nurse: "Daktari, I'm sorry, but how do you pronounce your last name?"
Eric: "Mick-lof-lin"
Kenyan nurse: "(something definitely not the same)"
Eric: "Um, that's close..."
Another Kenyan nurse: "It sounds like 'hemoglobin'. I'll just call you Dr. Hemoglobin."

2. Rachel with her OB team.
Team of interns to Rachel: "We have decided your name is to hard to pronounce, and so we are giving you a new name. Dr. McCheka."
Rachel: "McCheka?"
Team: "Yes, -cheka is the Kiswahili word for laugh."
Rachel: "Aha..."


Debbie Rimbo said...

Love it! I think it says a lot that they love you enough to make an effort, and to come up with "nicknames" if they just can't pronounce it!

AbbyJP said...

That's so great. I wonder how they'd handle "Paternoster"...

ellen said...

McCheka is a great name then. Keep Laughing - Laughter is good for the soul.

zegliano said...

how awesome to be known for your laugh.