Saoirse Ronan chats about the pronunciation of her name
Superstar actress Saoirse Ronan chatted to Ellen DeGeneres and was given a unique gift by the chat legend.
Ronan was discussing her role in Brooklyn, and the conversation quickly turned to the mispronunciation of her name by Dennis Quaid at the Golden Globe nominations ceremony.
The veteran actor pronounced Saoirse as ‘Shee-sha’ in front of millions of viewers and Ronan and DeGeneres laughed about the error.
Ronan described the moment she found out she had been nominated and revealed she was getting her nails done in a Dublin salon. She explained that she had not seen the clip of Quaid mispronouncing her name but had heard it had been ‘butchered’.
Ronan also mentioned the name of the Dublin salon she was in more than once, which DeGeneres picked up and joked: “We learnt so much about you in that story. So I think you’re going to get free nails next time you go there.”
DeGeneres then told Ronan that as she’s sure to be nominated for many more awards in her career, she needed a way of making sure people knew how to pronounce her name correctly.
One of her assistants then delivered a sandwichboard on to the stage for Ronan to put on, with clear phonetic instructions to the world how to correctly pronounce Saoirse.
Ronan is not the only Irish person with a name that gets mispronounced by others. There are many people with traditional Irish names that spend their whole lives correcting and accepting the incorrect pronunciation of their names.
British comedian Lee Mack performed a famous routine about the complexity and unpredictability of the spelling of Irish names. Mack is married to a woman of Irish heritage and his sketch is based on their discussions of what to name their children. See the video here.
YouTube stars FACTS have also tested how well people around the world can pronounce Irish names, by just looking at the ways they are spelt. It turns out, that even some Irish people find the spellings too confusing to get the names right. See the video here.