I have been living in Brussels for 8 years now and here is a thing I never thought I would miss: the sound of my own name! I know white people problems, right? How can I even begin to explain this, I never thought that it would be so much of an issue. I honestly thought that at least my close friends and my husband will some day just get it right. But that is not the case and I guess I have to let it go.
I actually realised that I am lately introducing myself the closest way you got to pronounce my name, just so I can avoid that five minute back and forth of repeating what sounds like my name.
So, this is an attempt to teach you how to get it right. I will dive into it and I am sure that if you try you can make it. My name is:
Δέσποινα – Déspoina
and not Despóina or Despína, not Desponia, never Desdemona or Yasmina – I hate it when people call me that in fact!-
I know there is a Delta in there, a letter most Europeans cannot seem to pronounce or are scared of for some reason. Yes there is also an “o” in there too that yeeeeees is not pronounced but honestly this is a concept you Belgians of all people should be familiar with!
Hear me out: In dutch the J letter is almost never pronounced in words like “vrije” or “vriendelijke” and do not get me started on letters not being pronounced in french words….
I believe that if I have managed to pronounce words like: “Oeil” and “eau” in french and if I manage to remember that “G” is pronounced like a “χ” in Dutch – you know, that cough sound you make when you are sick with the flu or when you wanna spit something , that one – well if I manage that , then you guys can manage to say my name! It is really not that hard!
A bit of Déspoina history…
Déspoina means “miss” or “lady” and for a long time I thought that it was just a modern Greek name. In fact a Greek orthodox name as the Greek Orthodox church calls the mother of Jesus Despoina amongst other names – Oh lord –
Then I read the book of Nikos Tsiforos on Greek Mythology and I learned that in fact the name originated in ancient Greece – the glory! The relief! – so Déspoina is a name coming out from the marriage of the words domos (house) and potnia (mistress,lady) so pretty much the “lady of the house”
In ancient Greece, Déspoina was the daughter of the Demeter (Ceres not Minerva – Thanks Geo for the correction!) and of Poseidon. She was the goddess of mysteries, dark caves and rain – well that explains why I am in Brussels I guess –
So for the sake of the goddess of rain…. please say my name (right) !
Currently listening to: Destiny’s Child – Say my name