How is the surname pronounced

Respect starts with the name

Names are just smoke and mirrors? Not quite when it comes to discrimination:

A name can make a difference in popularity, credibility or acceptance of a job.

People whose names are easier for respondents to pronounce were preferred in one study for political offices and promotions, for example. They were more likely to win political campaigns and move into leadership positions more quickly.

Statements by people who have apparently difficult-to-pronounce names were less believed in another study. They also appear more dangerous and risky to many. On the other hand, those who Americanize their own name in Germany when they immigrate, improve their own prospects on the job market. When making an inquiry to the job center, the surname also plays a role: there was poorer quality information in a study for people with a "foreign sounding" name.

A recent study also suggests that when looking for a job, people from countries in which the Muslim faith plays a greater role are disadvantaged because of their name.

"Paul Schmidt" received more frequent and more detailed answers from members of the Bundestag than "Murat Yilmaz" in this field experiment from 2018.

From the same year: Teachers rated the work of ›Max‹ better than that of the same quality of ›Murat‹, as a study at the University of Mannheim found.

One or the other name is perhaps more familiar to the speakers and it comes off the tongue more easily: But why do some people pronounce the "z" differently in De Maizière than in "Özdemir"? Doesn't it matter much more which names we want to pronounce correctly? (see also: "If you can say" Tchaikovsky ", you can pronounce our names", BBC News, 03.09.2018)

If in doubt, it is worth asking the person about the correct pronunciation of their name when they first meet them.

Questions for reflection:

  • How should my name be pronounced?
  • How do I know how another person would like their name to be pronounced?
  • Why does the majority society find it easier or more difficult with certain names than with others?
  • What influence does the name have on representation or career opportunities in Germany? What role does habit play?
  • How can learning effects be achieved, how can sensitivity for the topic be created?

The video was created as part of the project "Vom Ihr Zum Wir", funded by the Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth as part of the program "Live Democracy!", The Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration and the Mercator Foundation .