A parent lived with their spouse and daughter, Kanae, in Japan. The young girl studied at a Japanese school, with one of the subjects she studied being English. Kanae was a shy child, and their teacher kept mispronouncing her name.
The parent was not Japanese, but their spouse was, meaning Kanae was mixed race. The name ‘Kanae’ was Japanese, something that both the girl and her parents were very proud of.
The American Teacher
Despite living and studying in Japan, Kanae had an American teacher, who was an expat teaching English.
Kanae’s name, pronounced as “Kaa-Naa-EH,” was consistently mispronounced by her English teacher as “Kah-Nye.” This mispronunciation had been bothering Kanae, leading her to politely correct her teacher, stating, “My name is Kanae. It’s three claps (syllables).”
A Shy Daughter’s Courage
The parent was proud of the tremendous effort it took for their extremely shy daughter to correct her teacher initially. It showed her determination to have her name pronounced correctly, reflecting the importance of cultural respect and identity.
Accusations of Poor Grammar
Despite the girl’s corrections, the English teacher continued to use the mispronounced name. She insisted that her pronunciation was grammatically correct, dismissing Kanae’s concerns.
Addressing the Issue
During Kanae’s sports day event at school, the parent decided to address the issue with the English teacher. They explained that their daughter preferred to be called “Kaa-naa-eh” and hoped for the teacher’s cooperation.
The Teacher’s Response
In response, the teacher chuckled, asserting that she was pronouncing the name “the way it’s supposed to be.” She promised to try to remember the correct pronunciation.
Ongoing Pronunciation Problem
Despite the parent’s intervention, it seemed that the teacher had not fully committed to pronouncing Kanae’s name correctly. The daughter continued to be referred to as “Kah-Nye,” causing her distress.
Considering Further Action
Faced with this persistent issue, the parent was contemplating going to the school in the morning to address the matter more seriously. They recognized the significance of respecting their daughter’s cultural identity and her wish for her name to be pronounced correctly.
The parent’s wish to escalate the mispronunciation was conflicting. On one side, they felt that it was important that their daughter’s voice was heard and that their name was pronounced correctly. On the other hand, the parent recognized that escalating the problem could cause tensions between the teacher and Kanae’s education.
Asking the Internet
Unsure what to do, the parent headed to an online forum for advice. To the parent’s joy, most readers were encouraging them with their plan. “Of course you’re not in the wrong, a shy kid’s mind is quick to take offense and hurt, I’ve been there”, sympathized one reader. “So yeah, you’re just being a good parent!”
Many commenters were quick to express their confusion at the teacher’s mispronunciations. “I’m confused why someone would go out of their way to come to Japan and then not know how to pronounce Japanese”, stated one person. “It’s not hard?? You say it exactly how it looks!”
Some concerned readers suggested that the report should even be escalated to the principal. “You should report her”, one commenter suggested. “This woman should not be an English teacher in Japan if she wants to act that way. Really, some of us Americans in Japan are kind and love Japan and don’t think we know more than the people who live here.”
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