NAMECOACH PROMOTES CORRECT NAME PRONUNCIATION
If you've been to a graduation ceremony at a school or college, you've probably heard a few names being mispronounced. It can be quite disheartening for graduating students and their families, as Praveen Shanbhag realized when he heard his sister Pratima's name misprounounced during her college graduation.
Shanbhag decided to do something about it. While he was a doctoral student at Stanford University, he cofounded NameCoach, a web service that allows students to record and share the correct pronunciation of their names. Faculty members and others can click a speaker button beside the name and hear the correct pronunciation.
About 300 students at Stanford have recorded the correct pronunciation of their names. Students are also using the service to record their preferred gender pronouns.
“We want to encourage a culture of respect on campus, and one of the best ways to convey respect to someone is to get their name right—and to get their pronouns right, too,” University Registrar Tom Black said.
NameCoach, which has four full-time employees, has also promoted its software to more than 200 other institutions.
Shanbhag, who earned a doctorate in philosophy in 2014, believes that NameCoach can be useful for everyone, even those whose names are common in America.
“I like to say that for every name, there is someone somewhere who doesn’t know how to pronounce it,” he said.
Compiled and partly written by Indian humorist MELVIN DURAI, author of the novel Bala Takes the Plunge.
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