Suw Charman – A Pronunciation Guide

by Suw on July 3, 2005

This is something that came up a lot when I was in the US last month, so I figure it must be worth clarifying. My name is pronounced:
Soo TCHAR-m'n
That's 'soo' to rhyme with 'boo' or 'goo' or even 'gnu' (but absolutely not 'view').
'TCHAR-m'n' to rhyme with, er, well, um… 'charman' (and bearing no resemblance whatsoever to the well-known brand of toilet paper).
Two really important points about my surname:
1. It's a hard CH, as in chocolate or chalk or chuffin 'eck.
2. The last syllable is a schwa, so you don't emphasis the 'man', but make it more of a 'mun'.
This may sound to some as if I am stating the obvious and being a bit precious about it, but I heard 'Sharmin' so often last month that it started to get on my wick a bit. Seven letters, two syllables, really very easy, please try harder.
Also, whilst I am clearing up misconceptions, I'd like to make the point that as much as I love the Welsh, and as much as I adore being able to speak Welsh, I'm still English. Very, very English. So if you meet me and wonder why I have an English accent instead of a Welsh one, then that would be why.
There. That makes me feel better.

Anonymous July 3, 2005 at 5:43 pm

tsu tchermin

Anonymous July 3, 2005 at 6:24 pm

more like tsu tcharmun. definitely a tchar not a tcher. And definitely a mun not a min. 🙂

Anonymous July 3, 2005 at 6:47 pm

Ah, I always pronounced it “hot snatch”.
I stand corrected.

Anonymous July 3, 2005 at 8:19 pm

Not like this chick then… ?

Anonymous July 3, 2005 at 9:27 pm

Anyone for Soy Chow Mein?
I'll get me coat.

Anonymous July 3, 2005 at 10:12 pm

You know, someone did link to me a while back as Su Chaw, or something similar. So you're not far off.

Anonymous July 3, 2005 at 11:06 pm

And there I was thinking I was pronouncing it right all along, and then you go and confuse me with unnatural 'Ts' things…

Anonymous July 4, 2005 at 2:21 am

Given your recent Flickr picture stream, one rhyme comes to mind…
A globetrotting minx named Suw Charman,
Never had to call for a barman,
Nearby blokes would say “Suw,
What can I get for you?”
When she recrossed her legs to disarm 'em

Anonymous July 4, 2005 at 3:01 am

What you need is IPA! (Not the beer, the International Phonetic Alphabet.)
Lessee, your dialect is rhotic (i.e. you pronounce the “r”)? And the “a” like in “father”?
OK, then [su: 'tʃɑ:r.mən] (for those who have an IPA capable font intstalled).

Anonymous July 4, 2005 at 9:07 am

You think that is bad?
One reason for me having an alia on-line is because my name gets so mispronounced and even mispelled that it drives me crazy.
Martin Graney, FYI.
As I live in the Netherlands Martin very often gets spelled Maarten or even Maartijn. i.e. Dutchified.
Although the Dutch rarely mispronounce or mispell my surname.
However from the English, as my surname is Irish and unusual, I see a regular mispronunciation of 'granney' [an addition of an extra n], and misspellings of “Gradey”, “Gravey” and even “Groaney” 🙁
I have been known to shout, “Look it is bloody simple. The e changes the aah sound into an ayyy sound. So it is grey-knee. Like the colour and the bendy thing half way down my leg that will soon join voilently with the loose collection of dangly objects between yours!”
I have acutally given up.
I make reservations using my first name.
And I use an alias on the interweb.

Anonymous July 4, 2005 at 9:15 am

Ha ha ha.
You have my sympathies.
Variations of my name that I have seen:
Charming (no, really)
And the classic was, as I spelt my name to someone: “c – h – a – r – m – a – n”, they said “don't you mean p?”. What? What p? Where is there a fucking p in charman? Then it dawned on me – they were convinced I must mean Chapman.

Anonymous July 4, 2005 at 1:22 pm

but I heard 'Sharmin' so often last month that it started to get on my wick a bit.
Those were Frenchmen thinking you are cute.

Anonymous July 4, 2005 at 1:24 pm

I hate it when I forget to log in.
(which does absolutely NOT rhyme with jam)

Anonymous July 5, 2005 at 11:16 am

Gulf War 1 had Stormin' Norman, the blogosphere has Charming Charman.
and toilet roll…

Anonymous July 5, 2005 at 11:34 am

Yeah, me and bog roll. Great. What a marvellous thing to remind people of. :-p

Anonymous July 5, 2005 at 6:32 pm

Nobody ever pronounces my last name right either. It's “Wechsler”. American English pronunciation, please, although someone who goes to the trouble of producing the (correct) German pronunciation gets half marks for trying.
Hint: It is not Welcher or Welsher.

Anonymous July 14, 2005 at 5:28 pm

At least you only have 3 letters to spell! I've spent years spelling Kathryn to people and even when you tell them letter by letter they still manage to get it wrong! I feel quite sorry for the Catherine at work with the same surname as me who gets a large amount of my email sent to her in error.

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