What's in a name?

3/31/2006 10:00:00 am

As I participate in more and more podcasts and even occassionally get talked about in other's podcasts I hear people struggling with how to pronounce my name. I'm not really upset about it, and please feel free to call me Darren. Only my students call my Mr. Kuropatwa and they usually shorten it to simply "sir" or "Mr. K." No one has yet gone so far as to mispronounce it, as it has been in the past: Kur-patch-nik, Kerch-a-patch-a-kor-ic, Kur-awp-twa, Kleopatra, kuerchapotakupatwhatchmacallit. So, as a public service announcement, here's how to pronounce "Kuropatwa." ;-)

Kur-o-pat-wa has 4 syllables.

Spelled phonetically its:
cur (like the first syllable in "curtain")
oh (as in "Oh my gosh!")
pat (like the diminutive form of "Patrick" or "Patricia")
wa (as in the first half of the word "what")

Here is the Odeo audio

... and here it is as an mp3 file:

For the record, the name is of Polish origin. In Polish the "w" would have a "v" sound. I don't speak Polish. In English "Kuropatwa" means Partridge so you might say we're the Partridge Family. Unfortunately (or fortunately) none of us were ever on that show. ;-) And finally, if you're interested in an English/Polish translation tool, you can find one here.


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  1. I think people get frightened by so many syllables. My last name is van Gelder - you would not believe how it has been butchered.


  2. Anonymous2/4/06 13:29

    Yeah, the various efforts at saying my name have always given me a good chuckle.

    My previous post was about learning styles and how "digital leaning" should be added to the list. As I've reflected on this post it occured to me that this "tutorial" has elements that are:

    (1) Visual
    (2) Auditory
    (3) Reading
    (4) Kinesthetic (clicking?)

    That's kind of cool. Very VARK of me. I guess it's also digital since its published on my blog. I hadn't originaly thought about it that way. ;-)

  3. Thanks for the clarifications Darren! I'll try to get it right next time!

  4. Anonymous4/4/06 13:00

    Actually Wes, you pronounce it better than most people. ;-)

  5. Anonymous12/4/06 11:51

    Liz here from I Speak of Dreams.

    My last name, Ditz (pronounced--and spelled in some quarters--as Deets) has been hijacked to mean "empty-headed female fool". I think the origin of the epithet was "dizzy blonde", a stock figure. Sometime in the last 15 years it became, "ditsy blonde", now shortened just to ditz.

    I would have thought that you had an rare Japanese name.

  6. Anonymous12/4/06 12:38

    That's interesting. My name has been mistaken for native North American, French (Kuro-patois) and African. This is the first time as Japanese.

    Domo Arigato. ;-)

  7. I've said it a few times and I think I guessed right...I'm impressed with myself.