An Open Letter To YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki About The Pronunciation of Her Surname
#lifestyle & opinion
small, An Open Letter To YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki About The Pronunciation of Her Surname, Susan Wojcicki, photo by Laura, susan-wojcicki-photo-laura-morton-global-assignment-by-getty-images-for-fortune.jpg
Dear Ms Wojcicki,
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lifestyle & opinion
Before I say anything else, I would like to congratulate you on your splendid career and your championing of work-life balance. Your ideas and lectures are always inspiring and helpful, and we are big fans of yours here at Culture.pl.
My colleagues and I run a portal about Polish culture, and we love to dwell on any interesting subject related to Polish culture and language, such as the story behind your last name.
A year ago you posted a Youtube video titled Susan Wojcicki Says Her Name:
Why are we so fascinated? Because it does not quite sound like the Polish pronunciation of Wójcicki, but then again neither does it sound like the standard Americanized Wojcicki and we would love to know how it evolved.
What we already found out is that it was you grandmother Janina who immigrated to America via Sweden. At that time her name was without a doubt pronounced the Polish way…
…meanwhile, some 70 years later you pronounce it…
…whereas our American friend with no knowledge of Polish read Wojcicki this way:
So, analysing it step by step:
- The W, which sounds like ‘V’ in Polish, you pronounced the American way.
- The ‘Ó’ lost its accent mark in written form (in Polish, an accent mark turns the ‘o’ sound into ‘oo’ like in voo-doo) but lack of accent notwithstanding, you pronounce it the Polish way
- You conglomerated J, C and I letters into one sound and made them sound like ‘je’ or ‘jit’, American-style.
- And finally the last three letters C,K and I, that in American would be read like ‘kee’, you pronounce the Polish way, ‘tski’.
This gives us a 50/50 hybrid of the Polish and American versions, and in all likeliness, an intriguing reflection of your own family history. We would be honoured if you shared some of it with us. We would love to know, for example, if your grandfather taught your father any Polish? Was it him or your father who dropped the accent mark in Wojcicki? How did your grandfather pronounce his name while living in America? Did you ever have a chance to talk to him about your last name, hear him pronounce it? We would be thrilled to hear any anecdote related to your Polish heritage you may wish to share with us.
Wishing you and your fellow Wojcickis all the best, we hope you’ll find a minute to give us some details about the history of your last name, and hopefully a few more people will learn to pronounce the way you want it pronounced.