Irish names aren't always easy to pronounce for the uninitiated, but pronouncing them under pressure in the middle of a work conference call is a whole different ball game, leading to this absolutely comical incident!
An Irish woman named Fionnuala posted an image on Twitter where she had caught her colleague red-handed Googling how to pronounce her name.
Fionnuala's colleague shared her screen during a work video call but comically forgot to close a tab entitled "how do you pronounce fionnuala".
Fionnuala took a screengrab of her colleague's screen before the meeting came to an end and shared the hilarious image on Twitter with the caption "When your colleague shares their screen and they still have this tab open #irishnameproblems."
When your colleague shares their screen and they still have this tab open #irishnameproblems pic.twitter.com/nSkErTOVPj— Fionnuala (@Fionnuala_31) July 28, 2020
The tweet went viral, amassing more than 20,000 likes, as well as a slew of responses, many of which documented similar struggles of living in a foreign country with a distinctly Irish name.
Another woman, also named Fionnuala, hilariously tweeted that a surprising number of American colleagues addressed her by her surname only in emails, "as though that motley collection of vowels beginning with an F couldn't possibly be someone's first name."
A surprising amount of my American colleagues send me emails addressed to my surname, like
As though that motley collection of vowels beginning with an F couldn't possibly be someone's first name 😂— Fionnuala Dorney UíMhuilleoir (@Timshol) July 29, 2020
Another Fionnuala told of how she was constantly called "Vanilla" by mistake and even produced photographic evidence of the mistake.
A number of Americans also responded to the tweet admitting that they had also Googled the correct pronunciation of an Irish name.
Jonathan Plucker, however, shared a handy tip - do the Googling on your phone!
Full transparency: When I look up the pronunciation of my Irish colleagues' names, I do it on my phone specifically to prevent me from making this same mistake!— Jonathan Plucker (@JonathanPlucker) July 28, 2020
Almost every Irish person who responded to the tweet agreed that the unfortunate colleague has shown great respect by making the effort to get the name right rather than butcher it during the work call.
The original Fionnuala, for example, was asked whether she found the incident offensive and said: "No, not at all! I usually make them guess first to see how close they are but it’s such a great conversation starter. I’m so proud of my name that I love being able to tell people how to say it!"
No, not at all! I usually make them guess first to see how close they are but it’s such a great conversation starter ☺️ I’m so proud of my name that I love being able to tell people how to say it!— Fionnuala (@Fionnuala_31) July 29, 2020
That's the spirit, Fionnuala!
*Originally published in July 2020, last updated in September 2022.