Firoozeh Dumas relates a predicament that both Americans and foreigners found themselves in often: pronouncing and remembering a foreigner’s name. The inability to pronounce and remember a name can be upsetting, insulting and offensive between both parties but especially in the victim’s side.
Dumas relate her experience here in a humorous manner not only to make the whole situation not as something to be sensitive about but something that people can laugh at good-naturedly but also she was trying to convey a serious message (in a light-hearted way) of how much easier foreigner’s lives would be if people in America would make the effort to learn their ethnic names. . Dumas, an Iranian, revealed that she never expected that her name (and that of her family and other immigrants like her) would become one of the big problems that she has to face when immigrating to America.
For example, her cousin’s name Farbod which means “Greatness” in Farsi becomes “Farthead” in America, her brother’s name Farshid which means “He who Enlightens” becomes “Fartshit” and her name “Firoozeh” becomes an “F Word” (Dumas, p. 13). They were therefore forced to use American names to make their life less complicated. It is very obvious in this case that all these American names were invented out of the American people’s inability to pronounce their names maybe perhaps due to linguistic incapacity or primarily due to not giving enough time to really learn, a reflection of America’s “always in a hurry” culture.
It is not really easy to live in a society that has many languages. People are forced to make linguistic adjustments or suffer the consequence of making other people’s lives miserable. Dumas’ problematic complications with her name are just one of the many unfavorable conditions of living in such a society. By telling humorously about the problem of names, however, Dumas is bringing into a reader’s attention in an interesting, gripping manner of how this bilingual problem had caused so much distress to its victims. Work Cited Dumas, Firoozeh. What it’s Like to be a Bilingual in the United States?
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