Isn’t it embarrassing when you realise you’ve been pronouncing someone’s name the wrong way? How about when an entire nation has been pronouncing a name the wrong way for more than half a century? Like… Megan?
Australians, generally, say “Mee-gan”. Meghan Markle calls herself “Megg-un”. That’s nothing to do with the extra “h” in her name. It’s because that’s how the name is generally pronounced by the rest of the world – including people in Wales, who invented the name as a pet form of Margaret.
“Megan is pronounced ‘Megg-un’,” declares Alan, a spokesperson for Cymry Melbourne (Melbourne Welsh). “No idea why Australians went a bit different with the first syllable.”
Alan tells Mamamia that he called his own daughter Meghan. That means that the people around her are constantly pronouncing her name the wrong way.
“Meg sometimes corrects people, sometimes doesn’t. Depends what mood she’s in, and who she’s talking to.”
People who move to Australia from the UK are bemused – or sometimes appalled – by the pronunciation of Megan. You can see it on Australian parenting forums.
“I’ve got a thing for the name Megan at the moment,” announced one mum on Essential Baby. “My baby is due in three months, so a while to go yet, but I’m just wondering, is the standard Australian pronunciation ‘Mee-gan’? I’m from the UK, and pronounce it ‘Meg-an’. Will we be forever correcting her name? To me, the two pronunciations are very different and kind of make or break the name.”
She was advised to avoid Megan if she didn’t like “Mee-gan”.
“I’m from the UK too, and this is why Megan got crossed off our list,” another mum chimed in. “Love ‘Meg-an’. ‘Meee-gan’ makes me cringe!”
Americans side with the Brits on this one.
“In my experience, in the USA, Megan and Meghan are pronounced with the first syllable to rhyme with Peg or Meg,” US names expert Cleveland Kent Evans tells Mamamia. “And for the few who pronounce it differently, ‘May-gan’ would be much more common than ‘Mee-gan’. I almost never hear ‘Mee-gan’ in the USA – and when I do, it seems to be referring to someone who was born in Canada, not the USA.”