According to recent reports, a brave Political Science professor managed to pretend for a brief moment like he truly wouldn’t mind having to pronounce the mind-bogglingly complicated name of an international student for the rest of the semester. Sources say that the long-time professor Alex Galvin had done a pretty decent job going down the attendance list, until he got to “one of those tricky names from Asia” that reportedly “had a lot of those weird letters in it.” Students confirm that they saw a momentary flash of panic in Professor Galvin’s eyes before he fearlessly hazarded the linguistic feat.
“I won’t deny that I was intimidated by their names,” admitted a beaming Professor Galvin. “But I’ve been in this particular situation before, and the trick is to draw out your pronunciation so slowly that it renders the name completely unrecognizable. I usually try to forget everything I’ve ever learned about basic phonetics and just go ahead a string together a bunch of vowel-like sounds. Sometimes I’ll throw in a Chinese accent if I’m feeling daring.”
And that’s exactly what he did Wednesday, September 28th, to the awe of his Intro to International Politics class. After a truly remarkable butchering of Singapore native Yifei Fan’s name, the international student politely shared that she used the name “Rachel” in America. Despite his obvious immediate relief at not having spend an extra five minutes of his time memorizing the pronunciation of a tricky name, it is reported that Professor Galvin courageously responded, “Are you sure? I can call you whatever you prefer,” at the same time making it evident that he would in fact never be able to come up with even a close approximation of the correct pronunciation, now or ever. Despite this, Galvin managed to act, quasi-convincingly, as if it wouldn’t be a burden on everyone involved to go through the same painful ritual of “Now help me out here– is it Yay-fee Falng?” every Monday and Wednesday for the next four months.
Students applauded this brave show of multicultural awareness and theoretical linguistic sacrifice on the part of the professor, who was later reported to have breathed a deep sigh of relief once the student insisted that “Rachel” would be fine. At press time, Professor Galvin was seen discreetly docking points from Mumbai native Akshitha Reddy, who had politely declined the professor’s previous request to “just call her Anna.”