This is going to be a challenge, because this message is best communicated through speech. Unless you and I have already had this conversation in person, you're not going to know how to pronounce the various spellings of my name the way I mean you to when you read it below.
To assist you, I'm going to provide a pronunciation guide to this post. Whenever you read these words, you should pronounce them accordingly in your head:
The vowel in Laura rhymes with fauna as in flora and fauna.
Lora rhymes with Dora as in the Explorer.
Lara rhymes with Sarah -- take your pick of reference.
I was introduced to another Laura this past weekend. Every time I meet a Laura, we have the same conversation:
Laura: "How do you spell it?"
Me: "L A U R A"
Laura: and do you pronounce it "Laura" or "Lora"
Me: I say "Laura"
Laura: Me too! People seem to have a hard time with it.
She told me about her struggles in getting people to pronounce it right. She asks people to say “Laura” and they always look at her with a focused face and say “Lora”.
Here’s another conversation I have often when I first meet someone:
New person: Hi, what's your name?
New person: and how do you pronounce it...
This is where I stare at them for a few seconds to see if they can figure out that they just heard me say my name two seconds earlier.
You'll never hear me correct people when they call me Lora. If they ask, I'll tell them how I prefer it. But there are people who've been calling me Lora for years and I don't mind.
OK, so if you've been calling me Lora and you do something to tick me off, I might say, "It's Laura" when you say my name just because it might be all I have to express my displeasure with you at that moment.
I'll tell you what though, if you call me Laura, whether it's because you once asked me how I pronounce it or you've picked up on how I pronounce it when I refer to myself, I might hold you in a little higher regard because that tells me you pay attention.
But if you've been calling me Laura (the correct pronunciation) for years and "Lora" finds its way out of your mouth in reference to me, I'll flash you a confused glance.
I decided I was going to write about this a long time ago when I was in Cancun at a little grill on our resort. I ordered a burger and the cashier asked,
“What is your name?”
I sat down and several minutes later I heard,
“Sarah? Your burger’s ready.”
Had I not been the only person there waiting for her food, I would have had no idea he was referring to me.
I was at Rubio’s recently and I ordered my meal to go. They asked for my name. When I picked up my food, they gave me my receipt:
For awhile, my sister tried to campaign to get me to change the spelling of my name to “LARA” so people would pronounce it right. I don’t think she will, but if she does deny it, I can show you a manila folder with pictures of me down in my parents’ basement with her handwriting that spells: “Lara.” I never really jumped on that band wagon. I’ve always been fine with the spelling of my name.
The fact that my name was difficult for people to pronounce was made even more clear whenl I tried to get a robot to say it. Apparently robots have a hard time pronouncing my name the way I do. Awhile ago I was sending a Monk-E-Mail to my niece. I tried to get the monkey to say my name right with the following spellings (in this order of trial):
And the winner is...Laara. At least I figured it out.
Yesterday I was surfing around for online name pronunciation guides. I felt vindicated when I looked up “Laura” and found this:
I wish I thought of that phonetic spelling when I was trying to get the monkey to say my name. But click on the “listen” link.
Right? The voice even sounds like me doesn’t it? I swear it isn’t.
I immediately looked up “Lara”. There was no audio file but it did say “rhymes with Sarah” – THANK YOU!
Then I looked up “Lauren” – another name similar to “Laura” that people seem to pronounce differently. This time there were two pronunciations available:
In conclusion, I would like to say that there is no general right or wrong – there’s simply the way the person who possesses the name prefers it.
I know there are Lauras out there who prefer to be called Lora. That’s OK too.