You think you know most of the basic facts about yourself pretty well by the time you’re in your 20s, especially your name. But imagine finding out that you’ve been saying your own name incorrectly for your entire life. Sounds crazy, right? But that’s exactly what happened to a 30-year-old woman.
In a TikTok video, Naomi Leanage explains that she’s always pronounced her last name to rhyme with “fromage” or Nicki Minaj. And it wasn’t until she learned how the name is pronounced in Sri Lanka, where her parents are from, that she realized she was saying it wrong. Instead of rhyming with “fromage,” the correct way to say her last name is “leenagay.”
Naomi’s family moved from Sri Lanka to Canada, where people mistakenly started to pronounce their last name like the French word for cheese. And it turns out, her dad decided to change the way the family said their last name rather than having to constantly correct people. “My siblings and I were very shocked, I felt like I was bamboozled my whole life,” Naomi explains. “My mum, Nayana, knew but she didn't think to mention it.” Despite learning this, she and her siblings have decided to keep saying their name the way they always have, as she claims it would have felt like “espionage” if she changed it now.