Sunday, 30 July 2017

Ien is not Einstein

I promised a new blog reader that I would explain my weird name, so here goes. 

In daily life I go by Ien, not Ieneke. 

It is pronounced to rime with Green and spelled Eye Ee En. A clever friend once remarked that she remembered the spelling by saying to herself that Ien is not Einstein. I have used that line a lot. Thanks Carol! Of course it only works if people can spell Einstein. 

My birth certificate from long ago and far away announces the arrival of Ieneke.  The name is usually spelled Ineke. My mother insisted on the extra e, otherwise "it looks so bare".  The suffix -eke-, both e's unaccented, is a dimunitive. Names with that ending were popular back then. A cousin and my best friend were Anneke. 
Usually an 'eke' baby would have a more formal official name, like Anna for Anneke. Not me. No middle name either. The name has no meaning. It is dimunitive for Ina, which itself is just the ending of other names.

Three years later my brother Jaap received both his paternal grandfather's names. Jacobus Johan. When the twins arrived five years after him, unexpected by not less loved for that, the parents took the opportunity to honour all remaining grandparents and themselves. The youngest brother and sister each got three names. 

I suspect a touch of the Aspie spectrum in my makeup.  Aspies do much better as grownups than as children.  At school, where I was an awkward, unpopular child I was Ieneke. At home, where I was safe and loved and at ease I was Ien. Eventually I ditched the 'eke' part. I do NOT like to be called by it. So why is it back on Facebook and other internet places? 

Blame English and the quirk of fonts. A capital i often looks like L. I got tired of being mistaken for a man named Len or a weird spelling of Ian. Somehow no one ever thinks Ieneke is a guy. Not that I have anything against men, but I am not one.
Having your name misspelled or mispronounced is a hazard of of being an immigrant. No problem, it is a price I am happy to pay. 

But, you asked me to explain my weird name, so now I did.


  1. I am not an immigrant and I always get my name spelled wrong. Even in the age where Jacqueline was the first lady of the USA. So I dropped it to the nickname form in part because my family called me Jack. Jackie was as misspelled as Jacqueline so I went by my mother's preferred spelling of the shorter name, Jacqui. It at least did not get me called Jackie Gleason. What amazes me now is on FB with the correct spelling right there it still gets misspelled. I think some people are idiots as in believing the earth is flat and 5500 years old.

    But I really appreciated your blog about your name, Ien. When we meet for lunch in the future I can pronounce it correctly.

    1. LOL! I look forward to that. Come over here and you can meet Wendy too.

  2. Thanks for the enlightenment... I'd always wondered, because you were the first of that name I'd ever encountered. But just to be very clear, when pronounced correctly, does the short version sound like "Een" or "Yeen"? I've been thinking of it more or less as how one would pronounce "Ian"... starting out like Yannick (in its French pronunciation... I have a teacher friend who has a son with that name)... though I now know that's not right...

  3. Ha ha, I like that: Eventually I ditched the 'eke' part.
    Thanks for explaining, Ien (if I may say so).

    1. You're welcome. I have a ton of blogs brewing but it is TOO HOT.

  4. And here I always thought your name was an abbreviation of ancient Welch/Celtic name usually very long and unpronounceable to those speaking English....:)


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