How to say my name
Matte (pronounced Mah-Tee) is a Hebrew name (מתי) that is often transliterated into English as Motti. My father thought that the letters 'o' and 'i' were feminine, so he replaced them with the testosterone-rich 'a' and 'e.' Consequently the way my name is spelled has little to do with how it is pronounced. Thanks Dad.
A variation that I like is Mah-di. This is mostly because it reminds me of that song by the great Slick Rick. "Mahdi, mahdi he likes to pahdi, he don't cause trouble. He don't botha nobody" or something like that.
How not to say my name
- I am fully aware that the word 'matte' is also an English noun meaning a decorative border or painted background. It's also an adjective meaning dull. In this usage, 'matte' is pronounced like the English name 'Matt.' This is an understandable pronunciation, if you're reading my name, have never heard anyone speak it, are a native English speaker and wish to insult me by calling me a border, background or dull.
- I give these people credit — at least they're trying.
- This is the one that boggles the mind. These people think that I misspelled my own name. Or perhaps they believe that the 'h' and 'w' are silent when written.
- A little known mispronunciation made famous by the mother of my college roommate's girlfriend (now wife) who thought that I was her personal computer help desk. She'd call up and my roommate (her now son-in-law) would answer the phone. "Is Mahn-Ne there?" "Um … yeah." He'd cover the receiver, hand the phone to me and mouth "I think it's [name redacted]." She'd never even say hello to her future son-in-law. I'd pick up and hear "Mahn-Ne, my computer's broken." Now I am no computer whiz. But back then simply owning a computer made you an automatic guru. No matter how much I probed for useful information, she only ever got as specific as … let me take a moment to make sure I use the correct technical jargon … "something's wrong." My solution was always the same: reboot and call someone else next time.
- No one calls me this yet. It is just on the list as a preventative measure. A guy with a name like mine can never be too careful.
- Often said like a greeting in a frat house.
- Mah [pause two beats] tay
- I hear the culprits are working on a way to introduce mid-syllable pauses. Can't wait to hear what they come up with next. "Ma [pause] ht [pause for 4 Mississippi's] t [pause] t [start a little beat boxing and the rolling the rest Bobby McFerrin style] e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e" Add some clicks in there and I could be in "The Gods Must be Crazy".
- Marty or Monty
- Understandable. I mumble sometimes when introducing myself. Also, I used to explain my name to people as "like Marty without the r" until my freshman philosophy professor explained to me that there was nothing like Marty without the r. Philosophers enjoy speaking in pretentious abstractions. I should have been a philosopher.
- Dude or Chief or Buddy or Sport or Champ or Guy or Man or My Man or You
- As in "Hey John. Hey Scott. Hey Dude."
- A surprisingly common mispronunciation centered in the reluctance for people to make a reasonable attempt at my name. Generally a solid 'M' is heard followed by a string of unrelated consonant sounds. This mispronunciation is dedicated to my former boss who used to introduce his team as "This is John, Scott and [a sudden coughing and sneezing fit would overtake him forcing him to cover his mouth] Mmpxl8rte." I guess he was allergic to my name.