My Name is Keihanaikukauakahihulihe’ekahaunaele

Diacritical.001Not long ago, Jeff explained the tradition of American women changing their names after marriage (see English Cafe 427). Although fewer women are following this tradition now than, say (for example), 50 years ago, it is still very common.

When Janice Worth of Hawaii married, she changed her last name to her husband’s: Keihanaikukauakahihulihe’ekahaunaele. (This is actually her husband’s only name, a name given to him by his family at birth (when he was born).) This is a Hawaiian name, and when Janice adopted it (decided to use it), she had a problem. Her first and last names did not fit on official documents, including the Hawaii driver’s license, which only allowed 36 characters (individual letters). For this reason, only her new last name appeared on the license with no first name, and when she used her license as ID (identification) or was stopped by traffic cops (police watching for people breaking driving laws), those officials gave her problems about her unusual license.

She decided not to take this lying down (do nothing). She complained to the governor (the highest-level elected official in a state). In a state that has a large native Hawaiian population and prides itself on (say they do very well at) preserving (keeping something valuable the same) and respecting the Hawaiian culture, the governor promised that changes would be made to the computer systems by the end of 2013 to accommodate (allow for) a longer name like hers.  Janice now has a driver’s license that shows her first and last names.

I’ve always been grateful to have a short name, just seven letters in all (total). Filling out (completing) forms is easier. (Unlike most Americans, my parents never gave us — my siblings (brothers and sisters) and me — middle names, for which I am also very grateful. There’s a tradition of children making fun of each other’s middle names in school, and I never had to go through that. Having an unusual last name was hard enough!)

Are there unusual or unique names where you live that present problems for people who have them, whether it’s related to spelling, unique characters/diacritic marks (markings over, under, around letters), length, or something else?

– Lucy

Graphic Credit:  Jeff McQuillan


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19 Responses to My Name is Keihanaikukauakahihulihe’ekahaunaele

  1. Dan says:

    Hi Lucy.

    I prefer short names, like yours, which by the way, sounds well.

    I do not understand the use of that long name. Can you imagine! every time explaining to anyone what it means, how it is pronounced and so forth.

    In my view it only is a pain in the neck.

    Something we are used to at the workplace, is giving nicknames to anyone based on his (we are almost all men) behavior, physical peculiarities, strange habits and so on.

    That is much funnier and easy to remember than the real names of people.


  2. Dan says:

    I ‘ll give you an example.

    There is this guy that instead of staying at his place, he’s often around and usually seen at the vending machines.

    We call him “criceto” “Hamster” because he alone gets the vending machines emptied.

    Unfortunately, there are many nicknames that it is impossible for me to translate in English.

    Or others, that I cannot write here because too mean or insulting.


  3. soraia , from Brazil says:

    Hi Lucy

    Is very dificult to have name unusual, I have many friends that suffered
    at the scholl because them names

    for example my friend called Roberto da Boa Morte translation to you is
    Robert of the Good Death strange no.
    Where I work 2 people have names different
    1 called Argentino …yes his name is it from of Argetina and another friend
    called Jamaica.

    Last Sunday at my home has a Lunch with my family and friend and
    talking about different things and discovered that my friend who I always
    called his for nick name Leo his truth name was Celestial.

    Best Regardes

  4. emiliano says:

    My name is Emiliano, it is too long for my taste but I can´t do anything as it was choosen
    by my parents.
    It is also my father´s name and it has been always a problem at home because you didn´t
    know who was called or phoned.
    Usually when there is the same name for the father and the son, or the mother and the
    daughter, the children gets another nick name that can be a diminutive or a tiny name
    for the girl or the boy that doesn´t please any of them.
    To me was emilianito, even worst, even long, and of course I didn´t like it at all.
    You know that here in Spain children have the father´s second name and mother´s second
    name too. My full name is emiliano arribas perdiz, too long endeed, not as yours Lucy Tse
    so short and nice.
    Seven letters yours, tweenty one mine……..incredible, I prefer yours evidently, you save
    a lot of time writing your name what is really good Lucy.
    Congratulations, thank you very muy dear teacher.


  5. elcomandant says:

    What a long and difficult to pronounce the name is.

    Like you, Lucy, I prefer to have a simple and short name. It’s true that a simple name is easier for filling out any document. If I have to compare me with you, I win. Mi name has only four letters in all. It is Jose.

    Like in many countries, if not in all of them, a lot of names have a short way to pronounce them that make it a little more familiar. In the same way English-speakers say Bob to call Robert (Sponge or Dylan) you can use Pepe to call me as a more familiar way. However, when I was a kid, my parents called me with a diminutive name of Pepe. They decided to call me “Pepín” (similar to little Joe). That was because I was a cute and a sweet baby 🙂 . So, my oldest brother and all my uncles and the rest of my family started to call me in the same way.

    If you aren’t Spanish-speaker you must know that Pepín is not a beautiful name. It sounds like a little ridiculous 🙁 . Nowadays, I am sixty years old, and everyone who knows me calls me “Pepín”. The worst thing is that if I am walking on the street and anybody say in a loud voice “Jose” or “Pepe” I don’t pay attention. I think that they aren’t calling me. My name is Pepín. 😀

  6. emiliano says:

    Dear Lucy, let me post a bit more about the story of these couple of
    the last sixties, thank you.



    Maria José doesn´t think the same as the boy, she was just living the moment, without expecting anything about future or considering nothing about the new chance. No, her mind is far away all this subjects.

    After breaking with Jose Luis, a relation that has been prolonging for more than a year, she doesn´t like to think about a new love affair. No, this is not her way now. She feels herself free to be inside a new compromise.
    This boy Emiliano is really nice, she likes him but she knows nothing about the boy. He has appeared so unexpected in the empty site that she has not time to think what has happened or just consider anything more.

    She likes the talk, she feels wellbeing at his side, he is calm, reflexive, and serious, and he has a good culture conversation about different subjects.
    Time pass without sense at his side, so why not going with him tomorrow. Sure it will be a nice evening going for a walk under the Christmas lights.
    In fact has this boy Emiliano something to do with her decision of breaking with Jose Luis? Somehow was Emiliano responsible, when they were talking so peacefully, of her thoughts or her real feelings about her boyfriend? Well, who knows? May be so, she thinks that she was really good at Emiliano´s side, walking the two by the street or even the last day they were talking alone in the class room and she, so shy, told him everything about her pass life, her accident, her pain being at home nearly a year and so forth.

    Yes, she could remember now that her feelings were to remain more time talking with him and even she felt pain, or disappointed when just their talk was finished and he had to go home. Even more, she thought he was dating a girl because went out so fast from the class room with a bye, see you tomorrow and he did not accompanied her to the subway to continue their conversation.

    Well that wasn´t her way of acting at the moment at it seems it wasn´t the way of Emiliano.
    But now, what happens with this boy, is he dating a girl or not? It seems that not, but is he interested in me? Or he wants to be kind with a girl he has talked before when he has known the break with her boyfriend.

    I don´t care, says Maria Jose to her, I don’t care, I hope nothing, only to have a nice talk, a nice time being together free at last without any remorse as everything about my previous relations is over.

    She is not going to expect nothing and she is not going to say anything to anybody, in her family or at work, her walks or talks with Emiliano would be for her own only, that´s clear to Maria Jose when she goes to the bed.


    Twenty first of December 1968 could be a day like another day for millions but it is not so for Cuca and Emiliano, because this singular day it is going to be the first of new relationship that is going to long for decades.
    It is supposed that in the morning Cuca is doing her work as she done it usually. She works in the head office of Banco Hispano Americano of Madrid. The Bank has many different offices inside the head office building but Cuca works in “Informs”, an office where commercial customer´s informs are made to be references of the companies or people who ask for credits, money, avails, and all kind of commercial subjects to the Bank.

    For years she has been working in this little site of the head office situated in Plaza de Canalejas, 1 of Madrid. She works from nine a.m. till five p.m. except in summer than her work´s hour will be since nine a.m. till three p.m., but in December she has to work till five in the evening.

    Emiliano is free of going to the secret service office as his army service is over. He has some days of holidays waiting for the second of January of the next year that he has to return to the same Bank than Cuca but also the same site of Plaza de Canalejas , 1 of Madrid.
    Being a large building with thousands of employers it would be nearly impossible to meet each other inside it. Now things are going to be different as in future they will meet near de Head Bank´s door to say “good morning” one to the other.
    This will be in a month, not now that they have not enough confidence and Emiliano is not working yet.

    At the evening the two young persons are going to meet close near to Maria Jose house. It is seven p.m. and Emiliano is awaiting for the girl in the corner of Alcala street with Hermosilla street, he look once again his watch because he is waiting since ten minutes before the hour of their meeting. Should be she late? Thinks the boy watching again his watch.

    No, she is not late, five minutes after seven she appears at the middle of the street coming out from her house. Emiliano could see her and his heart is beating inside his chest. How nice gracile figure she has, the boy thinks, but being slender with a long hair that falls over her back her beauty face with clear eyes it is what Emiliano loves to see now. Her face and her lovely smile takes the will of this young man for ever and ever. He doesn´t know anything about what is happening in future but this girl, her smile, her clear eyes, and her soul, it is going to held him here in Madrid for the rest of his life.

    He, Cuca, how are you?
    Very well, Emiliano, thank you
    Did you find the corner soon, Emiliano?
    Have you wait for me very long?
    No, don´t mind, it is a nice place to wait for you and I have been here only for ten minutes as I was before the hour. It has been easy to find the place following your instructions of the shop that is just in the corner. Niza, you said me, a shop of dresses for babies, it is nice to look through the glass of shop the little children´s dresses and the baby’s things to play and eat, it is a very nice sight.

    So, now Cuca, where do you like to go?

    If you don´t mind Emiliano, I would like to go to the mail office as I want to send some Christmas Cards, do you?
    Very good Cuca, let us go then to the mail first as we have all the evening for us.

    To be continued…..

  7. emiliano says:

    Reading again the story I could see lot of mistakes that I have to correct, but is not so bad as it was
    at the begining.
    To me it is really a nice time remembering all this and it is very clear at my mind because Cuca and
    me have talked several time about this 21st of December 1968, last second of february we have
    forty six years of konwing each other, yes it is a full life being together, and this what is written above
    was our first date.

    Thank you Lucy by letting me post the story in your post, it has nothing to be with names, sorry dear.


  8. emiliano says:

    Happy St.Valenin´s Day to all of you that love somebody.
    Having that in mind, here it is another episode:


    What a nice evening has been the last for Emiliano, even for Cuca has been good, and accordingly to their real feelings they have dated again for the next day that is Sunday, today, and all day Emiliano is thinking where to go with the girl.
    He wants to please her and is thinking what to do or where to go with Maria José.

    What could be the best site to talk, thinks Emiliano this Sunday morning, we are in winter, it is cold, it is raining, so it must be a site indoors, near Maria Jose´s house, as far as a short walk, so look for a place or ask you sister that knows a lot about nice sites in Madrid.

    At last a place is in his mind, the California 47 Cafeteria that is situated in Goya Street, it is at ten minutes from Cuca´s house and sure it could be a nice beautiful place to talk.
    At seven o´clock Emiliano is waiting for Cuca at Niza´s corner like he was yesterday. Soon Cuca is out from her house and steps up Hermosilla Street where Emiliano is watching her as she comes to where he is.

    Nice beautiful smart girl he thinks, how much I like her face and her cheerful smile.
    Once again they are talking like old friends, easy, cheerfully, and with empathy between them. Empathy is the rule all the time Maria Jose and Emiliano are together talking, something special are between them as if there is a kind of mental connection that makes everything so easy all the time that Cuca and Emiliano are close near one from the other.

    It is like a world exclusively for them, nothing more counts when they are together, things, noises, people disappear and for Emiliano only Maria Jose exists, just the same as for the girl that feels Emiliano is close to her feelings. It is so easy to talk with this boy, thinks Cuca, what a big difference between him and the other boy I was months before.

    Easily talking they are going down Goya Street till the California 47 Cafeteria. Previously Emiliano has said Cuca if she likes to go in this nice place and she said, yes, that could be very nice for them.
    Sitting one in front the other with a little table between the two young are talking about their own life. Emiliano is so absorbed with Cuca´s talk than suddenly he has hit the glass with his drink and then the “gin tonic” is on his trousers and on the floor, so clumsy he said, sorry dear I was out of reality listening to you.
    Immediately a nice girl who is serving carrys another drink and dry the trousers of the boy with some napkin papers.

    After a while they are laughing remembering the incident and the wet trousers of Emiliano. It is cold he said, very cold indeed, he laughs as touching his upper legs.

    The two hours they were talking is one of the best time they could remember always.

    Their second date, so incredible nice and with a special air round them, has been perfect and the two future lovers go up Goya Street absolutely happy. Once they are again in Niza coner close to Maria Jose house they agree to see each other the following days.
    Emiliano asks the girl if she likes to go to see a movie that is now in Madrid, a famous story about a Russian Pope, and Cuca says yes, I would like to see it because I have read the book already, it is a novel of Morris West and I like the book very much.
    Who is Morris West Cuca?
    It is an Australian writer, I like him very much, I have read from him “The Devil’s Advocate”, it is really a good book.
    Thank you very much Cuca, I will try to read it.
    Very well Cuca, If you agree I will get the tickets to go on Christmas, just the 25th at seven o´clock, so we need to date sooner.

    O.K., Emiliano, nice, see you then on 25th to go to the theatre, that is right? Yes of course, I will phone you once I have get the tickets, o.k.?
    Good, very good says the girl, I will be looking forward Christmas, sure the movie has to be beautiful and we can enjoy it.
    I´ll be pleased seeing you Cuca, it is always a great pleasure to me having the opportunity of being together seeing a movie or going for a walk, see you soon dear.

    to be continued……


    Again a happy lover´s day. emiliano

  9. manoj pingle says:

    I am Manoj Pingle from India. I am regular listener of your podcasts. I like the soft and clear voice of Jeff McQuillan. Thanks both of you.

  10. Dan says:

    There is this other guy convinced of being handsome, he even participate to the castings of “the bachelor” which in Italy has a different name.

    Unfortunately for him, he is not handsome, and we mock him every single day calling him ugly and every synonym and variation of that name you can think of.

    Moreover he is a liar. When he first came, he bragged of having so many beautiful friends, and had all these photos of hot young girls in his phone.

    When we discovered he had downloaded the photos from the web, that was his death sentence. He is now the official target of everyone.

    I give my contribution as well. For those who argue that is unfair, rude, bully, uncivilized, I agree with you 100%, BUT funny!


  11. emiliano says:

    Sorry, I am not going to let you so, without another episode that is so fundamental to the story, no, as there is
    a week end you have time enough to read, so let us go:


    Incredible, how two persons that know nothing about each other could be so pleased being together, walking, talking or going to a cafeteria. It doesn´t matter what they do or where they go, it is only the fact of being close, one from the other, just looking at the eyes, smiling, listening the voice of that person, it is enough to be happy. Just this is what feels Emiliano being at side of Maria Jose, but now same feeling is going through the soul of the girl. Who is this boy to give me so peaceful feelings, why I am so sure being at his side, he has something that soft my soul and I can open my heart to him, telling lot of things I don´t tell anybody before. He seems to understand which ever subject I could tell him, that is new for me, I am so pleased with him that it is better to enjoy his presence day after day without thinking anything about future.

    This are the thoughts of Maria Jose once she is at home and goes to her bed that night of 23rd of December. The evening at the California 47 has been perfect to her, nothing to be with the feelings she felt before with Jose Luis, this is different, and now she is in peace with herself. Nothing to think about future, only live the moment is her purpose and be relaxed about this new situation with Emiliano.

    Next day I am going to see him will be Christmas, it is funny that after a year of talking so short with him now we have full afternoon to be close one from the other, talking and watching a nice film. He hasn´t take my hand yet, he is so serious and kind that is a pleasure to be at his side, I feel myself sure being close to Emiliano, why? I don´t know but it the reality of my feelings, I think this boy it is just different of the boys I have met before.

    Emiliano doesn´t think, he only feels, he feels what happiness is, he doesn´t feel alone now. At last he has found a girl that please him all the ways, the one that he feels could be for him absolutely, the one to respect, to love, to be his/her friend for long, it is so clear that this boy doesn´t need to think about it. His feelings are up his skin as soon as he is beside Cuca, even if he could imagine her so close as to touch her face, her lips, her eyes, her nice little ears, her small hands. Everything about Maria Jose likes to this boy, not now it has been always so but he has not allowed himself to dream with her.

    Now he is dreaming awake the full day.

    To be continued….

  12. Betty says:

    Hi Everyone, Happy Belated Valentine’s Day!

    I found some interesting jokes for Valentine’s Day in [link removed].

    Some people say:

    ABCDEFG=”A boy can do everything for girls”.

    HIJK=”He is just kidding”.

    We have Emiliano who can do everything for Cuca and his three daughters. And he isn’t just kidding.

    Thank you Emiliano. I am reading your story and really admire your energy in writing something so difficult.

    Please don’t work too hard. Promise me, enjoy some time off with Cuca this weekend.

    By the way, did you and Cuca exchange love letters?

    Sorry I am curious because so far I only know Cuca likes talking with you. Sorry also if you have already covered the part about love letters but I missed it.

    Look forwards to more readings from you and everyone in this blog.

    Best Regards

    Betty 🙂

  13. emiliano says:

    Wellcome Manoj Pingle from India it is a pleasure to have you here in
    the blog.
    I agree with you, Jeff and Lucy´s voice is unique and unmatched by
    other, I like both very muy too.

    Thanks Manoj Pingle, by the way is yours a common name in India?

    Greetings. emiliano

  14. Dan says:

    I would like to know how fights are fought between Cuca and Emi.

    I know it is not the right time to ask and bring up the subject under Valentine’s week end, but I was thinking of that.

    Is cursing involved? what about wrestling? who’s the first seeking peace? Who is the most proud of you?

    Am I too nosy?


  15. emiliano says:

    To every one of you that are reading this cuca/emiliano´s story thank you very much, it is funny that first story written by
    the frustrated writer emiliano is in English and about his own life.
    Dear Betty, don´t worry about my work, I have now plenty of time to do what I like to do and this is a nice, very nice endeed,
    way of being occupied and not thinking on sad subjects that now surrounds me.
    To be short my best friend Camila has a tumor, another good friend has also a tumor, Cuca is going worst and I have to help
    her everyday a little more, we can´t go out home since a long long time, so yes, I have several time to write, read, play, and be
    with the computer all day on.
    Now there is a nice woman, Isabel, that comes everyday home and do all house chores, in this way emiliano is doing nothing
    about meals, cleaning the house, or going to shops, only he is with Cuca and gives her all his cares and love.
    But we are o.k., don´t worry about the couple, he and she has plenty of free time but also lot of subjects to be entertained
    and what is also important they have enough money to survive, so things are going on day after day.

    In another post I going to reply Dan, it could be too long my friend, that´s good Dan a real interesting question.

    My best to all of you dears.



    Yes, dear Betty, we exchanged several love letters when we have been separated. The first occasion was in may 1969 when Cuca was
    on holidays with her mom for 15 days at the beach.
    It was a time when I have asked her alreday to be my wife and she said “Yes I do”.
    The second and last occasion was when emiliano was on holidays alone, in November 1969, that he went to Granada, and afterward
    crossed Gibraltar Strait and he went to Tetuan, and Tanger in Maroc, (Africa). He had a good time, alone, and exchanged one or
    two letters with Cuca every day.
    We have still the letters that are already of yellow colour having pass on them so many time, nearly 45 years, that is a full life.

  16. emiliano says:

    In fact there are not fights between Cuca and me, she never shouts or fights to/with anybody and even less to/with me or
    with our daughters.
    Some time the lack of shouts, fights or bad words make the Cuca´s treat difficult to me or to the girls, as she feels herself
    very sad, miserable, cry, and it is really absolutely difficult and very uneasy for me. Usually it is my fault and after seeing
    her so bad or miserable I feel myself even worst.
    We don´t have these scenes frequently, not at all, it is very odd. It could be months and months without a single little
    fight because afterward I felt mysefl really bad with Cuca depressed, sad or sorry, yes she has the great power over me
    always and I am the first to say I am very very sorry my love. Our little quarrels never have lasted a full day and at night
    never we carry our disagreement, that is the rule always and may be doing that we have been always in good armony.

    It is always my fault dear Dan, be sure about it.


  17. emiliano says:

    This is another song we like to hear and dance
    by the year 1969
    It is not very known but the lyrics are romantic
    an appropriate for that moments.
    Yes, they are.


    Every night I’m there
    I’m always there she knows I’m there
    And heaven knows I hope she goes
    I find it hard to realize that love was in her eyes
    It’s dying now, she knows I’m crying now
    And ev’ry night I’m there I break my heart to please
    Eloise, Eloise
    You know I’m on my knees – yeah
    I said please
    You’re all I want so hear my prayer

    My Eloise is like the stars that please the night
    The sun that makes the day, that lights the way
    And when that star goes by
    I’ll hold it in my hands and cry
    Her love is mine, my sun will shine
    And ev’ry night I’m there I break my heart to please
    Eloise, Eloise
    You know I’m on my knees – yeah
    I said please
    You’re all I want so hear my prayer

    My Eloise, I’d love to please her
    I’d love to care but she’s not there
    And when I find you, I’d be so kind
    You’d want to stay, I know you’d stay

    And as the days grow old, the nights crow cold
    I wanna hold her near to me, I know she’s dear to me
    And only time can tell and take away this lonely hell
    I’m on my knees to Eloise
    And ev’ry night I’m there I break my heart to please
    Eloise, Eloise
    You know I’m on my knees – yeah
    I said please
    You’re all I want so haer my prayer
    You know I’m on my knees
    I said please
    You’re all I want so hear my prayer


    Of course the song is in youtube.

  18. Meli says:

    Cuca is a good person. She always thinks of the rest of the people. Never she herself.
    A friend

  19. emiliano says:

    Well come here Meli, once again from year to year you appears in the ESL blog despite I know you read it
    frequently and you are aware of everything it happens in the site either.
    Thank you dear friend on behalf of Cuca and by my side too, you are one of our best friends since years
    you know it perfectly well.
    You know my dear Cuca since a long long time, may be forty years? and what is even better your have
    been always close to us every day and every moment, sharing hous and hours of good talk and making
    Cuca, and emi, absolutely happy with your fidelity, your love, and you huge friendship.
    I agree with you in all you have said about your friend Cuca, you know her perfectly well even I know
    you love Cuca absolutely, the same of love we feel for you dear Meli.

    Thank you so much, and please write here now and then, which eve time you feel in good disposition
    you know this is the best site to practice your English dear friend, you need it as now you could travel
    as you always have wanted to do.

    My best and till thursday that you´ll be at home once more.


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