After the family immigrated from Sri Lanka to Canada, people started pronouncing their last name incorrectly and they stuck with it.
The 20s are a period in everyone's life when we discover new things about ourselves. However, we are pretty sure that we know our name, age, height, likes and dislikes by this time. A 30-year-old content creator also thought the same but a discovery changed everything for her. Naomi Melanie Leanage thought her name was pronounced a certain way and if it would have been incorrect, her parents would have corrected her. Naomi revealed in a post on TikTok that she has always pronounced her last name to rhyme with "fromage," or Nicki Minaj. She didn't realize she was mistaken until she discovered how the name is pronounced in Sri Lanka, where her parents are from. Naomi's last name is actually pronounced "leenagay" and does not rhyme with "fromage."
She explained it by following the TikTok trend of speaking in rhymes and making a video that went completely viral with almost 2 million views now. She captioned the video, "One thing about me… and my siblings, we were all bamboozled!!" Naomi and her siblings were obviously shocked when they discovered the correct pronunciation of their last name. She told Tyla, "I found out a couple of years ago from my dad, Paul. We asked how our last name sounds French. He said 'oh, well, it is not actually pronounced like that.'" Naomi's family immigrated to Canada from Sri Lanka, where people started pronouncing their name incorrectly as French cheese. Naomi's father made the decision to modify the way the family pronounces their last name rather than spending his life continually correcting people.
She said, "My siblings and I were very shocked, I felt like I was bamboozled my whole life. My mum, Nayana, 62, knew but she didn't think to mention it."
However, despite learning the correct pronunciation Naomi and her siblings have decided to stick with the current pronunciation. Several people reached out to her after she posted the video to relate to similar experiences. She explained, "A lot of people have said to me that when they came to live in western countries, their names would be changed or spelled differently. I feel like over two decades of saying it, I don't think I can switch it up that easily - I will continue to say it how I have been doing."
She said that changing her name after pronouncing it the other way for two decades will be tough so she decided to stick with the same.
Several TikTok users were impressed with the rhythm and beat used by Naomi in her video. One person commented, "This is the first one where I’ve seen consistent rhyming!!! Impressed." Another said, "Was waiting for someone to do this with rhyming! You nailed it! Also, your last name always confused me haha."
Some even relayed their own experience with the struggle with uncommon names in western countries. A user said, "same with us!! we use an Americanized version of pronunciation to avoid complications." Another added, "This happened to my great-great grandparents as well when they came to Canada. Many don’t know the true spelling or pronunciation of their last name."