How to Pronounce "LaSpina"

I have been on the road the past couple days for a photo gig, so I haven't had much time to write up new haiku translations lately. Sorry. I hope to return to that soon. In the meantime, I pecked the following piece out while on the bus. A few days ago a random user on Discord asked me how to say my name, and that planted the idea in my head.

For all of my childhood, no one could say my name correctly. I always dreaded first days of the new year at school (or substitute teachers) because my name would invariably be said wrong and I would have to correct them. It was frustrating.

The problem is in most Latin languages i is pronounced with an EE sound (as in fleece), which is a bit different from the sound we give the letter in English (which is as in kit). Using typical English pronunciation rules, nearly everyone attempted my name as Lah Spin-ah. Some misguided souls would even give an ae (as in ash) sound to the first a, reading it as Lae Spin-ah.

*sigh* as usual (raises hand) "Actually it is pronounced..."

Up until now on the web I have ignored the issue, letting all you guys pronounce it in your heads as you will, but I thought it might be finally time to correct that.

LaSpina is Italian. My dad was born in Sicily, as was his dad, and later immigrated to New York before ending up in Indiana where I was born. The correct way to say it sounds something like Lah Spee-nah. My grandfather said it with an Italian accent. My father and his siblings with Brooklyn accents. And me with a Hoosier (Indiana) accent. Whatever your accent may be, just try to get that second syllable correct.

And now you know.


†: People in America still can't, but nowadays I no longer care. Interestingly, most people in Japan can and do say my name correctly, where I write it as ラスピナ rasupina; in practice the u in su is whispered so, with the exception of the r in front (in Japanese r and l is the same), it comes out pretty close to the real pronunciation.

‡: And knowing is half the battle.

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I post one photo everyday, as well as a haiku and as time allows, videos, more Japanese history, and so on. Let me know if there is anything about Japan you would like to know more about or would like to see.

Who is David?
Hi thereDavid LaSpina is an American photographer lost in Japan, trying to capture the beauty of this country one photo at a time.
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