I cannot believe my ears! When I picked up Olivia at the kindergarten yesterday evening, her teacher told me that the teacher of their English class (30 minutes every Tuesday and Friday, fees inclusive - see Note 1) said, "The name 'Olivia' is hard to pronounce. Who named the child this?" Olivia's teacher answered, "The parents, so we can't change it." (see Note 2)
Hard to pronounce? How come? For me, I cannot think of an easier name to pronounce than Olivia - just read EVERY syllable visible! Not to mention that "Olivia" is such a popular name. My Olivia can say her English name when she was less than 2.5 years old, so I doubt that an adult cannot pronounce it correctly.
This really reminds me of my nephew's English name. Now I am getting more and more disappointed about the Taiwan-based English teachers in kindergarten (at least in Hualien). I certainly know that not being able to pronounce every English name doesn't disqualify an English teacher, but I suppose this is a common situation: when Taiwanese people (not all of them, of course) see an English name with more-than-two syllables, they tend to hypnotize themselves, "I cannot read it!" and blame whoever gave a child that name.
I guess it's pure luck (or not?) that I didn't name my daughter Abigail or Regina, or the English teacher would find it even harder to pronounce either name!
The kindergarten offers a not-on-schedule (standard?) English course, which does one-hour classes every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for 3 months. Olivia doesn't attend that course not because her mom thinks it's too expensive (NTD 5800 for 36 hours), but because I don't see the need. My primary goal for her to go to kindergarten is that she enjoys every hour there, not to show off "How are you?" or "I am fine". So the on-schedule twice-a-week 30-minute classes should do.
When I first wrote down "Olivia" for her teacher (not the English teacher), she mistook it for "Dlivia" and asked me how it is read. Gees... Is it my handwriting or what?!