A note to my French friends

Bonjour, my esteemed Francophone friends, et bienvenue à mon site Web! Please indulge me: I have one small comment I’d like to share with you this morning, and I hope it doesn’t cause you undue dismay.

My name is not, actually, “Adam Greenfiels,” “Adam GreenField,” or “Adam Greensfield.”

I have some sympathy, of course, for the subtle torques and distortions that inevitably enter the act of nomenclature when non-Roman names are transcribed into Roman scripts, and vice versa: “누리” is not precisely “Nurri,” and you just live with that. (You don’t have to be a hard Sapir-Whorfian to understand that those are two different people, and that someone moving between two cultures with any degree of regularity is forced to live in the space between.)

I’m not all that offended; the bizarre intercap rendering, especially, amuses me. But I do think it’s kind of an elementary – almost a universal – courtesy to refer to someone as they refer to themselves, and I wouldn’t have imagined that such otherwise-worldly interlocutors as yourselves would have this hard a time rendering a plain Anglo-Saxon name like mine in another language founded on the same scriptural assets.

I mean, I don’t refer to Serge Gainbourg, Nicolas SarKozy, Catherine De-Neuve, right? Michel Houellebecqs? Michel Foucaux? (I could do this all day.)

Greenfield. Greenfield. Greenfield. Learn it…know it…love it! Merci…et bonne journée.

12 responses to “A note to my French friends”

  1. AG says :

    PS: “Houellebecqs’n’Posh“! Imagine the possibilities!

    I crack myself up.

  2. Fabio says :

    Adamo Verdecampo!

  3. AG says :

    Heh…my dad always refers to himself as “Ricardo Campoverde.”

  4. Fabio Sergio says :

    Adamo CampoVerde it is then. ;)

  5. François Nonnenmacher says :

    Puts me back years ago when I did that mistake and you corrected me right away :D. I’m trying to understand why, as a French, I do indeed tend to slip an s somewhere in your name (it sounds better to my ears, most probably).

    I’m less sensitive to those “écorchures” considering my own name. Which by the way is so long it doesn’t even fit into the name field on your blog, so it’s not Nonnenmache but Nonnenmacher. Mon nom écorché, on a post on respecting names, oh the irony! ;-p

  6. AG says :


    Fixed it. Let no one say that either I or my agents in the world are disrespectful of names!

  7. vt says :

    btw: in Finnish = Aatami Viherkenttä. ;)

  8. remy says :

    gainsbourg is an interestinf case…
    there is a sort of darwininan evolution of the character: ginsburg, gainsbourg, gainsbarre

  9. gen says :

    Adamu Gureenfirudo

  10. AG says :

    That’s “Gureenufirudo-bucho” to you! ; . )

  11. designswarm says :

    You can’t even start to imagine what happens with my name, which is usually why i end up truncating it all the way down to Alex

  12. Schulze says :

    May all our fields be GREEEB

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