|My Grandfather, Rosendo Benet, and 'Elizabeth Bennett'|
The chair of a panel once introduced me as Emily Benetton. I didn't want to come across as difficult so I let it pass. Benetton isn't too far off my real name anyway; just a case of you say po-tay-to, I say po-tah-to. Being referred to as Joan however, by a fellow panelist, was more like you say po-tay-to, I say detached bungalow in Aberystwyth. But I didn't correct them either.
The experience got me thinking about whether I should start setting the record straight about how my name is actually pronounced. Most people assume it is like Bennett, as in Elizabeth Bennett of Pride and Prejudice, which sounds like BEN-IT. Other people think it's French and opt for calling me BEN-EY. The thing is, it is neither Bennett or Beney. Neither English nor French. My surname is Catalan, passed on to me by the great Antonio Benet Pujol aka my Dad, passed on to him by the great Rosendo Benet Boixedras (pictured above).
How do you pronounce it? Well, imagine you're half way saying But... then decide to say Net. Now put the emphasis on Net. Buh-NET. Oh dear, I don't think that's very clear. I'll have to make a recording and then you'll think I'm really self-obsessed.
You see, that's why I never bother correcting people when they pronounce my name wrong. Does it matter? Well, it is my name and I have had it for 30 years. I just think if I don't started correcting people now, it'll be too late. But you know, if it's too much trouble, I suppose Joan Benetton will do.
NB. My Mum has just informed me she used to explain it like this: 'it's like cigar, cigarette... bun, bunette!'