"How do all you American cousins pronounce your name?"Here's what I got:
Jons query reminded me and I've come across people in my researching that are listed as "Chertain", etc. and can, from other information, confirm that this is bad spelling by the local priest and all. But even my mum ( an Anglophone ) can remember local anglos pronouncing the name as "Yartin".
I don't know how to write the phonetic pronounciation of our name, but I'll give it a try. Can you do the same?
I would imagine the closest sound in French (although I have heard different French pronounciations) would be:
- Is it "Grrrrrrrrr" (like a dog) and "tin" (like the metal)?
- or is it "Grrrrr" (like a dog) and "tay"?
- or "Gwer" (like "were") or "Gweer" (like "queer")?"Guerre" (like the French word for "war") and the English word "taint" without the final "t". (There's a nasal sound in French at the end that makes it like "tay", and definitely not like "rain")It also depends on whether I'm giving my name to an Anglophone or a Francophone. I don't imagine there's many Baxters with that problem!
What I find interesting is that the Guertins seemed to have missed out on the usual variants due to dit names. Although Louis Guertin from France was dit Le Sabotier (sabot or shoe maker) the name did not seem to be carried on past him. I also have not noticed any other dit names other than the spelling variations until the Guertins crossed the border and in Jon's case became Yettaws.
I have heard it pronounced Gairtan (like guerre + tan), but that's usually only when we're goofing around with the French sounds. Though I've contacted some Guertins online, I've never met another who wasn't a family member, so I don't know how others pronounce it.
I suggest you think of "tin" as in the name "Martin" which is commonly used both in English and in French. Now you only need to replace the "Mar" prefix with "Guer". Only a few words in English start with "Guer"; there is for example the word "Guernsey". If you wish to give the name a more French pronunciation you think of the prefix "Guer" as in the word "guerrilla".
Born and raised in Quebec, having lived in Boston for a few years and now living in Ontario, I have found that using the above examples could make the name better understood both in the USA and in Canada.
I've seen it as Hiertin and Hiartin in the church repertories particularly around 1800, which I took as a pronunciation clue rather than a misspelling. Put together with what we know from Jon and it seems to indicate the name was pronounced with an aspirate "h" or a "y" as in yes sound.
If one syllable receives more emphasis than the other, it is the latter. Much of the time, emphasis is about equal.
Here in Minnesota, where there is a fair-sized pocket of Guertins, the pronunciation of choice seems to be GERtin. HEAVY emphasis on GER - the "tin" a mere throw-away. My sister and I had lunch last week with an infrequently-seen cousin, originally from Kankakee but who has been living here for twenty years, and he almost wept when he heard us say Guer-teen - he was so fed up with being called GERtin.
When I was growing up, I remember being told that the correct French pronunciation would be something like GARE-TAA (as in AACK! ). On Chicago schoolyards, however, where every other little girl's middle name was Sue or Lee or Jane, I had enough explaining to do with GUER-TEEN.