New nickname?

You would think my name was easy for Germans: j is pronounced like the y in English, so for Germans my name is spelt just the way it is pronounced da-YUH-nah. When people hear my name they think it's spelt Diana (a familiar name here, pronounced dee-ahna) but pronounced like the English Diana. I've gotten used to it, but it does get annoying at times. Also my name is quite long, so I thought having a shorter nickname might be an option for me. How hard is it to establish a new nickname? It's easy if I meet someone new, but I don't really want to walk up to people (especially family and close friends) and insist they call by my nickname - especially since I have thousands of nicknames, but none that "sticks" and none that I really like. My mum calls me Mickey (dont ask me why, i dont know), Pointy (same) and Dajani (da-YUH-nee). She uses a different name every time. My family and "normal" friends call me simply by my rea. name - Dajana. My best friends have tons of nicknames for me including DJ, Day J., Daja, Daj and Datsch(i). DJ and Day J. are too "americanized" to have other people call me by any of these names, Daja and Daj are weird and strike me as incomplete, Datsch(i) was just a fun nn my best friend came up with, but the sound of it is awful. In the US I always went by "Dee". 

Do you have any other ideas for nicknames I could go by?

The only other nn I could come up with is. Jana, a pretty common name here, but it is a nono, because I associate it with a person I really don't want to share a name with. Any other ideas,

And is there any way I can establish a new nn without directly asking people to call me by that name?


September 18, 2015 1:47 PM

I think a new nickname is easier to establish when you are meeting new people... but you could start to sign emails (or SMSes) with your chosen nickname and perhaps enlist a close friend or two in your mission by asking them to try to make the chosen nickname stick by using it more consistently as they refer to you in your social circles.

I don't think Daja is weird at all, and it doesn't strike me as incomplete at all, either! I have known a American young woman name Daya, in fact... and others with only slightly different spellings. I didn't think anything of it!

I will leave nickname crafting to other people who are better at it, but I do think that the similarity to Diana is probably the major confusion, and any nickname you pick would probably be less confusing because it wouldn't have such close auditory overlap with a familiar name. That said, I think your name is lovely and it might be worth the occasional confusion!

September 18, 2015 2:38 PM

I agree with all of this. I have, in particular, found that having someone else use a different name for you consistently can have a powerful influence (in my case, I had to ask a professor to please use the preferred pronunciation of my name, because all my classmates were picking up on his mis-pronunciation).

One thought would be Dana--in the US it would be pronounced DAY-nuh, but maybe something closer to a contraction of your name would work in Germany?

By mk
September 18, 2015 3:19 PM

I agree. However, if you want close friends and family to switch to the new nickname, I suggest just telling them directly. I know I would probably not notice if someone signed their name differently in an email or if another friend called them by a different name, or if I did, would not assume that it meant that I should switch as well.

September 28, 2015 8:58 AM

What about Daji?  It sounds more nicknamey than Daya, but without the tsch of Datschi.