Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are officially the president and vice president of the United States. The swearing-in went mostly smoothly, despite fears of protests breaking out (via Vox). There was one unfortunate hitch, though. When Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor swore in Harris, she mispronounced her name.
Breitbart tweeted footage of the historic moment, in which Sotomayor pronounced the VP’s name as “ka-mah-la,” emphasizing the second syllable of her name. Harris simply smiled and continued with the ceremony, although people on social media were quick to point out the mistake.
“Is it being picky to have expected Sonia Sotomayor to pronounce Kamala Harris’ first name the same way she says it?” tweeted one person. Another wrote, “I have never related to Kamala more than in this moment, when she is having the most important meeting of her life, and her colleague pronounced her name wrong.”
Kamala Harris' name is frequently mispronounced
Like Harris herself, many social media users refused to let the hiccup put a damper on the day. “Not even a mispronunciation can stop me from sobbing,” tweeted one such person. “To all those who refused to say Kamala Harris’ name correctly, it’s cool,” tweeted another. “Madam Vice President will do after today.”
The vice president’s first name has been mispronounced so often that it made the U.S. Captioning Company’s list of most mispronounced names last year (via AP). Harris is so used to dealing with the mispronunciation that she even wrote about how to pronounce her name and what it means in the preface of her memoir The Truths We Hold: An American Journey.
“First, my name is pronounced ‘comma-la,’ like the punctuation mark,” she wrote. “It means ‘lotus flower,’ which is a symbol of significance in Indian culture. A lotus grows underwater, its flower rising above the surface while its roots are planted firmly in the river bottom.”
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