On names, changing them, and pronunciation

Gili Bar-Hillel abhillel at hotmail.com
Sat Mar 8 15:02:02 EST 2003

Joining the conversation a bit late.

My name, obviously, gets mispronounced in English in the most interesting 
ways. It is GEE-lee, with a hard G. It means "my Joy". This was the name my 
mother picked out for me, but my grandmother dissapproved, claiming it was a 
sweet name for a little girl but not respectable enough for a grown woman. 
So my mother caved in, and on my birth certificate I was "Avigail Gili". 
("Avigail" is of course the Hebrew version of Abigail). The problem was that 
no one ever called me Avigail, except people who knew my name only from 
official documents, and I therefore developed an aversion to the name. My 
grandmother herself, despite having insisted that I be called Avigail, only 
ever called me Gili. In fact she mentioned me in her will as Gili, and when 
claiming my inheritance I had to go through quite a complicated process to 
prove that I was one and the same. I finally had it officially changed about 
three years ago, and I in my passport I am now "Gili Avigail, formerly 
Avigail Gili".

Gili Bar-Hillel
Tel-Aviv, tel.(03)5250014


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