I personally pronounce my name /ɡɹɛtʃn̩ məkʌlɪk/, but I also have relatives who use the /məkʌlə/ pronunciation so I’m fine with that one too. And of course /ən/ is basically the same as a syllabic nasal. You can hear me say my own name in the first 30 seconds of any episode of Lingthusiasm.

Technically, the German pronunciation of my first name is /ɡʁeːtçən/ and the Scottish pronunciation of my last name ends with a voiceless velar fricative, but if your native language doesn’t have these sounds or those in the anglicization that I use, please feel free to adapt the phonology as needed! I find it very interesting what different phonologies do with my rather phonotactically challenging name and I do it myself in other languages — for example, I shift the stress to the final syllable when I’m introducing myself in French. (If you’re actually German or Scottish, go ahead and pronounce my name “properly”, but otherwise please just use my pronunciation or its best adaptation to your native language!)


Unlike in Shakespeare’s day, it is no longer conventional for people to have multiple spellings of their names. Thus, the following are presently considered misspellings of my surname: McCullough, McCullouch, McCullogh, McColloch, McCulluch, McColluch, McCullock, McCulla, MacCulla, MacCulloch, McCullagh, MacCullough, McCully, McCollough, McCoulough, mccollough, mcollugh, maccollough, mckennick, mccolloch, mc cullogh, mc culloigh, mculoch, mcculooch, mclathen, mccouloch, mcholloh, mcculough, mccloch, mccullock, mclaughlin, etc. Many of these are legit spellings from an age of less spelling standardization, and other people do use them, but it is currently conventional for people to only have one spelling of their name, and none of those is the ones that my ancestors ended up on, so welcome if you’ve arrived at this page from the best guess of a search engine!

On the other side of the technological divide, unfortunately, the spelling that autocorrect suggests is probably not the same as mine! I have been correcting people on the spelling of my surname for an age, and I have finally arrived at an acrostic to help you remember how to spell McCulloch: My Cognomen Contains Un-diphthonged, Legless Letters Only (Cheerful Hint!). Thanks to Linguist Twitter for helping me come up with this.

Fortunately, there is only one usual spelling of Gretchen and most spellchecks seem to have it, although for the benefit of Google, I do very rarely get Gretchan, Gretchin, Gretel, Greta, Gretchel, Grachel, etc.

So if you’re mentioning me somewhere, please do double-check the spelling of my name? One mnemonic that might help is that I have no descenders anywhere, i.e. there is no “g” in my last name, which is the most common error (thanks to a certain Australian author). It’ll be nicer for all of us if I don’t have to correct you. Thanks!

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