Top 5 Worst Ways to Spell My Name By Rafael Bonilha Van’t Hof

My name is Rafael Bonilha Van’t Hof and, believe it or not, a lot of people have a hard time spelling my name. It’s been misspelled so many times that I have filled a cork board with misspellings. Some of them are little things like adding or changing a letter, but others are true works of art that belong next to the Mona Lisa. I choose the misspellings that evoked a lot of feeling. These are my top 5 worst/funniest misspellings of my name.

5. “Raphael Bonilha Van’t Off”

This misspelling comes courtesy of the 7th grade jazz band program. This one isn’t that funny given some of the later misspelling but it just looks personal. I understand that it is probably just an auto correct mistake but it still hurts me a little every time I look at it. My first name is also misspelled in this one but it isn’t that interesting since that is how other Raphael have their name spelled.

4. “R. Vonilha von hf”

This is where things start getting silly. This misspelling comes from a hall pass I got from a substitute teacher. For some unforeseen reason she mistook B for V and that is about all I can explain for this misspelling, nothing else makes sense. Hf is unpronounceable; it can’t be said without adding a vowel in between. That shouldn’t even be possible because she was writing this down from the letters I was telling her.

3. “Bonilha Von???t Hof”

This beautiful work of pure confusion was given to me by my Latin teacher. I had been put up for an award and she had accidentally sent them a much less interesting misspelling which they printed on a certificate. This resulted in a silly situation where my teacher and the OJCL couldn’t properly communicate my name. This is a work of art, and the question marks in between my name belong in a museum. The best part is that they couldn’t just use one question mark, they needed two more to express just how confused they were. Other than that this isn’t really that interesting. Sure they misspelled the “Van’t”, but everything else is correct. Great art, but just an okay misspelling.

2. “Bon Vanderhof”

This is one of the most legendary misspellings in my family and one of the two reasons that I started collecting misspellings of my last name. This abomination first appeared in this mortal realm at a Wyndham hotel that my brother was staying at for a regatta. My brother and his roommates were given a card that somehow had each one of there names misspelled on, through sheer lack of effort one employ managed misspell four different names in such a style that I simply can’t find the words to properly describe the damage this has done to my ancestors. I think it’s pretty funny but I can definitely see people rolling over in their graves because of this. The only thing holding this misspelling from the top spot is that it was probably done by some minimum wage employee who doesn’t get paid enough to care, which is what makes number 1 so incredible.

1. “Bonsil Vinthof”

This is truly the most stupid, absurd, and plain wrong way that I have every seen my last name. For most of the other names it is kind of possible to trace back how the misspellings happened, but this has no trail. Some how one day on god’s green earth somebody saw my name and put this on a letter to my family, and this is where this misspelling’s X-factor comes in. This didn’t come from some random source, this came from a real college located in America. Marquette University really sent my family a letter that really had this misspelling on it, but it gets worse, they did just address it to me or my brother, they sent this to the “Bonsil Vinthof Family.” These people really disrespected my brother’s and my blood and had the audacity to bring my ancestors into this. Not only did a real university that really teaches people send this to my family, but they also showed no respect for my family, and for that this is the worst misspelling of my name to every have the been put on paper. Maybe there is a “Bosnil Vinthof family” out there, but if that family really does exist it just means that Marquette University disrespected two families at the same time. There is no excuse for me to have ever gotten this letter.

4 thoughts on “Top 5 Worst Ways to Spell My Name By Rafael Bonilha Van’t Hof

  1. Rafael,
    This was humorous, and I am really glad that I had the chance to hear about your Spanish Brazilian Portuguese Dutch heritage today. (And that I decided to write the phonetic spelling of your name: Buhnelya Van’t Hof, on the white board!)

  2. interesting psycho linguistic essay Rafael. I can imagine your surprise and annoyance. And humor is a good way to deal with that. And maybe you can also take the error festival about your family name as a nice gift. For example, I would have liked to have gone through life as “Bonsil Vinthof” or even as “Bosnil Vinthof”. There is something adventurous and also stylish in this name. A kind of “vintage quality” that encourages reuse. “Bonsil (or Bosnil) Vinthof” sounds wonderful! Possibly also a fantastic good alias to release music or other artwork as an artist.
    Incidentally, they often make a mess of this in the Netherlands – especially companies and institutions. “In het Hof” or “Hofvant” “Van het Hoff” or simply “Hof” or “Hoff” are the most common. But these are not nearly as imaginative as those corruptions of “Bonilha van ‘t Hof”.
    With family regards, your uncle with the boring name Michiel van ‘t Hof

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