Names are difficult to lipread.
There’s no way to figure out a person’s name based upon the context of a conversation or background information.
It doesn’t help that I can’t overhear a person calling out another person’s name to get their attention. The only chance I have to catch a person’s name when meeting him/her is during introductions. Well, it could be any one of a billion names out there. It’s impossible!
It wasn’t uncommon for me to sit next to a person in class and become friends with him/her…..yet go weeks without knowing his/her name. Talk about embarrassment when I would be asked by a teacher to return homework to students that I had spent months with but didn’t know their names. I knew who they were, I just didn’t know their names.
The same goes for meeting culturally deaf people. Sometimes names don’t get finger spelled out (or mouthed) and only name signs are given. Well, just because a person has a certain name doesn’t mean that he/she will have a specific name sign. I have became friends with deaf people who after months didn’t know my actual name, they only knew my sign name.
I did come up with tricks to learn classmates names because….well…knowing people’s names comes in handy! One excellent example was in graduate school where I was so overwhelmed with trying to figure out everyone’s names. We were asked to give our student IDs with our pictures and names on them to the office so they could photocopy all of them for instructors. I happened to see an instructor use his copy during a class discussion so I asked for a copy of it. A couple of days later, I had all their names down pat!
I dread lipreading people’s names. Sometimes my guess is unbelievably off that I can’t help but laugh.
Other times, I come fairly close. Donnie wanted to introduce his friend, Kale, to some of us the other day. I thought his name was Kyle. I later asked others if they had caught his name and they all said they hadn’t (nice job on the social bluffing, even you had me fooled lol). That’s basically as close as I get to guessing a person’s name correctly.
To this day, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a person’s name exactly right on the first try solely from lipreading.
Maybe I should just call everyone “Bob” or “Bobbie?” 🙂