This answer got me thinking. If Spock has an unpronounceable name, is this unique to him? We've seen many Vulcans over the years in Star Trek, and I don't recall any of them making mention of them having an unpronounceable (to humans) name. This seems especially odd since it means that Spock's own mother wouldn't be capable of saying his full name.

Do all (or most) Vulcans have names that humans can't pronounce?

  • I've always assumed that the name thing was cultural. Even IRL on Earth, the practice of having a "public" name and a "private" name is not unknown. I thought saying "you couldn't pronounce it" was just a polite way to discourage questions.
    – Joe L.
    Mar 1, 2015 at 15:52

2 Answers 2


In the article about Spock referenced in the previous answer, we have this passage:

As is the case with most Vulcans, only his last name was used due to the difficulty non-Vulcans would have in pronouncing his full name

Spock therefore appears to be hardly an unique case: However, since other vulcans are less present in-story (and vulcans, in general, do not brag a lot about themselve), only their last names are known.

  • Sarek's full name is apparently the same as Spock's - S'chn T'gai Sarek - so it is more likely a family name, and only their first (given) names are used.
    – KutuluMike
    Sep 8, 2012 at 18:58
  • 2
    That source is Memory Beta, which includes non-canon licensed works. However, it turns out this was touched on in canon, as the citations on that Memory Beta article indicate.
    – user1027
    Sep 8, 2012 at 19:13
  • @MichaelEdenfield See my link in the above comment, it is the family name that's usually unpronounceable.
    – user1027
    Sep 8, 2012 at 19:13

A rather small addition, courtesy of the episode "Journey to Babel" (TOS: S02E15):

Amanda (Spock's mother), although Human, has a Vulcan name. She claimed she's barely able to pronounce it, and even that is only after years of practice. The full quote:

AMANDA: Amanda. I'm afraid you couldn't pronounce the Vulcan name.

KIRK: Can you?

AMANDA: After a fashion, and after many years of practice.

I think this will give you some insights regarding Amanda's capability of pronouncing her son's Vulcan name. (Though I doubt that she prefers it over "Spock".)

P.S. I've only capitalized the word "Human" following the tradition of the Memory Alpha Wiki. If anyone has a source supporting/discussing said custom, I'd love to see it in the comments section.

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