My father seems to be going through a mid-life crisis. As a child I was taught to pronounce my last name Schoengarth as show-en-garth, while my grand parents always said shane-garth. Now I am in my 30s and my father got upset because I do not say shane-garth. His only reason for shane instead of shoe-en is that Wayne Newton sang a song, Danka Schoen (don-ka shane). What is the proper way to pronounce this in America?
Well, my German-speaking grandfather pronounced it "Danke schön," which means something like "Thank you kindly." "Schön" is spelled "schoen" when you can't use an umlaut, and literally means "lovely" or "pretty," according to my German-English dictionary. And it is pronounced "shane" or "shern."
My English dictionary, meanwhile, defines "garth" as "an open space or courtyard enclosed by a cloister," from the Old Norse gardhr meaning "yard." So I guess your family name means "Pretty yard," and it should be pronounced "shane-garth"—even in America.
This pretty well exhausts my knowledge of German, so I'll be grateful to retreat to questions of English usage, danke schön!