I was listening to a morning radio show on the way in to work today, in which the host was complaining that no one could get her name right. Her name was Jennifer, but she introduced herself as "Jen." However, everyone "here in the south" thought her name was "Jan" - and she couldn't understand why. I wanted to call in and say, "They think you're saying Jan because it sounds like you're saying Jan." She was complaining about southern accents, but for me, it was her accent that was getting in the way. Discussing this conversation with co-workers (from New York), they thought I was saying "Gin" when I said "Jen" and I heard "Jan" when they said "Jen." No one could understand what anyone else was saying!
This is a modern day example of issues concerning accents that genealogists must always keep in mind. Many times examples are found in the form of immigrants speaking foreign languages. However, I've run across instances of this in my research a few times, in which I can see where a southern accent has been miss-understood.
For example: a (very) distant relative from Marietta, GA who moved up north. I found a record that listed his birthplace as Mayretta, GA. Locally, Marietta (officially pronounced Mary-etta) might be pronounced as May-retta by someone with a strong southern or "country" accent.
My paternal grandmother had such an accent. She pronounced the name 'Mary' as 'May-re' (long 'a'). I'm sure that some of the listing in census records for 'Mayre' are actually 'Mary'. Her own name was Sarah, which is often pronounced 'Say-ra' in the south. I've found a few of those in records as well. It's my sister's name too and she likes to say she knows when she's out in the country by how they pronounce her name.
By the way, if you want to pronounce Valerie in a southern style, you can say 'Val-re' or even 'Vow-re.'