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IWT
04-30-2015, 05:22 AM
I intend this to be a fun thread.

When Yosemite was announced as the new OS, I commented that the pronunciation of the name might pose a problem for those for whom English was not their first language and, indeed, for those with English, but who were less well acquainted with the National Park of the same name.

There was a brief flurry of correspondence, and someone from the US said "just as well it wasn't Arkansas".

My first purpose in starting this thread is to ask, briefly, how the name Arkansas came to be pronounced "Arkansaw"? There must be a story there somewhere.

Secondly, how about folks suggesting genuine place names where the spelling and the pronunciation are way different making it highly unlikely a stranger would get it right.

I'm a proud Scot and offer three genuine places in Scotland and invite my friends to guess at the pronunciation: Kirkcudbright; Milngavie; Culzean. The latter may resonate with my US friends because of a connection with General Eisenhower.

Ian

chas_m
04-30-2015, 05:43 AM
I believe the first one would be pronounced kuh-COO-brie; the others I wouldn't know.

In the US, I've gotten tripped up by places like Wilkes-Barre, PA (pronounced wilksberry). In Canada, people have several different ways of saying "Toronto" (the one I hear most often is "ta-RAHn-ta").

bobtomay
04-30-2015, 06:26 AM
Try this one out - Nachitoches.

cradom
04-30-2015, 07:16 AM
Beaumont isn't easy either, or Sabine Pass (it's not say-bine).

el_guapo
04-30-2015, 07:56 AM
This post has opened up a whole can of worms...
How about Cholmondeley in the UK?

Sawday
04-30-2015, 08:17 AM
A couple of favourite UK ones... Belvoir, Leicestershire (pronounced Beaver) and Appletreewick, North Yorkshire (Apt'wick).

IWT
04-30-2015, 08:25 AM
I believe the first one would be pronounced kuh-COO-brie; the others I wouldn't know.

.

Well done, Chas. So nearly correct that most people wouldn't spot the difference. It is usually pronounced kir—coo—bree (said fast); but what the heck, I'm pretty sure that some locals would say kuh rather than kir.

I'll hold off on the other two (Milngavie and Culzean) to give others a chance to chip in.

Fun, eh?

Ian

IWT
04-30-2015, 08:37 AM
Try this one out - Nachitoches.

Haven't a clue; but the word looks vaguely French (could be horribly wrong). And non-French people tend to mold the syllables into something more pronounceable. For instance, one of the examples already given - Belvoir - came from the French for beautiful view which the English, over time, changed to "Beaver".

So on this principle, I'll suggest: Nak-y-tosh.

Ian

RavingMac
04-30-2015, 10:12 AM
Haven't a clue; but the word looks vaguely French (could be horribly wrong). And non-French people tend to mold the syllables into something more pronounceable. For instance, one of the examples already given - Belvoir - came from the French for beautiful view which the English, over time, changed to "Beaver".

So on this principle, I'll suggest: Nak-y-tosh.

Ian

Very close, though the tosh is tish and also the y is pronounced 'ih'

EDIT: here's another Arkansas example 'Ouachita'

vansmith
04-30-2015, 11:39 AM
In Canada, people have several different ways of saying "Toronto" (the one I hear most often is "ta-RAHn-ta").That's the number one way to tell if someone is either from a different country or very far away (I notice people from out west pronounce it differently). Tip for those who visit my fair city: if you pronounce the second T, you've, in that moment, labelled yourself from somewhere far away.

I need someone familiar with Welsh to clarify something for me. Is Welsh really just a mishmash of letters thrown together to form words? Wales looks like a wonderful place but I'm confident that if I visit, I'd be so hopelessly lost since I'd never be able to ask for directions.

IWT
04-30-2015, 01:18 PM
I need someone familiar with Welsh to clarify something for me. Is Welsh really just a mishmash of letters thrown together to form words? Wales looks like a wonderful place but I'm confident that if I visit, I'd be so hopelessly lost since I'd never be able to ask for directions.

I have lived in Wales, by choice, since my retirement, but I am Scottish. Although the Welsh language reads like it was a "mishmash of letters thrown together", it has an inherent logic to it. But in my humble view, you have to be born into the language. Few people from outside Wales master it. And indeed, figures tend to show that only about 30% of true Welsh-born folks are fluent Welsh speakers.

But fear not. If you ever visit this wonderful country (second only to Scotland, of course!), you will find the natives friendly, welcoming and perfectly fluent in English. Having a Canadian accent (in the way I have a Scottish one) is a decided bonus. Enough to say, tactfully, that there is a "history" between the Welsh and the English. You would do fine.

Ian

RadDave
04-30-2015, 01:38 PM
There was a brief flurry of correspondence, and someone from the US said "just as well it wasn't Arkansas".

My first purpose in starting this thread is to ask, briefly, how the name Arkansas came to be pronounced "Arkansaw"? There must be a story there somewhere.

I have family who have lived in Arkansas since the early '70s and the above pronunciation is correct - an explanation quoted below from HERE (http://www.businessinsider.com/why-we-pronounce-kansas-and-arkansas-differently-2014-2).


We can thank the French. Arkansas was named for the French plural of a Native American tribe, while Kansas is the English spelling of a similar one. Since the letter "s" at the end of French words is usually silent, we pronounce Bill Clinton's home state "Arkansaw."

But, just to provide yet another example is the pronunciation of the city of New Orleans - pic attached of a multiple choice question (Source (http://www.nola.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2014/03/how_do_you_pronounce_new_orlea.html)); and another discussion (http://goneworleans.about.com/od/NewOrleansBasics/fl/How-To-Say-New-Orleans-Correctly.htm) - for myself, I've always used 3 syllables and use the first choice below - :) Dave
.

vansmith
04-30-2015, 01:47 PM
I have lived in Wales, by choice, since my retirement, but I am Scottish. Although the Welsh language reads like it was a "mishmash of letters thrown together", it has an inherent logic to it. But in my humble view, you have to be born into the language. Few people from outside Wales master it. And indeed, figures tend to show that only about 30% of true Welsh-born folks are fluent Welsh speakers.I can believe that. Given that I'm also older, and outside of the "sweet spot" for learning language (ie. very young), I'm sure that I'd have to stick with English.



I have family who have lived in Arkansas since the early '70s and the above pronunciation is correct - an explanation quoted below from HERE (http://www.businessinsider.com/why-we-pronounce-kansas-and-arkansas-differently-2014-2).Ah, la Français leaves its mark once again. Aren't a whole set of locations in the American South named after, or at least inspired by, French names?

toMACsh
04-30-2015, 02:03 PM
Beaumont isn't easy either, or Sabine Pass (it's not say-bine).

??? Bow-mont and Suh-bean - simple.

Now folks who call St. Louis or Kansas City home have a debate about where their cities are located: Missourah or Missouree.

And 99.5% of talking heads in the media seem to believe there is a city in Nevada called Los Vegas. There isn't.

And locally, we have Pere Marquette Park. Most of our news people don't have a clue on that one.

Try the capitol of South Dakota: Pierre.

Lots of Native American place names get butchered too.

IWT
04-30-2015, 02:10 PM
OK. So Milngavie is pronounced "mill - guy"

and Culzean is pronounced "cull - ane", ("ane" as in plane). General, later President, Eisenhower had a permanent suite of rooms in Culzean Castle.

Ian

RadDave
04-30-2015, 02:18 PM
Ah, la Français leaves its mark once again. Aren't a whole set of locations in the American South named after, or at least inspired by, French names?

Bien sûr , mon ami - e.g., the state capital of Louisiana is Baton Rouge. Translated Native American words are abundant throughout the USA, but of course will depend on which European country had the major influence and regional dialects - in the New England area, English & Dutch had major influences, but coming down the Atlantic coast and into the Gulf states, the Spanish & French are in the mix.

There are two cities w/ the same name in the coastal Carolinas, i.e. Beaufort (BU-fert), South Carolina and Beaufort (BO-fert), North Carolina - not sure why except to distinguish each, but if you're in one or the other and speaking to a native resident, then the improper pronunciation can be 'fighting words'! ;) Dave

harryb2448
04-30-2015, 07:02 PM
Gee you guys are lucky you don't have names like Cootamundra, Awaba, Kurri Kurri, Binginwarri,Yuendmu to say nothing of Yackanddandah and Zuytdorp!

cradom
04-30-2015, 07:08 PM
??? Bow-mont and Suh-bean - simple.

I work at a port. We get truck drivers who pronounce it 'Beeu-mont' and 'say-bine'.
And I'm not talking about the middle eastern ones. It's the northern ones. Even some from west Texas.

XJ-linux
04-30-2015, 07:30 PM
Koch is another good one.

pm-r
04-30-2015, 08:13 PM
As for the "suggesting genuine place names where the spelling and the pronunciation are way different", I'll have to suggest the incorrect pronunciation of a local city a lady was having trouble even telling me of the closest place I could get support when I was enquiring some years ago.

The city: Coquitlam, a city in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada.

Through her giggles when I insisted, she explained it was hard for her, but the name to her seemed to be pronounced "coq-it-to-em".

Slydude
04-30-2015, 08:27 PM
Try this one out - Nachitoches.

Beat me to it Tom. Even most Texans get that one wrong. Great way to know if you are talking to a telemarketer.

The name btw seems to be a French adaptation of a native term.

toMACsh
05-01-2015, 02:00 PM
I work at a port. We get truck drivers who pronounce it 'Beeu-mont' and 'say-bine'.
And I'm not talking about the middle eastern ones. It's the northern ones. Even some from west Texas.

Shopping at a "Big Box" store one time, I had an employee showing me the Beaulieu pattern of carpeting. She called it "Bee-lou", noting "that is how we say it". I said, "Well, it's French. I believe the proper way is "Bow-leur"." She had to try it twice, with my correction in between, to get it right. I don't think she was too impressed. :Lips-Are-Sealed:

RadDave
05-01-2015, 02:35 PM
Shopping at a "Big Box" store one time, I had an employee showing me the Beaulieu pattern of carpeting. She called it "Bee-lou", noting "that is how we say it". I said, "Well, it's French. I believe the proper way is "Bow-leur"." She had to try it twice, with my correction in between, to get it right. I don't think she was too impressed. :Lips-Are-Sealed:

Yes, well mispronouncing foreign names is common around here - one example is the name of a historic upscale neighborhood in my town named Buena Vista - having had 2 years of Spanish in college, I would say 'bway na vis ta' w/ the i in vis pronounced like an e - in Winston-Salem, the locale is called 'bewe na vis ta' w/ the i sounding like an i like how 'vista' would sound in English. Dave :)

IWT
05-01-2015, 06:08 PM
Shopping at a "Big Box" store one time, I had an employee showing me the Beaulieu pattern of carpeting. She called it "Bee-lou", noting "that is how we say it". I said, "Well, it's French. I believe the proper way is "Bow-leur"." She had to try it twice, with my correction in between, to get it right. I don't think she was too impressed. :Lips-Are-Sealed:

In England, there is a place of the same name - Beaulieu - (nice area) near which I once used to live in Hampshire. There, it is pronounced Bew-ly. Once again, the English taking a French name and, over centuries, moulding it to suit local tastes (like Belvoir > Beaver: see an earlier posting).

Ian