Thursday, July 5, 2012


I'm amused by words that sound different than they're spelled.  I live on Long Island, which used to be home to 13 tribes of Indians (Native Americans).  As a result, many towns here still have Indian names.  Visitors are often confused on how to pronounce them.

Like Hauppauge, which is pronounced "Hop-Hog".  Or Quogue, which is "Kwog".

Years ago, I attended law school in Boston.  Arriving there with my parents, we had no clue about the area.  The biggest road in Boston is Commonwealth Avenue, on which my school (BU) was located.  We stopped our car and asked a resident how to get to Commonwealth Avenue.  He looked at us funny, thought a second, and then his lightbulb went off -- "Oh, you mean KarmAvvv."  KarmAvvv?  That's what they call it there.

Are there any odd-sounding names near you?


  1. Yep, we have a few names here in MN that people have trouble with - Shakopee, is pronounced "Shock-o-pee" but a lot of people say "Shack-o-pee" Or Edina - pronounced "Eee-dine-a", but I've heard it on TV as "Ed-eena"

    It's funny. We also have cities close together with similar names too which can also get confusing at times!

  2. Hmm... I can't think about anything like that here but these are so funny. I can't believe the different in spelling and how they are pronounced!

  3. Funny that we both have posts about words. We have lots of Native American names around here in the Seattle area too. Puyallup is kind of a good example. Pronounced "Pew al up" I know there's a bunch but can't bring them to mind until I finish my coffee. ;)

  4. There's Lafayette (Luh-fay-ette) a city/street name that people often pronounce "Lah-fay-et". And Louisville "Lou-vul"/"Loo-ee-ville" pronunciations. In both cases it's technically correct either way, but more likely the person who lives 'round here is going to use the first pronunciation.

    Oh! And my favorite street name - Demonbreun! (Dee-mun-bree-un) looks like "Demon-brewing".

  5. Well I live in SD and there's lots of weird names. We have Sioux Falls, which is pronounced "soo falls", and I've heard tourists call it "soox falls", Belle Fourche, which is often said "four-chay", but its "foosh" Then there's Pierre. People say it with the french pronunciation, which is probably correct if you live anywhere but South Dakota, but here its just "peer". There are quite a few others too, but I'd have to look them up to remember.

  6. Like you, we have a lot of indigenous names here. Some fun names that only locals pronounce right:

    - Esquimalt (esk-WHY-malt, not ESS-kwim-alt)
    - Sooke (doesn't rhyme with "book" - the "oo" sounds like "Sue")
    - Broughton (BROW-tun, not BRAW-ton)
    - Ucluelet (you-CLUE-let)
    - Tsawassen (suh-WASS-un)
    - Nanaimo (nuh-NYE-mo) - so now you know how to say "Nanaimo bars" properly! :)

    Oh, and Vancouver is Vang-COO-ver.

    1. Ah, I think the one show we watch is filmed in Ucluelet. Very interesting.

  7. YES! The only one I can think of right now is the following:

    pojoaque: pill-walk-eh

  8. Many of the streets in my little town have names of Indian origin too. I live on Peoria street, the name of the Indian who sold the land for the town to the city fathers. We have Piankashaw and Kaskaskia for starters.

  9. The street we live on is Kok Road (Yes, you say it like a rooster but it has little to do with chickens). Its in fact Afrikaans for Chef ... people do give us an odd look when we say the road name ;-)

  10. First, I grew up in Baltimore. And they talk funny in general. There are several names that come to mind. Highlandtown is pronounced "Hollandtown." Belair only has one syllable when spoken, i.e., "Blair." Towson is not tow (as in pull something)-son. The tow rhymes with cow. And, from having been born in and spending time in Pennsylvania, there are words like Pequea, which is pronounced like peck-way. Maryland has the lovely town Havre de Grace, which is spoken like Have-a-dee Grace. I could go on, but have to ge eat dinner!