Maggie Pill

The Most Entertaining Cozy Author You Never Heard Of!


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Name-calling

Ocqueoc
Topinabee
Mackinac

Northern Michigan folks love to hear the tourists try to pronounce those, and people know how long you've been in the area by your ability to do it correctly. (FYI Mackinac is ALWAYS maa-ke-naw, no matter how it's spelled, Topinabee has its accent on the first syllable, and it's AH-kee-ahk Falls pictured above.)

When you're the traveler, you have to guess how the locals pronounce their stuff: Lead, SD; Toronto, Ontario; Micanopy, FL; Lima, OH; Puyallup, WA; and many more. Sometimes even the locals don't agree. Presque Isle County is pronounced in the French way by some: presk eel, in an Americanized version by others: presk aile, and a confused few mash it up and say preskel aile.

What pronunciations do locals in your neck of the woods know the secret to that visitors don't?

4 comments:

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  2. Oh, my area has some strange ones; Castile - (CAST-aisle), Charlotte - (sha-LOT), Chili-(CHI-lie) rhymes with mai-tai, Conesus - (kuh-NEE-shus), Honeoye - (HUN-e-oy) rhymes with honey-oy, Java-(JAY-va)with a long A- not like the coffee, Le Roy - (luh-ROY not LEE-roy), Lima - (LIY-mah) with a long I-like the bean not the city in Peru, Nunda - (NUN-day) with a long A, Riga - (RYE-guh), and finally - Rochester - The 'o' is often pronounced something more like 'ah', yielding: Rahchester. Sometimes blended into a two-syllable word: ROSH-ter (cf. Worcester/WOOS-ter) also frequently referred to as Rah-Cha-Cha and shortened to the Roc (rock). I must admit I know how Mackinac is pronounced, but have been know to slip and put an "ack" on the end.

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    Replies
    1. Pat, You've gotta be making some of those up! :) Okay, maybe not. Place names are just funny.

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    2. No, one couldn't make those up and they're the "tip of the iceberg" in this area. Some are based on family names of pioneers in upstate NY and many are "bastardized" Native American locations. I have lived all my life in the area; my father was an adopted member of the Seneca tribe. I visit the Longhouse and support Ganondagan for events like the Native Dance & Music Festival and the Winter Games Event, which has featured the Seneca Siberian Husky Club of which I, my husband and dogs have been members for years. I'm sure Michigan has also borrowed place names from the indigenous people. You can always tell a tourist when they ask for directions to "Chilly" (Chili), or get tongue tangles around Irondequoit or Canandaigua.

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