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#1
Old 07-01-2008, 10:23 PM
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Why is Pierre SD, pronounced "Peer"

Was it ever pronounced as "Pee-air" or was the pronunciation changed over time?
#2
Old 07-01-2008, 10:24 PM
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No, it's still pronounced 'pee-AIR'.
#3
Old 07-01-2008, 11:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ignis_glaciesque
No, it's still pronounced 'pee-AIR'.
Wikipedia backs up the OP.
#4
Old 07-01-2008, 11:10 PM
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Pierre, South Dakota, is "Peer" to natives.

See also VerSALES (Versailles), Kentucky; Dez Planes (Des Plaines), KAYro (Cairo) and MYlin (Milan), Illinois; Byoona (Buena) Vista County, Iowa; ValpaRAYzo (Valparaiso), Indiana...
#5
Old 07-01-2008, 11:12 PM
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...Bellefontaine, OH, charmingly referred to as Belluhfont...

Last edited by ultrafilter; 07-01-2008 at 11:12 PM.
#6
Old 07-01-2008, 11:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ultrafilter
...Bellefontaine, OH, charmingly referred to as Belluhfont...
I heard the mayor of Lima, Ohio on NPR a couple of weeks ago. He explained the origin of the name (i.e., why they named it Lima), which was cool. But I wasn't really satisfied by his explanation of the pronunciation. Basically it sounded like 'The town was named after Lima, Peru; but we pronounce it "LIE-ma".' He didn't actually say why.
#7
Old 07-01-2008, 11:33 PM
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It's just an example of the Anglicization of foreign names. It's an adoption process common to all languages.
#8
Old 07-01-2008, 11:35 PM
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Hurricane, WV is Hurr-uh-kun to locals. Pronouncing it like the storm is unforgivable.
#9
Old 07-02-2008, 12:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jiminator
Hurricane, WV is Hurr-uh-kun to locals. Pronouncing it like the storm is unforgivable.
I'm a native West-by-God-Virginian, and I approve of this message. Jiminator, in fact, may be a bit generous in including the middle syllable. What I always heard was more like Hurr-kun.

But now I live in Ohio, where we have BER-lin, the aforementioned LYE-ma, and my favorite, MANT-a-way (Mantua), which is pronounced thus despite the sign at the town limits declaring that it was named for the "famous Italian city."
#10
Old 07-02-2008, 01:06 AM
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Ohio also has, or at least had at one time, a Greenwich pronounced like it looks. It might be "Gren Itch", England, and "Gren Itch Village" in NY, but it's "Green Witch", Ohio.
#11
Old 07-02-2008, 07:00 AM
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Quote:
It's just an example of the Anglicization of foreign names. It's an adoption process common to all languages.
Not invariably, at least not in the US.

Although there are plenty of places when the pronunciation has been altered from the more famous version (many quoted above, or like Connecticut's Thames river, with New London on it, that's not pronounced "tems", but with a "soft" "the" and a long "A"), there are places where the original pronunciation is preserved and cherished, like New Orleans, which natives keep closer to the French "new OR-l'ns" than to "New or-LEENS", or Baton Rouge, which is "ba-TOHN ROOZH" rather than, say, "BAY-ton ROOG". Or a LOT of Spanish names in the southwest, like La Jolla, which is invatriably pronounced "La HOYA".)
#12
Old 07-02-2008, 07:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yabob
It might be "Gren Itch", England...
Real old-timers pronounce it "Grinnidge".
#13
Old 07-02-2008, 07:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jiminator
Hurricane, WV is Hurr-uh-kun to locals. Pronouncing it like the storm is unforgivable.
How is the storm pronounced in American English? "Hurr-uh-kun" is a close approximation to the British pronunciation - maybe "Hurr-ih-kun" would be closer.
#14
Old 07-02-2008, 07:14 AM
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Hur-i-cayn
#15
Old 07-02-2008, 07:16 AM
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It may be Bo-ga-TAH, Columbia but it's Buh-GO-tuh, Texas.
#16
Old 07-02-2008, 07:26 AM
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The natives of Pierre, S.D. will regard you with a double if you pronounce it as anything other than "Peer".

On a similar note, Rio Grande, Ohio is (for some reason) pronounced "Rye-o Grand". This could be important if you make the pilgrimage there to see the Bob Evans Farm, where the tradition of unhealthy lard-based eatin' was born.

"...sit at the reconstructed counter of the original Steak House owned by Bob Evans, see life-size models of Bob and Jewell Evans, filming their television commercials in their original kitchen"

I know what I'm doing this summer!
#17
Old 07-02-2008, 07:45 AM
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To actually respond to the OP regarding why the city is pornounced that way, I would imagine it was the large Scandnavian population in the state as opposed to a virtually nonexistent French population who would have gone with the more francaphone pronunciation.

To add three more pronunciation differences to the growing list.

Montrose, Colorado is pronounced "Mont' rose" by the locals as opposed to the more usual "Mon trose'". They joke that they pronounce it that way to catch the outsiders trying to pass themselves off as locals.

Boise City, Oklahoma residents pronounces the first word in their name not like the capital of Idaho but rather in a way that rhymes with the second word in the British car, Rolls Royce. All non-Panhandle people mess that one up.

A number of communities in the U.S. don't pronounce Madrid the same way the Spanish do as "Ma drid'". The fault line, the community in the midwest and even the town in New Mexico, are pronounced "Mad' rid"

Last edited by TV time; 07-02-2008 at 07:47 AM.
#18
Old 07-02-2008, 08:50 AM
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If ever you go to Moscow, Idaho, don't pronounce the name like the capital of Russia, but instead say Mos - co (co as in the first syllable of company)
#19
Old 07-02-2008, 09:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colophon
How is the storm pronounced in American English? "Hurr-uh-kun" is a close approximation to the British pronunciation - maybe "Hurr-ih-kun" would be closer.
Except in Hartford, Hereford and Hampshire, of course...
#20
Old 07-02-2008, 09:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CalMeacham
... or Baton Rouge, which is "ba-TOHN ROOZH" rather than, say, "BAY-ton ROOG".
Super-slight nitpick:

"Batten Roozh" is the native pronunciation. "Baton" rhymes with "Patton", not with "soupçon".
#21
Old 07-02-2008, 09:26 AM
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This kind of thing is very prevalent in the Southeastern US. Lebanon, TN, for example, is pronounced "LEB-nen." And there's a city in Mississippi named Kosciusko, after the Revolutionary War hero. His name is pronounced "Ki-shoosh-ko," but the Mississippi city is pronounced "Kozzie-ess-ko."
#22
Old 07-02-2008, 09:29 AM
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The Des Moines in Washington State is pronounced "de MOYNZ," unlike elsewhere.

And yet we make a game attempt at preserving something akin to the original French pronunciation, if not the precise spelling, of Pend Oreille. Strange.
#23
Old 07-02-2008, 09:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colophon
How is the storm pronounced in American English? "Hurr-uh-kun" is a close approximation to the British pronunciation - maybe "Hurr-ih-kun" would be closer.
The last syllable takes the primary stress and a "long" vowel, while the first syllable takes secondary stress. Comes out as "hurr-(schwa)-KANE".

In my pronunciation of the word, that "hurr-" syllable has a more fully-fleshed "short-u" sound than in a word like "burr" or "fur". Sounds exactly like the first syllable in "hurry" (the first vowel being like "u" in American English "cup").
#24
Old 07-02-2008, 09:43 AM
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Odd New Orleans pronunciations (street names)

Burgundy: Bur-GUN-dee
Conti: CON-tie (rhymes with 'pie')
Calliope: CALLY-ope (although there is disagreement that this is incorrect)

FTR, this is how I would pronounce them in American English: BUR-gun-dee, CON-tee, ca-LIE-oh-pee.

Oh, and I pronounce Esplanade ESS-pla-nod. They pronounce it Ess-pla-nade. But that's a common pronunciation.
#25
Old 07-02-2008, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ignis_glaciesque
No, it's still pronounced 'pee-AIR'.
Ach, silly me! I missed the 'SD' in the header line, so I thought it was about the name 'Pierre', and not the city in South Dakota, 'Pierre'.

#26
Old 07-02-2008, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ultrafilter
...Bellefontaine, OH, charmingly referred to as Belluhfont...
It is? When I lived in Dayton, the news stations pronouced it as "Bell-Fountain".

Of course, in Michigan Charlotte is pronounced "Shar-LOT" and Montrose is "Mont-Rose".
#27
Old 07-02-2008, 10:44 AM
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Quote:
This kind of thing is very prevalent in the Southeastern US. Lebanon, TN, for example, is pronounced "LEB-nen." And there's a city in Mississippi named Kosciusko, after the Revolutionary War hero. His name is pronounced "Ki-shoosh-ko," but the Mississippi city is pronounced "Kozzie-ess-ko."
Quibble: It's properly pronounced (approximately) "Kosh-CHUSCH-ko"


But the Kosciusko Bridge in New Jersey is usually pronounced "KOSS-kee-OSS-ko" by most people. Except those with Polish backgrounds.

Interesting the way they say it in Mississippi.
#28
Old 07-02-2008, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CalMeacham
Quibble: It's properly pronounced (approximately) "Kosh-CHUSCH-ko"


But the Kosciusko Bridge in New Jersey is usually pronounced "KOSS-kee-OSS-ko" by most people. Except those with Polish backgrounds.

Interesting the way they say it in Mississippi.
Thanks for the correction.

"Interesting" is a pretty good catch-all euphemism for a lot of things done in Mississippi.
#29
Old 07-02-2008, 11:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freckafree
I'm a native West-by-God-Virginian, and I approve of this message. Jiminator, in fact, may be a bit generous in including the middle syllable. What I always heard was more like Hurr-kun.

But now I live in Ohio, where we have BER-lin, the aforementioned LYE-ma, and my favorite, MANT-a-way (Mantua), which is pronounced thus despite the sign at the town limits declaring that it was named for the "famous Italian city."
Ohio:

Delhi - DELL high
Versailled - Ver SALES
Lima - LYE ma
Bellefontaine - bell FOUNTAIN
Russia - ROO shuh
#30
Old 07-02-2008, 11:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CalMeacham
New Orleans, which natives keep closer to the French "new OR-l'ns" than to "New or-LEENS"
True that no one in New Orleans says "New or-LEENS", and "plain folks" talking with one another say "new OR-l'ns".

What was interesting to me when I moved there, though, was that local newscasters all used a three syllable (even a baby step closer to the French) pronunciation of "Orleans", pronouncing it "New OR-lee-'ns" with the middle syllable the least stressed. I soon noticed this pronunciation shared by old money New Orleans types, as well as anyone trying to affect a more "proper" speech.

"N'Awlins" however, is just to be put on T-Shirts sold in souvenir shops.




Also, if you're in Philly and talking about the State in the U.S. Northwest, you pronounce it "OR-ih-guhn" but Oregon Ave. is pronounced "AR-gen".
#31
Old 07-02-2008, 11:30 AM
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In Kentucky, they're proud to celebrate pronunciation diversity.
#32
Old 07-02-2008, 11:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yabob
Ohio also has, or at least had at one time, a Greenwich pronounced like it looks. It might be "Gren Itch", England, and "Gren Itch Village" in NY, but it's "Green Witch", Ohio.
Yep, Green-wich
Med-eye-na (Medina)
My-lun (Milan)
Down south, Rio Grande is Ryo Grand

My favorite, though, in Northwest Ohio is Huron. The locals pronounce it more like "yurrn"

In Columbus, the local secret is the pronunciation of Olentangy, the river. Locals use a soft "g", furriners often employ a hard one.
#33
Old 07-02-2008, 12:00 PM
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Watching America's Most Wanted this week, I was surprised to hear Boca Raton prounounced Boca Ra-Tone. I thought it was Ra-Tahn. (Or maybe it's the other way around, I forget.)

Kamrar in Iowa is Kammer to the locals.

I chuckle at the mechanical pronunciations from the NOAA weather radio. Some are indecipherable, partly because the recorded "voice" gives no emphasis to the syllables.
#34
Old 07-02-2008, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CalMeacham
... there are places where the original pronunciation is preserved and cherished, like New Orleans, which natives keep closer to the French "new OR-l'ns" than to "New or-LEENS" ....
Certainly that's the local pronunciation, but "OR-l'ns" is not anything like the original French, is it? Wouldn't that be something like "OR-lay-ohn"?

On the same topic, Virginia happily mangles other languages in its place names. Fauquier County is "Faw-keer," and the little town of Buena Vista is pronounced "Byoo-nah."
#35
Old 07-02-2008, 01:18 PM
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Charlotte, Vermont is pronounced Sha-LOTTE (named after the wife of George III). Unfortunately, no one other than the locals understand that pronunciation, so people tend to say Shar-LOTTE, which is definitely wrong, although not so much so as SHAR-let.
#36
Old 07-02-2008, 01:57 PM
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Lafayette, Alabama (close to where I went to college) is "La-FAY-it". Makes my skin crawl - perhaps it's my Walloon genes.

Add a generous dollop of southern accent to the "FAY", too.
#37
Old 07-02-2008, 02:15 PM
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I could have sworn my friend was saying her mom lived in New Bronvuhls, TX.

Then I found out it's New Braunfels.
#38
Old 07-02-2008, 05:43 PM
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Just below Canton, OH.(that's CAN tun), there's a small town with an Amish furniture store. I kept asking for directions, but could never find the exit to
BALL-a-ver, Ohio. Only took me 10 years to discover it was Bolivar.
#39
Old 07-02-2008, 06:04 PM
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I was born and raised in New York and I still don't understand why Houston St. is pronounced House-tin. My children always pronounce Illinois Ill-in-wa. Because they're smart asses.

Then there's the Van Wyke expressway. A traffic reporter on a local station always pronounces it Van W-eye-k. Apparently I was not the only one annoyed by this because one day she announced, "In answer to all of the e-mails, I pronounce it that way because that's the way the family wants it pronounced." The poor family, everybody else calls it the Van wick, like in a candle.
#40
Old 07-02-2008, 06:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jiminator
Hurricane, WV is Hurr-uh-kun to locals. Pronouncing it like the storm is unforgivable.
And Hurricane, UT is HERR-er-kunn. Teach us to learn standard English now, huh?
#41
Old 07-02-2008, 07:44 PM
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OK but does anyone know if Pierre was ever pronounced "pee-air" or was it spelled "P-I-E-R-R-E" but pronounced "PEER" from day one
#42
Old 07-02-2008, 08:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biggirl
I was born and raised in New York and I still don't understand why Houston St. is pronounced House-tin.
I knew this one would be mentioned in this thread.

Houston Street (House-tin) is actually named after a person, William Houstoun. Unlike the Texas city of Houston (Hughs-tun) which is named for Sam Houston.
#43
Old 07-02-2008, 09:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eyebrows 0f Doom
I knew this one would be mentioned in this thread.

Houston Street (House-tin) is actually named after a person, William Houstoun. Unlike the Texas city of Houston (Hughs-tun) which is named for Sam Houston.
Sam Houston wasn't actually a person?
#44
Old 07-02-2008, 09:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eyebrows 0f Doom
I knew this one would be mentioned in this thread.

Houston Street (House-tin) is actually named after a person, William Houstoun. Unlike the Texas city of Houston (Hughs-tun) which is named for Sam Houston.
Yeah but the Van Wyke was named after people too and nobody cares.
#45
Old 07-02-2008, 10:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belrix
Lafayette, Alabama (close to where I went to college) is "La-FAY-it". Makes my skin crawl - perhaps it's my Walloon genes.

Add a generous dollop of southern accent to the "FAY", too.
Ooh!
If Alabamans make your skin crawl, Louisianans will make it leap right off your body!

Lafayette, Louisiana is pronounced "laffy-ETTE"- that's "laffy" as in "Laffy Taffy" or "Daffy Duck".
#46
Old 07-02-2008, 11:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acsenray
Sam Houston wasn't actually a person?
Hell no! He was a Texan, by God!
#47
Old 07-03-2008, 09:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bienville
Ooh!
If Alabamans make your skin crawl, Louisianans will make it leap right off your body!

Lafayette, Louisiana is pronounced "laffy-ETTE"- that's "laffy" as in "Laffy Taffy" or "Daffy Duck".


Why, that's the one Correct & Proper WayTM to pronounce "Lafayette". All others are, by rule, incorrect
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