I Say! Where Might YOU Be From? A Question of Pronunciation and Colloquialisms; What, What!

Awhile ago, I took a clickbait internet quiz to see where I was from based on how I spoke. Did I say, “Coke” or “soda” or “pop” for a sugary, carbonated beverage? “Ay-pri-cot” or “a-pri-cot” to describe a fuzzy fruit? “Rooooof” or “ruhf;” “crick” or “creek;” “malk” or “melk” or “milk…”

Photo by slon_dot_pics on Pexels.com

The neat thing about this highly-scientific and accurate test was that the designers included a map with a target-type graphic. Every answer I gave sent the reticule to one location or another around the United States. And, believe me, mine was flying all over. My saying one thing suggested East Coast; another said somewhere in the ocean; perhaps the program was trying for England? I felt a bit proud that I couldn’t be placed -probably a relic of my younger years when I really wanted to be a secret agent.

Recently, however, my friend corrected how I said, “Appalachian.” I’d learned to say the ‘a’ before the ‘chian’ with a long vowel sound: “A-ppa- lay-shan.”
“How’d you say that?” she demanded. “It’s ‘A-ppa-lah-shan.'”
I thought to correct her. This had to be an accent thing since she’s from The South. Then, I used my ol’ phonetic skills and thought, Ya know; I think she’s right

Still, I’ve heard how the newscasters have been throwing around, “Ne-vah-da” and “Or-eh-gone” lately. I can be smug in knowing those are “Ne-va-da” and “Or-eh-gun.” Right?

Photo by Stephan MΓΌller from Pexels

It’s true that certain regions pronounce certain locations a certain way. There’s good reason for that know-how with some of those. For example, I have no idea how to say, ‘Worcestershire.’ Of course, visitors to Utah are sure to butcher ‘Mantua’ or ‘Tooele.’ Do you know how to say them?

Besides honing my spy skills further, I’m curious: what are some strange names of cities or landmarks near you? What are some odd ways your community pronounces some everyday words?


Here’s my postings for the past week:
Monday, December 28: Wrote “Re-Resolution” in the early morning hours, then posted a quote that might be by Mother Teresa.

Tuesday, December 29: Shared “We-Resolution” to encourage more humorous limericks.

Thursday, December 31: Wrote another update on Coronavirus life at home. You know, now that I’m not at home so often.

Sunday, January 3: Poemed whilst in a dismal mood. Cancer sucks.

Monday, January 4: Shared a quote by Glennon Doyle.

Tuesday, January 5: Wrote yet another bad limerick. You all need to enter the A Mused Poetry Contest to put a stop to them!

I also posted random thoughts of mine on my motherhood site.

Β©2021 Chelsea Owens

99 thoughts on “I Say! Where Might YOU Be From? A Question of Pronunciation and Colloquialisms; What, What!

  1. obbverse January 7, 2021 / 11:08 pm

    I must check or as we say here, cheque- out that site. If you answer toss it in please? We say Woostersheer. It might not be right but, says who?
    We are also told we go out for a pint of full cream moolk and buy fush and chups. Eaten with to-mah-to sauce, not ketchup

    Liked by 2 people

    • Chel Owens January 7, 2021 / 11:12 pm

      Honestly, we mush the hard sounds of most words. I would have said that aloud as, “Honesly, we mush thuh hahrdhsouns of most worss.”

      Liked by 2 people

  2. kat January 7, 2021 / 11:18 pm

    Some years ago, my husband and I were living in Pennsylvania and couldn’t pronounce Lancaster the Pennsylvanian way to save our lives. Since there’s also a Lancaster in California near where I grew up, I learned to say it a very different way. Now we have funny stories of East Coast people trying to teach us how to say it with what sounds like an “i” replacing the middle “a.” So weird!

    Liked by 1 person

      • kat January 8, 2021 / 10:45 pm

        Let me know if you figure it out! Then you can teach me.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. robstroud January 7, 2021 / 11:18 pm

    Moving around (the western US) in a military family, my speech patterns ended up in the large “western” regional dialect. As an adult, living in the Southern, Midland, North Central regions did little to change it.

    As far as oddities… we have a city in our state south of Seattle. Its name is Des Moines. But rather than following the Iowa (dΙͺˈmΙ”Ιͺn) pronunciations, they actually pronounce the “s” and it is properly (i.e. by natives) pronounced dΙ™ΛˆmΙ”Ιͺnz. Kind of unique…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens January 7, 2021 / 11:51 pm

      How odd! I think I’ve heard that pronunciation, now that you mention it. I assumed the person saying it was just ignorant. πŸ˜€

      That reminds me of how we lived in an area with a street named by some francophile. The problem was that the locals didn’t speak French. Ah! Their way of saying it grated on my aural nerves every time!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Doug Jacquier January 8, 2021 / 7:02 pm

        Here in Adelaide we have a main road called Dequetteville Terrace which many locals insist should be pronounced Da-kwet-vil. Sacre bleu!


          • Doug Jacquier January 8, 2021 / 7:33 pm

            Don’t get me started! πŸ˜‰ I was once paged in a hotel lobby as Mr. Jack Weir.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Chel Owens January 8, 2021 / 11:17 pm

              πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ I know a ‘Gaillard.’ With my French language experience in school, I naturally pronounced it “Guy-yahrd;” she said they just go by “Gal-lard” (I think) because no one can get it right!

              Liked by 1 person

  4. Herb January 7, 2021 / 11:20 pm

    When I first moved here to Colorado I was really surprised at how they said Pueblo. I thought it would be pweb-low. The city natives say peeb-low. Go figger. Where I am from originally, in Wisconsin there are many unusual place names. many have Native American or French origins.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens January 7, 2021 / 11:53 pm

      Ha! In Utah, we say it more like, “Puh-weblo.” I didn’t know the Coloradians took it that direction! What are some of the unusual Wisconsin names? Did you try to say “Mantua?” πŸ™‚


      • Herb January 8, 2021 / 11:12 am

        Man-too-ah? Try Oconomowoc. It’s only the longtime Pueblo natives that I’ve ever heard say it that way.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Chel Owens January 8, 2021 / 6:34 pm

          “Man-uh-way.” πŸ™‚ I’m not going to try yours!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Herb January 8, 2021 / 10:56 pm

            Oh-con-uh-moh-walk It’s native American in origin. Would not have gotten Mantua.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Chel Owens January 8, 2021 / 11:18 pm

              Someone told me it was also Native American, but I’m not so sure. I’ll bet it was at one point, but has suffered some local alteration over the years!


              • Herb January 9, 2021 / 12:44 am

                You are probably right about that.

                Liked by 1 person

  5. petespringerauthor January 8, 2021 / 12:13 am

    Dialects are quite interesting to me. I grew up in the midwest, and everyone referred to soft drinks as “pop,” but out west where I live know everyone refers to it as “soda.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens January 8, 2021 / 8:12 am

      My understanding is that many in The South refer to it as “Coke.” Me? It’s always “soda pop.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • petespringerauthor January 8, 2021 / 8:46 am

        I used to drink far too much, but I haven’t had one in four years. I don’t miss it at all. Now ice cream, on the other hand…😜

        Liked by 1 person

  6. rugby843 January 8, 2021 / 12:45 am

    We have an ongoing feud about a few words such as caramel which I say with three syllables and they all say it in two, like the town in CA.πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens January 8, 2021 / 8:13 am

      πŸ˜€ I admit I say it with two syllables. It’s one of my obviously-Utahn pronunciations.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. TanGental January 8, 2021 / 1:57 am

    Oh don’t. Getting British town names right is a nightmare. My town Dulwich is Dull- itch. My local authority area Southwark pron. Suth-uk. Where my wife is from is egregious in its contractions. Costessey becomes Cossy, Wymondham becomes Win-dum. And we pronounce Appalachians as you do. So it must be right!! One of the craziest i came across in Kent (pron. Kent) was Trottiscliffe pron. Tro-slee. Madness

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens January 8, 2021 / 8:15 am

      πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ Well, at least I’ll get “Kent” right! I spent a lot of my childhood listening to the BBC so I fancied myself I had a British accent but the truth is that I’ve picked up words from all over and wouldn’t fool any local.

      Liked by 1 person

      • TanGental January 11, 2021 / 2:51 pm

        I’m so middle class English and therefore bland of voice I often receive the β€˜Are you Australian/Kiwi/Canadian/South African/Betelgeusian?’ Question, none of which please me.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Chel Owens January 11, 2021 / 4:03 pm

          Do you indignantly reply, “How rrhude! I happen to be Frrhench!”


          • TanGental January 12, 2021 / 6:59 am

            Aggh! French? How could you? They threw out my ancestors the mollusc eating beret wearers. Having my name is like inheriting a birth mark in the shape of arrogance

            Liked by 1 person

            • Chel Owens January 12, 2021 / 9:45 am

              πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ I love it. Terribly accurate.

              Liked by 1 person

        • Chel Owens January 11, 2021 / 4:40 pm

          I do think you’d pass for Betelgeusian.


          • TanGental January 12, 2021 / 6:55 am

            It’s those babel fish, wiggling in my ear. Not sure I can cope with that.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Chel Owens January 12, 2021 / 9:44 am

              They do sound like they get the more pleasurable experience.

              Liked by 1 person

  8. Hobbo January 8, 2021 / 3:01 am

    An interesting post.
    Coming from Yorksher, you probably realise that we speak Queen’s English with absolutely no accent or dialect! We do have some strange place names though
    Barnoldswick, pronounced BAR-LICK by the locals,
    Slaithwaite, which for some reason is pronounced SLOWWIT with a short O.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens January 8, 2021 / 8:29 am

      No accent or dialect, eh?: D

      I’m realizing (realising) there is no chance I’d pass as British if I visit.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hobbo January 8, 2021 / 1:12 pm

        πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ None whatsoever!
        Tha’s dead reet there lass!
        (I think you are quite correct in that assumption young lady)!πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  9. mattsnyder1970 January 8, 2021 / 5:03 am

    Is it mantooah ?
    Here’s a tough one from close to my neck Schuylkill or

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens January 8, 2021 / 8:31 am

      You got cut off. πŸ™‚ Is yours “Shul-kuhl”?

      “Mantua” is actually pronounced “Man-uh-way.”


  10. masercot January 8, 2021 / 7:13 am

    My oldest studies linguistics and it is also his hobby. We often have conversations over things like this. Most of his interest is in dialects, though…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens January 8, 2021 / 8:32 am

      I worked doing quality control of scanned documents with a man who graduated in linguistics! I was disappointed he didn’t speak in more interesting ways…

      Liked by 1 person

  11. D. Avery @shiftnshake January 8, 2021 / 7:29 am

    Around here Worcester is pronounced Wuhster. Leominster is Lehminster. Growing up, aunt was always pronounced arnt but take a little of the t, it’s more implied than articulated. Hawaii? Ha-why-aar. Put an r after any a ending. It’s bananars.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens January 8, 2021 / 8:33 am

      πŸ˜€ I never knew. And, I should have included ‘aunt,’ because we say, “Ant.”

      Liked by 1 person

  12. CarolCooks2 January 8, 2021 / 9:30 am

    Ahhhhh…interesting post and pronunciations, Chel…it would get even more interesting if I started on how English is pronounced here…Have a great weekend πŸ™‚ x

    Liked by 1 person

      • CarolCooks2 January 8, 2021 / 8:59 pm

        Haha it would indeed… suffice to say Thais cannot pronounce R’s so any words with an R it are skipped πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  13. sherijkennedyriverside January 8, 2021 / 12:52 pm

    A couple of my faves are Tulalip and Puyallup. If someone says, ‘Tu-la-lip’ with emphasis on Tu, instead of Tu-lay-lip with emphasis on lay, then you know they’re not from around here. The second one is pronounced Pew-al-up, with emphasis on al. It’s hilarious to hear all the attempts at it. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  14. mymindlessdrivel January 8, 2021 / 4:14 pm

    I had a field day with purposely mispronouncing words when I was a kid, though in my defense, the English language often makes no sense and has no rhyme or reason to it.

    We take many words from foreign languages, right? So, growing up, with a nearby town called Versailles (ver-sales), naturally, in school, it must be The Treaty of Ver-sales, right?

    Oh, they had a devil of a time with me on that, trying to convince me it should be ver-sigh. I was also very fond of pronouncing bologna exactly the was it was spelled: boh-log-nah!

    Of course, this may not have anything to do with where I was from and everything to do with a contrary streak in me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens January 8, 2021 / 7:04 pm

      You? Have a contrary streak? What an odd thought!


      • mymindlessdrivel January 8, 2021 / 7:18 pm

        I know, right? I tell people I don’t but they insist I’m wrong. What’s with that?

        Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens January 8, 2021 / 11:12 pm

      Yes! It was at the back of my mind as I reflected on language. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  15. willowdot21 January 9, 2021 / 7:28 am

    Like the States England, I am not including Scotland, Ireland or Wales as they are different countries, has doezens of regional accents not to mention different words for things!
    I am from the south so say Woostashire. I live in Berkshire, said Barkshire, Reading, a town, is pronounced Redding. I would pronounce Na va da, Uta, an alleyway over here can be a cut through, a snicket, a ginnel, a jigger,packpassage,…. Birmingham has its own language as does Liverpool and Manchester. I could go on but I am a bit pushed, in a hurry, short of time.πŸ’œ

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens January 9, 2021 / 12:02 pm

      No worries. Those are all fascinating differences to me. We don’t have many alleys in Utah, but do refer to them as ‘alley.’


      • willowdot21 January 9, 2021 / 2:06 pm

        Oh! When “I said pushed for time” it was another idium meaning, I am in a rush or a hurry, or running late. πŸ’œ

        Liked by 1 person

  16. gregoryjoel January 10, 2021 / 10:51 am

    Texas has its fair share of strange names. There’s Cut n Shoot – about 45 minutes north of Houston. Ding Dong, Texas, Jot ’em Down, Texas – named after the old radio show Lum and Abner. I live in White Settlement – a politically incorrect named city west of Fort Worth. At one time it the last white settlement before Commanche territory. People would also argue that we have our own language here. It’s funny to hear all the different accents now that so many folks have moved here from elsewhere in the country. My Dad used to have a bumper sticker on his truck (the only one he’d ever put on a vehicle) – it said “If you love New York, take I-30 east”.

    When m family moved to Colorado for a few years, we were curious as to my the natives called it Colo-rah-do. Everyone knows it’s Colo-rah-duh…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens January 10, 2021 / 10:57 am

      Huh. And here I’ve been calling it Cah-lah-ra-do. πŸ˜€ I like the bumper sticker.


    • Chel Owens January 10, 2021 / 4:02 pm

      πŸ˜€ Very proper dolphins.


  17. pkadams January 10, 2021 / 12:38 pm

    The title made me laugh ! It’s definitely β€œa-puh -la-chun” with both As being pronounced like the a in cat . Lots of hard to pronounce words in Texas . I even get some wrong . I can’t even pronounce half the names of people around here because they are Czech and German . I’m good with Spanish words.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Lisa Bradshaw January 11, 2021 / 7:37 am

    Loved this post and all the comments.. so interesting.. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens January 11, 2021 / 7:46 am

      They are! I’m loving it. Do you know any local terms and pronunciations where you are?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lisa Bradshaw January 11, 2021 / 8:11 am

        We have takkies which are what you call sneakers
        robot is a traffic light
        braai is a barbeque
        howzitt as in hello how are you..

        Liked by 1 person

  19. Jacqui Murray January 11, 2021 / 4:17 pm

    Great atmosphere in novels, don’t you think? And in life–husby and I have a lot of fun adding Brit touches to our speech (we watch a lot of British detective shows), like adding, “Wouldn’t you” or “Shouldn’t you” after statements. I know–doesn’t take a lot to entertain me. Does it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens January 11, 2021 / 4:42 pm

      πŸ˜€ I see this as perfectly reasonable behavior.


  20. magicquill17 January 13, 2021 / 3:52 am

    Because of spelling bees, I know Worcestershire is pronounced woo-stuh-sheer. but this is still acceptable- have you tried pronouncing French or even French-origin words? Man, in no way does the way they’re spoken resemble the way they’re written. I read somewhere that this was because in the olden times, the French king used to pay copywriters by the letter, unlike most other regions where they would pay by the word. So the copywriters just threw in unnecessary consonants in their words to get a bigger paycheck. And those spellings stuck.

    As for Indian English, it’s a whole different ball game altogether! We have words and phrases that can’t be found in any other English-speaking country. Like ‘wheatish’ to describe a skin tone that’s neither too dark nor too light, calling a family a ‘status family’ if they’re rich and well-known in society, the classic tautologically incorrect ‘revert back’, ‘brinjal’ which I recently found isn’t a word that’s used anywhere else (you guys call it eggplant), and so on.

    And how can I not mention Shashi Tharoor in a discussion about English. He’s an Indian politician notorious for his vocabulary and the nation’s favourite English teacher. He routinely gives us all new words to obsess about and you have to sit with a dictionary open if you want to understand what he says. He’s an intelligent man, but his sesquipedalianism is what he’s most famous for. Do look him up on Twitter; you won’t be bored.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens January 13, 2021 / 7:25 pm

      Awesome! This all sounds incredibly interesting and, yes, I will definitely look him up.

      What else have you been up to?

      Liked by 1 person

      • magicquill17 January 14, 2021 / 5:13 am

        The past few months have basically been me trying to make sense of college. I finally wrote something yesterday, though, and credits to our college’s literary society for finally making me read The Handmaid’s Tale which that latest post is about.

        Liked by 1 person

      • magicquill17 January 14, 2021 / 5:13 am

        And oh I won some sweet cash in a couple of competitions.

        Liked by 1 person

  21. hbsuefred January 17, 2021 / 5:44 pm

    There are Spanish place names here in So Cal that folks from other places deliberately speak like a non-native. One is Sepulveda, which is a major thoroughfare that parallels LAX. Here is the right way 4 syllables: “suh” + “PUL” + “vuh” + “duh”. It’s usually mangled so that the emphasis is put on the third syllable and made to sound like “VEE.” Another one is San Pedro, a small coastal city in Los Angeles County. The 2nd word is pronounced like the Spanish name – Paydro. Sometimes even natives mangle it though and often just refer to Peedro.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens January 17, 2021 / 7:37 pm

      Well, *that’s* interesting. I would’ve thought they’d stick with the Spanish pronunciations.

      Liked by 1 person

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