A Canadian friend just moved to Regina. Now, I always thought this town was pronounced “ra-GEEN-a.” When I heard the true pronunciation, I immediately thought of the Seinfeld episode, where Jerry can’t remember a girlfriend’s name. He does know, however, that it rhymes with a female body part. I’ll say no more. You Chicagoans know a few street names that would have fit perfectly into that episode. You non-Chicagoans will just have to ask for directions.
That got me started on town names that are fun to say. Certain town names make you want to hitch up your suspenders, like Podunk, VT, or Yeehaw Junction, FL. Some fit nicely into little phrases – are you tipsy in Poughkeepsie? Can you play a kazoo in Kalamazoo?
Many American towns borrow their names from Native American names, and sound like you are being asked to perform a task. If I figure out how to Massapequa or Waxahachie, or even Chattahoochee, I’ll be sure to let you know.
We are also very fond of coming up with unusual pronunciations for our towns. For instance, Berlin, NY is pronounced BURR-lun. Apparently the town wanted to distance itself from the German town of the same name during World War II. And Vienna, Ohio, chose to be called VIE-anna so as not to be confused with the cute little sausages in the can. All right, the last one is just a theory. And Lima, NY – well their founding fathers devised an ingenious plan to bring a grimace to their children; they decided to be LI-ma (like the bean) instead of Lee-ma (like the Peruvian town). Buena Vista in both VA and CO – yep, it’s BYOO-na Vista…Bueller?
So…where you from, Delores?