Regional pronunciations the locals really care about

I lived in Portland, Oregon for about 35 years and one of the eccentricities of the locals is that they can get almost apoplectic about what they view as incorrect pronunciations. 

The first thing you learn about Oregon—probably even before you move there—is that the correct pronunciation of "Oregon" does NOT rhyme with "hexagon." There seems to be a range of good pronunciations, but what they all have in common is that the final syllable is not pronounced like the final syllable of "hexagon." A lot of Oregonians will say it's pronounced or-y-gun, but many Oregonians will just kind of swallow the final vowel in a pronunciation that goes something like OR-uh-gn.

If you move to Portland, the river that runs through it is the Willamette River. Obviously a French word originally, do NOT give it a French pronunciation. No. It's pronounced will-am-it.

Portland street names can be baffling, too. Couch Street is pronouonced "cooch," and Glisan Street is pronounced exactly like the last name of Jackie Gleason. 

In terms of pronunciation, living in Portland, Oregon was a bit like living in an alternative universe.

What makes Oregonians, and Portlanders in particular, so fussy is hard to say. After all, Texans don't correct people when they don't pronounce "Texas" like a Texan. But there are other places where you can be corrected for not a name like the locals. When in New Orleans, Louisiana, you will soon learn to pronounce the combination nawlins, loosiana.

Are there any regional pronunciations that the locals are sensitive about in your area, or in some area you know about? (Let's limit this to English-speaking areas, please.)

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....and we say herbs, because there's a fucking H in it. 

Love it!

No pronunciation difference in the key word of THAT sentence!

That's "N'awlins," if you please! I was married to a Loosiana girl for a time --

RE: "(Let's limit this to English-speaking areas, please.)" - that's a bit constraining! So Illinois is out (French), Oklahoma, N. and S. Dakota (Native American), Texas (Tejas) and New Mexico (Nueva Mexico), as well as Arizona, California, Colorado and Florida (Spanish) - I could go on --

And the apostraphe in N'awlins signifies what? a slight pause?


No, it represents a contraction of two words - ain't you got no learnin'?

So, as long as we're talking about pronunciation and not spelling, I was largely right.

A nearby county here in Georgia is spelled Taliaferro, but pronounced by the locals as "Toliver"

Here the locals say Norfuck for Norfolk, Va.

Don't drink, don't smoke, Norfuck.

When I lived in Melbourne, FL the locals were quick to teach us that it was pronounced Mell-burn as to separate it from Melbourne, AU. 

Kinda cute as where I'm from it's possible to figure out where a person is from within 3-5 km based on their dialect, and used to be possible to know where they worked and in what position from their sociolect. 

Isn't Glasgow pronounced Glasgee, up there?

I'm talking about places where English is the language spoken on the street. If they normally speak English in Glasgow, and I think they do, then you're OK.

Two ducks flying over Belfast – one goes “quack quack” and the other replies “I can’t go any quacker”


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