Can't say it right? Then worsh your mouth out

Today, local historian Feliks Banel noted the East Coast backlash over a recent spat between locals and our nation's capitol, which if granted statehood might adopt the name "State of Washington, D.C." He then segues into being miffed over how Northwest place names often are mispronounced by non-locals.
     You know, those visitors who say "Worshington," "Coalville," and "Eye-varz restaurant."
     I want to add a few more to his list.
     ORE-uh-gone. People, it hasn't gone anywhere! It's right where it's always been, just south of the Columbia River.
     Spo-KAYNE. I thought this would end after the Lilac City hosted the 1974 World's Fair, but I guess a community of 209,000 isn't big enough to warrant proper acknowledgment.
     Yuh-KEE-maw. This gaffe might be less common if the city adopted the spelling of the tribe for which it's named, Yakama.
     Es-tuh-CAW-duh. I too mangled this name until my colleague from Gresham snickered and said, "Do you mean Es-tuh-CAY-duh?"
     Wuh-LOW-uh. Another one I got wrong, despite knowing all about Chief Joseph and his ancestral home of Wool-OWW-uh (second syllable rhymes with "cow").
     CHELL-un. Yes, Kelsey Grammar actually pronounced it this way in an episode of "Frasier" when he spoke of vacationing at the scenic lake north of Wenatchee.
     KATCH-ess Lake. That big reservoir north of Roslyn is actually pronounced "Kuh-CHEES" (rhymes with "geese").
     Pend-ORE-ee-ull. I guess some people never took French in school. The lake, river, and county are "PAWN-duh-RAY."
     SEE-quim. It's that place in the rainshadow on the Olympic Peninsula. If they'd just delete the "e" there would be no problem.
     Mos-cow. No, the Idaho college town isn't pronounced like the Russian city. Around here, it's Mos-coe.
     And of course, it's so cliche to make fun of all the mangled ways non-natives mispronounce Pyoo-AL-up.
     Here's one that goes against local convention and gets many natives confused. Can you pronounce Swinomish? If you said, "SWIN-uh-mish," you're correct. Other "-omish" place names put the emphasis on the "OH" – Snohomish, Skykomish. 
     In this election year, thank goodness we have governors with simple names like Jay Inslee and Kate Brown. Can you imagine the rest of the nation today trying to pronounce Gov. Victor Atiyeh?

 

by  Jon Osterberg

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