Folk Awareness of Dialect

Mark Odegard markodegard at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Dec 5 04:38:12 UTC 2000

>     "Iowa has a Byou-n@ Vista. And GUT- at n-burg. The classic
>      is N at -'vay-d@ for Nevada."
>Missouri also has a N at -'vay-d at ....the story about the Missouri
>town was that it was named by returning '49ers for Nevada County,
>Calif. (itself presumably named for the Sierra Nevada mountains).
>So....did the first Anglo settlers of California anglicize the name of the
>mountains when they named their new county ?

I'm aware of Nevada, Mo. The word is not at all native to English. The
thought it came back, round trip, from California is probably the only
possible origin.

I suspect the native-speakers altered the pronunciation because of the way
it's spelled. N@'vayd@ (middle syllable has the vowel of 'bay'). To my own
eyes, a more logical pronunciation would be 'Ne-v at -d@ (first vowel as in

I read somewhere once that Wyoming migrated to the state name from a valley
in Pennsylvania. I also remember an elegantly bound book of poetry my
grandparents had, which contained a long poem entitled _Gertrude of Wyoming_
(the poet I don't completely remember; I think it was a certain Campbell: a
FAST search says it's Thomas Campbell, apparently a Scot, which moves the
toponym further east). No, I am not making this up. The title was
deliciously funny, but the poem was a total bore, and I remember nothing
whatsoever of it.

When you look at river names in Europe, you get doublets. Bug, Morava,
Dvina. Here in Iowa, we have a Yellow and Volga River. There's the making of
a fiendishly themed NYT Sunday crossword puzzle here.
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