Folk Awareness oif Dialect

Donald M. Lance LanceDM at MISSOURI.EDU
Tue Dec 5 04:43:04 UTC 2000

Would you want Missourians who live in the towns of Paris and Mexico to use the "correct"
contemporary French and Mexican pronunciations of the names of their proud seats of
government in the counties of Monroe and Audrain?  Then don't fuss about Missourians from
Versailles, county seat of Morgan County, saying the name of their town the way their
Kentucky forebears did.
The Buena Vista in Colorado also has the Byu-ena and Byu-eena pronunciations, I
understand.  And is it MONroe, or MonROE?  Depends on whether you're related to an uncle
or a president, and which state you're in or where you're at, I suppose.

"David M. Robertson" wrote:

> Drew Danielson wrote:
> > Virginia also has a Buena /bjuna/ Vista, the pronunciation of which is
> > probably a nativism due to the fact that people have been calling it by
> > that pronunciation for about 120 years.  Ironically, there's a city
> > called Staunton not too far up the road from Buena Vista, but they
> > pronounce that name /stan t'n/ as in Elizabeth Cady Stanton, rather than
> > /stahn t'n/ as one would expect based on the spelling.  Maybe
> > Appalachian Virginians have some confusion over the phonetic value of
> > the letter U... :)
> Well, I don't think the "u" in Buena Vista has any relationship to the "u" in
> Staunton.
> In Virginia we say "my ahnt lives in Stanton," while a typical yankee would say "my
> ant lives in Stahnton." Nobody is consistent, except maybe in Boston.
> Moving right along to "incorrect" pronunciation of place names derived from other
> languages, I have always found this a fascinating subject, and not just confined to
> those of us who were so "unfortunate" as to be born and raised in the Sahara of the
> Bozart. There are the places such as Buena Vista and Lafayette (luh-FAY-ut) in
> Virginia. But then there is also Schuyler, for which the locals use the "correct"
> Dutch pronunciation and laugh about yankee tourists who ask for directions to
> "Shooler." And we all know how to pronounce Monticello "correctly."
> Two of my own personal favorite Virginia place name pronunciations are Ceres (as if
> "Roebuck" is coming next) and Dante (sort of rhymes with "saint"). And then we have
> Botetourt County, which really separates the men from the boys.
> But the rule to remember is that the pronuncation of a place name by the people who
> acually live there is NEVER "incorrect;" funny, maybe, but not incorrect.

More information about the Ads-l mailing list