toponymic query

Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Wed Nov 12 20:39:34 UTC 2003

>Shibbolithic toponym.

>I had the following query from a "Fresh Air" listener; can anyone
>help this correspondent? I very much doubt if the word he's looking
>for exists, but then I'm a stranger to the far reaches of toponymic
>Geoff Nunberg
>>You may not be the right person to
>>answer this question, but perhaps you know a person or type of person or a
>>Web-based group of people who could answer it.  I have run out of all my own
>>ideas for finding the answer.  The word-types at Syracuse University and
>>LeMoyne College don't know what I'm talking about.
>>What kind of scholar would be able to tell me the word for which the
>>definition is "the special pronunciation of a proper noun, often a city
>>name, used by the people who live there, separating the natives of a place
>>from outsiders."?  An example is Cairo, Illinois, which is pronounced
>>KAY-ROW by its citizens, and usually mispronounced "KEYE-ROW" by outsiders.
>>I'm going crazy here, so I presumed to ask you for help.  Yours truly, Prof.
>>S. P.  Webster

Dennis R. Preston
University Distinguished Professor
Department of Linguistics & Germanic, Slavic,
      Asian & African Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1027
e-mail: preston at
phone: (517) 432-3099

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