How to pronounce "Wilkes-Barre"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Tue Jan 29 03:23:06 UTC 2013

On Mon, Jan 28, 2013 at 9:17 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at> wrote:
> for me it's none of the above, but rather "Wilkes-Barry"

Interesting, that. I, too, use that pronunciation because that's what
I hear. When my wife told me about this article, I couldn't find it,
because I thought that the first word was "Barry." So, she gave the
bit from the article: "Barry, as in 'strawbarry' " Ultimately, she had
to spell it out. In the the article, there's a mention of
"[Wilkes-]Berra," as in "Yogi."

Really? I've never heard that. But my late mother-in-law used what I
heard as "[…-]B-a-rra," with a vowel like unto the one that I use in
"b-o-rrow," a kind of low, "awe"-like open _o_.

OTOH, my wife and my other three siblings-in-law recall nothing at all
noteworthy in their mother's speech. What's heard depends on who's
listening, I guess.


All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint
to come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

The American Dialect Society -

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