Sunday, January 06, 2013

Spokane

I would not have a clue how to pronounce this US name, Spokane. I am sure I would know it if I heard it said.

It is some years since it dawned on me, probably the Clinton years, that Arkansas was the same place I had heard mentioned many times in the media.

I still struggle with New Orleans. I pronounce it as I read it now, having given up trying to get it right. It seems you really need an American accent.

Speaking of New Orleans, it took me some time to realise that Potomac was not a difficult word at all, unlike Pontchartrain, as in the NO lake. Actually, that is not so bad.

2012 was a very revealing year to me.Yosemite (National Park) is not pronounced how I thought and I have now connected up with what I read with what I hear. However, I cannot say the word yet.

Of late, now we have one in our family, I have been working on my pronunciation of Maori, a native South Pacific Islander, many of who live in New Zealand. It does not rhyme with dowry, nor with sari, but somewhere in between. I mostly get it right now, by slightly pausing before I say the word.

I am lucky to live in Australia where our place names are simple, like Wurundjeri Way, a city street to the west and to the east, Birrarung Marr Park.

18 comments:

  1. Spokane - two syllables, spo and can, I believe.

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    1. Emphasis on the first syllable Victor?

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  2. I remember years ago when a friend of mine from the UK first tried to say "Dandenong". I can't remember which syllable he stressed but it wasn't the right one. Took me a while to figure out what he was saying and then I laughed my head off!

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    1. Wombat, I consider Dandenong to be a hard one, as when I was a kid, we always said Dandelong.

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  3. There was a different news reader on the ABC recently who totally mispronounced a suburb of Melbourne (can't remember which) and I snorted with laughter. It was a really weird way of saying it.

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    1. Fen, I've occasionally heard them too. You soon pickup when a newsreader is not a local.

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  4. We can only be grateful here in Perth when they sometimes simplify names, for example Njookenbooroo is now Innaloo, makes sense to me!!

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    1. I wasn't aware of that Grace. Of course I have heard of Innaloo.

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  5. I learned the pronunciation of Yosemite very early from watching cartoons. Yosemite Sam was one of my favourites. Yo-sem-it-ee.
    I thought Spokane was Spoke-ane (ain ayne).
    I disgree with our Australian place names being easy, especially the Aboriginal names.

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    1. River, I can say it if I read it from the way you have broken it up. Listening to a You Tube vid, I was not certain if the end was te or more like thee. I was kidding about our place names being easy. NZ is worse though, I think.

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  6. met some US tourists who said they were on their way to stay well. ? oh! STAWELL.

    and give some thought to PRAHRAN
    and Ball win not wine, and
    Bal larat not ball a rat.

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    1. Good one Ann. Prahran is easier to say than to spell, methinks. Balwyn, I would not say wine. Ballarat is fraught.

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  7. Capalaba is the one that tricks people here.

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    1. Let me try Diane.

      ca PAL a barr

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  8. This site is really useful for checking pronunciation of words and naames: www.forvo.com/search/spokane/ .

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  9. That is really interesting Altissima as you get variations from accents too.

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  10. I just recently learned how to pronounce Yosemite.

    I often assume Australians know how to pronounce every Australian place. Well, because they're Australian. Then I tell myself that I can't pronounce every American place.

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    1. Dina, as Fen suggested, we don't. I am surprised you did not grow up hearing Yosemite all the time.

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