Arizona November 25, 2017
Never Mispronounce These 9 Words In Front Of An Arizonan
There are plenty of ways to make an Arizonan cringe. Complain about the heat when it’s a lovely 86-degrees outside. Attempt to drive through then subsequently get trapped in a flooded flash flood zone. Another item to add to that list would be to mispronounce some basic Arizona words.
Most of the words you’ll find around the state are either Spanish or English in origin, so you won’t encounter any major tongue twisters. Occasionally, though, you’ll come across words that might make you scratch your head or that might earn you some well-deserved teasing for odd pronunciations. Today, we’re going to take a look at a few of those.
Ah-wah-TOO-kee This section of Phoenix sits south of South Mountain and feels quite separate from the rest of the city due to its location. The name is apparently Crow in origin—an odd choice since the tribe has never called Arizona home—and can look a bit intimidating to newcomers. Don’t worry though! Use your kindergarten reading skills and sound the word out slowly because it sounds just like it’s written.
2. Canyon de Chelly
de-SHAY The name Canyon de Chelly is a strange combination of Navajo, Spanish, and French-like spelling which is probably why visitors often mispronounce part of the name. It’s original name, Tséyi’, is Navajo for canyon and Spanish explorers initially pronounced it with the "ch" sound. These days, the name has a softer sound with "sh."
din-EH The traditional name Navajo people use to identify themselves, Diné is often mistakenly pronounced "dine" or "din-AY." The key is that one little accent over the "e," which sounds more like " elf" than " ache". This link will also give a brief overview of the word along with its correct pronunciation.
hee-lah Whether you’re talking about the reptile, the river, the county, or the people, gila uses a Spanish pronunciation with a soft "g" that sounds like an "h."
ho-PEE This one seems fairly easy to say since it is just four letters long but I’ve heard some odd variations, including "hoe-pie" and "hoppy."
moe-go-YONE This one is a bit of a puzzle since even Arizonans have different ways of pronouncing this word used to describe one of our favorite parts of the state. However, the Park Service goes with this particular pronunciation.
suh-WAH-roh Sometimes it seems like no one outside of Arizona can say some words correctly, this one included. Just like gila, the "g" in this word sounds like an "h."
tem-PEE Subtleties makes all the difference in some words, Tempe included. The final "e" sounds more like " eel" than " elf" and the emphasis goes on the second syllable of the word rather than the first.
too-sawn Just remember that the "c" is always silent!
Enduring some awkward moments with relatives visiting Arizona for the first time? You might find yourself relating to the experiences listed in
11 Awkward Moments Every Arizonan Has Endured At Least Once.