This happens a lot. Actually, a lot more than we expect.
Because whenever a big story happens in the Capital District (such as, oh, I don’t know, our Governor resigning), the entire nation’s news crew shows up and does live reports from the steps of the Capitol building. And, invariably, those who come from out of town … have absolutely no idea how to pronounce the names of any of the cities in this region.
It’s also the best way to discover who the new newsreader is on the local stations. Just wait until he or she has to report a story from Schenectady or from Canajoharie or from the like. Bungle bungle bungle whoops.
And the minute you hear them bungle the names of our home towns and cities and villages … it’s both jarring and laughable at the same time.
So here’s the deal. When you out-of-towneez come to our neck of the woods, and you do your local newscasts and on-the-spot reports … let’s work on those pronunciations, so that you don’t sound like a complete n00b.
- Albany – it’s three syllables. ALL-bun-nee. It’s not AAL-bunny, it’s not a bunny named Al. And the accent is on the first syllable. It’s not al-BAN-nee, I think that’s the Albany in Georgia.
- Schenectady – Best way to remember this is – think of the three best places to kiss a girl. Skin, Neck, Titty. Yeah, now that image is stuck in your head. You’re welcome.
- Rensselaer – Admittedly, this is tricky. The town is Ren-suh-LEER, but it’s part of REN-slur County.
- Troy – If you screw up pronouncing this name, just leave the area.
- Cohoes – It’s Cuh-HOZE. The accent’s on the second syllable. It’s not COH-hoze, we don’t live near Quahog.
- Canajoharie – If you say it like “Can’t chew, Harry?” you’ll be fine.
- Cairo – You’d think it was the same as the city in Egypt. No. The one in New York is KAY-ro, like the old bottled syrup.
- Berlin – Same thing. It’s not the city in Germany. The one in New York is BURR-lin.
- Menands – Accent on the second syllable. And the town’s name is plural, even though it was founded by a guy named Menand.
- Latham – This shouldn’t be difficult. It’s “LAY-thum,” although there are CDTA buses whose audio stop announcers still call the town “Lahh-them,” which drives me nuts.
- Coxsackie – Imagine a kung fu chef. Cook-socky.
- Corinth – It’s really just one syllable. CORnth. The “I” is silent. If you pronunce it as “co-RINTH,” all the cabin rentals will immediately charge you twice as much for the privilege.
- Colonie – First syllable again. COLLA-nee. Work with me, people.
Okay. Class over. Get back to your broadcasts. And hopefully, you’ll sound like a true Capital District resident upon your initial report.
What about Valatie?, which I think is the hardest.
Or people, like Hochul.
Hmmm. We always said AWbunny. Closer to home, of course, CLINTn
Warning to non-natives: there’s even worse ones lurking about. Like Leicester or Canandaigua. I’ve heard people mangle Livonia and my hometown Geneseo too. Where I live now is easy to pronounce, just most people think it doesn’t exist (it’s hell to fill in forms on-line).
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