06 May 2008

Nevaduh (Nevăda)


I haven't posted in quite some time, but today I feel the need. Today, while I was on the phone speaking with someone located in the great state of legalized gambling and prostitution, I was rudely corrected for my proper Spanish pronunciation of their state, Nevada (read nəˈvɑ.də). It was done so quickly in passing that I didn't even have time to question it. Apparently I didn't know that Nevadans don't take a liking to pronouncing their state as it normally would be in its language of origin. I don't get it...it's like the song says, right: "tomato, tomato, potato, potato, let's call the whole thing off." So to you Nevadans, loosen up on the pronunciation of your state's name and tighten up your Spanish pronunciation skills.

4 comments:

Pepper said...

WHOOOOooooaaa Nevada. I wonder if they'd have corrected somebody who spoke with a Spanish accent?

Pete said...

Nevada is loose in so many ways, yet tight in dozens more. It is a very confused state...

mandy said...

I'm gonna have to respectfully disagree with you, Ben. That you were corrected (and maybe even rudely so) is lame, sure, but most mispronunciations of proper nouns are culturally rooted.

Take Appalachian. Before I moved to Virginia in 1996, I said it app-uh-lay-SHin. I was immediately chastised by my new 5th grade classmates for not pronouncing it with the "ch". But who's right or wrong? We were taught its pronunciation by our teachers, who were informed by the way in which it had been spoken by their teachers....

It's true that many mispronunciations stem from ignorance of a foreign language (eg: Nevada, Buena Vista [the town here in Virginia is pronounced byOOn-uh vist-UH], Rio Grande, Los Angeles), but others have been passed down as part of a regional dialect like another Virginia favorite, Staunton: pronounced stan-tin.

So yeah, while technically incorrect, I think it's a mistake to dismiss such pronunciations as simply ignorant.

Emily said...

Mandy said it best. And as new Nevadan myself.. um.. I'm trying not to get defensive.

but.. a tasty little tidbit of knowledge here.. there is a town in Missouri, called Nevada. Spelled the same and everything... and you know how they pronounce their city? Ne-vay-da.Yeah..not Ne-aa-da or even Ne-Vah-da.. but a completely different pronounciation! Go figure.