Innovate or Adapt, but don’t Bastardize

The naming of towns and cities is an interesting thing. It is a hard thing to be truly innovative when naming a place, so names get re-purposed frequently. Sometimes towns are named after the place people came from (New York, New Jersey, etc..), sometimes they are named for famous people ( Maryland), and sometimes people seem to borrow names of famous places ( Paris, Tx). I really do not have anything against not being original and re-purposing names in this way, but if you are going to borrow a name, you can NOT just re-pronounce and think you invented something new. The midwest is rife with this practice and it is a small quiet pet peeve of mine. I may be smiling happily when you welcome me to your town, but it really does send a small little voice in my brain just screaming down the hall waving his hands over his head. Let me give you a few examples.

Just north of us there is the small town of Peru, In. That would be Pea-Roo, In thank you. Nice to have you visit. How about the small town south west of us, Russiaville, IN. Nice to have you visit us here is Rooshya-ville, IN. This is not just an Indiana thing- just yesterday I had a chance to visit the small town of Vienna, OH. Vye-enna, OH is full of friendly people.

What are we thinking? This does not make us look innovative or creative, it just makes us look unintelligent. Is this strictly a midwest phenomenon, or does it happen near you as well? I would love to hear yout tails of bastardized place names.

2 thoughts on “Innovate or Adapt, but don’t Bastardize

  1. Don’t forget Pulaski county, IN…with ski pronounced sky…named after the Polish General Pulaski (skee) that ensured our victory in the American Revolution. And to top it off, there is a tiny town named Pulaski within the county of Pulaski. Not only do they mispronounce his name, they do it twice. Considering the number of families of Polish descent in the area, it’s boggling…..oh, and don’t forget Galveston, IN with a pause, Gal..vEston, not even close to TX.

  2. Cairo (Kay-ro), IL is a favorite of mine. Or Gnaw Bone, IN, which at least changed the spelling to match the pronunciation. The *best* part is when an outsider ‘mispronounces’ the town name by pronouncing it the way the original was pronounced, and then gets a scathing look.

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