Say these towns wrong and they’ll think you’re not from NJ
Every state has some places with names that if you’re new you might not know how to pronounce. Like the lake in Arkansas called Ouachita. WASH-i-taw is how to say it. Get that wrong they’ll be madder than a flea on a fresh-dipped coonhound!
All states have these, but New Jersey seems to have some of the trickiest. Why am I even bringing up this subject of hard to pronounce places? Blame it on our temperature sheets. Several times an hour we read current temperatures from various New Jersey towns. Sometimes this list of towns is freshened up. Recently it was done again, and this new version has Kinnelon in the middle column. I hate it.
Every time I see this town I second-guess myself. I know it’s pronounced KIN-eh-lon, but something has always told me it looks like it should be said as Kin - EL - lon. So I brace. It comes. I fight the urge to mispronounce it.
And just like that my mind went down the rabbit hole. How many other towns are hard to pronounce? Here’s just a partial list. Now before you read this, you have to think of it as if it’s the first time you’re ever seeing the name of the town. As if you just moved here from, well, a town near Lake Ouachita.
I’ll start with my hometown then go in alphabetical order.
The first syllable sounds like a cheerleader call. But I’m telling you people don’t say RAH - way. We say RAW - way. Yes, like raw meat. Making it more confusing is nj.com once asked the mayor and he foolishly answered that people say RAW but it’s really RAH. No, mayor. It’s not. I was born and raised there. I never heard ANYONE say RAH. And if that’s how everyone says it, sorry bud, it’s RAW.
So much can go wrong here. One can put the emphasis on AB - see - con. One could pronounce the se as suh instead of see. One can pronounce the con as con instead of the proper cun.
It is Ab - SEE - cun.
This could be All - a - MUCH - ee but it’s Al - a - MOOCH - ee. Like someone named Al is mooching off of you.
Natives know it’s BER - nards - ville and not like the name Ber - NARDS - ville. Wrong wrong wrong!
Whenever I see this town I have to stop, say the name of the city in Colombia in my head, then say it the opposite way out loud to get it right. It’s Buh - GO - tuh.
Anyone who took high school Spanish can mess this up. Forget Spanish! It’s BYOO - nah!
Where’s the emphasis? You could go with DONE - el - lun. But it’s Done - EL - lun. Heyyyyy! Is this why Kinnelon trips me up?
Outsiders might guess it’s MAN - a - LAP - pin. But it’s actually, as we know, Man - AL - a - pin.
There’s a lot of wrong ways to say this town but the only right way is Mount EEE - frum. Period.
This is so counterintuitive it’s ridiculous. Looks like the accent should be on Oak. It’s not. It’s pronounced Oak - LIN.
I’ll end with one from the county I’m in now. You would think it’s said just like the army rank. Well you’d have to drop and give us 20 if you said it that way, because it’s SUR - gents - ville.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.