Thursday, January 17, 2008


What goes on in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but while in Vegas doing that which should stay there, they request that you use the proper inflections when uttering their state's name out loud. Only a notch below taking the Lord's name in vain, pronouncing Nevader wrong can get the unprepared poor slob from away into hotwater. More than just a few folks in Nevader are a tad touchy over what they view as serious disrespect.

It is such a big issue out there, Google popped up with 183,000 hits when I typed in Nevada, Pronunciation. There are websites dedicated to tracking how many of our pop icons and pols mispronounce it. They definitely seem to have their panties in a bunch over this. Some opinion piece on even suggests that visitors learn how to say it properly before they think of stopping in for a visit.

When Brian Williams, News anchor extraordinaire of NBC mispronounced it, the local NBC affiliate was inundated with angry emails. Some threatening to never watch that station again. It became such a big deal that during the recent Democratic Debate, not one candidate mispronounced it. Some it seemed took extra effort to emphasis their grip on the name. Barack said it like he was practicing a new language.

The issue seems to be whether it is Nev-ah-duh or Nev-aa-daa. Apparently Ne-Vaa-Daa is the choice of the local populace. Gotta tell ya that this seems a silly thing to get riled up about. Especially in a state that prides itself in encouraging visitors to let their hair down and do whatever they want as long as they drop a boatload of cash before they leave.

Maybe I never noticed their displeasure on my many trips through back in the day when I drove over the road. I was raised by a mother who had been born and raised in California. She probably embedded proper pronunciation at an early age. I cannot remember saying Nevada any other way than the way the locals do. Maybe it came naturally, maybe not. Anyway, I never had any citizen of Nevada correct me.

Which brings me to my point here. Well maybe just an observation or even a consideration. Take your pick.

What about the poor Mainer who visits that state. In Maine, many kids are raised with a speech peculiarity that has always made me chuckle. But I am sure the huffy folks in Nevada would not find it so endearing. Words that end in "a" often come out of the mouths of Mainers with an "er". Words that end in "er" often end up with an "a" instead. Say a Mainer was in Nevada and wanted to play some cards. He might ask innocently, "Say, I hear you folks here in Nevader have some wicked good Pokah games. Could you give me directions?" He might just be scolded instead of being told to take his first right and the Casino is on the left.

So to all you Nevadians( if that is how you call yourselves in plural sense.)get a grip fer chrisakes. Do what we Mainers do. Use the speech of folks from away to identify them and do not correct them. It's easier to keep an eye on them that way.


Noah said...

Wicked Pissah.

Roadside Manners said...

I lived in Utah for 4 years. With many trips to Sin City under my belt, I must admit that after consuming large amounts of alcohol my Maine accent was not a problem...

A Midnight Rider said...

When we are in their territory it's their call.
My youngest went to school in Peoria and in his dorm he was in chaage of gettin the gaaabidge outa da guttah.

Saying Illinoise was the least of his fopahs. Good thing he wasn't in Navadah though.

MRMacrum said...

I was born in the West - Colorado. Grew up all over the country. So I learned early that speech patterns varied greatly depending on where I was living. I also learned to assimilate my speech pattern to blend as well as possible wherever I happened to be. The consequence was that I ended up as an adult with idioms from the South, the West, New England. I will change pronunications in one sentence 3 or 4 times sometimes. I still use Ya'll. I still say Bawlamer for Baltimore. Sometimes shorten it to B-more. I abused "Wicked Good" for years. And yes, I call Nevader, Ne vaa - daa just like the locals. I managed to make my own speech the best of the worst so that whenever I opened my mouth, there was a regional slap in there somewhere.

I also learned that after 16 different schools before I graduated from high school, we are all the same even if we don't sound that way.