Get ready, America. The national media has started to release annual “Top 5” or “Top 10” lists for 2020.
This list caught my eye. It’s the Top Five Mispronounced Words of 2020.
According to Babbel, the following made the year end list.
- Kamala Harris
- Anthony Fauci
- Leonardo da Vinci
This got me thinking about mispronounced words in my neck of the woods. There are many, but here’s my Top 5 (with two bonus words thrown in).
The correct pronunciation is Ka-seal-off. I give people a lot of leeway when they try to pronounce the the name of this village/river for the first time. When you look at it, Castle-off immediately comes to mind.
The correct pronunciation is Den-all-e. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard it pronounced Denna-lee.
”Hey, were going to spend the day in Sea-ward…” I’m always perplexed by this one. The correct pronunciation is Sue-word.
Most of the time, when I’m asked about this area of the peninsula people usually stop at Nin. They don’t know how to finish the word. I’ve also met people who call it Nunnel-chuck. The correct pronunciation is Nin-ill-chick.
My dad was the first person I heard incorrectly say this word. A little backstory. In the spring of 1985, I was a college student in Fairbanks. My dad flew up from Minnesota to see me, but I really think it was an excuse to go fishing. We had no concrete plans where we were going to go, but that quickly changed when we saw the front page headline of the local newspaper. It read, “World Record King Salmon Caught on Kenai River.”
My dad asked me, “where’s the Kenny River.”
I replied, “it’s a nine hour drive south of here.”
His response, “well, we’re GOING!!!”
When we arrived in Soldotna (another word often mispronounced), we quickly found out the town and the river is pronounced Keen-eye. Besides my dad’s Kenny pronunciation, most will mispronounce it as Ken-eye.
It’s not Talk, it’s Toke. If I remember my history correctly, this town was known as Little Tokyo when the AlCan Highway was being built in 1942. It was shortened to Tok, hence the pronunciation, Toke.
If you’re from Central America, you would pronounce this as Val-does. Alaska likes to be different, so it’s pronounced Val-deeze.
Like I said earlier, this list could be a lot longer. Nonetheless, I hope my deep dive into these 5 mispronunciations (plus 2) will help the would be traveler to Alaska sound like a local.