29 Place Names You've Probably Been Mispronouncing Your Whole Life

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Shame comes in all sorts of shapes and pops up in all types of situations. However, one of the most searing varieties surfaces when you learn, after years of saying something one way, a word you thought you knew how to pronounce is actually properly said an entirely other way. It's the verbal equivalent of spending the day walking around with swagger and flashing a zealous smile, only to retire home and find kale from lunch wedged deep in a front row of teeth.

In college, I worked at a record store. An older gentleman who fancied himself quite hip among the youths regularly sparked conversation about this up-and-coming artist Sufjan Stevens. (I'm dating myself; This was around 2007.) Now truly, the name Sufjan isn't a super common one so his mispronunciation wasn't exceptional. It was his unwavering commitment to continue pronouncing it suf-JAN for all time. I tried several times to correct him—that it was actually said "SOOF-yawn"—before finally giving up. It's like how in New York you can spot a tourist in Greenwich Village immediately when they refer to Houston as "HYOO-stun" instead of employing the proper "HOUSE-ton". It's fine, it's OK. There's not much hope in getting other folks learned—but you can get learned yourself, right here, right now. Let's get started.

Nationally

Bethesda, Md.

Say it: buh-THEZ-duh

Boerne, Texas

Say it: ber-NEE

Cairo, Ga. & Cairo, Ill.

Say it: CAY-roh

Des Moines, Iowa

Say it: DUH-moyn

Helena, Mont.

Say it: HELL-eh-nah

Kissimmee, Fla.

Say it: ka-SIM-mee

La Jolla, Calif.

Say it: la HOY-uh

Louisville, Ky.

Say it: LOO-a-vuhl

Milan, Mich.

Say it: my-LEN

Patchogue, N.C.

Say it: patch-hog

Schenectady, N.Y.

Say it: ski-NECK-tuh-dee

Schley, N.C.

Say it: sly

Sequim, Wa.

Say it: sqwim

Spokane, Wa.

Say it: spo-CAN

Versailles, Ky.

Say it: ver-SAY-els

Waukesha, Wisc.

Say it: WAH-ki-sha

Worchester, Mass.

Say it: WUSS-TER

Internationally

Beijing, The People's Republic of China

Say it: BEY-jing

Brisbane, Australia

Say it: briz-bin

Budapest, Hungary

Say it: bo-duh-PESHT

Colombia

Say it: co-LOHM-bee-uh

Iran

Say it: ee-RAHN

Iraq

Say it: ee-ROCK

Montreal, Canada

Say it: MUN-tree-awl

Mumbai, India

Say it: MOOM-bye

Niger

Say it: nee-ZHAIR

Pakistan

Say it: PAH-khee-stahn

Phucket, Thailand

Say it: poo-get

The River Thames, England

Say it: TEMS

Did that help clear things up at all? Hope so. Ultimately, you decide whether or not you wanna continue openly longing for a beachside vacation in f*ck-it. That's your call.

Images: Lovely Nymphet/Instagram; Getty Images; Giphy (7)