How to Pronounce Oregon 

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Reader Comments (157)

Oh! Oh! Don't forget that MANY Americans need instruction on how to pronounce "Nevada", as well.

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterProgrammer At Arms

Warshington! Not only instructive but perfect! So was the superhero origins story, I add belatedly. Sheer brilliance.

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPaula

Heh. We have a town nearby that no one but the locals can pronounce: Maryville. When Lamar Alexander ran for president a while back, it was funny to hear the national news anchors call his home town, "Mary-ville." Tom Brokaw apparently knew better and sported a button that said "Mur-vull."

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThatJeff

As an Oregonian I highly approve of this comic.

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDan Lower

And don't even get me started on "Illinois."

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCorbie

As a child of a West Coast family living on the East Coast, I've had this conversation far too many times.

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJM

I grew up in Oregon but go to school out of state and it is SO HARD to explain to people how it's pronounced. Problem solved!

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterOr A Gun-ian

...and now we all know what part, too! XD

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterstormagnet

Scott, you are my hero! As a Oregon native, I cannot tell you how many times I've had to correct people on this. Truly, you have mastered the Northwest. Thank you for making the world a more intelligent place.

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNick

Hahaha, my grandpa used to pronounce Washington as "Warshinton." Haven't heard that one in awhile. (I grew up and live in Washington.)

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDonald K.

I have a friend from Oregon. I get much enjoyment out of purposely mispronouncing it as "ore-gone". (Especially when I introduce him to people he hasn't met yet and I get them to say "So I hear you're from Ore-gone!" >=)

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBraden

Yay Oregon! Born and raised in Bandon, living in Coos Bay now, though I still think North Bend, Eastside, Empire, and Coos Bay should all just consolidate into one large city.

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJordan

Or-ay-gun just doesnt' sound right.

We have the same problem but within the borders for Illinois. The north half of the state pronounces it: ill-ih-noy The south half pronounces it: ell-ih-noy.

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJason

I thought this was very funny, and it had the added benefit of being accurate. I'm on a crusade (a lazy crusade, but still) to convince people who live in Beaverton to pronounce it "Beavertron".

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertrespassers

Ha ha! So true. Then there's the "Oar-Ree-Gone" pronunciation. Of course, "Warshinton" is some strange Utah affectation.

However, some people DO understand phonetic spelling somewhat, so it gets worse for cities within Oregon. Many outsiders say Pendleton "Pen-dull-ton", while locals pronounce it "Pen-ull-ton".

Then again, with the number of Native American names that exist within the Pacific Northwest region, people screw up many city names, and not just in Oregon.

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjaklumen

Haaaaha. This was great.
And I don't care how you folks pronounce the i's in illinois, as long as you don't say the s. There's only one Illinois. I promise.

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrandom girl

I've noticed that only people from Washington say "Warshington."

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElBruce

It's a mute point, since everyone knows Portland, Maine is far superior (I kid, I've never been to either city).

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBenjamin B

There are far worse place names than Oregon. For example, my wife is from Rapid City, South Dakota. Imagine my surprise when I learned that I'd been mispronouncing their capital for more than 30 years. Apparently "Pierre" is not pronounced like the French-ey name it looks like (Pee-AIR), but is actually pronounced like the man-made water protrusion (Pier).

And just for humor's sake, we now live near Ballmer, Merlin.

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterZebTheTroll

I live in Kentucky, and only a native can pronounce Louisville correctly. It's not "LEW-eee-vil", it's "LEW-a-vul". Sort of. I mean, you barely pronounce the "a" in the middle. Maybe you just have to live here...

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAdam H.

For those not from Oregon, the inside joke here is "Coos Bay". Officially, it's pronounced "koose" (rhymes with "goose"), but I've heard a lot of people pronounce it "kooze" (rhymes with "news"), and not as a joke.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjonesey

I come from Lafayette, IN. The great thing about this is that you can tell if someone is from Lafayette by how they spell/Pronounce it.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Great Danton

Amusing comic, Scott.

2 pronunciations of "Nevada" (state), involving the second syllable.

1. Nevada locals use the "va" with the a sounding like it does in the word bad.
2. Spanish uses the "va" with the a sounding like when you go to the doctor when s/he has you say "ahhhh". State locals really dislike hearing this.

Side note:
There's a city in MO with the same name, but it's pronounced "Ne-VAY-da" - at least that's what I was told from someone who lived in SW MO. That's one way to irk both groups 1 and 2.
No idea how the city in IA is correctly said. Probably more along the lines of the one in MO.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdesertdolphin

I just had an argument with my parents about this a couple of months ago, over Iran. I pronounce it the way a coworker FROM THAT COUNTRY does - which is e-rahn. They insist that it should be pronounced i-ran, and that the way that country chooses to pronounce it is irrelevant... HUH?? It is their pronunciation of their own country's name - how can that be irrelevant?!? Gahh!!

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMatt L

Let's start pronouncing some NW towns--Sequim, Puyallup, Willamette, and so many others are just so fun to hear people asking about.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDrew

Thank you. Now if only people could say "Willamette" would this issue be over.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTomtom

God dammit, it's Willamette.

Is this your way of saying you're coming to visit? Or you've already come and gone...

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChris

I live in Spokane, WA, and my grandmother used to pronounce it "Warshington"... Used to drive me up the WALL.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

Now just try to explain "Couch".

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterwarriortwo

"Neh-VAH-duh" is the only correct pronunciation, but that's only for people who actually know how to speak Spanish. But what do I know? I'm from Austin, Texas, where we pronounce Manchaca as "Man-Shack" and Guadalupe as "Guada-Loop".

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLevon Charleyhorse

I was hoping for a side mention of how few Americans can pronounce "oregano" correctly. And "basil" and "herbs", for that matter.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

I've found a better way to get people to pronounce it correctly is to tell them, "Say 'ore', then say 'ore' again."

(Grew up in Washington, now live in Oregon.)

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRunningFool

Warshinton... heheheh.

I was born in Spokane, and it was always Washington to me, but some of the older folks in the family said it Warshinton. They also drank arnge juice and thought Little Red Riding Hood was eaten by a wuff.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermelissa

Very nice -- and I see I'm about the, oh, 20th person from Oregon to write. Thanks for doing your part to help people out.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRob K.

Jaklumen, the Utah affectation would be "Warshin-un". They have some hatred of the letter "t" there. But somehow, they pronounce "Utah" just like you'd expect. I lived there for almost 3 years, and never figured out when to drop the t.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertom

Having grown up in Oregon, I always tell people that if they pronounce it that way, I'll have to kill them, and I'll either use a knife OREGON.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterC. R.

I suppose it doesn't help that I've lived 33 years within 10 miles of Oregon, Wisconsin.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEvil Jim

Since my parents live 45 minutes from Coos Bay, I've gotta say this strip was made of win on many levels. Interesting to see how many Or-a-gunians read this strip.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWB

Being that I'm from Philadelphia, "water" becomes "warter" when my accent kicks in.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMatt P

I had direct experience of this when I moved from Portland to Virginia at the age of 7 or 8. Drove me crazy at the time. It definitely is the natives who get to decide how to pronounce their home. I remember hearing the British on the BBC butchering the pronunciation of New Orleans (new or-le-ans) and Houston (house-ton) during the coverage of Katrina, yet they'd bristle and preen if an American were to pronounce Thames like it is spelled in their presence.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSean
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