How to Pronounce Oregon 

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Reader Comments (157)

Hey Guys

You ain't even trying. How about having a go at this place in the UK.
It's for real. Look it up on the map. It's on the isle of Anglesey,Wales, near the Menai Bridge.

Good luck


September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGeorgedmann

I gotta say, I think a great many Americans need to learn how to pronounce quite a few different words - especially "aluminium." :-p

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRK

Interesting. I never knew that the pronunciation of Oregon was even an issue, but of course it would be.

Having grown up in Illinois, I can tell you that we were pretty annoyed at people who wanted to pronounce the S at the end of it.

I live in Connecticut now. Strangely, out of staters don't seem to have any trouble pronouncing that.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMP

Hehe, amusing. Reminds me of the indian names we have here in Florida. There's a city near Orlando called Kissimmee, (kiss-im-ee) but the tourists and new blood here always call it "kiss-a-me."

And don't even get me started on how people mispronounce Econlockhatchee (river), Tohopekaliga (lake), or Narcoossee (small town/hamlet).

But at least those names are spelled phonetically, given the local indians didn't have their own writing. I'm not sure how I can pronounce it "or-ay-gun" when it ain't spelled that way. I always heard it pronounced "or-eh-gun."

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew

Programmer at Arms beat me to it. It's "Nuh-VA-duh", NOT "Neh-VAH-dah". So, think "bath" instead of "father". :)

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChristina LMT

Woo hoo! A third comic for the week, this MWF schedule is great! Thanks so much! And congratulations on sorting things out to be able to do this!

It was strong of you to resist some of the Ohio town pronunciations. I feel sorry for people from Versailles OH who in theory need to correct peoples' pronunciations of their town with "No, actually it is (hushed whisper) vur-sales."

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMuddie

I'm not from the States, and really irritate my friends from West Virginia by pronouncing it "Virginia".

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEnkidum

I have only one thing to say - Newark / Nork / Nurk. It all depends on which Newark you are talking about.

Brilliant, it took me a moment to catch "or you're butchering Maine."

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFrank M

Great comic! You could revolutionize the nation! After all, you never hear people say "YO-seh-might" Valley any more, thanks to Yosemite Sam.

Now can you help with Spokane, WA?

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria

Me and my wife get into a fight constantly cause she says Warshington, instead of washington.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFox k

I've had to use similar tactics (especially panel 3) to explain to people how to pronounce Norfolk. It's Nor and then a four letter word that I can't really post here that starts with an f (basically the l is silent).

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJames

Nice. I can relate to the whole "native pronunciation vs. phonetic spelling" thing - in Virginia we have all kinds of crazy stuff like that. My parents are originally from North Carolina and when they moved to Henrico County in VA, they assumed it was pronounced "HEN-rick-oh" (it's "hen-RYE-co"). The town where I grew up is spelled "Staunton" and pronounced "Stanton," even though people in that area prounounce "aunt" exactly as it's spelled (my parents always pronounced it as "ant" in NC). And in Charlottesville, there's a Rio Road (I think it's a Road, anyway - might be called something else) that's pronounced "RYE-oh."

Also, I found out the hard way that while it's perfectly acceptable to prounounce the name of a certain chain of mountains "app-ah-LATCH-an" in North Carolina, Virginians (at least in the area where I grew up, near said mountains) pronounce it "app-ah-LAY-chan" and will laugh you out of the room if you don't. >:(

(That said, I have nothing against Virginians - I've lived in the state my whole life and point out the eccentricities here in the most affectionate way possible. :) Also, Scott, I love your comic - been reading it for a while now, and have gotten a lot of laughs out of it. Keep up the good work!)

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVA Girl

And, of course, there's "Missoura" as well.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMe

I already switched to 'New Orlns' instead of 'New Orleens'. But there is no way I'm saying 'Ar Kansas' instead of 'Arkansaw'

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSean C.

An interesting side note, a person from Paris, France recently asked me why I have a Canadian accent. My answer, "because I'm from Washington" didn't seem to satisfy her.

September 24, 2010 | Registered CommenterScott Meyer

"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!!" -- Matt L

Matt - How do you pronounce "Germany"? See, I pronounce it the way they do it there -- "Deutschland"

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermeanmutton

As a person from England, "or a gun" is almost certainly not how you'd like me to pronounce Oregon. Luckily I understand the schwa (which, in England, is not the same sound as the vowel sound in 'gun'). Also of note, English "a" is not the same vowel sound as Oregon's middle vowel, either rhyming with 'hay' or, well, at the very least not being another schwa. Basically, for an English person, it's pretty safe to assume that all American vowel sounds are going to be a schwa.

(I honestly don't know what the middle vowel of Oregon should sound like, I suspect a hard i is more likely than a hard a, but most likely of all, by the American rule, is "another schwa".)

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRavenBlack

Awww... was hoping for the obligitory "Oregon donor" comment. Around here, it's always been Warshinton and Organ.

We always wondered WHICH organ, specifically, but that line of thinking always tends to get our Bend buddies riled up. ;-)

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWarshintonian

How could any outsider NOT know that Rutherfordton, NC is pronounced "ROFF-tun" by the locals? And of course, throughout Los Angeles and other areas of So-Cal there are Spanish names like Tujunga and Cahuenga that are constantly butchered by non-locals and/or non-Spanish-speakers. But what really gets my goat are people who think that natives of Italy use "EYE-talian" dressing on their salads! HUH?

Thankfully, I have always known how to pronounce "Or-a-gun" (and for you folks that always make that "a" long - shame on you! It's ALSO a schwa!)

LOVE 3x/wk comix, Scott! Thanx so much!

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBI Fan

Grew up in Kansas myself... went to southern Kansas and heard someone refer to the Ar-Kansas river. I wish I were making that up. And the state just to the east of Kansas, Misery; to be honest I've done that myself though, it's just funnier.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGekkobear

Great stuff! And as the first commenter stated, Nevada suffers similar butchery.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick

Thank You! I go to Arizona State, Oregon Native. The Pac 10 saves me a lot of frustration, but I dated a lady from Pittsburgh. She'd say that just to taunt me after my first mock fury at her pronunciation. D:

I always tell people that the only thing that in Oregon, guns are used exclusively for people who say Or-eh-gone. And Californians.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKirby-oh

I grew up on the east coast, near Baw-murr Mrr-lun but my mother wouldn't let me speak the native language... it made me very unpopular -saying foreign words like "Baltimore" and "Maryland"

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDee

This comic works if the "a" in the "or-a-gun" slide is pronounced with an "uh" sound. Not the sound when you are reciting the alphabet. That could create a whole new mess.

Just to clear that up.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGnit Picky ;)

As a native, a NATIVE, Seattlelite, every WASHingtonian I've ever met HATES the "Warshington" thing.

Is Scott reprimanding the co-worker or correcting him? It's ambiguous to me.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjeric

Here's your problem, folks. You need a really good singer to sing about your state, or have a band named ofter it.

However, it's still really hard to screw up "Georgia" or "Alabama."

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWing Zero

You should see how spelling and pronunciations go around in central Mexico: To start, the Classical Nahua pronuncation of Mexico is "Mejshico"... (that's a spanish j, not an english one), then try to see how you should pronunce Xochimilco, Jiutepec, Huitlacoches and Chipotle...

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKarel

Grew up in Bend Oregon now live in Seattle, loved this strip.

I think my favorite mispronunciation was from a gentleman from out of town. He asked me, "How do I get to tu-MAL-o? I'm trying to find the de-SCOOT-ees river".

Most out of staters can even pronounce Deschutes correctly.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBendite

How about New orleans? some say nawlins, some say new orleens, some say new orlians, new ahluns.
I like the southern dialect when the schwa is added at the end like these for example:

San Antoni-ah
Corpus Christ-ah

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjames yeamans

Coos Bay is good, but I'd have gone with Aloha.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMistressMousey

I've actually never heard Oregon mispronounced, and I'm from Tennessee. I would have more expected the joke to be about Nevada/Nevahda. Our big peeve down south is that we're from the appalachian mountains. That's Ap(as in apple) a(as in bug) la(as in laugh) chun(with a schwa) Not apuhlayshun, or appleaitchin(spits) I grew up in those mountains and people should pronounce them correctly.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAngel

I recall, from days of yore, the radio show Sandy Bradley's Potluck (produced in Seattle) signing off with, "And remember, there is no R in Warshington." Sometimes (sung to the opening bars of La Marseillaise) "There is no R in Warshington, and there is no T in acrost."

The Sequim/Puyallup/Willamette poster above had me worried about giving away all our shibboleths. Then I thought of Tulalip, and Cle Elum, and La Push, and I realized we had nothing to fear.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered Commentereritain

In response to Nevada, from a native Nevadan, and spanish speaker. The A sound is pronounced like the A in bad or dad or mad, as indicated earlier. If you want to the the "ah" sound instead, that's ok, but only if you pronounce the reset of the word as the spanish word...Nay-bah-dah.

As for Washington, my mom is a native Washingtonian, and my dad is from southern Utah. I've never heard the WaRshington pronunciation from my mom or any of her family or anyone else I knew from WA, but I've certainly heard it in Utah!

Oh yes, and Scott, excellent demonstration of the word Oregon. Except, having known so many politically-left people in the NW, I would change that statement from "I will defend myself with a knife or a gun" to "I want the government to ban the ownership of a knife or a gun".

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGreg

Benjamin, how can it be a "mute" point when it's about speech? (Just teasing. Spelling is even more challenging than pronunciation, and you want "moot." Unless you're making a VERY dry joke.)

And yes, Nevada Iowa is also pronounced with a long "a."

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatBallou

The third panel made me laugh out loud...
I'm SO happy about this new schedule... Or is it pronounced "Shedule"?

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCopland

What many non-Oregonians don't seem to recognize is just how much it pisses us off when they mispronounce our state.

Take heed, New Yorkers: THERE WILL BE BLOOD.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChowder

You know how long it takes people to stop saying worsh-ing-ton, and now you're encouraging it; shame on you Scott, SHAME.
Nice touch with Coos Bay bty but why didn't just serve them up pud-Get Sound or Clem-el-lum?

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSam from Seattle

Native of Lake uh-SWEE-go, OR-uh-gun (not Lake oz-WAY-go, or-ee-GONE)!!!

I approve!

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

Now let's work on Aloha, Chehalis, The Dalles, Puyallup, and geoduck.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGary Krug

People of Washington get tired of people asking "State or D.C.?" We've created a secret code among ourselves No one says Warshington D.C.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJason
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