I live in Kansas. I have for most of my life. Some people from other parts of the country think that I have an accent. Just because the words “think” and “thank” sound the same when they come out of my mouth does not mean I have an accent! 🙂
In Wichita, there is a river. It is called the Arkansas River, or the Ark. There is also the Little Ark. Also, there is a town in south Kansas called Arkansas City. Unless you live in this region, as you are reading this, I bet you are pronouncing Arkansas as you would the state name. I would say you are WRONG! I learned this the hard way. I am not a native Wichitan. I moved here after college. I mispronounced the name of the river within the first week of moving here. I was made fun of, laughed at, and just generally embarrassed. “Duh! It’s the Ar-KANSAS river.” Oh, excuse me, I bet when it crosses the state line into Oklahoma, it turns back into the Arkansas River. Silly names.
I just had a conversation with a co-worker about the state named Illinois. I pronounced it with an S sound at the end. He said, “Are you kidding me? The S is silent.” Really? Why would they put it there if it was silent?
My parents moved to Missouri when I was in college. Missouri is a beautiful state. For some reason when I say the name, it sounds like “Misery.” Maybe it is only to my ears. I try not to say the name. Oh, if you live in Missouri, it is “Missour-Ah.” That makes a lot of sense. Maybe they got tired of people saying they live Misery, so they decided to start saying Missour-Ah.