State Names

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.


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