You’re Saying It Wrong: An Outsider’s guide to local pronunciations

Having lived in three different places, I’ve come to learn some of the local slang, colloquialisms, and ‘correct’ pronunciations of things. I’ve noticed that a common theme between Rochester, Boston, and Los Angeles are the different neighborhoods in each city which are totally pronounced the opposite way of what your brain thinks. Here are some I’ve found questionable after stepping out of the city limits.

1) Rochester (RAH-chester)

Interestingly enough, Rochesterarians are known for their odd, slightly midwestern accent. It’s nasally and weird. When I was home for Christmas, it was more evident than usual that the strangers around me at the mall were total Rochies, exaggerating their vowels. It’s actually a good test to see if someone is a native Rochesterarian or not, by asking them to say the name of the city. If you don’t stretch out that Raaaaahhhchester, you’re probs from like, Albany or the city, where they think ‘upstate’ New York is Westchester.

2) Chili (CHI-lai)

You’d think this five letter word is said ‘CHI-lee’, but as a suburb of ROC, you say it CHIli, rhyming with the alcoholic drink ‘mai-tai’.

3) Charlotte (shar-LOT)

Rochester is right on Lake Ontario, so naturally there is a beach. Or something that resembles a beach when the waters aren’t deemed toxic. However, this beach is not like the North Carolina city, home of the Bobcats or Bachelorette Emily Maynard. It’s questionably said with an emphasis on the second syllable , because that makes more sense.

4) Woburn (WOO-burn)

Not WHOA, BURNN (that was stupid, move on).

5) Quincy (QUIN-zee)

If you pronounce President John Quincy Adams as President John KWINSEE Adams, you’ve been doing it wrong your whole life. Quincy was the birthplace of the President, hence its namesake. The town was named following the pronunciation of the family name, but people have been saying it wrong for years. Have a Bostonian tell you the right way to say it. Or take the red line and see where you end up.

6) Worcester (WUSS-ter)

It’s not ‘Worcestershire Sauce’ so don’t say it like that. But if you ask a native Bostonian, they’ll say it the way it’s really supposed to be said, ‘woos-tah’.

7) Los Feliz

Yeah I actually still don’t know what the correct pronunciation of this is. I hear two different versions all the time. All I know is that Lauren Graham lives there, next to Natalie Portman. So I mean, there’s that.

2 thoughts on “You’re Saying It Wrong: An Outsider’s guide to local pronunciations

    • I think you’re correct, but I always say it the Spanish sounding way, and then get confused. Also, that way you spelled out “Lohz-Feel-Iss” is making me chuckle uncontrollably.


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