What's In a Name, Nevada?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Welcome to Nevada (Flickr: jimmywayne)

From George W. Bush to Michelle Obama, political candidates have learned the hard way that if you want to get votes in Nevada, you need to know how to pronounce it like a local. But that isn't as clear-cut as it sounds. The linguistics are so disputed that outgoing Assemblyman Harry Mortenson is now working on a resolution that would make “neh-VAH-dah” an equally acceptable pronunciation as "neh-VA-dah." It is a political plea for tolerance.

Ian Mylchreest, senior radio producer on KNPR's "State of Nevada" details the debate.

Guests:

Ian Mylchreest

Produced by:

Kateri A. Jochum

Comments [3]

Me from Las Vegas

First off, the people defending the East Coast pronunciation usually say they are saying it the Spanish way. Unfortunately, that would be Nay-vahda.

But more importantly, how do these people pronounce Los Angeles? I don't hear them using the long "o" in Los or the "h" sound instead of a "j" sound in Angeles. Or how do they pronounce the name of our state's largest city? Do they change the "g" sound to an "h" sound?

Pronounce a place the way the locals tell you to, unless you are Louisville where no two people pronounce it the same way.

Aug. 24 2010 02:42 PM
Art Lynch from Boul

It's the state's name, nothing to do with root language. Hispanics here say it correctly in open conversation, just as they stick English words into conversations. The French explorers were the ones who named the area, with miners of every ethnic group accepting the proper way to say the states name! Check out the way the name is printed at this site: http://travelnevada.com/

Aug. 24 2010 01:58 PM
Sharon from Bronx, NY

I'm surprised that no one is mentioning the source of the name Nevada (or, for that matter, Colorado or Florida). These are Spanish words - Nevada meaning "snowed" or "snowy", Colorado "colored" or "colorful," and Florida "flowered" or "flowery." So my question would be: how does the Spanish-speaking population pronounce these state names - before readily accepting the English-speaking population's pronunciation and linguistic domination!

Aug. 24 2010 07:33 AM

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