Friday, August 21, 2015

351 Town Names; No Rules

Massachusetts comprises 351 cities and towns; as I have written elsewhere, each is considered something like a sovereign nation, with all the efficiency that implies.

Some of the towns -- such as Bridgewater -- are compound English words that are easy to pronounce. Some are compound English words that are easy to pronounce but strange -- such as Braintree, while at least one is a native-American word that sounds like an odd English word: Mashpee.

But just as some common surnames have Massachusetts-only pronunciations (Gonsalves and Lopez each drop a syllable here), many of the cities and towns are difficult for foreigners to pronounce. And in this context, "foreigner" might include anyone not born in the town in question. Even apparently simple names -- like Dartmouth -- are not what they seem. Others sound almost nothing like they are spelled.

For some levity and instruction, we turn of course to YouTube.

First, some out-of-staters try ten of the hardest. This includes maps and a lot of earnest, if failed, attempts. In some cases, it is actually difficult to avoid obscenity. The entire concept of letters is called into question.

The GuyBoys -- whoever they are -- give it a try. Listen to the end for some meta comments.

Finally, a few more, with funny pictures.

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