10 Tricky Town Names Iowans Should Know How to Pronounce
When it comes to town names in Iowa, there are a lot of odd and peculiar town names. Being an Iowa transplant, I've had to learn how to pronounce several town names myself (ones I will mention later in this piece).
With the help of The Des Moines Register, I thought I would compile a list of 10 often mispronounced Iowa town names:
1. Maquoketa, IA:
I remember a sign for Maquoketa, IA completely mystifying me the first time I drove to Dubuque en route for a new apartment. The correct pronunciation is "muh-COKE-uh-tuh." However, it is funny to hear people say "Mah-KOE-KAY-tah."
2. Buena Vista, IA:
The northwestern Iowa town of Buena Vista ("BYOO-nuh VIH-stuh") is common to trip people up, especially those not from Iowa.
3. Guttenberg, IA:
I actually got into an argument with a friend (from Illinois) about the pronunciation of Guttenberg, IA. He insisted there was no way it wasn't "GOO-ten-berg." It isn't. It's "GUT-in-berg."
4. Tripoli, IA:
The town of "trih-POH-luh" Iowa merely has over 1,000 people, and is part of the Waterloo-Cedar Falls metro area.
5. What Cheer, IA:
One of the funniest town signs you're liable to see in the state of Iowa is the one for "What Cheer, IA." What a goofy name for a town. Furthermore, there are two different ways you can pronounce it: "WAT-cheer" or "WUH-cheer."
6. Chillicothe, IA:
I last worked not terribly far from a Chillicothe, IL, so I was already versed on how to pronounce this tricky Iowa town name. Alas, some don't. Say it with me: "chill-uh-KAW-thee."
7. Delhi, IA:
I confess to having screwed up the pronunciation of this town on the radio when I first moved to the area. I got a few calls on it even. The town in Iowa is not pronounced like the city in Indian, but instead, "del-HIGH."
8. Camanche, IA:
Conventional wisdom and the thought of Native American roots in the Midwest region make you want to pronounce this Mississippi River border-town as "Camanchee." However, it's pronounced "cah-MANCH."
9. Nevada, IA:
Pronouncing this town the same way as the state itself would be too easy. In Iowa, Nevada is pronounced "neh-VAY-duh." Also fascinating: despite having a significantly smaller population than Ames, Nevada is the county seat of Story County, per The Des Moines Register.
10. Adel, IA:
The town of "ay-DELL" is home to Harry Stine, the wealthiest man in the state of Iowa.
Find more difficult-to-pronounce town names in Iowa on The Des Moines Register's website.
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Gallery Credit: Johnny Marks