Hey foreign languages are hard ok? Just ask Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich.But they’re not the only ones. Americans, in general, have a hard time with languages. All those accents, characters, and genders. Who needs them?
Our trouble with tongues is perhaps best demonstrated by how we’ve come to pronounce the names of many of our cities and states.
Though most of these places derive their names from foreign words, you would hardly be able to tell that by the way we pronounce them today.
And while no one expects that we pronounce the names of places in OUR OWN country any differently, it’s still fun to see how far off we’ve gone.
Quick what's the capital of Vermont? If you passed third grade, you should remember that it's Montpelier, pronounced Mont-PEEL-yur. But, in the original French, it's actually pronounced Mont-PEL-ee-YAE.
In English, the beautiful port town of Calais, Maine is pronounced CAL-US (like callous). But en Français, it sounds more like CAL-ay.
Remember this the next time you're in Ohio. Toledo is To-LAY-Do only in Spain. Here, it's pronounced To-LEE-do.
Good luck with this one. Apparently, our beloved Coney (Co-NEE) Island was originally called Conyne Eylandt by the Dutch who settled much of New York.
You don't have to be a Cardinals fan to know that the Louis in St. Louis is pronounced Lew-IS. But in French it's Loo-WEE, as in King Louis or Louis C.K.
Chalk this one up to those ol' settlers. What we've come to know as Waukesha (WAH-kee-SHA) is actually an Anglicized version of the Chippewas Indian word for 'little fox,' pronounced WAU-goosh-sha.
Nowadays, Baton Rouge is pronounced BAT-uhn Roozh, but back before the Louisiana Purchase, it sounded more like Bah-tone Roozh.
Named after French-Canadian explorer Louis Jolliet, you'd think Joliet, Illinois is pronounced ZHO-lee-ay, but actually it's JOH-lee-et. But be careful, don't ever pronounce it JOLLY-et, or you can be looking at a $5 fine. That's right, it's actually illegal to mispronounce Joliet while in city limits.
This one's kind of cute. In French, DeBordieu would sound like Deh-bord-eu. But residents of the small private beach community just call it Debby-do. Aww...
The 'c' in Tucson is not just for show. While today we call it TOO-sawn, in the original Spanish it would sound like TUK-son.
In its original Spanish, Nevada is typically pronounced Ne-VAH-duh, but here, we just call it Ne-VAD-uh.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.