Local Colour & Pronunciation

A recent but unrelated entry in another blog reminded me of strange place names around here and how they should be pronounced.

  • Two streets in Halifax (which actually intersect not too far from where I live) give some people a hard time:
    1. Agricola Street: Would you pronounce it Ag-ri-co-la (agricultural cola?)? Well, if so, you’d be wrong. It’s A-gric-ol-a.
    2. Duffus Street: A lot of people fail to notice the double F and accidentally pronounce it doof-uss. :->}
  • And did you know that Halifax has a South Park Street? (Yes, there’s also a shorter North Park Street.) South Park intersects a main street with one of the prettiest names anywhere: Spring Garden Road.
  • Halifax also has a Blowers Street, which to me doesn’t sound as distinguished as Barrington Street which it intersects.
  • Moving along to place names: Musquodoboit on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore. That’s a tough one, but it’s pronounced Mus-ka-daab-it.
  • Next: Newfoundland. Unless you want to give away the fact you’re “from away,” don’t pronounce it New-found-land. It’s Noof-‘n-land.
    • Speaking of Newfoundland, there are tons of priceless place names on the Rock. Apparently the village of Dildo is not too far from the village of Come-By-Chance.
    • The most trite place name in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador has to be Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
  • Most mangled place names in Nova Scotia: It’s a tie between Port Mouton on the South Shore and Main-à-Dieu on Cape Breton Island. Locals pronounce the first “Port Mut-toon,” not Por Moo-ton with a silent N. And the locals pronounce the second (which, when literally translated, means “God’s Hand”) Manidoo instead of Men-a-dyuh.
  • The Nova Scotia place name that’s the hardest to take seriously: Ecum Secum. It sounds like a place that has a problem with mice: First you go “eek” when you see ’em, then you seek ’em (to get rid of ’em, I suppose).
  • Come to think of it, I’m always surprised to hear Nova Scotia pronounced Nova Sco-she-a or Nova Sco-tee-a. It’s more along the lines of Nova Sco-sha, of course.
  • And finally, the honour of funniest place name anywhere in Canada has to go to the village of St.-Louis-du-Ha!-Ha! in Quebec.

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