12 of the Most Commonly Mispronounced Town Names in Maine
If you spend enough time in Maine, you'll come to find that there is a whole host of territories, villages, towns, and even cities with some interesting names. Many of those names are derived from history and heritage, and some can be challenging for the tongue.
While a pass can be given to anyone who may stumble on their first or second try attempting to pronounce 'Kenduskeag', there are other town names in Maine that people have consistently stumbled on over the years.
A thread on Reddit posed the question, and the responses flooded in. Here's a look at the 12 most commonly mispronounced town names in Maine.
As Maine's popularity has grown, the mispronouncing of Bangor has decreased. But that doesn't mean it's gone away entirely. There's still far too many referring to the city as "Banger" versus how Mainers would prefer you say it. Skip the 'ger' and put your focus on the 'gore' instead. Stephen King would prefer it that way.
Visitors from Massachusetts have notoriously been awful at pronouncing many town names in Maine. But this is one that they don't miss. Visitors from other states? That's a whole different story. The most common mispronunciation seems to split the town name in two, with people referring to it as "Tops-ham". It's anything but that.
Perhaps we can blame this one on pop culture and a thick Downeast accent. Someone recently asked a question on Reddit, because they had heard several different pronunciations of Bath. Don't overthink this one, even if you heard a grumpy old fisherman refer to it as "Baaath"
If you're a fan of the home improvement show Fixer Upper, then you can probably understand how people mess up the town of Saco. Chip and Jo Gaines live in Waco, Texas, and it's awfully easy for someone to look at Saco and pronounce it the same way. But instead of "Say-co", think "Saw-co" and everything will be fine.
There are quite of few towns in Maine with European-inspired names, including the town of Vienna. Everyone should be given a pass because you'd think the town would be pronounced like its Euro-sister city. But not in Maine. Instead, locals pronounce the town "Vye-enna". You've been warned.
There's a fair amount of debate about how to pronounce Calais properly. With its close proximity to Canada, many visitors as well as hardened locals with refer to the city as "Cal-lay". But for the majority of the rest of the state, it's pronounced "Cal-liss". The debate will rage on.
You could literally twist yourself into knots attempting to pronounce this town name properly. Many native Mainers would have zero idea how to pronounce this small island town, with visitors tossing out even worse guesses. Despite a whole lot of vowels, the pronunciation is quite simple: "I-la-ho".
Old Orchard Beach
It's another town name that just seems so indisputable. How could anyone pronounce this incorrectly? The truth is, some of the French-Canadian visitors over the years (along with many who carry the heritage and accent) began calling OOB "Old Dorchard Beach". Something about separating that first 'd' and second 'o'. You'll still hear this pronunciation every summer.
This is easily one of the most mispronounced towns in Maine, even by people who visit year after year. That's because it's all about where you put the emphasis. If you get into the bad habit of calling it "Da-mare-a-scotta", it's going to be tough to break. Talk yourself into saying it like "Dam-ra-scotta" instead.
Up in the county, there can be a lot of interesting pronunciations for things. That includes the town of St. Agatha, which would seem like another pretty straightforward name. But generations of blending French with English have left most everyone in the area referring to the town as "Sen-a-got", or something quite similar. Agatha doesn't exist in that neck of the woods.
Despite a world-renowned college sharing the same name as the town, it remains one of the most commonly mispronounced places in Maine. The "Bow" part is never an issue, it's the "–doin". Many want to treat it like "coin" with a 'd'. As any good Mainer knows, it's "Bow-din".
One of the longest-running mispronounced town names in Maine is Kennebunk. Much of the mess has been blamed on visitors from Massachusetts, who have been known to replace vowels with an a for no apparent reason. Hence, "Ken-a-bunk" was born. There's no 'a' in the name but there is an 'e'. "Ken-e-bunk" works even better.
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