Because I’m interested in language, I tend to pay attention to the way people speak wherever I happen to be. Accents and regional dialects and pronunciations fascinate me. And the Hastings County/Eastern Ontario/North of 7 region where Raymond and I now live does not disappoint when it comes to regionalisms.
While there’s lots to report on that subject, tonight I thought I’d stick to the variations in pronunciations of some place names.
One such variation that I remember well from my childhood growing up here at the Manse in Queensborough was how people pronounced the name of Kaladar, a village about 25 miles to the east of us on Highway 7. Some people said “KALadarr (with the emphasis on the first syllable and the “a” in the second syllable short like the a in “cat”), while many others said “KalaDAYRE” (with the emphasis on the final syllable and the “a” long like in “care”). According to the rules of English pronunciation it should be the former, but in my experience the latter pronunciation is more common, most especially among those who have lived in the area all their lives. Because, you see, the dichotomy in pronunciation wasn’t just back in the years of my childhood; upon my return to this area, I have discovered that it very much still exists. Interesting.
And then there’s a very common name, Moira. In central/south Hastings County there is a major lake by that name, and a major river, and also a hamlet. My unscientific research has reached the conclusion that it’s about half and half between those who pronounce Moira as MOYR-a and those who say Moe-EYE-ra. Me, I go for the former, but what does that mean? Who’s to say which is right and which is wrong?
Because it’s all part of the local colour, isn’t it? Life would be rather dull if we all did and said things the same way. Including how we pronounce the places around us.