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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Media Pronunciation Alert - Get Those Maine Names Right!

Kennebunkport Maine is a gorgeous place, especially when glamorous newscasters stand in front of a pristine Atlantic Ocean coastal scene to tell the entire world about the state of our planet. "Reporting live from Kenn-a-bunkport....". Ughhhh, please get it right!

Cute sounding media newscasters or commentators must think they sound freshly "local" or suave when reporting from beautiful Maine places. Have you noticed how they universally try to re-educate those who live here about how to pronounce the names of the places they're reporting on? It's like, we don't know how to talk, but they do.

Frankly, I'm plain weary of hearing Kennebunkport, Maine reported as someplace I've never been to, because, the correct pronunciation of this tiny coastal town is nearly always incorrectly slurred by newscasters. It's "Ken-kneee-bunk-port"! Please do not say "Kenn-a-bunk-port", as though you media people know more than those who live here. These mis-pronunciations are starkly irritating to those who live in Maine, particularly in Southern Maine (a sort of separate place, like the 51st state in the Union). Likewise, with the name of Bangor - a city in the "real Maine". Its name is "Ban-gore". Please don't try as, what you think, is native joal by mis-pronouncing the name as "Ban-ger". Mis-pronouncing Bangor, known as Maine's Queen City, sounds like a hillbilly sipping tea at high noon with a little pinky finger up - just ridiculous.

NBC's Lisa Myers is most guilty of slurring Kennebunkport's four syllable name. Also, Scott Simon on National Public Radio needs correcting, too.

According to the posting at the Kennebunkport Historical Society webpage, the local history is thus:

"Though the exact date of the earliest settlement in the area now known as Kennebunkport is uncertain, historical evidence indicates that it cannot have been much later than that of the founding of the Plymouth Colony. It is known that for many years prior to the first permanent habitation, the islands along the Cape Porpoise shore were used for fish drying and as a summer headquarters by those who came to tap the rich resources of the coastal fishing banks. In 1653, the town was first incorporated as Cape "Porpus" and became subject to the government of Massachusetts. Entirely depopulated by Indian depredations in 1689, the town was resettled early in the 1700's and renamed Arundel by permission of the Massachusetts General Court in 1719. This designation remained until 1821, when, having become a bustling port of entry for foreign trade, with a custom house, the town was given its present name of Kennebunkport."

(You gotta love the use of the word "depredations" meaning, destructive operations; ravages. Sadly, these depredations were "massacres". Colonial French and Indian Wars of the 17th and 18th centuries were serial massacres on all three incendiary sides of the triangular - British, French and First Nations - power equation.)

Alright, maybe mispronouncing towns' names isn't quite as bad as using words that don't really say what they mean.

Anyway, for media types who take time to read what's written about "them", I say this, "Hey, listen up!".

Don't say "Kenn-a-bunkport" when it's really "Kennebunkport" and don't say "Banger" when it's "Bangor".

Maybe, you can even teach the Russian news media who cover President Vladimir Putin, to get it right, as well.

Okay? Otherwise, enjoy your stay in beautiful Maine during July, our most gloriously beautiful month of the year. By the way, we'll be glad when you take the crowds and traffic jams, caused by your stay, back home with you.

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