Tempe: It’s Tem PEE, not TEM pee

In my previous post, I offered a very general outline of Arizona culture. Today, I’d like to help you pronounce some of our words, just in time for prime snowbird (winter guest) season. Please note that the following reflect how most mainstream Arizonans would say it. Particularly when it comes to Spanish and Native American inspired words, different groups may say them differently (or have entirely different words).

The iconic Wild West that tourists expect to see.(Tombstone)
The iconic Wild West that tourists expect to see. Copyright 2015, Melissa Hahn

 

Plants:
Acacia = uh KAY shuh
Agave = uh GAH vay
Chaparral = shap uh RAL
Cholla = CHOY uh
Creosote = CREE uh soht
Mesquite = mess KEET
Ocotillo = awk uh TEE yo
Palo Verde = PAL uh VER dee/ PAL oh VAYR day
Pinon = PIN yun
Saguaro = suh WAR oh
Yucca = YUCK uh

The beautiful border. Near Douglas/Agua Prieta on the way to the Chiricahuas.
The beautiful border. Near Douglas/Agua Prieta on the way to the Chiricahuas. Copyright 2015, Melissa Hahn

 

Places & People
Anasazi = on uh SAW zee
Apache = uh PATCH ee
Ajo = AH ho
Ahwatukee = ah wuh TOO kee
Canyon de Chelley = CANyun de SHAY
Casa Grande (the city) = CAS (like cat) uh GRAND
Casa Grande (the monument) = KAH suh GRAHN day
Chiricahua = cheer ih KAW wuh
Colorado = call uh RAD oh (not call uh ROD oh)
Gila = HEE luh
Guadalupe = gwa duh LOO pay
Hohokam = HO ho kahm
Kachina = kuh CHEE nuh
Kayenta = kai (like eye) EN tuh

Tuzigoot National Monument, a Sinaguan pueblo dating from approx 1124-1400 CE.
Tuzigoot National Monument, a Sinaguan pueblo dating from approx 1124-1400 CE. Copyright 2015, Melissa Hahn

 

Lake Havasu = HAVE a soo
Marana = muh RAN uh
Maricopa = mare ih KOH puh
Mesa = MAY suh
Mogollon Rim = MOH ghee on/ MUG ee own
Navajo = NAV uh ho
Papago = PAP uh go/ POP uh go
Pima = PEE muh
Phoenix = FEE nix
Prescott = PRESS kit
Rio Salado = REE oh suh LAW doe
Santan SAN TAN (both like cat)
San Xavier del Bac = san ZAY vyer del BOCK/ San uh VEER
Shea = SHAY
Tapatio = TAP uh TEE oh
Tempe = tem PEE
Tlaquepaque = tuh LOCK ee POCK ee
Tonto = TAWN to
Tubac = TWO bahk

Snow and pine trees. Not what you were expecting? (Coconino National Forest)
Snow and pine trees. Not what you were expecting? (Coconino National Forest). Copyright 2015, Melissa Hahn

 

Tucson = TOO sawn
Tutzigut = TOOTS ih GOOT
Wikieup = WIK ee up
Wupatki = wu POT ki
Xavier (the school) = ZAY vyer
Yarnell = yar NELL
Yavapai = YAV uh pie

I hope this will help you get started. Eventually I will share with you how to pronounce our food, buildings, and more. (Please note that the photos are illustrative but in no way comprehensive. In particular, Phoenix is missing – a metro with more than 4 million people).

Welcome, and Good luck!

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