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10 Arizona Places Nobody Really Knows How to Pronounce

It's a Casa, and it's Grande.
It's a Casa, and it's Grande.
By Martin1971, via Wikimedia Commons

Thanks to the language differences among Anglos, Mexicans, and various Native American tribes, there are a whole lot of places around Arizona that no one really seems to know how to pronounce.

Check out 10 such places, along with our best ideas for how they're supposed to be pronounced:

10.) Fort Huachuca

10 Arizona Places Nobody Really Knows How to Pronounce
By Vanessa Valentine [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A lot of people do know this one, and unlike many on this list, this one's not really open to interpretation. Wa-CHOO-kuh.

 

9.) Nogales

The Santa Cruz County Courthouse in Nogales.
The Santa Cruz County Courthouse in Nogales.

To some, Nogales rhymes with Dallas. To others, it's more like no-GAL-ace. Who knows?

 

8.) Sonoita

Horseback riders in Sonoita.
Horseback riders in Sonoita.

Everyone says Suh-NOY-ta. Spanish-speakers might come up with So-no-EE-ta, and they might not be wrong. But people may look at you as if you have multiple heads if you use the latter pronunciation.

 

7.) Mazatzal

The Four Peaks, part of the Mazatzal Mountains.
The Four Peaks, part of the Mazatzal Mountains.
By Jsayre64 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The locals seem to have adopted their own thing here. It's said many people call the mountain range (and casino of the same name) the Ma-ta-zel. Just going by the arrangement of letters in the name, that doesn't make a ton of sense. According to the U.S. Forest Service, it's pronounced like you might expect -- Mah-zaht-zahl.

 

6.) Mogollon Rim

Rim country.
Rim country.

If you're in the area, you're likely going to hear either Muggy-on or Muggy-own. We're inclined to believe the National Park Service on this: Moe-go-YONE.

 

5.) Tohono O'odham

The Kitt Peak Observatory, located on the Tohono O'odham reservation.
The Kitt Peak Observatory, located on the Tohono O'odham reservation.
By Jeremy Keith [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Toe-no Ode-um? No. What's right? We couldn't tell ya. We found four different pronunciations from people who supposedly researched this: Taw-haw-naw aw-aw-dham, Taw-haw-naw aw-aw-tham, Toe-HOE-noe aw-aw-TAHM, and Toe-HO-no AH-tomb. We give up.

 

4.) San Xavier

Mission San Xavier del Bac, not far from Tucson.
Mission San Xavier del Bac, not far from Tucson.
By Michael Wifall [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

First of all, if you say San Ex-zavier, punch yourself in the throat, and never do that again. Second, it's not San Zavier, either. It's San Javier (Ha-vier).

 

3.) Casa Grande

It's a Casa, and it's Grande.
It's a Casa, and it's Grande.
By Martin1971, via Wikimedia Commons

Oh, boy. Just about everyone calls it Cass-uh Grand. Anyone who's been exposed to Spanish for more than three minutes can tell you it's Cossa GRON-day. Beware, if you pronounce this one correctly, though, everyone's going to look at you like you're weird.

 

2.) Tempe

Tempe City Hall.
Tempe City Hall.
By Daderot [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Is it Tem-PEE, or TEMP-ee?

 

1.) Prescott

10 Arizona Places Nobody Really Knows How to Pronounce

This must be one of the oldest arguments in Arizona. Many people think you're going to sound like a moron if you go to Prescott and start talking about PRESS-cot. It's PRESS-kit, right? Not so fast. We've seen several Prescott residents who insist it's PRESS-cot. That includes a local research historian, who claims all the people who know Prescott history call it Press-cot.

We decided to get a definitive answer from City Hall.

"It is Press-kit," city spokesman Pete Wertheim says. "You best not say Press-cot when you're in Press-kit!"


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