The US state names can be tricky. In this 4-video series, I’ll go over how to pronounce each one of the state names. Remember, people from different regions might use a different pronunciation for some of the names.
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The 50 states, part 3 of 4. Montana, Montana. This one starts with the ‘aw’ as in ‘law’ [?], the second and accented syllable has the ‘aa’ as in ‘bat’ [æ], and then the schwa. Montana. Nebraska. Again, it is the middle syllable that is accented, and again, it is the ‘aa’ as in ‘bat’ sound. Nebraska. Nevada. I should say that some people pronounce this Nevada, with the ‘aa’ as in ‘bat’. I pronounce it as a ‘ah’ as in ‘father’ [a], Nevada, again it is the middle syllable there that is accented.
State names with the word ‘new’. It is written as a separate word, but when it is spoken it sound like the same word because it is brought so close together. New Hampshire, New Hampshire. Now this ending, S-H-I-R-E, in British English, would be pronounced ‘shire’, but here it is sh-rr, straight into the rr sound. New Jersey. Here the first syllable, though unaccented, is the ‘oo’ as in ‘boo’ [u], and the last syllable, also, though unaccented, is the ‘ee’ as in ‘she’ [i], so neither of them are schwa [?] sounds. New Jersey. New Mexico. Here, ‘Mex-‘ is the accented syllable, and the X is pronounced kk – ss, with these two sounds. New Mexico. New York. Now this ‘new’ state name especially sounds like one swooping sound to me: New York. The yy consonant can be hard for some people. Remember that the sound starts really far down here, yy, as opposed to here, ‘ee’ as in ‘she’. York, York, New York.
North Carolina. Now again, this state name is two words, but to me it has a little bit more of a feel that it is two separate words: North Carolina. North Dakota. Now here again, the T-H for ‘north’ kind of has a quick break before you go into the next word: North Dakota. Da- being a schwa, ko-, the ‘oh’ as in ‘no’ [o?] diphthong, da. North Dakota. So notice that it is spelled with a T: ta, but it is pronounced da. North Dakota. Ohio. This state name only has 4 letters, but it is full of diphthongs. O – the ‘oh’ as in ‘no’, then the H sound, hh, then the ‘ai’ as in ‘buy’ [a?] diphthong, then again the ‘oh’ as in ‘no’ diphthong. O-hi-o, Ohio. Oklahoma. Both the O’s in this state name are ‘oh’ as in ‘no’ diphthongs, and both of the A’s are schwas. Ok-la-hom-a. Oklahoma.
Oregon. Some people do pronounce this Oregon, with the ‘ah’ as in ‘father’ ending. I pronounce it Oregon. And this gn syllable, the unaccented, ending in an N, takes on no real vowel sound of it’s own, it’s more gg straight to nn: gn, Oregon. Pennsylvania. The beginning of this state name is just like the noun ‘pencil’, though it’s spelled differently. Pennsylvania. Va-, the ‘ay’ as in ‘say’ [e?] diphthong, nia, which is from the N, quickly into the ‘ee’ as in ‘she’, before it goes into the schwa. Ni-a, nia, Pennsylvania.