Pronouncing “Appalachia”

Even though I’m a Southern boy, I do try to pronounce things correctly. For example, it bugs me when people mispronounce the German car by saying “Porsh” or “Porch.” Especially when it’s mispronounced by owners of the marque (It’s more correctly pronounced “porsh-uh”). Or when people say “Oddy” instead of “Awdee” for Audi. It’s not like “audio,” it’s like “Blaupunkt.”

I’m more forgiving when the pronunciation is probably wrong, but has precedence. For example, the University of Tennessee Volunteers play at Neyland Stadium. Until recently, it was commonly pronounced as it is spelled, with the “Ney” part sounding like “hey,” “whey”, “they,” or any other example you can think of. But apparently Mr. Neyland pronounced it like “knee”, or the “ney” in “journey.” I chalk this up under the same category as the “Colin” in Colin Powell, or the odd “a” in Nevada (like “apple”), Wrong, but tolerated.

However, nothing bothers me more than the incorrect pronunciation of “Appalachia.” I don’t know why, but it bugs the crap out of me. Say this out loud, “I’m going to throw an apple atcha.” Now repeat it.

THERE IS NO LONG A IN APPALACHIA. Why on Earth would one of the A’s be pronounced differently than the other 3? Find me a single example, ANYWHERE, where this is the case?

Secondly, there is a CH in “Appalachia” but there is NOT an SH. CH. Church. Chalk. Chum. Not Sh. It is not pronounced “Appalayshun.”

I don’t know if Northerners decided that it was a bad idea to pronounce something they shared with Southerners the same as the Southerners pronounced it, or what. “The Appalachians run through the Deep South to New England, but we don’t want to be associated with those rednecks, so let’s call it ‘Appalayshuh’ instead.”

I watched a documentary last night on the Appalachian Trail and I was about to throw a rock at the TV hoping to hit the narrator. Fortunately he substituted “AT” to cut down on the number of mispronounced “Appalachians.”