‘Pear Ham?’ These Tricky Aroostook County Names Give Out-of-Towners Trouble
These names are not hard to pronounce at all if you are from Maine, and especially from Aroostook County, but…
Sometimes we have announcers record ads for us who are not from here. That is when you hear all kinds of variations of our local town names.
We know that some of the towns are not so easy for someone who has never heard of them. And we admit that some of the pronunciations are challenging.
So, we have some solutions and a little guidance to say it right. It has to sound like we say it because these are commercials for local businesses and they deserve to have their locations said correctly.
Here are some of the tried and true techniques we use for other broadcasters.
Start with the big one: Aroostook County. To us, no problem. To an outsider, you’d be amazed at the different ways it’s said.
We put a note in the spot copy that says it sounds like “acoustic.” That almost always is the solution.
We’ve heard just about every way you can say it wrong. We tell announcers to say “PRESS-KYLE” as one word. It works most of the time.
This is a good one. Our boss came up with a great example - it sounds like "BOLTON" (like Michael Bolton). Wow, it’s incredible how that works.
We tell them it sounds like “SMURFS” without the “FS” and then add “NA” - more often than not, we send an audio file with us saying it so they can get it.
We usually send an audio file as well for this one. No matter how many ways you tell broadcasters it’s not “Agatha,” that’s what you get. Sometimes the simple example of “A-GAT” gets it done, but not always.
You would think this one would be a breeze. Not so. If they get the word right, they emphasize the wrong part. Or we get “Washborn” sometimes too. When we tell them to say “WASH” and “BURN” as one word, that works here and there.
We get “pear” “ham” all the time - like the fruit and the meat. The first part is OK, but “HAM” needs to be said like “UM.”
Have you ever heard it said like “Wall La Grass?” We have. Usually, it is a quick fix with a phonetic spelling, WALL-A-GRASS".
This goes for towns in New Brunswick too. We hear it said like there’s a land of hearts. We have to tell them the “land” part is said like “Portland." So, “Hartlind.”
AROOSTOOK CENTRE MALL
This one sends some announcers sideways because it has both “Aroostook” and “Centre.” They have never seen “Centre” spelled like that. The easiest solution is to spell it as “Center.”
Sending an audio file is usually the best way for most of these words. There are many more, but we do our best to get it right the first time. What are some other towns or words people trip over when you say it to them? Let us know in the comments.