For some reason,  I resent people who mispronounce my city — Tempe.  It just galls me when someone says TEM-pee, as in “this is my first time in TEM-pee.”  It’s just wimpy to say TEM-pee.   I think I was a newcomer in town for just a day before someone quickly corrected me and I was cured.

But isn’t it  ironic that when “Tempe” become a kind of modifier, as in Tempe Arts Center, we do say, “TEM-pee,” and not Tem-PEE.  We say the TEM-pee police and not the Tem-PEE police.  Did someone  determine all of this one time? Or is it some natural rule of speech determining where the accent falls?

So often, we’ll hear  some national advertisement on TV or radio  about some sale or event in “TEM-pee.”  That’s when you know the ad was not produced in the Valley.   You’re not from here is you mis-accent Tempe. It is just glaring. Worst yet are those who say ” TEM-pay.”

I resent longtimers who continually say, “Press-COTT”” for Prescott, rather than the correct, “PRES-cutt.” Again, the out-of-stater is  allowed to make that mistake a few times and then should get it straight.   Guadalupe should correctly we pronounced in the Spanish form — wad-da-LOO-pay, not GWADDA-loo-pee.

I grew up not far from the Iowa town of Tripoli.  We pronounced  it Tri-POL-la, and not TRIP-o-lee, as we do for the northern African nation.  In central Iowa, there are the cities of Madrid and Nevada.  They are not pronounced like the capital of  Spain or the state just northwest of here. They are pronounced  MAD-drid and Ne-VA-da.   How all these departure of pronunciations came about I don’t know, but it probably happened back in the 19th century when the areas were settled.

Some visitors occasionally pronounced Mesa as MESS-ah.

As a 24-year member of the Kiwanis Club of Tempe, I am amused when I hear KEEE-wan-niss Park, rather than Ca-WAN-iss Park.

Most folks hear names pronounced often enough in the preferred colloquial way, then learn to adjust and say it right.  But I always have anything but a deaf ear when I hear Tempe incorrectly accented.

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