The 10 Hardest Colorado Cities to Pronounce
Language is a slippery thing; that’s why you have some people who insist that crinkly stuff in your kitchen cabinet is pronounced ‘al-u-min-ee-um’ instead of ‘al-oo-min-um’—Looking at you, Brits. Which just goes to show that words are hard and it’s a madhouse out here in the pronunciation landscape.
Even Colorado has its fair share of tricky words, but luckily, we have a knight in shining armor on our side: Kyle Clark (usually). Kyle Clark has been often featured on the 9News segment “What do YOU say?” that tackles many of Colorado’s trickiest tongue twisters. Here’s our top 10 favorite towns and cities that defy the naked eye when it comes to pronunciation.
- Berthoud – Pronounced ‘burr-thud’
Located just south of Loveland, I’m sure we’ve all driven through this little Colorado town with an oddly difficult name to pronounce. I’m not sure if it’s the ‘rth’ combination or the ‘oud’ that throws people, but this town name’s much simpler than it seems.
- Arvada – Pronounced ‘are-va-da’ (not ‘are-vay-da’ or ‘are-vah-da’)
You might think that ‘Arvada’ wouldn’t be too difficult of a town name to say, but the variety of ‘a’ sounds are misleading. Located in Jefferson and Adams counties, Arvada is just north of Denver and is home to lots of trail systems perfect for hiking, biking and horseback riding.
- La Junta – Pronounced ‘la-hoon-ta’ (They’ll also accept ‘la-hun-ta’)
With a name that stands for ‘The Junction’ in Spanish, it’s easy to see how those not familiar with the language might be taken by surprise with the city’s initial letter. But once you know how to pronounce this city’s name like a native, La Junta is a great place for art and history in southeast Colorado.
- Cañon City – Pronounced ‘Canyon City’
Another city name influenced by the Spanish language, Cañon has that tilde over the ‘n’ that turns this pronunciation from ‘cannon’ to ‘canyon.’ Now, you can go visit their Royal Gorge Railroad without making people cringe by saying their city’s name wrong.
- Fruita – Pronounced ‘froot-ah’
Known as a big agricultural producer, particularly for fruits and apple trees, I can see where the town’s founders were going by trying to give their city a rather ‘on-the-nose’ name. Unfortunately for them, with all the other Spanish-language influences around Colorado, it’s easy to understand why people add some extra flourish to the word ‘fruit’ when seeing this city’s name.
- Kiowa – Pronounced ‘k-eye-oh-wa’
No, not ‘quioa’ as if this word rhymes with quinoa, nor ‘kee-ow-a,’ this town takes its name from a Native American tribe that was found on the Great Plains. A small town deeply steeped in history and a rugged natural environment; Kiowa can be found out in Elbert County.
- Lochbuie – Pronounced ‘lock-boo-ee’
Found out in Weld and Adams counties, Lochbuie’s a small town whose name honestly just makes me think of the Loch Ness monster. Though the second half of this town name gets me just as much, I always want to pronounce it as ‘bwee’ instead of ‘boo-ee.’ Sorry, Lochbuie.
- Ouray – Pronounced ‘yur-ay’
Found in the San Juan Mountains, Ouray rhymes with ‘hooray’ and is known as the ‘Outdoor Recreation Capitol of Colorado’ (self-proclaimed). Still, I’ll give a hearty ‘hooray’ to that.
- De Beque – Pronounced ‘de-beck’
Keep an eye out for that ‘q,’ it’s a notorious element of the French language that’s fond of tripping English-speakers up. Just think of this town’s name as rhyming with Beck the musical artist and you’ll be fine.
- Louviers – Pronounced ‘lou-veer-s’
Oh no, another French-influenced name—Though, in this case, the pronunciation doesn’t actually follow the French method. If it did, it’d probably sound a bit more like ‘lou-vee-air’ instead of ‘lou-veer-s.’
- Buena Vista – Locals pronounce it ‘bee-ehn-a-Vista.’
Once again, you might be tempted to follow the Spanish pronunciation here and say ‘bwen-eh-Vista,’ but according to ‘What do YOU Say?’ the townspeople actually chose their unique pronunciation of the word back when the town was first incorporated into Colorado.
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