Local geography too often mispronounced or misidentified


By Travis Mayfield

Call me a grumpy old man, but there are some things that people say that really bother me.

Why must some people insist on putting an ‘r’ in Washington? 

I wish I could say it was only out-of-state transplants who said ‘Warshington.’ But a certain US Senator who loves to tout her childhood in Bothell makes that impossible by always including the extraneous ‘r.’

Why are there some people who add a superfluous ‘the’ when talking about I-405?

The 405?  Really?  Is this Southern California?

I don’t even want to go in to Pike’s Place Market, Pike Street Market or just Pike Market.

Still lately (and selfishly) I am being driven insane by people who refuse to pronounce Mount Baker and Mountlake Terrace with the ‘u.’

It is ‘mount’ like ‘fount’ as in fountain.  It is not ‘mont’ like ‘font’ as in typography. 

There is in fact a ‘Montlake’ neighborhood in Seattle.  It is just south of Husky Stadium, just west of Madison Park, just east of Capitol Hill and just north of the Central District.

Mountlake Terrace and Seattle’s Montlake neighborhood are not the same place.  These two places are miles apart.  When you say them they should not sound like the same place.

Full disclosure, we bought a house in the Montlake neighborhood last fall so I have a stake in this debate.  After initially telling people our new house was in ‘Montlake’ and having them think that meant we were moving to Mountlake Terrace I had to start saying ‘Seattle’s Montlake neighborhood.’  Even still I often end up explaining Puget Sound geography for way too long.

So yes, call me a grumpy old man.  But if you do, please be sure to specify I am a grumpy old man who lives in the Montlake neighborhood of Seattle, on the other side of Lake Washington from I-405, in the state of Washington.


Editor’s note:  We’d love to hear your ‘favorite’ mispronounced or misidentified local geographic locations.  Drop into the comments section below and share them with us!

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