Otsego County Town Names We’ve All Been Mispronouncing
Upstate New York and Otsego County have long, storied histories, and with it come interesting names for its towns that are sometimes hard or impossible to pronounce without a little guidance.
Say it the right way...
We'll start in the eastern end of the county in Worcester. This one mysteriously trips up just about everyone that doesn't live there. Considering the difficulty people have with the phrase "worcestershire sauce", I guess it's no surprise Worcester gives people mush mouth. There are multiple wrong pronunciations. At an event this weekend, I heard a gent loudly on his phone proclaim to his friend that he needed to get over to "Wooster" right away to take advantage of the town wide yard sales. The other, and there's an incorrect sign in town to prove it is "Worchester". T shirts emblazoned with "Say It The Right Way: Worchester" are currently for sale. Phonetically, it's pronounced wuss-tuh.
Ok, this one is not as easy. According to A Concise History of the Town of Maryland from 1876, when translated from indigenous language, Schenevus means "speckled fish", or the trout that swims in the main stream that passes through town. Now try to pronounce it. I've heard people try to be fancy and call it shen-a-voo. It's easiest to break this one into syllables. Sche: This syllable begins with the sound "skuh," as in "ska." ne: The second syllable, "ne," is pronounced like the word "knee." This is a simple and familiar sound. vus: The final syllable, "vus," rhymes with "bus." It's a straightforward sound that resembles the "uh" vowel sound.
One on top of what?
If you live in Oneonta, call customer service and tell them where you live. Let the hilarity ensue. You'll hear them stammer and say "one...um...one-ta or onnyonna???". For some reasons this is a tough one for folks outside our sphere. I wonder if our name cousins in Oneonta, Alabama deal with the same thing.
Do we sound Canadian?
Honorable mention goes to the Town of Edmeston. Located on the western border of Otsego County, folks like to call this town the same name of a prominent city in Alberta, Canada known as Edmonton. Sure it gets Canada cold, but you'll be disappointed if you've come in search of Caesars and hockey arenas.