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  #1  
Old 11-14-2000, 02:24 PM
mellonhead mellonhead is offline
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Why do Chicagoans, or everyone for that matter, pronounce Des Plaines, "Dez Plainez" - not "De Plain" (like "De Moin" for Des Moines)?

I tried searching through the message boards but my browser is screwy...
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  #2  
Old 11-14-2000, 02:30 PM
BobT BobT is offline
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People in St. Louis aren't much better when it comes to pronouncing French names either.
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  #3  
Old 11-14-2000, 02:40 PM
retsin2000 retsin2000 is offline
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And it isn't just French. Ask someone in central Illinois to pronounce New Berlin, located about 20 or 30 miles west of Springfield. It isn't pronounced like that city in Germany. Nope, the accent is on the first syllable and the second syllable is pronounced kind of like the vowel sound in "duh." And this is in an area that has a large population of German-Americans. I'm guessing the pronunciation change happened right around one of the world wars.

Here in Missouri we don't pronounce Versailles, MO right either. People say Ver-sales.

But the small town of Aux Vasse, MO seems to be pronounced pretty close to correctly.
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  #4  
Old 11-14-2000, 04:08 PM
AETBOND417 AETBOND417 is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by retsin2000
But the small town of Aux Vasse, MO seems to be pronounced pretty close to correctly.
How is that pronounced? Ah/Oh Vahs (sharp "s" at the end)
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  #5  
Old 11-14-2000, 04:14 PM
Suo Na Suo Na is offline
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Aux Vasse should be pronounced (in French) Oh v-ass, with a flattish "a" and a soft (unvocalised) "s".

I wish everybody knew the IPA. It makes life so much easier.
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  #6  
Old 11-14-2000, 04:14 PM
LazarusLong42 LazarusLong42 is offline
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This is endemic in the Midwest. Here in Michigan we have Milan (pronounced MY-luhn, rather than the correct Italian mih-LAHN), and in Ohio there's a New Paris pronounced like the New Berlin above (with the accent on the New, and pronounced like one word, "NEW-perr-iss".) We Midwesterners seem to enjoy bastardizing foreign names, for some reason.

Personally, I pronounce them correctly, mainly to annoy the locals.

LL
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  #7  
Old 11-14-2000, 04:16 PM
LazarusLong42 LazarusLong42 is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Suo Na
Aux Vasse should be pronounced (in French) Oh v-ass, with a flattish "a" and a soft (unvocalised) "s".

I wish everybody knew the IPA. It makes life so much easier.
It would also be easier if all of the IPA characters were readily typable.

(And /s/ isn't vocalic, /z/ is. What do you mean by a non-vocalic "s"?)

LL
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  #8  
Old 11-14-2000, 04:25 PM
retsin2000 retsin2000 is offline
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Well the locals don't pronounce Aux Vasse perfectly correctly, but they don't pronounce the x or the e, which is pretty good compared to Des Plaines and Versailles. For this I am willing to grant some credit.

On a personal note, I grew up in Springfield Il and went to college in Columbia MO. One route between the two used to take you through the tiny town of Aux Vasse. I was curious to know how the locals pronounced it. One time my mother and grandmother picked me up from school to take me home for winter break. I casually mentioned my curiosity to which my grandmother pronounced it and told me she was born there. Up to that point no one had even bothered to tell me that she was originally from Missouri. I have lived here a total of 11 years although not all at once, and have since verified her pronunciation.
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  #9  
Old 11-14-2000, 04:38 PM
lee lee is offline
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Once in chat, I told someone that I lived in Des Plaines. He said, "No, you mean Des Moines." What a loser.
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  #10  
Old 11-14-2000, 05:07 PM
boli boli is offline
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Well, I DO live in Des Moines. We may pronounce that name correctly, but not others. Around here, we have a town named Nevada, pronounced ne-VAY-duh. Also closeby is a town called Madrid, pronounced MAD-rid. It makes it easy to spot folks that aren't from around here.
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  #11  
Old 11-14-2000, 05:09 PM
retsin2000 retsin2000 is offline
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Yeah we have a Nevada, MO pronounced the same way as Nevada, IA. Maybe those people out west pronounce it wrong. I remember people I worked with who were in Ames telling me they lived in Nevada and being surprised at the common (mis)pronunciation.
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  #12  
Old 11-14-2000, 05:32 PM
yabob yabob is offline
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You might also "Pierre" into the reasons behind South Dakotan pronunciation.

I honestly don't know if they are more or less "correct" than the expected pronunciation. St. Pierre, as in the island, seems to have three accepted variants.
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  #13  
Old 11-14-2000, 05:48 PM
stofsky stofsky is offline
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There's also My-am-uh, Oklahoma, spelled Miami.
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  #14  
Old 11-14-2000, 06:09 PM
caircair caircair is offline
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And another example (if you're not sick of them already): The University of Idaho is located in Moscow, Idaho, but it's pronounced MOSS-koh, not Moss-KOW.
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  #15  
Old 11-14-2000, 06:51 PM
Viscera Viscera is offline
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Displaced Chicagoan in Omaha, NE now. I miss it.

Anyway, town of Norfolk NW of Omaha, is pronounced here as NOR-FORK, seemingly accenting both syllables. Must be the bio-engineered corn they put in the chips for the Huskers' games. Man, I can't stand them. But that's another topic...

Vis
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  #16  
Old 11-14-2000, 09:46 PM
thirdwarning thirdwarning is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by retsin2000
And it isn't just French. Ask someone in central Illinois to pronounce New Berlin, located about 20 or 30 miles west of Springfield. It isn't pronounced like that city in Germany. Nope, the accent is on the first syllable and the second syllable is pronounced kind of like the vowel sound in "duh." And this is in an area that has a large population of German-Americans. I'm guessing the pronunciation change happened right around one of the world wars.

Here in Missouri we don't pronounce Versailles, MO right either. People say Ver-sales.

But the small town of Aux Vasse, MO seems to be pronounced pretty close to correctly.
I think you've hit it on the head. I can't swear to the truth of this, but I was told by someone who studied the history of the area that the pronunciations (at least some of them, like Milan and Berlin) were changed during WWII. The natives didn't want to be associated with those places in Europe.
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  #17  
Old 11-14-2000, 09:52 PM
Jophiel Jophiel is offline
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From what I recall, Cairo, Illinois was founded during the Victorian boom in Egyptian archeology. However, they decided to call it KAY-ro (instead of KI-ro) to remain unique. Go figure.
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  #18  
Old 11-15-2000, 08:03 AM
kferr kferr is offline
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Another oddball is the Arkansas River which runs from Colorado thru Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas before joining the Mississippi. In Colorado, Oklahoma and Arkansas its pronounced like the state name, Arkansas, but in Kansas, its pronounced 'ar-Kansas'.
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  #19  
Old 11-15-2000, 09:03 AM
AWB AWB is offline
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Not a city, but a French name

The French bakery/restaurant Au Bon Pain. It's pronounced "oh bon pon". But just to bug my wife I pronounce it (with a nerdy Jerry Lewis voice), "Ow! Bon Pain!"
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  #20  
Old 11-15-2000, 09:07 AM
Freyr Freyr is offline
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I spent 14 years in New Orleans. The pronounciation of that NAME has really been bastardized. Most folks go with "Norlins" or "Nahlins." You try saying "New Orleans" and they'll look at you funny.
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  #21  
Old 11-15-2000, 09:32 AM
Joe_Cool Joe_Cool is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by mellonhead
Why do Chicagoans, or everyone for that matter, pronounce Des Plaines, "Dez Plainez" - not "De Plain" (like "De Moin" for Des Moines)?
It's probably so that people won't say this:
"Des Plaines, boss! Des Plaines!"
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  #22  
Old 11-15-2000, 10:39 AM
Omniscient Omniscient is online now
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Just gonna toss in one glaring ommision, the pronunciation of the entire state of Illinois. The 's' is silent (Silent damn it!), but AFAIK its a long ways from correct French pronunciation. My French skills are non-existant, but I believe it should be pronounced ILL-een-wah, we just go with the unpretentious ILL-eh-noy.

With a tip of the hat to Alice Cooper we could point out the pronunciation of Milwaukee too.

I'm sure the list is endless, in the Midwest there are alot of bastardized French, German, and Native American words, in the West there are likely alot of botched Spanish titles and in the East I'd guess they have them all.
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  #23  
Old 11-15-2000, 11:00 AM
Arnold Winkelried Arnold Winkelried is offline
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some more examples from Idaho

In Idaho - the capital Boise is pronounced "Boy-see" when it should be Bwa-zay (french boisé = wooded).

The Indian tribe Nez Percé (pierced nose) is pronounced nezz-pierce which confused my (french-speaking) brother to no end when at BSU (Boise state) a teacher told him to go to the nezz-pierce room and he was looking for Nez Percé (as pronounced Nay Pair-say).

Finally, if in front of a North Idahoan you pronounce the name of the town Moscow, Idaho in the same way as Moscow, Russia, they will quickly let you know of your error. Moscow, Idaho is not the commie town.
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  #24  
Old 03-28-2013, 03:26 PM
Alley Dweller Alley Dweller is offline
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Originally Posted by caircair View Post
And another example (if you're not sick of them already): The University of Idaho is located in Moscow, Idaho, but it's pronounced MOSS-koh, not Moss-KOW.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arnold Winkelried View Post
Finally, if in front of a North Idahoan you pronounce the name of the town Moscow, Idaho in the same way as Moscow, Russia, they will quickly let you know of your error. Moscow, Idaho is not the commie town.
Just for the record, the way you pronounce it in Russia is mahsk-VAH.

OZR. (Obligatory Zombie Reference)
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  #25  
Old 03-28-2013, 03:38 PM
Biffy the Elephant Shrew Biffy the Elephant Shrew is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mellonhead View Post
(like "De Moin" for Des Moines)?
Why should not I pick up a masterpiece or a coin?
I will no longer say Des Moines,
I shall sail into the C. B. & Q. ticket office like a swan,
And ask for a lower to Day Mwahn.

--Ogden Nash
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  #26  
Old 03-28-2013, 04:18 PM
Senegoid Senegoid is offline
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In California, we have Chowchilla, to which the locals give a decidedly English pronunciation -- Chow-CHILL-uh.

BTW, for any confused late-comers: This thread got resurrected by a (semi-incoherent) spammer at Post #24, which the mods will probably delete when they get to it. That is what Dewey Finn was reporting in Post #25, which will then become #24.

Last edited by Senegoid; 03-28-2013 at 04:20 PM..
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  #27  
Old 03-30-2013, 10:03 AM
Mdcastle Mdcastle is offline
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St. Croix seems to be pronounced correctly.

Duluth is not.

I think the French trying to learn our "Th" sound is revenge for us trying to learn their "R"

Last edited by Mdcastle; 03-30-2013 at 10:04 AM..
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  #28  
Old 03-30-2013, 10:48 AM
Pai325 Pai325 is offline
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You may as well ask me how I did on my first trip to England when I was talking about visiting Devon. Now that I live in southern Illinois I am perfectly ready to embarrass myself by going to Egypt and asking directions to Cairo.


I'm happy Chicago (and Illinois) isn't alone in unique pronunciations.
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  #29  
Old 03-30-2013, 11:21 AM
Biffy the Elephant Shrew Biffy the Elephant Shrew is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
In California, we have Chowchilla, to which the locals give a decidedly English pronunciation -- Chow-CHILL-uh.
How else would you pronounce it? You realize it's not Spanish, right?
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  #30  
Old 03-30-2013, 12:12 PM
svd678 svd678 is offline
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Re "Cairo" #17. I think all the "Cs" in US are pronounced the same. Anyway, the one in NY is pronounced "Care-o", not Kay-ro. Latter pronunciation marks you as one who knows its not Ki-ro, but hasn't caught on completely. Fun to hear TV announcers try to get it right! (I think no American variation is at all like Egyptians'.)
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  #31  
Old 03-30-2013, 01:12 PM
njtt njtt is online now
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Originally Posted by caircair View Post
And another example (if you're not sick of them already): The University of Idaho is located in Moscow, Idaho, but it's pronounced MOSS-koh, not Moss-KOW.
I pronounce the one in Russia as MOSS-koh, too. I think that is how most British people say it. Moss-KOW is an American thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alley Dweller View Post
Just for the record, the way you pronounce it in Russia is mahsk-VAH.

OZR. (Obligatory Zombie Reference)
Well quite, but many major cities (and countries, come to that) have names in other languages that are not pronounced (or sometimes even spelled) the same as the name used by the people who live there. It is not really correct English to call the capital of France Par-ee, or the capital of Italy Rohm-uh.
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  #32  
Old 03-30-2013, 02:50 PM
bobot bobot is offline
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In Joliet, Illinois, on rt. 80, there is a bridge over the "des plains" river that advertises that "de moin" Iowa is straight ahead.
2000 holy sh**, I fell for a zombie again

Last edited by bobot; 03-30-2013 at 02:52 PM..
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  #33  
Old 03-30-2013, 02:55 PM
bobot bobot is offline
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and for the record...the above quotes represent how the locals pronounce the words, not what the sign actually says... Hello year 2000, how's that computer glich working out for you?
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  #34  
Old 03-30-2013, 08:14 PM
gotpasswords gotpasswords is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mdcastle
St. Croix seems to be pronounced correctly.

Duluth is not.
I used to have a co-worker who'd call me now and then and introduce herself as "Vickie in DuhLOOT"

Amazingly enough, I am from the city in the thread's title.
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  #35  
Old 03-30-2013, 08:40 PM
jz78817 jz78817 is offline
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Originally Posted by mellonhead View Post
Why do Chicagoans, or everyone for that matter, pronounce Des Plaines, "Dez Plainez" - not "De Plain" (like "De Moin" for Des Moines)?

I tried searching through the message boards but my browser is screwy...
because we don't speak French in this country. and if you want to get all pissy about that, tell me why the French call Germany "Allemagne" instead of "Deutschland."

Last edited by jz78817; 03-30-2013 at 08:41 PM..
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  #36  
Old 03-30-2013, 09:04 PM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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Beijing duck, anyone? Mumbai gin?

In NYC, only out-of-towners and one loser of a cabbie I had pronounce a major street like the big city in Texas. Its "Howston."

The street was not named after that Texas guy, so cool your jets, Lone-Star dopers.
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  #37  
Old 03-30-2013, 10:00 PM
Chimera Chimera is offline
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Edina Minnesota.

Pronounced Ee-Dye-Nuh locally.

Pronounced Ed-in-uh about anywhere else.
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  #38  
Old 03-30-2013, 11:35 PM
Senegoid Senegoid is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biffy the Elephant Shrew View Post
How else would you pronounce it? You realize it's not Spanish, right?
Okay, I'll bite. What is the origin of the name Chowchilla? I really have no idea, if it's not Spanish.

We also have a quaint little beach town called Avila Beach. It's pronounced AV-uh-luh, not uh-VEE-luh. That's because the original Avila person who had a big ranch around there was Portuguese, not Spanish.
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Old 03-31-2013, 04:01 AM
Biffy the Elephant Shrew Biffy the Elephant Shrew is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
Okay, I'll bite. What is the origin of the name Chowchilla? I really have no idea, if it's not Spanish.
It was the name of a local Indian tribe. No idea how the Indians themselves pronounced it. (The presence of the letter "w" should be a giveaway that it's not Spanish, which uses that letter only in words borrowed from other languages to begin with, like whisky.)
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  #40  
Old 03-31-2013, 08:40 AM
gotpasswords gotpasswords is offline
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Speaking of names in CA, there's a city called Coalinga that has been mis-pronounced by everyone for decades. The normal pronunciation is Ko-a Ling-a, but it should be Kol-ing Ay. It's an old railroad facility that used to be called Coaling Station A - trains went there to get coal and water.
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  #41  
Old 03-31-2013, 03:09 PM
SCAdian SCAdian is offline
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Originally Posted by Suo Na View Post
Aux Vasse should be pronounced (in French) Oh v-ass, with a flattish "a" and a soft (unvocalised) "s".

I wish everybody knew the IPA. It makes life so much easier.
So do I, because I haven't the faintest idea what a "flattish" 'A' might be (or a "broad" one, for that matter).
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  #42  
Old 03-31-2013, 03:18 PM
SCAdian SCAdian is offline
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Originally Posted by njtt View Post
I pronounce the one in Russia as MOSS-koh, too. I think that is how most British people say it. Moss-KOW is an American thing.
German, too. (They spell it Moskau.)
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  #43  
Old 03-31-2013, 03:35 PM
Johanna Johanna is offline
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Originally Posted by Mdcastle View Post
our "Th" sound
Which one?
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  #44  
Old 03-31-2013, 05:32 PM
WotNot WotNot is offline
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Which one?
Eizer, I sink.
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