Oregon & Uranus

Sorry if this has already been brought up at some time, but it’s been bugging me. I seem to remember growing up in the '60’s and '70’s that the last syllable of “Oregon” was pronounced like the word “gone”. Suddenly in the last 10 years or so it’s been changed to “gin” (hard “G”). Same with “Uranus”. The last 2 syllables were pronounced as “anus”. Now it’s been changed to “anis”.

Am I remembering wrong? Was it a midwestern thing?

Back in the day, everyone I heard said “Your Anus” and the “Urine-Us” pronunciation is “new”. Some sites claim that science people have been saying the second one for much longer but since us common folk don’t spend much time in astronomy labs, the first way stayed most popular. Dictionaries state that either is correct.

But the obvious question is “What were they calling it a year after its discovery and naming?” This site claims that the Oxford English dictionary gave “You Ran Us” as the pronunciation in 1920. Don’t know if there’s a contradictory cite from earlier.

The same name is the root of “uranium” which I’ve always said as “Yer-Ain-E-Um” and not “You-Ran-E-Um” for whatever that’s worth (not much).

The classical Greek pronunciation is, “YOUR-uh-nus”. Though the dictionary says that either is correct, a true purist would go with the original Greek.

Over here on the Left Coast, Oregon has never rhymed with “gone.”

It’s Oree-gun to us in Washington.

According to transmissions from a Professor Farnsworth (from the future?), 600 years from now they’ll change the name of the planet Uranus to do away with the joke–it’ll be called Urectum.

If they’d just called it “George’s Planet” as Herschel proposed, none of this would be an issue. :slight_smile:

I’m on the other side of the country, and I’ve never heard the ‘g’ in ‘Oregon’ pronounced with a ‘j’ sound. I’m also more familiar with the last syllable pronounce with more or less a schwa vowel, but that’s probably regional. I’m also reminded of an old ‘Adam-12’ ep in which a motorist mentions having just moved to LA from ‘Organ,’ which is the way it sounded to me. Don’t know if that’s also a regionalism.

My 1920s version OED lists only the ‘YUR-uh-nus’ pronunciation, although it’s obviously not noted as such. Possibly the shift to ‘yoo-RAY-nus’ happened with the word ‘uranium’ obtaining currency post WWII? Aside from jokes, Uranus had its one moment in the sun in 1986 with the Voyager flyby, so there’s probably no footage mentioning the planet predating the 1970s.

My version of the OED also lists the word ‘Uranography,’ which is not as it might appear at first glance to be a study of the physical features of Uranus, but ‘a study of the heavens.’

Well, here in Oregon we just pronounce it ‘Ory-gun’. But what do we know?

Urectum? Hell, Ukilledum.

I was born and raised in [del]Uranus[/del] Oregon. No one ever pronounced the last syllable with a long ō. Seems to me it most often sounded like Óryg’n.

Orygun. Except to news people who have never been here.

What is even funnier is when they attempt to pronounce some of the many Native American place names here and in Washington. And there are a lot of them.

Of course the reverse is also true for a westerner heading east and butchering the pronunciations of place names there.

And remember, there is no you in my anus.

As an Oregonian, I don’t think the national media started agreeing with us on pronunciation until the last decade or so. For folks who don’t come here, it might reasonably seem like people are saying it differently.

I think the change might have been due to the University of Oregon football team rising to national prominence (ranking among the top teams nationally from 2008 to 2014), which forced sports media personalities to say “Oregon” a lot. The way I figure, when folks on national TV with audible Southern accents started using our pronunciation, everyone else in the media was shamed into doing the same thing.

Funny thing, we went to Yellowstone for the first time back when I was a teenager, down from Livingston. There is a range of mountains on the east side of the valley that has a name that is pronounced not quite how it is spelled, but it seems like I instinctively pronounced it like a native. Not sure how that happened. I have no memory of hearing it uttered before then.

Good point with the national exposure for Oregon sports, and other issues like pot legalization in the news.

But instant media has also changed the response time. Ten years ago a person might have hoped that someone would tell the person that their pronunciation was wrong, eventually. And hope that they would remember the next time.

Now, you can be sure that they have been informed by the hundreds or thousands of Twitter, Redditt, and posts to the comment section of their media, just how to say it.

  1. Native Oregonians pronounce it “Or-gun”.

  2. Unless you ask them how to pronounce it and then they say “Or-y-gun”! :frowning:

  3. Uninformed idiots will say “Ore-gone”. E.g., Tom Brokaw. He grew up in SD so he knew perfectly well how it’s pronounced. But once he became an East Coast Newsman he was mispronouncing it.

This pronunciation was never, ever correct in any way shape or form.

Next stop, Arkansas.

A lot of people in the Midwest pronounce it as Ory-gone, probably because that’s how they pronounce Oregon, Wisconsin.

Wisconsin is heavily larded with place names that outsiders have a hard time pronouncing. People from Oregon (the state) cannot even pronounce “Wisconsin” properly and usually cannot hear how they are erring.

Other than the Midwest twang on the second syllable (approximately ‘can’ instead of ‘con’), I’m not sure how else it would be pronounced.