Pronunciation of Arkansas in Kansas

This is in response to “Why is Arkansas pronounced Ar-kan- SAW?”, located here:

To correct what was stated in the above article, in Kansas we pronounce the state of Arkansas just like the rest of the nation (ark-an-SAW). However, any other uses of the word (in a street name, for example) are indeed pronounced ahr-KAN-suz here in Kansas.

Now, as to whether the words Arkansas and Kansas are related, I have always been told that “Kansas” is named after the Kansa Native Americans and that that is why Arkansas is pronounced that way (and that it’s Kansas that is mis-pronounced). But this contradicts what the above article says, and I most definitely could be mistaken.

I’m from Arkansas, and every time I hear someone say ar-KAN-suz, I am just a little disappointed that knocking the teeth down the back of someone’s throat is considered Assault.

Change the Sacred Name of Arkansas?

…as you can see, passions run incredibly (incredulously?) deep on this subject… :smiley:

I respectfully say, “AR-kan-saw.” However, some transplanted mountain people in my state say, “AR-kin-saw.”

The Arkansas River rises in Colorado and flows east to join the Mississippi in Arkansas. Colorado natives - at least the ones I ran across - seem to call it the “Ar-KAN-zis”.

An excellent, and definitive article over on the American Dialect Society Mailing List, by Frank Abate, who is the Editor in Chief of the U. S. Dictionaries Program of Oxford University Press, located in Connecticut.

Just for the record, it’s technically battery, not assault. Putting someone in immediate apprehension of having his/her teeth knocked down the back of his/her throat is assault.

That was the traditional definition, and I never saw anything wrong with it, but stage legislatures keep mucking about with things they don’t understand…

Let’s note that the pronunciation of a word relative to one usage does not necessarily mandate its pronunciation relative to another usage. Whether “Norfolk” is NOR-folk, NOR-fawk, or NOR-fork depends on the particular city being referred to; Berlin, Germany, is ber-LINN, but several U.S. communities are named New Berlin, pronounced New BERR-lin. So the Ar-KAN-zuss River can flow from KAN-zuss into ARK-un-saw, if that’s how the folks along its banks choose to reference it.

I agree that any particular entity (a city, per your example) can be pronounced as its citizens/denizens choose. In Arkansas, for example, the town of Monticello is pronounced with a soft “s” sound, not the “ch” sound of Jefferson’s home. That should not apply, however, to the Arkansas River. It is one entity and its name should be pronounced consistently throughout its length.

Presumably, it was named the Arkansas River becuase it empties into the Mississippi River in the State of Arkansas. As such, it should be pronounced the same as its namesake state for its entire length.

Upstream hilljacks just need to get with the program.

Hey! We get the river first, so it’s ahr-KAN-suhs! Nyah, nyah, nyah.
Besides, there all no hilljacks in Kansas, there being no hills. . . .

Obviously, BJ, you’ve never been east of Salina.

I disagree with the OP’s contention that Arkansas is pronounced “Ar-KAN-zus” when used as a street name, though it may depend on the city. In Lawrence, many streets are named after states, and I have never heard anyone pronounce Arkansas St as anything other than “ARK-an-saw”.

Ah, but that’s a street named after the state, which is not the same thing as a street being named “Arkansas” for it’s own sweet sake.

No need to do that. Just tell the mispronouncers that it’s illegal to say it that way. When they ask where, tell them in AR-kan-saw.

If you’re referring to the one in Virginia, there’s no vowel in the second syllable. NOR-fk v-JIN-ya.

Does that mean we’re going to have to reclassify the M-16 assault rifle as a battery rifle?

No, unless it’s used in a battery (or in defending Battery Park!). It functions to threaten bodily harm, which is assault. Only if it were out of ammo and you clubbed someone with it would it be a battery rifle.

On the other hand, a laser rifle with built-in rechargeable power supply – what would that be?

Depends upon its vintage. . . .

(by the by: there is an ar-KAN-suhs street in Wichita, which stretches a few miles east of Salina [suh-LYE-nuh or suh-LEE-nuh?).

The first one (according to my Kansas-born granny, who was from Galena, which Salina doesn’t rhyme with).
I’ve been told that the river is pronounced ar-KAN-suhs in Colorado and Kansas, but AR-kin-saw in Oklahoma and Arkansas.