How to correctly pronounce local city names - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

How to correctly pronounce local city names

Posted: Updated:

There's been a lot of discussion around the newsroom about whether the Olympic games are taking place in Pyeong"chung" or Pyeong"chang."
What's in a name?  A lot when it comes to local cities.  Residents cringe when they hear someone say San "Louis" Obispo. Is there really a right way or a wrong way to say a city's name and how much does it matter?   

We've all heard it and when it's on the big screen - it stands out - like Vin Diesel famously mispronouncing a local city's name.  It's easy to find a video clip of his version of Lompoc. That was clearly wrong - but what about when it's not so obvious; is it Arroyo "Grahn-day" or is it Arroyo "Grand - ee?"  Is it Paso "Rohbles" or Paso "Roh-blays?"
"Well technically there is a right way, if you wanted to use the Spanish pronunciation I suppose it would be Paso Rob"lays."  But I think going with the adage how is it pronounced locally?  Historically it was pronounced Paso Rohbles.  Now that's changing," said Paso Robles Mayor Steve Martin.
Ultimately, the mayor says it doesn't much matter as long as people are visiting.
Perhaps one of the areas of the Central Coast with the most disagreement about its name is the gateway to Hearst castle.  Some call it "Came-bria" and some call it "Cam-bria."
"I would say that is the number 1 frequently asked question.  Here and in town," said Cambria resident and historian Consuelo Steward Macedo.
For the town, it's more a tale of two villages - east and west - the historic part of town and newer development in the 1950s.
"The confusion arises when this town was originally settled and named Cambria officially in 1870… it was a sleepy little village who had ups and downs in its economy and its population.  In the 1930s we had a developer who came from Hollywood, established the Cambria lodge and developed what we know as the west end of town,"  said Macedo who is a member of the Cambria Historical Society board and a long time resident.
"The correct way to say the name of our town is Cambria - with a short 'a.'  It was the original pronunciation the Romans gave to the country of Wales -  Cambria,"  said Macedo. 

The name Cambria was actually the third choice for residents after the postal service denied Santa Rosa and San Simeon; both of which were already taken. Radio advertisements from a development company aired in Los Angeles and San Francisco referring to the area as "Caymbria-laa."
"So people who came in the '60s after the castle opened and our town became a destination - they heard the term Cambria and it kind of imprinted in their minds," said Macedo. But like mayor Martin, she says ultimately the pronunciation is up to each individual resident or visitor. "We don't consider this an "us and them" situation.  We understand why people say Caymbria.  It's imprinted in their memory.  But we are charged as the historical society to deal with the facts and give them the facts and give them the history."

Macedo and her husband even agreed to disagree about the name.  His family bought property on Happy Hill on the west side of town back in the '50s where she still lives today.  He apparently told her that it would always be "Caymbria" to him.

Top Trending Videos

Doppler Radar
Powered by Frankly

© KSBY.com 2018, KSBY.com
All rights reserved
Privacy Policy, | Terms of Service, and Ad Choices

Can't find something?