New England is often mispronounced. Folks from other areas tend to say it as, “NEW England.” The correct pronunciation is, “Na-WING-lund” with the accent on the second syllable. New England consists of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
The New England Patriots is the only pro sports franchise named after a region.

Area names that people mispronounce:
Copley Square. Named for painter John Singleton Copley. It s “COP-lee,” (not “cope-lee”).
Tremont Street. Named for the three hills of Boston (Beacon, Copps and Fort – only Beacon remains. You can see the three hills on the BC seal) Pronounced “TREMM-ont” (never “tree-mont”).
Gumm-un Senna means Government Center. The area where City Hall is.
Comm Ave. The common name for Commonwealth Avenue. No one uses the full name.
Mass Ave is Massachusetts Avenue, but no one says the full name for this one either.
Trapelo Road. An exit off Route 128 in Waltham. Pronounced “Tra-PELL-o.”
Ponkapoag. An exit off Route 128 (actually it’s I-93, but everyone thinks it’s 128) in Randolph. The exit really doesn’t go anywhere, but traffic reporters like to say it because it’s a fun name. Pronounced “PONK-a-pog.”
Faneuil Hall. Despite what people in Philadelphia might tell you, this is the Cradle of Liberty. In the 70’s a TV newscaster from Texas got the idea that back in the day it was pronounced “FAN-ell” and it sort of caught on, but only with media types who hailed from elsewhere. No one in Boston says it like that. It’s “FAN-you-ull.”

Nicknames, etc.:
C’s. The Celtics. More commonly called the Celts. Really only people writing headlines for newspaper say The C’s.
B’s. The Bruins. Bruins is usually said in one syllable. Broons. Unlike C’s above, people actually say B’s because of the big B on the uniform shirt.
The Pats. The Patriots. Absolutely no one calls them the P’s.
The Sox. The Red Sox.

The Garden. The TD Garden, formerly the TD BankNorth Garden, the Fleet Center, and originally the Shawmut Center. Everyone says “the Gahden” because of the old Boston Garden on that site.
The Public Garden. A completely different place. It’s next to Boston Common. The Public Garden has gardens, flowers, the swan boats, the Make Way for Ducklings ducks and the smallest suspension bridge in the world.
Boston Common. Oldest park in the country. Nickname is “the Common” (with no s at the end). It’s not the Commons.
The Hancock Building. Actually there are three of them. The original is only 5 stories and sits between the other two. The 60-story glass Hancock Tower once had the nickname “the Plywood Skyscraper” because the huge panes kept falling out and were replaced by plywood until they could fix the problem. The 26-story Hancock Berkeley Building was once the tallest building in Boston. It’s the one with the weather beacon on top.
The famous poem about the lights goes like this:
Steady blue, clear view
Flashing blue, clouds due
Steady red, rain ahead
Flashing red, snow instead.

(Except in summer, when it means the Red Sox game is canceled.)

Boston Neighborhoods:
The Back Bay. Always include “the” when referring to it. No one says “in Back Bay.” It’s a landfill, by the way. They filled in part of the Charles River Basin back in the 1870’s. That’s why the streets are laid out in actual blocks and the cross streets are alphabetical. Arlington, Berkeley, Clarendon, Dartmouth, and so on. Most of the dirt was trucked in 24 hours day fom Needham. That’s why the area known as Needham Heights is now the Needham flats. The dirt wound up in the Back Bay.
The North End. Excellent neighborhood for restaurants, primarily Italian. It’s easier to reach now that the Central Artery is gone, but parking is tough.
Southie. It means South Boston.  A much nicer place than some books and movies would lead you to believe.
The South End. Not the same place as Southie. It’s just across the Mass Pike from the Back Bay.
Dot is Dorchester. Dot Ave is Dorchester Ave, Dot Day is a Dorchester neighborhood celebration.
JP: Jamaica Plain.
Hyde Park is just Hyde Park. Don’t call it HP. They’ll think you’re talking about your printer.
Rozzie: Roslindale.
Chuck-town: Charlestown. Less frequently used than other nicknames.
Allston-Brighton: Actually two different places with different zip codes. Allston is 02134, Brighton is 02135. Some people hyphenate the two names because of a sign at the Mass Pike toll in Allston.
Eastie: East Boston, where the airport is. Unlike Southie, a nickname that is frequently used, hardly anyone says Eastie.
Mattapan, Roxbury and West Roxbury don’t really have nicknames. Roxbury and West Roxbury are different places.

Town names often mispronounced:
Billerica. North of Boston. Pronounced “Bill-RICK-a.” Ignore the E.
Cochituate. To the west.  It’s part of Wayland.  Pronounced “Co-CHITCH-oo-it.”
Concord.  Where the Revolution started. Also where the grapes came from. Pronounced like “Conquered.” Don’t call it “CON-cord.”
Haverhill.  Also north of Boston. “HAY-ver-ull,” not “have-ur-hill.”
Hopkinton. Where the Marathon starts, 26.2 miles to the west. There’s no G in Hopkinton.
Leicester.  To the west. Pronounced “Lester,” like the Red Sox pitcher.
Methuen.  Another one to the north, almost in New Hamsphire. “Muh-THOO-in.”
Nahant.  North Shore. “Nuh-HAHNT.”
Natick. To the west. “NAY-dick” (not “gnat-ick”) It’s Doug Flutie’s hometown.
Neponset.  It’s a river, not a town. Pronounced “Na-PAWN-set.” There’s no Z sound in it.
Peabody.  “PEE-bu-dee” (not “Pee-body”). North of Boston.
Quincy.  Named for Josiah Quincy, Governor of Massachusetts and signer of the Declaration of Independence. It’s “KWIN-zee” (never “Quint-see”).
Salisbury.  More North Shore. “SAWLZ-bry” (not “Sal’s-bry”).
Scituate.  On the South Shore. “SITCH-oo-it.” Rhymes with Cochituate (above). Rhode Island also has one.
Swampscott. North shore. Pronounced “SWAMP-scut.”
Tewksbury. North of Boston. Pronounced “TOOKS-bry.”
Waltham. To the west. Pronounced “WALL-tham” (not “Wall-thum”).  Nickname is “Watch City.”
Woburn. It’s “WOO-burn” (not “Wob-urn”).  If you’re from there it’s “Woo-bin.”
Worcester. About an hour to the west. “WOOHS-ter” (or “Wista” if you’re from there).  Largest city in America that’s not on a navigable waterway.

Ham or Um?
Some towns ending†in ham are pronounced with a ham at the end, some with just an um at the end.

Ends with “ham”: Ashburnham, Bellingham, Eastham, Framingham, Petersham, Raynham, Wareham, Wilbraham.

Ends with “um”: Chatham, Dedham, Hingham, Needham, Oldham, Tatham (Yes, there is one), Wenham, Wrentham.

Ends with “tham”: Only Waltham.

Part 3 is tips on getting around.

Don Kelley

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