How Do You Pronounce ‘Nevada?’ You’re Probably Wrong

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Visiting Nevada? Don’t call it “Nev-AH-da,” or you’ll be in trouble. Unless one legislator has his way.

Apparently, the only acceptable pronunciation of the state is “Nev-AD-a,” not “Nev-AH-da.” Pronouncing the state’s name incorrectly can draw ire among residents, especially if you’re a politician.

One Las Vegas assemblyman wants to ease the tension by passing a bill allowing the “Nev-AH-da” pronunciation to be acceptable, as he says it’s the Spanish pronunciation. He’s been met with some support, but a general eye-rolling from his colleagues. Since it’s unlikely a bill will change Nevadans’ attitudes toward how you say their name, here’s a video to help you out. (Reno Gazette-Journal, via AP)

3 comments
Gerard26
Gerard26

The legislator is wrong. I was born in Venezuela but now live in Nevada. The correct pronunciation in Spanish is Ne-va-da. The "AH" sounds does not even exist in Spanish.

CharlesSBush
CharlesSBush

@marcmsj @Gerard26 Where you are getting confused @marcmsj is that you think the a in agua is the same as the a in Nevada using the incorrect pronunciation, which it is not. The schwa does not exist in Spanish in any form, although English speakers often pronounce agua with a schwa. Your vowel needs to be more forward in your mouth to be the correct Spanish pronunciation
In Spanish it would be pronounced more like nay-va-da, but not even exactly that way since the close mid unrounded vowel [e] is much shorter and not a dipthong like "ay." Also there is no v in most spanish dialects, it would be pronounced as a bilabial stop [b]. So in Spanish it would be shown in IPA as [ne.ba.ða]. or it would be more of an approximate/fricative (depending on the linguist) [β] [ne.βa.ða]. That only shares one phonem with the incorrect Nevada pronunciation. [nə.və.də]. One phonem out of 6 doesn't even make them minimal pairs let alone allow them to be anything close to the same pronunciation.