‘Tor-ron-toe? Toronno? Churrano?’ American NBA viewers ponder pronunciations
The day after the biggest game in Raptors’ history, the world is talking Toronto – except everyone is saying it differently.
“It’s about time we all learned how to properly pronounce the name of the city they’re playing in,” said an announcer on an Oakland Fox News affiliate. “Is it “Tor-ron-toe? Toronno? Churrano?”
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf used two different pronunciations in back-to-back sentences this week. While American sportscasters reverted between a hard-T and a “nah” suffix.
But can born-and-bred Torontonians tell which is right?
“It’s Tor-ron-toe,” laughed one woman outside the Toronto sign in Nathan Phillips Square Friday. “I’m from Scarborough,” her friend said. “The Scarboroughites say ‘Turonna.’”
The Minister who markets the city abroad argued you don’t say yes – to Turro-no.
“Tor-ron-toe,” articulated Ontario tourism minister Michael Tibollo, who was raised in Little Italy.
But University of Toronto linguistics expert Derek Denis jokes “if you say Tor-ron-toe, we know you’re not from here.”
He argues that the pronunciation debate is closely connected to cultural values and has even been commodified with Turonno-branded products to help boost the basketball brand.
“There is definitely an insider aspect to that Turonno, Turonnah pronunciation,” he said.
Denis points to commonly-used three-syllable words morphing into two syllables all the time, and disputes the fact that it’s slang or lazy language.
“I’m a linguist, so I believe in the parody of languages and dialects, so there’s no wrong way to say something, he told CTV News Toronto.
“But as a Torontonian there’s definitely a wrong way to say Toronto and that’s with that extra “t” there.”