One of the pitfalls politicians campaigning in any state try to avoid is mispronouncing the names of local points of reference.
Most politicians who visit Iowa know some of the strange ways Iowans pronounce the names of their hometowns.
For example, Nevada, Iowa, is pronounced nuh-VAY-duh, not nuh-VAA-duh.
Madrid, Iowa, residents put the emphasis on the first syllable so it’s pronounced MAD-rid rather than muh-DRIHD and Tripoli, Iowa, residents call their town trih-POH-luh.
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama stumbled through one of those Iowa names during a speech in Council Bluffs.
New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny reports Obama took two swings at Pottawattamie County — and missed before hitting it right on the third try. The western Iowa county bears the name of an Indian tribe and it’s pronounced pawt-uh-WAHT-uh-mee.
Pronunciation guides are available from the Iowa Broadcast News Association for other tongue-twisters like Bremer County, which is pronounced BREEM-er. Many mispronounce it as BREHM-er.
As for Osceola County — there’s also a town in Iowa called Osceola — it’s oh-see-OH-luh, not AHS-ee-oh-luh and Wapello County is WAH-puh-loh not wah-PELL-oh.