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Campus Life

Welcome to Boston, Home of the Gahden

Students learn to speak Bay State


Watch this video on YouTube

You may have already tried to pahk your cah on Comm Ave, but have you been to Woostah yet? What about Bill-rick-a, or Hay-vrull? When students come to Boston University, they get a little extra education when it comes to pronouncing some of the state’s archaic city and town names, many dating back to the 1600s.

BU Today called the cops for help — specifically, lifelong Bostonian and BUPD Captain Robert Molloy — to set the record straight. Think you’re a pro? Try tackling Leominster.

Alan Wong can be reached at alanwong@bu.edu.


9 Comments on Welcome to Boston, Home of the Gahden

  • Anonymous on 09.15.2008 at 6:44 am

    A lot of towns in New England–if not all of them–are named after English ones, so I’m kind of surprised that these only date back to the 1600s.

    Where does a person get that extra “i” in Leominster?

  • Anonymous on 09.15.2008 at 6:45 am

    You should have thrown in Woburn.

  • Anonymous on 09.16.2008 at 9:25 am

    Haha, our silly names. There could also be a very effective video on translating everyday sentences like “theah’s a bubblah in the next rum” into normal English. That made my day!

  • Anonymous on 09.16.2008 at 11:34 am


    I’ve lived in New England all my life and my father was from Worcester. It’s pronounced “Wistah” not Woostah.

  • Anonymous on 09.16.2008 at 1:05 pm

    I think I need a course on New England phonetics

  • Anonymous on 09.16.2008 at 4:57 pm

    Could have included Leicester and Scituate, too. And any of the towns with an ‘h’ in the middle of their name.

  • Anonymous on 09.24.2008 at 2:06 pm

    What about Concord? It’s not the airplane, it’s Kahn-kerd.

  • Anonymous on 08.29.2010 at 12:29 am

    I once heard a new newscaster on a Boston TV station pronounce Stoughton as Stuffton. He didn’t last too long with the station.

  • paola on 09.07.2011 at 2:51 pm

    This video made me think back to my freshman year some 20 years ago… I was laughing until I heard the comment about Worcester being “a crappy place to live.” This is not the message the university should be endorsing. It is presumptuous of newcomers to be making blanket statements about places they have likely never visited (I am basing this generalization on the name-butchering we’ve just seen). Worcester has many of the same urban problems Boston faces, and we should do more to introduce these new “neighbors” to the realities of urban communities in Boston and beyond. BU is only a microcosm of this city. As a matter of fact, Massachusetts has learned a lot from Worcester, including huge successes in their work to end homelessness.

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