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Place Names: Boston English

Compiled by Adam Gaffin

The quickest way to convince a native that you're just a tourist is to refer to "the Public Gardens" (even if you pronounce it "Public Gahdens") or "the Boston Commons." Both are singular (i.e., "Public Garden" and "Boston Common").

Other tips: Tremont is pronounced "Treh-mont," it's COPley, not COPEly, Square (or Squayuh), and the last (or first) stop on the Blue Line is Bowd'n. The pronunciation of many other Massachusetts locations bears little resemblance to their spelling; to avoid the feeling that the natives are snickering at you behind your back, take The Massachusetts Quiz.

And never, never call Boston "Beantown;" it's like calling San Francisco "Frisco" - it just won't do.

How well do you know Massachusetts? Take this quick 'n' easy quiz. Try pronouncing these Massachusetts place names:

  • Berlin
  • Billerica
  • Cochituate
  • Concord
  • Leicester
  • Leominster
  • Peabody
  • Quincy
  • Waltham
  • Woburn
  • Worcester

The answers


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