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Tue., Aug. 12, 2014, 8:49 a.m.

Tough Town Names For New Idahoans

Here's one way to find out if someone is from Idaho: ask them to pronounce Boise, Coeur d'Alene, or Pend Oreille. If there’s one thing that trips up folks from outside Idaho, it’s our weird and wonderful place names.  Counties, cities, and rivers in Idaho can be hard to pronounce, if you don’t know them well. These 10 words can be tough for new Idahoans (special thanks to the Idaho Press Club’s Idaho Pronunciation Guide).

  • Boise (BOY-see) though most outsiders say (boy-ZEE). It’s Idaho’s capital city and the county seat for Ada County. Boise is a French word that means "wooded." The Idaho State Historical Society says in the 19th century, French-Canadian fur hunters used the name for the Boise River.
  • Coeur d’Alene (kore-duh-LANE ), another city, and county seat, this time Kootenai County. Coeur d'Alene is the name of an American Indian tribe who lived in the area and called themselves the Schitsu'umsh. They got the name Coeur d'Alene, which means "heart of an awl," from French-Canadian fur traders. More here.

DFO: I'm surprised the list doesn't include Moscow, Clarkia & Kooskia. Can you think of any other towns that belong on the list?




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D.F. Oliveria
D.F. (Dave) Oliveria joined The Spokesman-Review in 1984. He currently is a columnist and compiles the Huckleberries Online blog and writes about North Idaho in his Huckleberries column.

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