From CAY-roh to MAD-rid

Rachel Arndt

I drove home to Chicago from Iowa City last weekend. Along the way I passed a bunch of cows, some flat raccoons, many semi trucks, and more French-named towns and doubles of foreign cities (Cairo, Rome) than you can shake a map at.

Here's how we say them in the middle of the country:

Athens: AY-thens
Berlin: BER-lin
Bourbonnais: burh-BOHN-nis
Buena Vista: BOON-a-vista
Cairo: CAY-roh
Delhi: DEL-high
Des Plaines: des-PLAYnz
Hidalgo: heye-DAL-goh
La Moille: luh-MOYL
Madrid: MAD-rid
Marseilles: mar-SAYLZ
Milan: MY-lan
Monticello: mon-ti-SEL-oh
Peru: PEE-roo
Renault: REE-nawlt
Tripoli: tri-PO-la
Versailles: ver-SAYLZ

Rachel Z. Arndt is an MFA student in the nonfiction writing program at the University of Iowa, and an editorial assistant at The Iowa Review.