Question: How is Appalachia pronounced?

Reply: First let’s get oriented. Appalachia is region in the eastern U.S. that stretches from southern New York State to northern Georgia and Alabama. The Appalachian Mountain range, on the other hand, runs from southern Canada to Alabama. The Appalachia region generally refers to the central and southern portion of the range. The region has been a source of tales and characterizations over the years, such as hillbillies, moonshine and clan feuds.

Now, back to the pronunciation. You hear both “Ap-uh-LATCH-a” and “Ap-uh-LAY-cha.” (Which do you say?) It is a matter of choice, but in general the “latch” version appears to be more prevalent in the South, and the “lay” version in the North. My dictionary gives both pronunciations.

Another item is how many syllables you want to use. You have the previous four-syllable words, “ap-uh-latch-a” and “ap-uh-lay-cha.” Or, you might hear five syllables, “ap-uh-latch-chee-a” or “ap-uh-lay-chee-a.”

These dialect differences occur frequently. For example, another mountain case, the Himalayas. Is it “Hih-MAHL-yuhz” or “Him-uh-LAY-uhz”? The English pronunciation generally prefers the latter. Then, not long ago in the news you heard a lot about “I-RACK” or “I-ROCK” (Iran).

We have a bunch of speaking dialect differences in the eastern U.S. between the North and the South. I don’t know which is right, but those other people sure talk funny, don’t they?

C.P.S. (Curious Postscript): “The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly and lie about your age.” — Lucille Ball

Curious about something? Send your questions to Dr. Jerry D. Wilson, College of Science and Mathematics, Lander University, Greenwood, SC 29649, or e-mail Selected questions will appear in the Curiosity Corner. For Curiosity Corner background, go to

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