Why is it pronounced Arkansaw?

I mean to say, it is spelt Arkansas. Why is it not pronounced Arkansass?

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I’ve always wondered that?

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“The Arkansas Historical Society members argued that the divergent pronunciations of Arkansas and Kansas stem from similar French names given to two different Native America tribes. A Siouan tribe lived near the modern-day Kansas River and early French explorers called them by a version of their name, which sounded to their French ears like “Kansa.” The second tribe, the Quapaw, lived further southwest along the modern-day Arkansas River and, for reasons unknown, the French called them by their Algonquin name, “Akansa.”
The 1881 Arkansas Historical Society pamphlet concluded that both Kansas and Arkansas have roots in similar Indian tribal names, but that Kansas chose to follow the standard English pronunciation — marked by the hard “a” sound in “can” and vocalizing the final “s” — while Arkansas stuck with the original French pronunciation.”

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Thank you for that. The article is comprehensive with the final word going to American poet Henry Wadsworth.
In 1880, the Arkansas Historical Society wrote the iconic American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow for his take on the pronunciation question. “I confess I prefer the sound of Arkansaw as being more musical than Arkansas,” Case closed.

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My pleasure. Glad I could help.

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There is a fair bit of French influence in America, IF my History serves me correct, Louisville is another

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Named after Kate and Willie’s child?

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And why does Mainwaring call himself Mannering???

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Same with place names in the UK. Along the coast here is Happisburgh, pronounced Haysburgh. (Burra, not berg). We also have Wymondham (Windum).

I could go on.

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Here in Northants we have Cogenhoe which is pronounced Cucknoe.

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Who? Are they famous French people?

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If you were in Oxford and suspected someone was a foreign spy you asked them to pronounce Magdalen.

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In South Yorkshire we have ‘Hatfield Woodhouse’ pronounced ‘Woodus’ by the locals…

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Indeed. That’s precisely what Ken Follett should have taken into account while writing his book The Eye of the Needle (aka Storm Island) in which it is assumed that the German spy would not be identified as a foreigner. Not very realistic.

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Have a go at this one…

I always spend ages repeating to my Italian students, the pronunciation of “cupboard”. They can’t understand why we write it that way but we don’t say: “cup +board”!! I just say that in English you don’t pronounce exactly what you write, unlike we do in Italian.

Worcester is another example.

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French they get in everywhere it seems…

copied and pasted…

The influence of the French is clearly present. Fifteen U.S. state names are of French origin, or are from Native American words as rendered or transcribed by the French (like Illinois). The Cajun culture of Louisiana is famous. Even in Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire, French is still a common language, after English and Spanish. (Jack Kerouac, born in 1922 in Lowell, Massachusetts, to parents who migrated south from Quebec, spoke French until he was six and is said to have not been fluent in English until he was a teen.)

Taking a larger view, Canada is officially a bilingual nation, and, further south, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and French Guiana are still départements et régions d’outre-mer, or overseas departments of France.

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Yes and even more rigid in its use of French than France. So its not a hotdog in Quebec, its a chaud-chien. And while the French in France have adopted many English terms (shopping, meeting, picnic, etc.) the Canadians refuse to do so. Personally I prefer the non-rigid, ever involving English language - except very poor grammar, spelling and punctuation.

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It’s getting worse with these silly pronouns that use ‘they’ where he or she should be used .

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