Monday, March 03, 2008

Easy for you to say . . .

One of these days we're going to be moving and our address will be here on Rigert Road. Problem is, Ray and I can't agree on how the name of the road is pronounced. I say Rigert with a long i, like "tiger." Ray thinks it should be pronounced with a short i, like "trigger." We've asked other people who live in the area and they are either split in their opinions or don't know.

I base my pronunciation on the "rules" I learned sometime about 4th grade. As I recall it went something like in two-syllable words the long vowel is followed by a single consonent, a short vowel is followed by double consonents. But of course there are exceptions and who knows if Rigert is even an English word. It's a name I suppose. And names!—well there is no sense to how they are pronounced.

We do live, after all, in Oregon. OR-e-gone to most of the world, Orygun to those of who live here. In many cases you just have to know things like:

  • Our fair city is split by the Willamette River, which is not sensibly pronounced willa-MET, but is, instead, wu-LAM-ut.
  • A major downtown street is Couch Street. It is not pronounced Cow-ch, like a sofa, but Cootch, like, well, whatever.
  • Near Couch Street is Glisan street. Rhymes with "listen."
    (I know about Couch and Glisan streets because there was a story in the newspaper about their pronunciations and they are pretty well-known streets. Rigert is just too obscure)
  • The small town just south of Portland is Tualatin. It's pronounced tu-WALL-a-tun, which actually makes some sense phonetically, but it bamboozles visitors and newcomers.

So we're at an impasse. I say Ri-gert, Ray says Rig-gert. The other day I heard someone call it "Reegert". Ay, ay, ay. I am tempted to find someone in the phone book with this last name and call them and ask them how they say their name, but if I called two Rigerts I might get two different answers. Have you ever known anyone with this name? How did they pronounce it? How did you pronounce it in your head when you read the street sign at the top of this post?


  1. No idea how it should be pronunced but I'd go for the long 'I'

    We have similar places here:
    Gateacre is not Gate- acre (as in fence and land measurement) but Gat -( short vowel) -aker

    Shrewsbury might be Shrew- (like the rodent) s- bury ( like the sopranos do with bodies) or, it might be Shro- (Rhymes with throw)- s- bury (still like sopranos)depending on which you like

    However, Cholmondley is most definately 'Chummley'.

  2. Not to worry. Your new neighbors will know---and will set you straight immediately!

    The Art Garden

  3. what a dilemma... I went with the long i when I first saw it...

  4. I have been saying Rigert as in Tigard - another town around here. so I agree with you.

  5. My first inclination was REE-gert :-)

    I told my (now) husband, a Minnesotan, that I wouldn't consider marrying him until he learned to say Orygun (rather than oh-ree-GONE).

    He still thinks I'm messin' with him when I tell him I used to live in uh-LOW-uh (Aloha).

  6. I read it Rye'-gert. There are several books about California place names which offer a lot of amazing facts when traveling around the state.

  7. try Yachats....nope, not ya-chets, it's Ya-hots....

  8. Anonymous7:45 PM

    Well, I'm with you--long "i".
    We had a similar situation when we lived in Virginia. The street we lived on was Leicester St. Since all the streets in the neighborhood had English place names (Lancaster, Yorkshire, etc.) I first started telling people I lived on "Lester" St. (As it would be pronounced in England.)The lovely people of Hampton would look at me funny and shake their heads, but no one could give me a better pronunciation. "LEE-chestah" seemed to be the favorite but "Lie-kester" "Lee-sister" and even "Like-ster" were suggested. I tried not to pronounce it at all and ended up just spelling it for people.

  9. I Googled Rigert. It appears to be a Swiss (or German) company that makes some sort of lifts. Phone them and see how they pronounce their name.

  10. rIII-gert, of course. If it were Rig-gert it would have another 'g'. Now about that Worcestershire (wusta-shire) sauce...

    BTW, I love your auction piece! Beautiful- am sure it will do very well.

  11. Well over here in the UK we were taught that a vowel with only one consonent between it and another vowel will always say its own name. So therefore 'i' as in tiger!
    What fun to be moving!

  12. Just be glad your last name is easy to pronounce. Mine is Brattain. Most people think it is pronounced to rhyme with "retain" but no, it rhymes with certain, or captain, or mountain.
    I hear people remind others that it is the Willamette, damnit!
    P.S. that little Sofia is a doll!

  13. Anonymous4:04 PM

    It's like Riggert. If that is the road in Hillsboro/Beaverton area on top of the hill. The i is pronounced like in dig.

  14. Anonymous12:08 AM

    this is my last name ... a lot of people pronounce it RIGGERT! but it's only one g.. and it's a short i... say rug-ert.. just replace the u with an i ... it's short! RIG-ERT! haha not sure if that helped.. it's hard to explain .. but having this last name; everyone pretty much pronounces it wrong..

    -Brianna Rigert