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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Akin to the mispronounciation of “Los Feliz”, we have a street in Sarasota, Florida (populated by Midwesterners) that is spelled Bahia Vista and mispronounced BAY-yuh VIS-tuh, when the correct Spnish pronounciation is “ba-HEE-yuh VEES-tuh”.

    What is it with those Midwesterners anglicizing everything?

  2. kimmiea – I understand your point, but this tradition has likely been around for many, many years and is rooted in the legal immigration process and Ellis Island. Americans were understandably confused by foreign words/pronunciation. That’s why we have MY-lun (Milan) and LY-ma (Lima) OH, Valdosta (Val d’Aosta) GA, and many others. The immigration officials and immigrants did the best they could, but one can certainly empathize about the evolution of these places, as well as person, names. How many “John”s in the US were actually “Juan” or “Giovanni” or “Johann” at entry but changed their name because the entry officer was either dense or helpful?

  3. So true, Colleen! I was born & raised in Youngstown OHio, home of pro boxer Ray “Boom-Boom” Mancini, who pronounced his own surname man–SEE–nee. If he had ever heard the correct Italian mahn–CHEE–nee, he probably would have remembered his (great?-)grandfather pronouncing it that way. Or Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose first syllable is correctly SHVAHRTZ, not SHWORTZ!
    And the correct German pronunciation of Lowenbrau beer is LOVE-‘n-broy!

  4. The trouble is that our Roman alphabet is shared by so many languages, all of which have sounds that did not exist in Latin, so people in each country made up new rules to write their sounds. So the same combo of letters is pronounced very differently by English vs. French vs. German vs. Polish rules! And unpronounceable to some nationalities!

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