Pronunciation

Bill Young

Some people have asked about the proper pronunciation of the name of the park. Is it Monti-CHELLO or Monti-SELLO? I say Monti-CHELLO, the same as the pronunciation of Thomas Jefferson's home, but I don't know if the name of the park follows that pronunciation.

Sometimes, the correct pronunciation of a word is different from the way most people pronounce it. Dr. John Bachman was a 19th century minister after whom John James Audubon named a sparrow and a warbler. Audubon had two sons, and they married Bachman's daughters. Today, most people pronounce Bachman as BOCK-man, with the first part pronounced like the last name of the composer Johann Sebastian Bach. However, Dr. Bachman pronounced his name BACK-man.

Most people I hear at the park pronounce the name of our largest woodpecker as PILL-eated. The name comes from the woodpecker's crest, which resembles an ancient Roman cap called a pileus. The cap is pronounced PIE-leus, and the preferred pronunciation of the woodpecker's name is PIE-leated.

One of the common spring warblers at Monticello Park is the Northern Parula. People who come to the park pronounce it as Pa-RU-la or PAR-u-la or even PAR-you-la. Warblers are in a family called the Parulidae, which is pronounced with the accent on the second syllable. For this reason, the preferred pronunciation of the warbler is Pa-RU-la. Calling the species a "Parula Warbler" is incorrect — its correct name is Northern Parula.

If you effectively convey the meaning you intend, it doesn't matter whether you say PAR-ula or Par-U-la, or PILL-eated or PIE-leated, or Monti-CHELLO or Monti-SELLO. The birds in the park don't care about any of this.