The Democratic Nevada caucuses are almost here, and that means people are talking about the Silver State. It’s great to debate politics with your friends, but before you air your views, make sure you know how to pronounce the name of that state you’ll be discussing.
It turns out Nevadans have strong opinions about the way to say their state name. The pronunciation issue can often cause problems for politicians visiting the state and has resulted in some comedic moments in the past. As you head into caucus weekend for Democrats — and prepare for the Republican caucuses on Tuesday — here is everything you need to know about how to pronounce "Nevada."
First things first, it’s “nuh-VAD-uh,” not “nuh-VAH-duh.” The “a” is pronounced as it is in the word “cat,” and you can listen to the correct version below from Pronunciation Book.
During the 2008 presidential election, NBC News’ Brian Williams used the incorrect version on air while reporting on the campaign, and Nevada residents flooded the network with angry calls and emails, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported at the time. The incident prompted Williams to record a special broadcast about the backlash, complete with an explanation of how to pronounce the state’s name properly.
The state’s residents take the issue so seriously that when a Las Vegas assemblyman in 2010 introduced a bill that would have made it acceptable to pronounce "Nevada" both ways, it was met with significant skepticism from his colleagues.
This election cycle, several politicians have wrestled with the rules of pronunciation. Republican candidate Jeb Bush used a long “a” during a speech in the state last spring, and members of the crowd shouted back to correct him, CNN reported. More recently, Bernie Sanders’ campaign has been teaching its volunteers to pronounce "Nevada" correctly with a video tutorial that comes as part of phone-dialing instructions, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Nevadans are used to out-of-towners mispronouncing the name of their state, but if you just practice a bit, you’ll soon be an expert.
We're at that stage where political world splits into 2 camps: those who correctly pronounce "Nevada" and those who don't.
— Kevin Madden (@KevinMaddenDC) February 18, 2016
If you aren't sure how to correctly pronounce 'Nevada,' just ask yourself which sounds more natural, then say it the other way.
— Vaughn Sterling (@vplus) February 19, 2016