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Trump stumbles to properly pronounce Yosemite. Is that a common mistake?

Bryant-Jon Anteola, The Fresno Bee on

Published in News & Features

FRESNO, Calif. -- Know how to properly say Yosemite?

President Donald Trump apparently does not.

During a White House ceremony Tuesday about the Great American Outdoors Act, Trump twice stumbled to correctly pronounce the name of one of America's most famous national parks.

Instead of saying "Yo-sem-it-ee," Trump said "YO-se-MIGHT" then quickly followed with another incorrect pronunciation of "YO-sem-mi-NIGHT."

"When young Americans experience the breathtaking beauty of the Grand Canyon, when their eyes widen in amazement as Old Faithful bursts into the sky, when they gaze upon Yosemite's ... Yosemite's towering sequoias, their love of country grows stronger. And they know that every American has truly a duty to preserve this wondrous inheritance," Trump said.

Though many on social media had a chuckle at Trump's Yosemite stumble, the president's botched pronunciation is quite common, according to the head official of the Yosemite visitors center.

"We hear it all the time, especially from East Coasters for some reason," said Rhonda Salisbury, CEO of Visit Yosemite Madera County, of Trump's YO-se-MIGHT pronunciation. "I'm always shocked that people don't know how to say Yosemite.

"I think foreign visitors know how to say it correctly more than American visitors."

A website dedicated to the history of Yosemite National Park stated that the original pronunciation of the area is actually "Yohhe'meti" (Southern Miwok) or "Yos.s.e'meti " (Central Miwok), based on the Indian tribe that lived in Yosemite Valley.

 

Yosemite was the fifth-most visited national park in 2019, attracting 4.5 million guests, according to the National Park Service.

This is hardly the first time Trump has mispronounced regions or states.

He also pronounced the state that Las Vegas is located in as "Neh-VAH-da" rather than "Neh-VAD-ah" as locals say. He even lectured those who attended his speech at the time on how Nevada should be pronounced.

Trump also called the state located just south of Washington state as "Ore-uh-GONE" instead of "ORE-i-gen."

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