Sunday, May 25, 2008


One of the town names that newcomers to Massachusetts
initially mispronounce is Haverhill, birthplace of my ancestors
Amos Hastings and Abigail Mitchell.

The furthest off is to say the first syllable like the verb "have"
and then pronounce the 'r' as the second syllable before
ending with a"hill" so it comes out "Have-r-hill". I've heard
this once or twice from reporters new to the area.

'Have' actually has a long 'a' as in "hay" and some people get
that first part right but still fall into the 'hill' trap.

There's no hill in Haverhill. Basically, the 'h' is silent and the
name has two syllables:

"Hayv + rill"= "Hayvrill".

So remember, if you are going to Haverhill, keep the 'h' out
of it!


Randy Seaver said...

Haverhill is right next to Salem NH where my cousins live. I've always been interested in how they pronounce it - it sounds like "aye-vrill" to me. No H. Either one.

Perhaps this is a NH thing? Of course, they don't say "amp-ton" or "amp-shire" the way they might in England.

Cheers -- Randy

Bill West said...

One of my co-workers at the bookstore
proposed the theory that the way
all these towns are pronounced reflects the accents of the region of England that the majority of the original settlers came from.

But as for the missing NH "h",
maybe Janice knows why!