Texas Drawl: San Francisco Streets Butchered

From Sansome to Noe, Houston woman makes out-of-towner mistakes

By Jackson West
|  Wednesday, Dec 16, 2009  |  Updated 2:23 PM PDT
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Texas Drawl: San Francisco Streets Butchered

Marcin Wichary

Just so you don't thing the SFMTA is the only agency that has trouble with San Francisco's street names, this typo was found set in concrete along Gough ("Goff") street.

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Every city has some idiosyncratic pronunciations. Take New York's Houston Street (pronounced "House-ton") which many a tourist makes the mistake of pronouncing in the style of the Texas city, Houston ("Hugh-stun").

And it's from that very Texas city that a contractor, DRI, recorded new rider-alert audio for Muni buses in the wake of service changes earlier this month.

Hilarity ensued.

Noe ("No-ee") pronounced "No." Sansome? "San-SO-mee." And let's not get started on Visitacion, Gough, Kearny and Valencia (the latter is pronounced with a "ch" sound, at least in one version of San Francisco's colloquial English dialect).

Donna Reed owned up to the mistakes, saying she pronounced the names as a Houston resident would.

Or is that a House-ton resident?

And Muni? Well, poor San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency employee Jim Campbell now has to listen to all the recordings and flag the mistakes for re-recording.

Photo by Marcin Wichary.

Jackson West kind of loves how Muni can come up with new and interesting ways to fail.

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