When our country was young and ever-expanding, we looked to international cities for inspiration in naming our new cities and towns. Sometimes, we just added a "New" in front of an old-world city name, like New Amsterdam, New York, and  New Orleans. Sometimes, we just took the same name, stuck it on our map...then began mispronouncing it. Here in Illinois, we've got several places like that.

Take for instance, Cairo. The Egyptian city is pronounced "KY-row." Here in the Land of Lincoln, it's..."KAY-row."

When my kids were small, they loved the movie "The Road to Eldorado." In movies, and on Cadillacs, it's pronounced "El-doh-RAH-doh," but in Illinois, we like to call it "El-doh-RAY-doh."

Dionne Warwick had a big hit with "Do You Know the Way to San Jose?" Her pronunciation mirrors that of the city of the same name, "san-ho-ZAY." Not so much in Illinois, as we call it "san JOES," with a heavy "S" sound instead of a  "Z."

If you're ever visiting France, make sure you visit the Palace of Versailles, and remember to call it the Palace of "vair-SYE." Otherwise, you could just stay home here in Illinois and visit the city of "vair-SALES."

Another great place to visit on a European tour is the Austrian capital, Vienna, pronounced "VEE-enna." If "The Sound of Music" is as close to Austria as you want to get, you could just drive 388.4 miles to "VIE-enna" Illinois.

You've heard the expression "When in Rome do as the Romans do," right? I'm assuming that the folks who named their community in Illinois "Rome" took that expression seriously. Our pronunciation? Rome, just like that fairly well-known town in Italy. Except, the people who live in Italy call it "Roma."

Now, what's ironic is that almost every Illinoisian (save for some die-hard Chicagoans) pronounces the state's name correctly as "ill-ih-NOY" instead of "ill-ih-NOISE". And it's just this state -- right next door, in Iowa, they pronounce Des Moines with two silent esses; if it were in Illinois, they'd call it "Dess MOYNSS" and insist it was correct.

And that's how we roll. It could be worse, though. We could live in Wales, in a town called Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch:

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