Are you new to Rochester? Have you outed yourself as a non-Rochesterian via the pronunciation of what seems like a normal word or town name? I’ve spent my entire life in the Rochester area, and with that comes the knowledge of how to pronounce some Rochester-specific words. Keep on reading to fool everyone into thinking you’re from here.

Charlotte [Shar-lott]

Charlotte, not pronounced like the infamous North Carolina city, is a neighborhood within the City of Rochester up by Lake Ontario. Some people also refer to Ontario Beach Park as Charlotte Beach. It’s also home to the original Abbott’s Frozen Custard location, which is now serving pumpkin custard for the fall.

Chili [Chai-lai]

Chili, not like the warm food it may look like it’s named after, is a suburb of Rochester not too far from River Campus. According to Niche, it is one of the best places to live in New York, which I find hard to believe. Let’s just say I’ve never heard of anything interesting ever happening over there, but I may be biased as an Eastsider.

Le Roy [Lee-Roy]

Le Roy, or usually spelled LeRoy, is a small town about a half hour from River Campus. Technically the correct pronunciation is a short “Le” because of its French Origin, as the Jell-O Museum docent explained, but a lot of people in the area pronounce it as “Lee.” It’s where Jell-O was first invented and manufactured, hence its main attraction is the Jell-O Museum which I would highly recommend. There’s also a family-run Mexican restaurant called Mama Chavez’s Taqueria and a miniature Statue of Liberty. What more can you ask for?

Avon [Ave-on]

It wasn’t until I watched “The Wire” this summer that I heard the “correct” pronunciation of Avon. There’s supposedly some good flea markets out here, with a slightly different vibe (aka more conservative) than the Lucky Flea. 

Lima [Lime-a]

No, this is not the capital of Peru, it’s another rural town in Monroe County. They have a combined school with nearby Honeoye Falls, so if anyone tells you they went to HFL, that’s what they mean.

Documentary and Elementary [NOT -tree]

I will stand by my stance that everyone else in the country pronounces these words incorrectly. Just look at how these words are spelled and say it based on that. This is a very easy way to spot a Western New Yorker in general, not just a Rochestarian. 

You may have also heard the Rochester accent, which is described as being nasally and a variant of Inland Northern American English. I don’t think I fully have the Rochester accent as described in the linked article, but I may just be in denial. 



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