The second T in Toronto is silent—isn't it?

Did you know the second "t" in Toronto is silent? I didn't (either?) for about 80% of the time of my existence on the earth – the beginning marked by my birthday. The accurate pronunciation, in any accent, is "Toronno. Or Churrano. Or even Trawna," not Toronto with a pair of hard "t's", noted Lauren O'Neil, writing for BlogTO. We will talk about Tkoronto below.

But first, according to this study from The10and3, depending on where in the country you live impacts the pronunciation of the second hard "t". It's a small detail, perhaps. But it seems that the small details make for the most interesting possibilities of conversation and change. And no doubt, where you are reading from there may be similar, long-term, consensus driven agreements to mispronounce a city or street name.

The10and3 team explained the research projects goal: "to understand the different ways that Canadians speak, we conducted an online survey of English-speaking Canadians, asking 35 questions about everything from what you call a carbonated, sugary beverage (pop vs soda vs soft drink) to the preferred term for an evening meal (the great supper vs dinner debate). We then mapped the results, revealing some stark and surprising linguistic patterns across the country." The resultant maps provide a visual orientation for linguistic diversity.

Ever since the second silent "t" was pointed out to me, "tor-ahn-Toe" is loud. And not to be pretentious but just for the fun of re-naming again. After all, Houston Texas is not pronounced How-sten, like the street in Lower Manhattan. Regional reasons for language and sound make variety the norm. Vernaculars are one way to refuse homogeneity and create new nerdy moments of language. Listen for the second T.

Even before the annunciated silent second "t", Toronto is already the Anglicization of an indigenous place name. Humber College professor John Steckley…"an expert in native languages who speaks Huron and has a PhD in anthropology, says most scholars now agree that the city's name comes from the Mohawk word tkaronto, which means 'where there are trees in the water.'"

In 2016, Tkaronto circulated as a direct artistic political provocation. As reported by CBC news, "You've probably seen shirts and sweaters bearing the words "Toronto vs. Everybody," being worn across the city. The shirts shot up in popularity last fall [2015] after Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista wore one of the sweaters…But OCAD University professor Ryan Rice has put an Indigenous spin on the shirts with the Mohawk language version "Tkaronto vs Akwe:kon," a move he hopes will spark a conversation about the city's Indigenous history.