SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO)– KELOLAND News asked our Facebook followers to tell us what words people from outside the area commonly mispronounce. These words are often part of a debate between locals and visitors about which way is correct.

Below we share some of the responses with the correct pronunciation.

The city of Pierre

Although it’s the capital city, a lot of outsiders may not know how to say the name correctly. The word Pierre is not pronounced as it looks, which is confusing. While you might initially want to pronounce it like the French name, the correct pronunciation is actually “Peer”, like a pier you fish off of.

Vienna, S.D.

One of the smaller towns in South Dakota, Vienna was named to please a group of Austrian settlers from Vienna, according to the Federal Writers’ Project. The town name is pronounced “Vy-Enna,” rather than “Vee-Anna.”


The name Minnesota actually came from the Dakota Sioux. The state is named after the Minnesota River. “Mni” is the Dakota word for water and the Dakota word “Sota” has some debate; some say it means “sky-tinted”, while others say it means “cloudy”

People from the state may say the name with a drawn out O, like “MinnesOta.” However, many South Dakotans pronounce it with a drawn out A instead, like “MinnesotA.”

Belle Fourche

Belle Fourche (bel-FOOSH) was named after the French word for beautiful fork. It was named by French explorers when the area was owned by France. Although locals call it by the French pronunciation, some outsiders tend to pronounce the R, making it “bel-FOUR-sh.”


Groton was established by the railroad in 1881 and was named after one of the New England towns familiar to the railroad officials. The correct pronunciation of this South Dakota town is “Grow-ton,” however some out-of-towners can be caught calling it “Gra-ton.”


Beresford was originally known as Paris, but the name was changed in 1884 to Beresford (“Beers-ford”) when the North Western railroad was built. The name was changed in honor of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford of England, who was financially invested in the railroad.

This word has a unique spelling and some may be catching themselves calling it “Bears-ford.”


Onida is a smaller town in Sully county and was settled in 1883 by former residents of New York State. The name is a modification of Oneida, New York.

Locals pronounce this town as “o-ny-da”, however sometimes you can hear people mispronouncing it as “oh-nay-da.”


It is believed that the town of Platte’s name may have come from a variation of the name Pratte after Bernard Pratte of St. Louis, who was a brother-in-law to Pierre Chouteau, Jr., a early-day fur trader in central South Dakota.

While many people in the area think that the name is obviously pronounced “Pa-lat” some people may try to pronounce it “Pa-late.”