Question of the week: Tijuana vs. Tiajuana

Tijuana

New feature! Let’s see how long I keep this one up.

Why do people* pronounce Tijuana as “tía Juana” or tee-uh-wanna? And if it’s so hard to pronounce, why not just call it TJ?

*By people I mean lots of white people or those who are Spanish-challenged.

Photo by Nathan Gibbs.

15 thoughts on “Question of the week: Tijuana vs. Tiajuana

  1. oso

    But where to draw the line? Personally I get annoyed with Vallejo (Val-ay-hoe). Why not just call it Val-ay-joe? But then again, we all call Loce Ahnhellus, Laws Anjelus right?

    Reply
  2. EL CHAVO!

    Ha, you’re going to be running into some long lists of bad pronunciations! Yeah, I just call it TJ as well. Did you know that people from Tijuana take offense to the term ‘tijuanero’ and prefer ‘tijuanense’? Somebody schooled me on that one.

    Reply
  3. brenda

    I remember the first time I mentioned TJ to Bri’s family. They didn’t know what I was talking about, so i said “tijuana” in my awesomest spanish, but they still didn’t know. So i had to slow it down. At least I can say that Bri knows how to pronounce it correctly, that and tamal. Yey.

    Reply
  4. Rob

    People misprounce Spanish words all the time. Just as Mexican people misprounce English words all the time. II can’t count how many times I’ve heard someone say “Birfday” instead of “Birthday.” Instead of being annoyed, a little tolerance and gentle correction benefits everyone.

    Reply
  5. mmmmmmmmmmmmm

    Tijuana is a country??? That’s funny. Tijuana is a city in the state of Baja California in the country of Mexico. It is the 4th largest city in Mexico behind Mexico City, Guadalajara and Montery. There was once a ranch in the area named Tia Juana which means of course Aunt Jane. The area was also called Ticuan by the native Kumiay indians. There is no authoritive source as to which one the name comes from. Americans mispronounce the name only because we’ve always heard it one way so why change. TEE-HUAN-A.

    Reply
  6. Learn English!

    I don’t know why you get so upset about saying those names incorrectly because Mexicans have a tendency to misspronounce English words ALL THE TIME. I get so pissed off when I hear a commercial like for example “AbsBuilder Plus”… and they pronocune it: “abs may-kehr ploos”! WTF? If you say the first two words in English (correctly), why the hell do you say “ploos” instead of “pl-aws”. Or when they say “Speed-ehr-man” insted of “Spiderman”. It makes them sound like morons. Its not that hard to pronounce a word if you hear how it sounds first!
    The same with the gringos that doesn’t know anything else but “Tengo un gato en mis pantalones”…. idiots… don’t make a fool of yourself and learn Spanish too!

    Reply
  7. Sam Houston

    From the bolillo side, you are so right. I try to learn as much spanish as I can and to pronounce it correctly when I do. It has gotten to the point that i sometimes screw up english vowels but that’s okay. I got a kick out of your posting.

    Reply
  8. Pocho Saurus Mex

    I know that it can be frustrating to hear all of the mispronunciation – my parents used to say “e-steak” and “estop” instead of “steak” and “stop.” But now they’re better. I’ve heard people pronounce Van Nuys and Vanowen as “Ban Nuys” and “Banowen.” It seems all recent immigrant groups have words or phrases that they just can’t master – such as **some** Filipino people and the term “homeworks.”

    Reply
  9. Ariane

    It is one thing to mispronounce something b/c of our accent. # 10 is an idiot b/c we as Americans mispronounce Mexican words all of the time, b/c it is hard to know what letters in the Mexican alphabet sound like. That is why they say speederman, for example, because when they see the letter i, they pronounce it in their language like the English letter e for us. On the other hand, Americans are actually adding a whole letter in the word Tijuana. There is NO “a” behind the “i” in this word, so it should not be pronounced Tiajuana.

    Reply
    1. Melodie

      No, it was originally Rancho TIA Juana…so who decided to change it? Just because “someone” decided to change it doesn’t mean everyone else has to follow along.

      Reply

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