The Hill's Pronounciation Guide

The fictitious Mr. Smith came to Washington with one of the country’s most familiar last names.

But Mr. Luetkemeyer?

The 111th Congress has ushered in a long list of new names to learn. And many of them don’t roll off the tongue like Hoyer or Cantor.

The ensuing guide should help lawmakers, aides and anyone visiting Capitol Hill get off on the right foot with pronunciations for some of the new legislators who have less-than-straightforward surnames.

There’s also a bonus section that will help people brush up on some of the returnees’ names. While not infallible — when asked how to pronounce her boss’s last name, an aide to Sen. Saxby ChamblissSaxby ChamblissWyden hammers CIA chief over Senate spying Cruz is a liability Inside Paul Ryan’s brain trust MORE (R-Ga.) with a sharp Southern twang remarked, “It just depends on where you’re from” — it will surely come in handy during chance run-ins on escalators or in the Longworth Cafeteria.


These names need no more than a phonetic breakdown:

Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.): POLE-iss
Rep. Suzanne Kosmas (D-Fla.): CAUZ-muss
Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine): SHELL-ee PIN-gree
Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.): DEE-nuh TI-tus
Rep. Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzOversight leaders to probe Social Security defenses House approves funding for DC school vouchers The Trail 2016: Trump applies presidential polish, Cruz adds VP MORE (R-Utah): CHAY-fits (Recognizing the difficulty of his last name, Chaffetz put the pronunciation as a “Tip of the Day” on his campaign website.)
Rep. Cynthia LummisCynthia LummisThe Hill's 12:30 Report GOP women push Trump on VP pick GOP lawmaker suggests Trump pick woman as VP MORE (R-Wyo): LUHM-iss
Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Va.): PEAR-e-ello (He replaced Republican Virgil Goode, whose last name had a deceptive “oo” sound, as in “food.”)
Rep. Frank Kratovil (D-Md.): KRAT-uh-vill
Rep. Dan Maffei (D-N.Y.): Mu-FAY

These names require more finesse:

Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.): LOO-ktu-my-ur. Notice the “k” sound comes before the “t” sound, even though the T is written first. This comes from the Brett Favre school of pronunciation (a professional football player whose last name is said “FARV”).
Rep. Ben Luján (D-N.M.): Loo-HAHN. (Spanish pronunciation is an entirely separate lesson — it’s ee-no-HO-sa, not hee-no-JO-sa; it’s Veh-LAW-skes, not Vu-LA-squez. Just remember here, the J is an “h” sound for native English speakers.)
Rep. Joseph Cao (R-La.): GAU
Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Ohio): DREE-house
Rep. John Boccieri (D-Ohio): Bo-CHAIR-ee

The Senate edition:

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen Jeanne ShaheenCarter pledges probe of sex assault testimony Pentagon looks to reduce billion energy bill Senate looks for easy wins amid 2016 gridlock MORE (D-N.H.): Shu-HEEN
Sen. Jim RischJim RischSen. Cory Gardner endorses Cruz GOP lawmakers vie for convention power GOP senator on endorsing Cruz: 'I guess it depends on your definition' MORE (R-Idaho): RISH
Sen. Mark BegichMark BegichEx-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm Unable to ban Internet gambling, lawmakers try for moratorium Dem ex-lawmakers defend Schumer on Iran MORE (D-Alaska): BEG-itch
Sen. Mike JohannsMike JohannsTo buy a Swiss company, ChemChina must pass through Washington Republican senator vows to block nominees over ObamaCare co-ops Revisiting insurance regulatory reform in a post-crisis world MORE (R-Neb.): JOE-hands

Finally, here’s a refresher course for tricky names among incumbent lawmakers:

Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.): LAN-ju-vin
Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.): Cap-yoo-ON-o
Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-La.): Mu-LAW-so (This is unofficially the most difficult name to pronounce in Congress. The N’s are pronounced ever so slightly, but certainly not in the hard Nancy-Newton American way. Think French. Go nasal.)
Rep. Randy NeugebauerRandy NeugebauerRetailers battle financial sector over data breach legislation Bipartisan effort seeks end to budget gimmicks Overnight Cybersecurity: Senate encryption bill nears finish line MORE (R-Texas): NAW-gu-bau-ur
Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.): TEE-hart
Rep. Bob GoodlatteBob GoodlatteOvernight Healthcare: First House Republican backs Obama Zika request FCC box plan raises alarms among House Judiciary leaders Overnight Finance: House rejects financial adviser rule; Obama rebukes Sanders on big banks MORE (R-Va.): GOOD-lot (You’re not ordering a grande at Starbucks.)
Rep. Steve Buyer (R-Ind.): BOO-yur
Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.): Fu-TAH
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.): ROAR-uh-bock-ur
Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.): BI
Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii): In-O-yay
Sen. James InhofeJames InhofeThree more Republican senators to meet with Supreme Court nominee Senate unveils B waterways bill with aid for Flint 0 million Flint aid package included in water bill MORE (R-Okla.): IN-hoff
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.): CHAM-bliss