Tongue-twisters: How to pronounce the tricky member names

Rep. Scott DesJarlais’s (R-Tenn.) last name befuddles so many people that he dedicated an entire campaign ad to its pronunciation.

In the ad, DesJarlais sits at a picnic table, introducing himself, when an old man interrupts him, holding up a mustard jar while asking, “Dijon?”

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“Not the mustard!” DesJarlais’s family shouts as the politician says his name again.

The 112th Congress opened with one of the legislative body’s largest freshman classes, and with it come several names that have the potential to embarrass any staffer, lobbyist or reporter attempting to introduce him- or herself or get a lawmaker’s attention.

In an effort to avoid such situations, The Hill offers a pronunciation guide to the most difficult names of the freshman class, as well as a refresher on how to pronounce some veteran legislators’ tricky names.

Starting at the top

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio): BAY-nur. It should be well-known by now that the new House Speaker has a last name whose vowels betray their intended sounds. Lest there remain any doubt, the first syllable of his last name has the long-A sound — despite the juvenile mispronunciation that persists.

Short — but still tough

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.): A-ott (The first syllable rhymes with “day.”)

Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.): BOO-shon

Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-Minn.): Cruh-VACK

Rep. Frank Guinta (R-N.H.): GIN-tuh (It’s a hard G, as in “good.)

Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.): HO-vun


Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.): HYULES-camp

Rep. Dave Schweikert (R-Ariz.): SHWEYE-kurt

Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.): WHOA-mack

Longer — and even trickier

Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco (R-Texas): KEE-ko Cahn-SEH-ko

Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.): Sis-uh-LEEN-ee

Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.): DAY-zhar-lay

Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.): HI-zing-guh

Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Ohio): Ruh-NAY-see

Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Ind.): Row-KEE-tuh

Redux

Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.): BOAZ-min. Boozman made the switch from the lower to the upper body this Congress — just when House staffers learned that his last name doesn’t sound like “booze.” It remains to be seen how long it will take for the Senate to learn this lesson.

Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio): SHA-bit. Chabot returns to Congress this year after a rematch last fall with another politician with a tough name, former Rep. Steve Driehaus (D).

Refresher

No matter how long they’ve been in Congress, these members have names that regularly get mispronounced.

Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.): Bill-uh-RACK-iss

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.): KA-pih-toe

Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.): Cap-yoo-ON-oh

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah): CHAY-fits

Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho): CRAY-poh

Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas): KWAY-ar

Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.): EN-sin

Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.): SHAW-kuh Fuh-TAH

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.): FREE-ling-hi-zen

Rep. Rubén Hinojosa (D-Texas): een-oh-HO-suh

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.):  IN-hoff

Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii): In-OH-yay

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.): EYE-suh. We’ll be hearing Issa’s name more this Congress now that he’s Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.): KLOW-buh-shar

Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.): LAN-juh-vin

Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.): LUKE-tuh-my-ur

Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine): MISH-oh

Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas): NAW-guh-bow-ur

Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wis.): PEE-try

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.): ROAR-uh-bock-ur

Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.): Veh-LAW-skes

Download the pronunciation guide here