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.

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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 ChamblissClarence (Saxby) Saxby ChamblissThe Hill's Morning Report - Gillibrand drops out as number of debaters shrinks Hoekstra emerges as favorite for top intelligence post Republicans say Democrats holding up disaster relief as 'Sandy payback' 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 ChaffetzElijah Cummings, Democratic chairman and powerful Trump critic, dies at 68 House Oversight panel demands DeVos turn over personal email records The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - Trump attack on progressive Dems draws sharp rebuke 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 Marie LummisLiz Cheney leads GOP field by 20 points in potential Wyoming Senate race: poll Liz Cheney and Rand Paul extend war of words Pressure rises on Cheney to make decision 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 ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenOn The Money: US paid record .1B in tariffs in September | Dems ramp up oversight of 'opportunity zones' | Judge hints at letting House lawsuit over Trump tax returns proceed Overnight Energy: EPA watchdog slams agency chief after deputy fails to cooperate in probe | Justices wrestle with reach of Clean Water Act | Bipartisan Senate climate caucus grows Overnight Defense: Trump, Erdogan confirm White House meeting | Public impeachment hearings set for next week | Top defense appropriator retiring MORE (D-N.H.): Shu-HEEN
Sen. Jim RischJames (Jim) Elroy RischOvernight Defense: Erdoğan gets earful from GOP senators | Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract decision in court | Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families Senate Foreign Relations chair: 'Best' not to pass Turkey sanctions bill 'at this moment' Erdoğan gets earful from GOP senators at White House MORE (R-Idaho): RISH
Sen. Mark BegichMark Peter BegichAlaska political mess has legislators divided over meeting place Former GOP chairman Royce joins lobbying shop Lobbying world MORE (D-Alaska): BEG-itch
Sen. Mike JohannsMichael (Mike) Owen JohannsMeet the Democratic sleeper candidate gunning for Senate in Nebraska Farmers, tax incentives can ease the pain of a smaller farm bill Lobbying 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 NeugebauerRobert (Randy) Randolph NeugebauerCordray announces he's leaving consumer bureau, promotes aide to deputy director GOP eager for Trump shake-up at consumer bureau Lobbying World MORE (R-Texas): NAW-gu-bau-ur
Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.): TEE-hart
Rep. Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteUSCIS chief Cuccinelli blames Paul Ryan for immigration inaction Immigrant advocacy groups shouldn't be opposing Trump's raids Top Republican releases full transcript of Bruce Ohr interview 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 (Jim) Mountain InhofeOvernight Defense: Erdoğan gets earful from GOP senators | Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract decision in court | Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families GOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families MORE (R-Okla.): IN-hoff
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.): CHAM-bliss