Montanans are known for having a good laugh when tourists mispronounce places' names like Ekalaka and "Nine Pipes" (if you haven't heard nin-ee-pipe-ee you haven't been around here in the summer).

But face it, we feel pretty sheepish when visiting places like Wisconsin, or Hawaii, where consonants seem to fall in all the wrong places.

And if you're visiting Washington State this summer you're setting yourself up to standout by slaughtering these town and place names. Here are the ones that trip most people up the most.

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Washington's wild mix of tribal and ethnic names

Northwest history brought a fascinating mix of name sources together, from the Chinook trade language to Coast Salish and Inland tribal names to French Canadian trappers. Generally speaking though, you can work your way through most names if you keep that in mind.

Some real doozies

The Olympic Peninsula has some real tongue twisters. The small town of Sequim is constantly called see-quim instead of the one-syllable "skwim." Lilliwaup is mangled by people trying to make lily-wop too complicated. And the kids will bust out laughing every time you drive through the crossroads at Humptulips on the coast. It's just the name of the local native band that lived there, generally meaning "hard to pole" for the shallow river.

Lots of "s" names

Probably the most frequently mispronounced name is Snoqualmie, the name of the pass, falls, and town where some of the "Twin Peaks" was filmed (also in North Bend). It's simply snow-khowl-mee, not the snow-kwol-AH-mee that you even hear in state.

If you hang around Anacortes (Anna-cour-tis), you'll hear about tiny little Guemes Island (GWEE-mus) and the tricky Swinomish channel (no, not swin-NO-mish like you'd expect but SWINO-mish) which borders the Skagit River and Valley (skaj-it, not ska-GIT).

Throw in Stillaguamish, Steiheken, and Spokane (spo-KAN, with a long "o" and short "a" please) and you'll see that 6-year-old missing their front teeth can be pretty amusing.

Some other wringers

And then there are these winners, which to be honest, most Washington residents can't even pronounce right.

Skamokawa: ska-MOCK-a-way

Touchet: Too-SHEE

Colville: kohl-VIL

Steilacoom: STILL-a-cum

Asotin: uh-SOHT-n

Sammamish: Su-mam-ish

Lummi: LUH-mee

And for the win Alex… Inchelium: in-CHEE-lee-um


See If You Can Identify These Montana Lakes Using Google Earth Images

From above, Montana's lakes may be less recognizable than you might think. Test your knowledge--see if you recognize these Montana lakes from Google Earth images.

Gallery Credit: Ashley

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