Share |

How Do You Say Sinai?

Jul 15, 2015

You can learn a lot about our state in each issue of South Dakota Magazine, but one thing that's hard to convey in print is the correct pronunciation of South Dakota's more challenging place names. We're going to try to help with a series of videos, starting with a tricky town in Brookings County.


06:55 am - Thu, July 16 2015
ken hansen said:
on Johnny Cash's Holy land album he pronounced it more like the last example, more like cy nay i. But that was the Holy land and not SD
07:56 am - Thu, July 16 2015
Barbara Graham said:
Thanks for this helpful video. It was great! Can't wait for one on the Pierre :-)
10:48 am - Thu, July 16 2015
Sherry Larson DeBoer said:
As a Norwegian (Larson) from Rural Sinai I hold with the scholarly gentleman in the library's pronunciation. It is cy . née . i (long I). That Norwegian brogue brought in the 3rd syllable.
01:11 pm - Thu, July 16 2015
Nancy Kampfe said:
This was one of the first pieces of local lore I learned when I taught at Sioux Valley in 1970😀.
03:16 pm - Thu, July 16 2015
Donna Bolstad said:
Now if you were to actually go ask someone who lives there you would hear it Sign-yi with only 2 syllables.
03:58 pm - Thu, July 16 2015
Sandy Meyer said:
Sign yi, both long i's. I grew up just south of there in the big town of Nunda!
12:36 am - Fri, July 17 2015
Signe Marie Mellemseter Holter said:
My relatives from my home farm Mellemseter here in Oppdal, Norway, went to Siniai (Hogan Hoganson and Hogan Melemseter) I have several times visited Siniai and was told it is pronocend Cy-nee-I.
12:46 am - Fri, July 17 2015
Signe Marie Mellemseter Holter said:
I have to correct my self: the second person was Harold Melemeter (not Hogan)
01:34 pm - Sun, August 2 2015
Lewayne M Erickson said:
After living in Brookings for 50 years, and even before, Sinai has always been pronounced "Cy Nee." In recent TV coverage of bad weather in Miner County I was surprised to hear Vilas pronounced as "Vil as" rather than ""Vi las." Argonne was pronounced "Ar gon ne" when it has always been pronounced "Ar goone" named after the Argonne Forest battle in WWI. Argonne was previously named St Marys. There have been others but many in tvland apparently at not native South Dakotans.
07:45 am - Sat, August 29 2015
Clair Husby said:
I am trying to learn the language that both my parent spoke, namely Norwegian. They have nine vowels with three extra lettere ø,æ, and å. Learn how to use these sounds is half the battle. One thing that might explain the different pronunciation of Sinai is the letter "I" is pronounced like a long "e" in English so Norewgian speakers would prounounce it See nigh. This brogue stuff is incorrect. Over the years this different pronoucements are more about how we speak Engish. One of pioneers who are credited with with the naming was Martin Trygstad, my grand Uncle who no doubt pronounced it SEE NIgh. No Jay sound included,
06:29 pm - Mon, June 19 2017
Art Peterson said:
My grandmother, Clare Hoanson, was born & raised in Siniai. She married my grandfather, P. E Peterson and they lived in Oldham where my dad, Harold Peterson was born. Are there any Hoganson family living in the Siniai?
Art Peterson

Share your thoughts, post a comment to this story:

Your Name:
Your Email Address:  
Your Website:
2000 characters remaining
Web Design by Buildable