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We’re still full of bologna: More on the pronunciation of this local food

You didn’t think we’d just end our bologna conversation with yesterday’s discussion about the local nature of butcher bologna, did you? We’re just getting in the meat of the conversation! (You should probably laugh now. That’s about it for my level of joke quality.)

No, you’ll probably also remember that when we last talked about bologna, we also discussed how to pronounce it.

Our winner in the previous poll was that 61% of those who voted say it like “ba-low-knee.” Meanwhile, “ba-low-nuh” made up 31% of the vote, with “ba-lahg-nuh” and “some other way” finishing out the voting with a couple of percentage points apiece.

Commenting on this one was fun, especially some of the distinctions and suggestions I didn’t really account for in the poll.

My friend Lorie Redding, for instance, says “buh-lone-yuh.” Our friend Mark in Austria writes, “Ahhh, b’lownie, how’s that?”

My husband, Chris, even chimed in. “Ba-low-knee for me. Bo-log-na only for purposes of remembering how to spell it? (Anyone else do that — specifically pronounce words wrong as an aid in remembering how to spell them correctly?)” Yes, folks, he’s an editor. I guess we should be glad?

Seltzer's Lebanon Bologna
This is our family's preferred Lebanon bologna brand!
Joe Stein says, “Oscar Mayer type stuff: ba-low-knee. Lebanon bologna type stuff: ba-low-nuh.” That, by the way, is the distinction I make as well. I say ba-low-knee all the time, except I say “Lebanon ba-low-nuh.” Thank you, Joe, for convincing me I’m not insane.

And finally comes a good question from Jo Ott, who says, “I can understand pronouncing bologna as ‘nee’ if there’s a ‘y’ on the end but not if an ‘a’ is the last letter.” (That brings up the bologna-baloney spelling question, too; though of course the first one is the only dictionary-approved way, I know plenty of people who write baloney.)

Jo continues, “Joe made me think of another pronouncement question and that is the bologna called Lebanon. Is it necessary to capitalize Lebanon when one is talking about luncheon meat? And — how do people pronounce it? At Giant I say Leb-an-on so as to not sound stupid, but to family I
spit out Leb-nun and they know exactly what I’m talking about!”

EXCELLENT question. Leb-an-on? Leb-nun? I can tell you that I’m firmly in the Leb-nun camp myself, even at the store, but I’m interested in whether I’m in the minority on this!

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