As anyone who has lived in the state capital of New York or its environs for any period of time knows, you pronounce Albany as ALL-bun-ee, with first syllable rhyming with “fall.” One can always tell when an out-of-town advertising firm has created a television spot and the announcer says AL-ban-ee.
But how do you pronounce it in other parts of the world? In New Zealand, North Aucklanders can’t quite agree about its suburb of Albany.
“A 1980 North Shore Times story found ‘Al-bany’ to be the more common pronunciation. However, an English-born councillor at the time David Thornton confessed he said ‘All-bany’, due to a block of London flats called ‘The Albany’.
“Massey University linguistics lecturer Victoria Kerry said there is no ‘should’ when it comes to pronunciation. ‘I would say that there’s no one correct or incorrect way of pronouncing it. In linguistics, we would look at the variety of ways that you can say it that might associate you with a particular area.’
However, “the New York pronunciation is actually closer to the original pronunciation from Britain and Scotland, where past Dukes of Albany came from, she said. Albany originally derives from ‘Alba’, which is the Scottish Gaelic name for Scotland.”
So put New Zealand in the AL category, but with a strong ALL contingent.
Oregon Live says that state’s Albany mimics New York’s.
I have found inconclusive polls about California’s choice for its city.
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Albany, GA is pronounced “AIL-binny.”
It’s pretty definitive that Albany, Western Australia is pronounced “Al-bany”, the first syllable rhyming with “pal.”
One more thing: someone from the country of Albania is an Albanian. Someone from Albany, NY is also an Albanian, but pronounced differently, al-BANE-ee-in vs. all-BANE-ee-in.
Thanks to Arthur@AmeriNZ for the inspiration.