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The Name Ronkonkoma

Q: I was wondering if you would be able to tell me the correct pronunciation of the town Ronkonkoma which is located on Long Island, NY. Thank you for any help you can give me.

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A: Hello, thanks for writing. "Ronkonkoma" is not an Indian word, it is an American corruption of an Algonquian Indian name (from the Mohegan-Shinnecock language, which no longer has native speakers.) We don't even know what the original name was anymore. Some have suggested it came from an Algonquian Indian name meaning "boundary fishing place," others that it came from a different Algonquian name meaning "wild goose place." Since we don't know what the original name was, the question will probably never be answered. The original name could have been Rangankomack, or it could have been Ronkahonkomack, or it could have been something else entirely.

Since we do not know what the town's original name was in the Mohegan language, we do not know how it was originally pronounced. Today, the town's name is pronounced ron-kon-kuh-muh, with the accent on the second syllable.

Hope that helps!
Native Languages of the Americas

Related Links

 Native American names
 Shinnecock language
 The Mohegan Indians
 Long Island tribes

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