Is it Martin-EZ or Mar-TI-nez? Pronunciations vary, depending on who you ask

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Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2019
News 12 at 6 O’Clock/NBC at 7

So, which pronunciation is it? (Source: WRDW)

MARTINEZ, GA (WRDW/WAGT) – Just look at the dateline on this story. Those of you in the know and have lived here for a while know it’s Martin-EZ – not Mar-TI-nez.

Either way, there are several places around her with some strange pronunciations.

It’s always a battle of pronunciation, but who is right?

"When in Rome, I do as the Romans do or in Martin-EZ, I do as the Martinezians do,” Roger Washington, a Martinez resident, said.

But those visiting or moving here -- like Jenna Morris -- are confused.

“I was just like, ‘Okay, why,’ and I looked up the name and I was like, ‘It's a Cuban guy. Why are they saying Mar-TI-nez or Martin-EZ?” Morris said.

Maybe it's time for a history lesson. Let’s go back to the 1800s.

“The name comes from Jose Antonio Martinez y Salvidar, who was Cuban native,” former newspaper editor Barry Paschal said. “He was a planter in Cuba. Apparently, a fairly wealthy man."

Paschal knows his history. He says Martinez bought a little more than 800 acres of land for his ranch. Today, it's a neighborhood, but there're still traces of him.

"His own ranch was called El Cordero Ranch, and the street El Cordero Ranch Springs Road sort of pays homage to that name," Paschal said.

Even though his ranch is long gone, his post office still carries his name. Paschal says Martinez originally wanted to name it Lulaville after one of his daughters.
“The postal service turned it down because there was already a Louisville, so second choice was Martinez,” Paschal said.

So we've been pronouncing it wrong this whole time?

Even Siri and Alexa correct you.

“He was only here for about 11 years, and that was well over 100 years ago, so when he left here it's probably safe to assume the correct pronunciation of the name left with him,” Paschal said.

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