Venturing to Ventura

That’s where I spent a couple of relaxing days earlier this week. Ventura isn’t the most exciting beach town, and that’s what I was looking for — a place that would be much cooler than the Inland Valley, with a beach, and not overrun with tourists. In those respects, Ventura was a winner.

One question: Is the city’s name pronounced Ven-tura or Ven-chura? More on that in a moment.

At a record shop, I finally broke down and bought a used copy of America’s “Greatest Hits.” It’s a CD I’ve eyed warily for years, the ’70s band being a guilty pleasure, one I was cautious of making official. Seeing the disc for $8, and thinking on my drive the day earlier about that ol’ Ventura highway that was the subject of one of their songs, I chuckled and figured the time was right.

“Ventura Highway” came up just as I was entering the freeway to return home. The disc, by the way, was about what I’d expected: Neil Young Lite, plus the uncommonly (for them) exciting “Sister Golden Hair,” plus (ugh) “Muskrat Love.” But on balance I’m glad I have it.

Now, back to the pronunciation. I’d concluded some time ago the correct way was Ven-tura, but I’m not sure why. The name was never said by anyone during my stay and, having assumed the matter was settled, it didn’t occur to me to ask around.

On my way out of town, though, I was shocked to discover that America, as official a band as the city has, pronounced the name Ven-chura.

Since my return, SoCal natives among my colleagues to whom I mentioned my destination have said the name both ways. I dunno. How do you say Ventura?

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  • Dee

    The city is named after the Spanish mission San Buenaventura. It would have to be given the Spanish pronunciation “vent-oo-ra”. Of course no one actually uses Spanish pronunciations. After all, California is said to be named after Califia (pronounced cal-ee-fee-a), so Gov. Arnold is saying it right after all. Haha.

    [Yes, I'd begun pronouncing the T because it's a Spanish name, but Ven-chura would hardly be the first Spanish name we've mangled in SoCal. There's no reason La Cienega is See-EN-eh-ga, or why San Pedro is PEE-dro. They just are. -- DA]

  • wyl

    I’m an 818-er and I’ve always called that popular strip Venchura Boulevard. Tom Petty sings about this street in “Free Fallin’” and I’m pretty sure that’s how he pronounces it.

    By the way, one of your commenters once said the ads overlay parts of your blog. It’s true. I can’t see half the words I’m typing right now because an ad is over it. Maybe something to tell your secretary?

    [I'll get my vast Technical Support Crew right on it. And you're right about Petty. -- DA]

  • Bob House

    Hi David — 60 years as a second generation southern California native and I’ve never heard, or read any reference to, the “ch” pronunciation before this post.

    P.S. I finally made it to the Back Abbey in Claremont on Friday and your call on the fries was 100% correct — amazing. And the beer, although way more than pricey, was dangerously tasty.

    [I'm surprised but pleased about your first comment, and pleased about your second one. -- DA]

  • Brian

    I say tomato, you say tomAto…It’s all the same. And your blog comes out fine on my PC. Maybe it’s the user’s choice of software??