When I drive from our home in the Mid-Hudson Valley of NY State to visit family in the Chicago, IL area, I pass through a city in Pennsylvania named Wilkes-Barre. I don’t like reading words of whose pronunciation I can’t be sure, so I looked it up. I landed on the city’s about page, which explains they got their city’s name from the names of two members of Britain’s parliament, John Wilkes and Isaac Barré. The page takes a quote from a 1909 history of the city, excerpted below (emphasis mine):
“…Wilks’-ba-ra—with a slight accent on the first syllable; ‘i’ in the first syllable being sounded as ‘i’ in ‘pin’, ‘a’ in the second syllable as ‘a’ in ‘mat’ and the final ‘è’; as ‘a’ in ‘mate’. The French ‘e’ with the ‘close’ accent has the sound last noted.”
My best guesses1 would have been closer, had they retained the accent over the final ‘e’.
I had always prounounced it as “wilks-bar” in my head, though other people told me (incorrectly, but with certainty) that it was “wilks-berry” ↩