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Arkansas: Say It Right or Pay the Price!


April 30, 2016

The state of Arkansas’s name is derived from the French pronunciation of a Native American term “akakaze,” meaning “land of downriver people” or “people of the south wind.” This southeastern state contains diverse geography and a strong sense of pride in its origins—keep reading to find out more about just how important it is to pronounce the state’s name correctly while inside its borders and get a look at other laws you’ll need to consider before you visit the Natural State.

It’s strictly prohibited to pronounce “Arkansas” incorrectly
The people of Arkansas take the origin of its name—and its importance to the state’s heritage—very seriously. However, because it is derived from the same native origin and looks very much like the name of nearby Kansas, Arkansas is one of the most commonly-mispronounced state names in the country. The residents of Arkansas have thus prohibited the incorrect pronunciation of the state’s name while within its borders—a law that remains in effect to this day.

The Arkansas River can rise no higher than to the Main Street Bridge in Little Rock

Even the 1,469-mile long Arkansas River cannot ignore the laws of the state for which it is named. One Arkansas law supposedly states that the Arkansas River may not rise higher than Little Rock’s Main Street Bridge. Although ridiculous, historians believe this law may have been instated as part of a flood control plan to prevent severe flooding, which is common along the Mississippi. If so, however, those who penned this law might have benefitted from an editor to ensure their point was made clearly.

No one may suddenly start or stop their car at a McDonald’s

Little Rock appears to take not only its river, but its drive-in restaurant etiquette seriously as well. This silly law, which applies within the boundaries of the capital, makes it unlawful to “race the motor of any car, to suddenly start or stop any car, or to make or cause to be made, any other loud or unseemly noise” in the parking lot of a drive-in restaurant.

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