I have no idea which of her former professors or friends she was trying to please when she began to mispronounce the name of her homeland. I have no idea where she became convinced that Appalachia is a place to be despised or belittled but I have no respect for any native of the region who exhibits that contempt and derision. But at some point in this woman's education, she must have been strongly negatively influenced by someone from outside the area who knew little about Appalachia and did not care to learn to pronounce the word correctly. I am appending the opening paragraph from my aforementioned post "Appalachia What's In A Name" since it makes my point much better than I have in the introduction to this post.
"The general rule of thumb in pronouncing proper names is that the owner of the name sets the rule. In the case of place names, the rule is to pronounce the place name as the majority of residents of a place pronounce it. We Appalachians generally pronounce the word Ap Uh Latch Uh. Appalachian writer and song writer Billy Ed Wheeler said that his mother always said, "Billy, if you don't quit, I'm going to throw this Apple AT Cha." Those two ways are correct. All The Others are Wrong. Several non-Appalachian place names provide illustrations of names which are pronounced somewhat differently than they are spelled and would include Mackinac, Michigan, which is pronounced Mack-uh-naw, and Poughkeepsie, NY, which is pronounced Puh-kip-see. The area of New York state which includes Poughkeepsie has several local place names which are Native American in origin and not pronounced anywhere near how they appear based on spelling. There is also Apalachicola, Florida, which is pronounced Ap Uh Latch Uh Co Luh which is an amazing coincidence. Or is it? It is also interesting that the very same people who mispronounce Appalachia generally do not mispronounce Apalachicola."I could not resist, as the discussion went on, touting my bruised nativism and saying to the woman, "I am an expert on the subject of Appalachia with several published articles which are frequently quoted in books. Google my name and you will find some of my writing on the subject." I realized full well that did not impress her but I cannot, will not, and have never allowed anyone to exhibit that contempt and derision about Appalachia without confronting it. I literally despise the kind of native Appalachians who do that kind of thing as much or more than the Eastern missionaries who have tried to change and assimilate us and our homeland ever since long before I was born. I realized more than fifty years ago that we will never stop this kind of ignorance, contempt, derision, and othering from either the outsiders or the natives they influence. But I will never stop confronting them and neither should you. I know full well that nothing I said, could have said, or have previously written will ever change that woman's mind. It is a sad state of affairs that there are thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of native Appalachians like her who are too ignorant to bother to learn about and come to cherish and protect the culture and history of this region. But that does not mean that the rest of us ever should fall prey to their ignorance.