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Los fey-LEESE or Los FEE-lez?




The neon sign of the Los Feliz movie theatre
The neon sign of the Los Feliz movie theatre
Flickr user Thomas Hawk (Creative Commons)

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There's this neighborhood in L.A. that's right between Silver Lake and East Hollywood: Los Feliz.

Say it out loud.

Delta Air Lines recently put up a billboard in L.A. about flights to and from Mexico.

It reads, "Go where everyone agrees how to pronounce Los Feliz."

In the traditional Spanish, Los fey-LEESE is the right way.

But in traditional Angeleno, you've got to say it Los FEE-lez.

That last one never sounded quite right to some of us here.

We called some experts – people who live and work in the neighborhood – to figure out what they prefer.

"I sell houses in Los FEE-lez," says Glenn, a Los Feliz realtor with RealPro Eastside. "A lot of the natives including my wife, who's from Michoacán in Mexico and she's got deep roots in the city, she pronounces it a lot differently than I do."

So around her, it's her way.

"I don't argue with my wife. Are you kidding me? Happy wife, happy life!"

fey-LEESE - 0, Los FEE-lez - 1

Next we called the neighborhood newspaper.

"Los FEE-lez Ledger, this is Erin."

Strike two for the Spanish pronunciation.

"I was raised here and that's just how I've always heard it said," she says, even though she took a stab at Los fay-LEESE. "I've tried a couple times saying it that way and people looked at me like I was either an idiot or a tourist."

fey-LEESE - 0, Los FEE-lez - 2

Finally we called YogaWorks Los Feliz (which is more on the East Hollywood side of the Los Feliz-East Hollywood border).

"My goodness, I've always wanted to be on the radio!" says Alex who answered the phone with "YogaWorks Los FEE-lez."

 "It just feels comfortable," he says. "Los fey-LEESE seems hard and jagged."

Don't expect him to change it up anytime soon, either.

"I'm about 6'5" 250. Usually people don't tell me I'm wrong about anything," he says.

So in our completely unscientific survey, the people of Los Feliz agree: they live in Los FEE-lez.

fey-LEESE - 0, Los FEE-lez - 3

This story has been updated: KPCC's own staff can't even agree on the best way to write up the pronunciations on each of these variations. "fay-LEEZ" has been rewritten to "fey-LEESE," per the recommendation by staffer Oscar Garza.