Monday, December 20, 2010

What's the most mispronounced name in Charlotte?

One of the best things about social networks (or worst, if you're a Facebook-hater) is the ability to take funny little "things that make you go hmmm...." snippets of everyday life and share them with the world. The folks at Wingate University recently had a little fun by making a YouTube video poking fun at the fact that people can't settle on one correct pronunciation for their school's title, and for the town it's named after. Is it Win-GATE or Win-GIT?



When I first moved to the Charlotte area, I lived in Rock Hill, where I quickly got reprimanded by locals when I pronounced the name of nearby town of Sharon as if it were the popular woman's name. Nope, they told me, it's SHAY-run. When I pronounced the name of nearby Lancaster County as you would the actor Burt Lancaster, I got corrected again. It's LANK-a-stir, they told me.

There's a ton of similarly weird name spellings/pronunciations around the region. Which ones are your favorites?

45 comments:

Bobby said...

Concord must be screwed up the most.

Anonymous said...

McCrory pronounces our city, Shore-lutt.

Anonymous said...

Is Pecan St pronounced "pe-KAHN" or "PEE-can" or "pe-Can"?

Anonymous said...

I grew up near Lancaster PA so when I moved down here i found out you pronounce it different.

Anonymous said...

Here's another one. Is Monroe...."MON roe" or "mon Roe"?

Anonymous said...

Tryon Street

"Try-on" or "Tryin"

Anonymous said...

Try[schwa]n-swallow the vowel before the "n."

Anonymous said...

I never understood why Rea Rd is pronounced "Ray Rd". Seems completely backwards to me.

Anonymous said...

How about "Levine"...is it Lev'eeee'ne, or LeVINE (rhymes with wine)?

FlyGracefully said...

@Anonymous 1:29 pm
It's pronounced Ray because that's the way the Rea family pronounces their name. Rea Rd. ran through the old Rea farm just like Alexander Rd ran through the old Alexander farm.

Considering there are still many Reas in the area and the annual Rea family reunion is still held in the Charlotte area it is premature to change the pronunciation to fit your needs.

Anonymous said...

is it 'ASK" or "AXE"?

Bobby said...

@Anon 1:31 - The former.

@Anon 12:40 - I grew up in Chantilly, which is divided from Elizabeth by Pecan. I've mostly heard PEE-can.

@Anon 12:46 - I say MON-roe, but I've also heard "MIN-roe" in addition to the ones you mentioned.

Cherryville is another one, and though it's more of a punt than a stone's throw, Rutherfordton.

Grifman said...

Here's one I hear all the time:

Ramah Road

People pronounce it "Rah-muh" when it should be pronounced "Ray-muh". Heard the local NPR station get this wrong - they ought to know better!

Anonymous said...

@FlyGracefully - you can retract the claws, it was a simple question about the counterintuitive pronunciation of the street name. Thanks for the answer, but please leave the attitude behind next time.

Anonymous said...

Stallings.

'stall' is either pronounced like the man's name, "Al"

or like a women's piece clothing, "shawl"

Anonymous said...

Bechtler Museum, if only read, is going to be hard to get right. I would not have guessed "Beck-l'r" had I not heard it.

LANK-astir (Lancaster) makes sense to anyone from here but to anyone from outside this area, that's impossible to guess.

Northern transplants seem to have (a very understandable) difficulty with Concord (wanting to pron. like Kong-k'rd MA).

And I, who have lived in the Piedmont for eons still cannot always tell when someone is talking about the "M" town outside Cary vs. the one north of Charlotte . . . "Moors-vul" and "Moorez-vul" sound the same to me (i.e. talking about Mooresville and Morrisville respectively). I guess if you never lived in both the RTP and CharMeck areas, you'd never know there is room for confusion.

Anonymous said...

Is it Coach Fox or Former Coach Fox?

Anonymous said...

Is it Gastonia or redneckville

Anonymous said...

It's not TRY-on or TRY-in...it's TYROME's street. Another common mispronunciation is "Brotha's Ford Rd"

Anonymous said...

How about "Brookshire Freeway", I've heard Brook-SHI'ER and BROOK'shur

Anonymous said...

The one that drives me nuts is pronouncing "downtown" by removing the "down" and using "up" in its place. Other than South Park, is there an actual downtown that uptown is supposedly UP from?

Bobby said...

Anon 2:34 PM - There are several "explanations" for that, most were plucked from the sky, really. But one that makes a degree of sense is that the intersection of Trade and Tryon is actually higher than a good part of the city, so prior to the population explosion people actually had to go up to get there, so they went up into town, this was contracted over time to "uptown". As silly as it sounds, that's why.

In the 80's the Chamber of Commerce latched onto the "uptown" name, thinking it sounded more positive than downtown (and, though corny, it does) and promoted the heck out of it. But the usage of it predates this by awhile.

Anonymous said...

Is it gay or really gay.

hiprhyme said...

The town of Cashiers, up in the mountains. Looks like the plural of the word used to describe a person behind a cash register, but the locals pronounce it as if the I was not in the word. I.e. cashers, sounds like mashers.

Anonymous said...

There are so many mispronounciations, and they all drive me crazy. You can tell the tv news media are all from somewhere else by the way they constantly mispronounce everything. It makes me cringe. Even worse, one meteorologist said that it was "chilly" this morning. You're from up North, aren't ya? Yeah, I thought so. It's not "chilly." It's COLD!

Anonymous said...

Bobby @2:45, good explanation.

You might be a native! :)

Anonymous said...

2:10, the Reas were early settlers of Mecklenburg in the mid 18th century.

I think that pronunciation-"ray"- must come over from Scotland.

Anyway, that's how it's always been pronounced around here.

Thanks for asking! :)

AUGGER said...

You can ALWAYS tell when a newscaster is new to the area by the way they pronounce Derita.
Der-ita is the way the we say it, but "new to the area" folks say "Der-rita"

Anonymous said...

Derita, pronounced "dur-EYE-duh", threw me at first. Also, DeArmon Road should be "dee-AHR-mun", not "DEER-mun". The road signs will confuse you if you don't know better.

Anonymous said...

It's not the mispronunciations by newcomers that drive me nuts nearly as much as the voice overs on local TV commercials where I hear 'CAHNkurd' or 'SAALLSbury'. If your company's announcer can't even pronounce the name of the city the 'local' way, why on earth should I shop there??

Anonymous said...

I dare you to say "Albemarle"

Anonymous said...

Meshugana.

As in:

"That meshugana woman, Sue Myrick!"

Anonymous said...

Is it bathroom or bafroom?

Anonymous said...

The Brookshire Freeway. Is it 2 or 3 syllables? Brook-sure or Brook-shy-ur?

Anonymous said...

Cherryville = Chur-ville
Rutherfordton = Ruff-ton

Those two will certainly separate the newcomers from the longtimers.

Anonymous said...

How about McAlway Rd? Is it McALL-way or MACKAL-way?

aviatorguy said...

I, too, was corrected by the locals a lot when I moved to Charlotte many, many years ago. Coming from a town that ended in the word “ville,” it was hard to get used to having to pronounce it “vul” like Moores-vul or States-vul.

To this day I still haven’t figured out if the town of Stallings in pronounced St-ALL--ings or St-AL-lings. I always hear it both ways.

Tracy said...

I'm a native and my family has been here for generations... maybe I can help with a few of these. Anon 5:31, it's BROOK-shur, and Anon 6:18, it's MACK-alway. Aviatorguy, Stallings is traditionally pronounced STALL-ings, as in "stallion" or the man's name "Al." Hope that helps! Welcome, transplants... hope you didn't come here to get warm!

Anonymous said...

Who cares how it is pronounced here? However it's pronounced here would be different than THE REST OF THE COUNTRY! Who wants to sound like an ignorant hick.

Tracy said...

Anonymous, if you're so disgruntled with us, feel free to go home. I doubt you're being held here against your will. Every region has pronunciations that don't make sense to newcomers.

Anonymous said...

Is it "police" or "Po-lease"?

Anonymous said...

Fuqua! To some Northerners, it seems profane.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:21
The "Po-lease" wants to axe you sum qwestyuns bout yo bidness.

FlyGracefully said...

@anonymous 2:10
Any attitude was perceived by you. I would have said that to you with a completely straight face.

Anonymous said...

Nice to receive some input from all you "Charlottans!" ;)