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Do You Speak Charleston? Pronunciation Guide

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Credit: DrewSineath.com

Credit: DrewSineath.com

This entry was inspired by a Twitter conversation I saw a few months ago. With a diverse group of residents, the dialect in Charleston can be quite unique…and confusing.

Here’s a pronunciation guide featuring some of the more confusing words and their correct or most popular pronunciations if the “right” way isn’t clear:

(FYI – Most of these pronunciations came from SCIWay.net. There are even more listings and an explanation on how they reached their conclusions on their website):

  • Awendaw: AW-win-daw, AW-en-daw
  • Beaufain: BYOO – fain (“BYOO” rhymes with “you”)
  • Beaufort: BYOO – fort, BYOO – fert
  • Beidler: BYE – dler
  • Blenheim: BLEN – um
  • Bonneau: BOHN – oh
  • Cayce: KAY – see
  • Clemson: CLEM – zun, CLEMP – sun, CLEM – sun
  • Gaillard: gil – YARD
  • Givhans Ferry: GIV – ANZ
  • Hasell: HAY – zul
  • Horry: or – ree, o – ree
  • Huger: u – GEE, HU – gee
  • Lancaster: LANK – uh – stur
  • Legare: le – GREE
  • McLeod: muh – CLOUD
  • Moultrie: MOOL – tree, MOW – tree
  • Pamplico: PAMP – li – koe (Edit: One agitated reader swears this should be pronounced Pam-li-coe. SCIWay.net and Google disagree, but that’s the whole point of this list. People pronounce things differently).
  • Pinopolis: pie – NOP – uh – lis
  • Prioleau: PRAY – low
  • St. Stephen: STEE – ven, STEE – vens (Some add the “s” on the end)
  • Sumter: SUMP • tur
  • Vanderhorst: VAN – der – HORST, VAN – dross

When it comes to town/street names, it’s almost impossible to know what’s “right.” Plus, pronunciations change over time. Some people adapt to the “new” way of saying a word, while others don’t. If you don’t like what’s above, that’s ok! These are all up for debate.

These pronunciations came from SCIWay.net. There are even more listings on their site.

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