30 May 2008

Correct Mispronunciations of Some South Carolina Names

By “correct mispronunciations” we mean, of course, pronunciations that are considered correct in South Carolina but will seem wrong to you if you’ve just arrived from Connecticut, bless your sun-seeking heart, and you’ve never been in the Palmetto State before.

We’d like to preserve these traditional pronunciations. We are South Carolinians and to a South Carolinian the impulse to preserve tradition is almost as instinctive as breathing.

There’s the story about the three dogs who met at the corner of Broad Street and Meeting Street in Charleston. One of them was a mongrel who said, “I’m from New York and my name is Spot. That’s spelled S-P-O-T.” Another was a German Shepherd to said, “I’m from Ohio and my name is Rover. That’s spelled R-O-V-E-R.” The third was a French Poodle who said, “Welcome to [South Carolina]. My name is Fido and that’s spelled P-H-I-D-E-A-U-X.”

We hope…that [these] too-frequently mispronounced names will be helpful to broadcasters and to newcomers who’d like to pronounce the names of local people and places in the ways that South Carolinians have traditionally preferred.

--Claude and Irene Neuffer, authors of Correct Mispronunciations of Some South Carolina Names, excerpt from pages v-vii.

Today’s Beaufort County Correct Mispronunciations:

BUE-fuht, BOE-fuht (first pronunciation in South Carolina; second pronunciation in North Carolina)

The Duke of Beaufort was a later Lord Proprietor (being invested in the proprietorship of Lord Granville in 1709.) Besides the more recently named Beaufort Streets and drives throughout the state, the southeast coastal area includes a district, county, town, river, and archipelago each named for the duke. The Beaufort section is often termed “the most discovered area in the United States”—having been discovered by Spanish, French, Scots, and English, in that order, with the English settlement surviving the colonial hardships. The source of confusion for newcomers is that up the coast and across the state line the North Carolina town of Beaufort is pronounced BOE-fuht. Which is right? Both are. (p. 12)


Spelling to the contrary, Combahee has long been pronounced as two syllables by folks in these parts. It may be an Indian word meaning small risings. The Combahee River is formed by Salkehatchie and Cuckold creeks (the second later called Chee-Ha and now Chehaw River) and flows between Colleton and Beaufort counties into St. Helena Sound. (p. 38)

910.3 NEU. Correct Mispronunciations of Some South Carolina Names by Claude and Irene Neuffer.
Find it @ the BDC, Beaufort Branch Library, Bluffton Branch Library, and Hilton Head Island Branch Library!

The Beaufort District Collection is a division of the Beaufort County Library, a department of Beaufort County Government of South Carolina.

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