20 August 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 be 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 if Spot. That's spelled S-P-O-T." Another was a German Shepherd who 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-frequent mispronounced names will be helpful to broadcasters and 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 Historic Beaufort District Correct Mispronunciations:

KOO-suh-HATCH-I (OO as in booze)

The unknowing sometimes put he w in the third syllable (KOO-sa-WAHTCH-i.) It's an Indian word that may mean cane-creek people. Coosawhatchie is a little town in lowcountry Jasper County on US 278 and SC 462, off US 95, north of the county seat of Ridgeland. (p. 41)


St. Helena's Island in the Beaufort Archipelago was named by the Spanish who reputedly landed there on August 13, 1520--St. Elena's Day on the Roman Catholic Church calendar. St Helena's Sound is fed by the Ashepoo, Combahee, and Edisto rivers. In nearby St. Helena's Parish the Chapel of Ease was often called the White Church: it was made of oyster shells and lime (called tabby,) built before the Revolution, and destroyed by fire some years after the Confederate War. (p. 82)

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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