If you didn’t grow up in Charleston or the Lowcountry, chances are you might have trouble pronouncing some of the names and words that come easy to the locals. Here are a few:
Beaufort – BYOU-furt
Not to be confused with Beaufort, NC, which is pronounced BOW-fort. In French, “beau” means beautiful or lovely.
Blenheim – BLEN-um.
Please don’t say Blen-hime.
Bonneau – BUN-oh or BOHN-oh
There may actually be two accepted pronunciations. First and more traidition is Bun-oh.
Cheraw – chuh-RAW.
Citadel – SIT-uh-dl.
Say it fast and let it roll off your tongue. The easiest way to tell if someone is not from the Lowcountry or a newcomer is it to say sit-uh-DELL. Does not rhyme with bell or smell.
Clemson – CLEMP-sun
Please, please, leave out the “Z” sound like we often hear on ESPN.
Coosawhatchie – KOO-suh-HATCH-ee
As tempting as it may be, leave out the “W”.
DeBordiu Island – DEB-i-dew
Use a short “i” as in “river”.
Edisto – EH-dis-toe
Sometimes you’ll hear “eddie-STOW” from oldtimers and those with Gullah or Geechie accents.
Gaillard – gil-YARD
One of the most misprounced names in Charleston. Some insist it’s “gee-ARD”.
Horry – or-REE
No “H” sound at the front.
Huger – HU-gee
Another commonly mispronounced name. Some also refuse the “H” and say “u-GEE”. No “R” at the end.
Kiawah – KEY-uh-wah
Some purists drop the middle syllable, saying KEY-wah.