Do You Speak Charleston? Pronunciation Guide



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 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. 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 There are even more listings on their site.