Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Pronunciation Problem

Posted October 30, 2009

How do you say the second word of our grand state? How do you pronounce "Carolina?"

I keep hearing national and some local announcers saying it wrong. In my humble opinion there is only one way to say "Carolina." The first syllable rhymes with hair, stair and bear.

Phonetically it is KAIR-oh-LY-na. The first syllable sounds exactly like the word "care."

Listening to the national announcers calling the UNC-Virginia Tech football game last night you would have thought that we lived in KEER-oh-LY-na. In other words they think the first syllable of Carolina rhymes with steer, beer and deer. Well, it doesn't.

Let's say it right! That's Carolina! Say it with care!  Say it like James Taylor sings it.


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  • WXYZ Nov 2, 2009

    Hi Bill!

    Good point! But not surprising, coming from a TV anchorman. And, yes, I truly appreciate the many benefits of a COMMON LANGUAGE, which is spoken according to a fixed set of rules and a standard reference (i.e. a dictionary). But, you also know that in NC, where you were raised determines "correct" pronunciation. I learned this when I married a gal from Kinston (i.e. "Keens-ten") a loooonnnngg time ago. There are many regional dialects, colloquialisms and customs in NC, which I have found to be very interesting, entertaining and endearing as I continue to visit places in my beloved NC. I would imagine that you have already done a feature the speech and language of NC. If so, is that available online?


    Wayne F. Gray

  • beaver-nation-alumni Oct 30, 2009

    You should ONLY imagine how many times I have heard my home state, OREGON, pronounced the incorrect way. Especially on the east coast. North Carolina is very easy compared to my home state! ORY-GUN is correct. Thanks Bill, this was a fun !!

  • unc70 Oct 30, 2009

    Mellege, surprised that you can use that word without the word police blocking you. Its real meaning isn't what one might think and it has nothing specifically to do with "Carolina". The second part of the word is related to loqui, to talk. The first is related to words meaning brown or light brown, but not exactly.

    This is now my fifth effort to post abou this.

  • stevenalowe Oct 30, 2009

    You got it right Bill.

  • dansynusau Oct 30, 2009

    My husband is from New South Wales in Australia. They have a town called Raleigh there and it is pronounced RAL-LEE rhyming with Sally, Callie and O'Mally. My inlaws are sooo amused when I speak :)

  • wkp01 Oct 30, 2009

    Amen Bill.........You tell'em!!!

  • gentlebennc Oct 30, 2009

    Just an observation, but have you ever wondered how different the english language would be if Webster had been from, say North Carolina or Georgia, than up north?

  • javajoe Oct 30, 2009

    100% Care-o-lina here, Bill! And Brian, you missed one part in your spelling: it should be NAWF Cur-LINE-uh.

    A couple others that I have never, ever heard pronounced correctly on TV: Castalia. It's kas-TAIL-yuh, not kes-tilly-yuh

    The other is a small community in Franklin County: Alert. Sure, looks simple, right? It's not what you think. It's A'-lurt [stress on the A], not uh-LURT.

    Makes me chuckle every time I hear it!

  • bleslie Oct 30, 2009

    Finally - the voice of reason- Brian Shrader!

  • Brian Shrader Oct 30, 2009

    The proper way to pronounce it is "NAWTH CUH-lah-nuh".




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