Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Pronunciation Stickler

Posted December 21, 2010

Are you a stickler for pronunciation? Well, I am. Yesterday we were in a time crunch. There was a late morning bus accident on US Highway 64 at Edinburgh Drive in Cary. Pam Saulsby went on the air with breaking news and pronounced Edinburgh like this: 'ED-un-berg.

I questioned this pronunciation. The street in the MacGregor Downs neighborhood was named for the capital of Scotland which is pronounced 'ED-un-'BURR-oh. That's the way I've always pronounced it.

The police scanners were mixed with some dispatchers pronouncing it one way and others the other way. We needed to get a definitive answer for the newscast at noon. We didn't have much time.

I called Susan Moran with the Town of Cary and left a message asking for the town's official pronunciation. In the meantime I called two librarians. They were both confident that the local pronunciation was ED-un-berg. 30 seconds before the noon news I received an email from Susan. It read "BERG." That's all I needed. We got it right at noon.

This is a problem we encounter every day with names of people and places. We rely heavily on viewers to help us out. Please free free to call us any time to correct a pronunciation. We really appreciate your help.


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  • Bulldog22 Dec 28, 2010

    my favorite town /community in the Triangle that gives new comers fits on the pronunciation is the community outside of Fuquay Varina- Chalybeate Springs , most reporters would choose to just say :" outside of Fuquay" instead of butchering the name of the community. I also love to hear reporters that are new to the area try to pronounce many of the towns in eastern NC. so few are pronounced by the locals like people from elsewhere think they should be pronounced. ( and a note about Kerr Lake- true Virginians do not acknowledge the name KERR in anyway regardless of pronounciation, it is Buggs Island Lake in Virginia.)

  • weimy21 Dec 22, 2010

    thank you mcatfan! Harnett ( Har-nit, not Har-net)...drives me crazy when it is pronounced the wrong way!

  • farmkid Dec 22, 2010

    In Orange County, Schley is pronounced Sly.
    Mebane is pronounce MEB-un.

    These don't show up on the news much. Usually during a tornado alert.

  • thinkin out loud Dec 22, 2010

    We pronounce Kerr as Car because thats the way it is. Just like the drug store Kerr Drug is pronounced Car. They even put a car under the name on the signs at one time and people still wanted to pronounce it Kurr. Here's one for ya, Why do we leave the L out of Salmon? Makes no sense.

  • vicw926a4 Dec 21, 2010

    This is just slightly off topic, but speaking of pronunciations, every time I hear the word Meteologist spoken, rather than Meteorologist on WRAL, which has probably been in the thousands of times since we moved here five years ago, I wonder why it never gets corrected. Am I the only one of your regular viewers that notices that, or is it some kind of inside joke thing?

  • no more - no less Dec 21, 2010

    The best little town in North Carolina is prounced:

    Sha-lotte not Shall-otte

  • triplettk Dec 21, 2010

    terrible terrier - it's gal-i-police.

  • ceatman Dec 21, 2010

    I think many NC residents call Kerr Lake as Car do so because of a very popular governor, W. Kerr Scott. His name was always pronounced as Car. Of course Kerr Lake was named for John H. Kerr probably pronounced as Kurr.

  • ribbons55 Dec 21, 2010

    Here's another pronunciation sin: Robeson County.

    That's home and it's pronounced ROB-a-son, not ROBE-son, as is so often heard.

  • Reader X Dec 21, 2010

    how about Kerr lake? Why do NC people pronounce it as Car lake? There is no "a" in Kerr, however there is an "e" in the word. On the Va side where I am from it is pronounced like it is spelled. I can't figure it out- maybe it is that southern softening of vowels with a draw to it?????




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