Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

NC Pronunciation Guide

Posted November 3, 2011
Updated July 10

NC Flag, Legislative Building, Raleigh

Hello! As promised, my North Carolina Pronunciation Guide. I've been studying NC towns and places since I was a young lad growing up in Morganton. I hope this helps and that I don't attract too many rotten tomatoes.

North Carolina names often mispronounced

(Accented syllable is capitalized)

Cities & Towns

Ahoskie ah-HOSS-kee

Angier ANN-jur (never ann-JEER)

Arapahoe uh-RAP-uh-hoe

Bahama bah-HAY-ma (not like the islands)

Beaufort BOE-furt

Buies Creek BOO-ees Creek

Camp Lejeune la-SHZOON or la-ZHERN

Cashiers KASH-urs

Chalybeate Springs ka-LIB-ee-ut

Cherryville CHAIR-ee-vil

Clinton KLINT-un (though some locals insist on KLINN-un)

Chocowinity CHOCK-uh-WIN-uh-tee

Concord KON-KORD (stress on both syllables)

Conetoe ka-NEE-tuh

Corolla ka-RAW-la (not like the car)

Durham DURR-um

Fuquay-Varina FEW-kway vuh-REE-nah

Icard EYE-kurd

Glen Alpine GLEN AL-pun

Kure Beach KURR-ee Beach

Lucama loo-KAH-ma

Mamers MAY-murs

Manteo MAN-tee-oh

Mebane MEB-un

Micaville MY-ka-vil

Momeyer MOE-my-ur

Norlina nor-LY-na

Ocracoke OAK-ra-coke

Raleigh RAH-lee

Richlands RICH-LANDS

Rocky Mount rocky MOUNT

Rodanthe roe-DAN-thee (though some locals prefer roe-DAN)

Salisbury SAULS-berry

Saxapahaw SAX-uh-puh-haw

Shallote sha-LOTE

Spivey’s Corner SPY-vees

Tabor City TAY-burr

Valdese VAL-dees

Wagram WAY-grum

Wendell wen-'DELL

Zebulon ZEB-yoo-luhn. (It is not a lawn service)


Bertie burr-TEE

Buncombe BUNK-um

Cabarrus kuh-BEAR-us

Carteret KAR-tuh-RETT

Catawba kah-TAW-ba

Chowan cho-WAHN (though some give equal accent to both syllables)


Edgecombe EDGE-comb

Forsyth for-SYTH. Accent on the second syllable

Harnett HAR-net (never HAR-NET)

Iredell EYE-ur-dell

Lenoir la-NOR

Pasquotank PASS-kwah-tank

Perquimans purr-KWIM-uns

Robeson ROB-uh-son. (There is no robe in Robeson)

Rowan roe-WANN (like row Anne row!)

Tyrrell TAIR-uhl (first syllable rhymes with hair)

Watauga wah-TAW-guh


Appalachian ap-uh-LATCH-un (It is not ap-uh-LAY-chun)

Bodie Island BOD-ee like Body

Contentnea Creek kon-TENT-nee-uh

Cullasaja River KULL-uh-SAY-ja

Croatan CROW-uh-tan

Skibo SKY-boe

Mattamuskeet MAT-uh-ma-SKEET

Murchison Road MURK-uh-son

Toisnot TOYS-NOT

Uwharrie you-WAHR-ee


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  • davidgnews Nov 6, 2011

    Great list !

  • youngbat73 Nov 6, 2011

    Thanks for your help. Being from Ahoskie, I am so tired of hearing people say A Hose Key. But what really is annoying is all the news people that say BERT-ee county.

  • wdwbmw Nov 6, 2011

    I agree with you on most of these but I say WEN-dell and CURE-ee Beach. Also, how about Moyock in Currituck County. Locals say MOW-yock. Fun blog. Keep it up.

  • vrigg45071 Nov 6, 2011

    Growing up, we always said, "Cure-ee Beach." Guess it's changed over time.

  • momuv2 Nov 5, 2011

    Thanks Bill. Keep working on the list there are lots of places that the newcommers(yankees) mispronounce.

  • genegeneandnancy Nov 5, 2011

    Tarboro.....Tar-bor-o, Tarber, or Tarbra????

  • farmkid Nov 5, 2011

    The Schley Community in Orange County is pronounced "SLY"

  • rrmrbrkr Nov 5, 2011

    You forgot about Green-vole

  • genesh Nov 5, 2011

    What about Cary, NC? Long-time Caryites pronounce it "Kerry". Yankees came down and started pronouncing it "Carry". That just don't sound right!!!! Add Cary to your list.

  • mkcollins Nov 4, 2011

    Camp Lejuene is correctly pronounced "Camp Lejeune (luh-jern)" per their own website. It is named for Lieutenant General John Archer Lejeune a native of Pointe Coupee, Louisiana. Most people get this one wrong and look at you like you've lost your mind when you pronounce it correctly. Maybe they will listen to you.




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