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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

The Edgecombe Controversy

Posted March 15, 2007 6:49 a.m. EDT
Updated March 15, 2007 9:48 a.m. EDT

This is what I love about blogs: With all of the interaction I learn something new every day. Yesterday's discussion yielded the following gem: there is a secondary local pronunciation of Wilson. A lot of locals (but certainly not all) put a "t" in there. Wilson becomes WILT-sun. That's pretty unusual.

Usually Southerners are accused of removing syllables from pronunciations. Growing up in Morganton most folks lazily pronounced "Rutherfordton" as RUV-tun. When my new fifth grade wiffleball buddy from Buffalo, NY came down and pronounced all four syllables of Rutherfordton we looked at him as if he were crazy and from another planet.

After yesterday's discussion we've reached a consensus on the pronunciation of Rocky Mount.
It should be pronounced as one word "rockymount" with equal emphasis. If there is any emphasis it should come on "mount," but never ROCKY mount as if ROCKY were a modifier.

Okay. Please help me with this one. I have a St. Patrick's Day concert Saturday night in Tarboro. The last thing I want to do is mispronounce the name of community college where I am performing with the Celtic band Lorica. By the way, Lorica is Latin for breastplate and it is pronounced LORE-uh-ka.

Until about ten years ago I pronounced the second syllable of "Edgecombe" the same as the second syllable of "Buncombe." EDJ-kum and BUNK-um right? I started getting some mail saying the second syllable of "Edgecombe" should be pronounced with a long "O," like you pronounce the word "comb." I guess you could phonetically write it this way: EDJ-koem.

I'm counting on you. Folks in Tarboro, Speed, Princeville and Hartsease need to set me straight if I am wrong. I don't want to embarrass myself Saturday night. Thanks.