Listen, my children, and you shall hear
How Texans pronounce place names down here.
In case y’all haven’t noticed, Texans do things their own way. Pronunciation, for example, is always a crapshoot when you’re from out of state. If you ever get lost in Texas, the place names that follow are good to know. Depending upon where you are in the state when you ask for directions, if you say them incorrectly you’ll most likely get snickered at and you may get a blank look.
This list is far from comprehensive.
First, a few universal basics:Any name ending in “-boro” is pronounced “[name]buh-ruh”
Any name ending in “-shire” is pronounced “[name]sher.”
Most names ending in “-ville” are pronounced “[name]vuhl.”
Most names ending “-land” are pronounced “[name]luhnd.” (You have to listen pretty hard to hear the D.)
In Texas, “bayou” most often is pronounced “BI-oh,” not “BI-yoo.”
Mispronouncing any of these is a dead giveaway you ain’t from around here:Bexar: Bear
Bowie: BOO-ee (C’mon, folks. Jim Bowie was one of the brave defenders of the Alamo. The least y’all non-Texans can do is say his name right.)
Brazos: BRA-zuhs (short A, as in “cat”)
Humble: UHM-buhl (The H is silent in this Houston suburb’s name, people! What you do with it any other time is your own bidness.)
Luckenbach: LOO-ken-bahk (There is absolutely no excuse for getting this one wrong. Merle Haggard sang a number-one country hit about the town, for pete’s sake.)
San Marcos: San MAR-cuss
Seguin: Seh-GEEN (Named for Juan Seguin, a Tejano hero of the Texas Revolution who wasn't at the Alamo.)
The following are more obscure, and we’ll forgive you for mispronouncing them. Many of them are pronounced nothing like they’re spelled. Some are Texan-ized Spanish, German, or American Indian words. Some are settlers’ surnames. Lord only knows where the rest came from.Alvarado: Al-vuh-RAY-doh
Agua Dulce: Ah-wah DOOL-sih
Del Valle: Del VA-lee (pronounced like “valley”)
Grand Saline: Gran Suh-LEEN
Jermyn: JER-muhn (pronounced like “German”)
Lake Buchanan: Lake Buh-CAN-uhn
New Berlin: Noo BUR-lin
New Braunfels: Noo BRAWN-fuls
Palestine: PAL-uh-steen (Nobody gets that one right unless they’re from Texas.)
Santa Elena: San-tuh LEE-na
Study Butte: STOO-dee BYOOT
Now, place your Stetson over your heart, face Austin, and sing “The Eyes of Texas,” and we just might make you an honorary Texan.
Texans, what names aren’t on this list? The rest of y’all: What odd place names occur in your thereabouts? Tell us in the comments! I’ll give one commenter a digital copy of the five-author boxed set A Kiss to Remember.
I'm a mite biased, but I think there's some excellent reading in this set.
Don't just sit there! Light a shuck on down to the comments and get after it.
Her short story “The Second-Best Ranger in Texas” won the 2015 Peacemaker Award for Best Western Short Fiction. Her novel Prodigal Gun won the EPIC Award for Historical Romance and is the only western historical romance ever to final for a Peacemaker in a book-length category.
Visit her hideout on the web at KathleenRiceAdams.com.