If you’re looking for a simple way to start a playful argument and turn people against each other in (mostly!) good fun, ask what names they have for certain things. Especially if they come from all different parts of the United States, such a conversation is bound to turn up all sorts of linguistic curiosities. Ask what their preferred word is for a long sandwich on a roll. Ask if they drink from a “water fountain” or a “bubbler.” Any of these regional words that instantly reveal where you grew up are sure to lead to a fascinating conversation.
But in one contentious instance, the word itself is the same, but there are two vastly different—and polarizing—pronunciations. It’s that oval-shaped nut that tastes really good in a pie: the pecan.
How did you just read that word in your head? With the emphasis on the first syllable, like “PEE-can,” or on the second, as “puh-KAHN”? No matter which you say, you’re probably stalwartly convinced that your pronunciation is the right one and cringe when you hear it said the other way. People get very passionate about their pecan pronunciation—but is one actually “right”?
To continue reading the article, click here.