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Talk Like a Tar Heel: North Carolina Place Names

Listen to North Carolina place names pronounced by local authors, Bland Simpson and Michael McFee by clicking on the county name on the state map or in the list below. (It is recognized that there are local variations that differ from those shown here--some Iredell County residents call their home "ARE-dell," for example--but no attempt has been made to list them here.)

Read the "Guide to Pronouncing County Names" by John L. Sanders, former director of the Institute of Government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Contact the North Carolina Collection with your questions, comments, and suggestions of other North Carolina names that you would like to hear pronounced: wilsonlibrary@unc.edu

NC Cherokee Clay Macon Swain Graham Haywood Jackson Transylvania Henderson Madison Buncombe Yadkin Surry Alleghany Ashe Wilkes Burke Caldwell Watauga Avery Yancey Mitchell McDowell Rockingham Stokes Forsyth Davidson Rowan Iredell Catawba Cleveland Rutherford Polk Caswell Person Guilford Randolph Chatham Wake Granville Vance Warren North Hampton Halifax Hertford Gates Bertie Martin Dare Hyde Tyrrell Mecklenburg Union Cabarrus Gaston Lincoln Alexander Davie Alamance Orange Durham Franklin Nash Edgecombe Wilson Pitt Beaufort Washington Carteret Pamlico Craven Onslow Jones Duplin Johnston Wayne Lenoir Greene Pender New Hanover Brunswick Columbus Sampson Cumberland Harnett Lee Moore Hoke Stanly Montgomery Anson Richmond Scotland Robeson Bladen Pasquotank Chowan Currituck Camden Pasquotank Perquimans

North Carolina Cities, Counties, Towns, Mountains, and More: Pronunciations
Read by Bland Simpson and Michael McFee

Ahoskie uh-HAHS-kee

Duplin

DOO-plen

Orange

 

Alamance

AL-a-mance

Durham

DERR-um

Pamlico

PAM-li-co

Alexander

Al-x-ANDER

Edgecombe

EDGE-cum

Pasquotank

PAS-quo-tank

Alleghany

Al-i-GAINY

Etowah EH-tuh-wuh

Pender

PEN-der

Anson

AN-sun

Faro FAY-roe

Perquimans

Per-QUIM-ans

Arapahoe uh-RAP-uh-hoe

Forsyth

For-SYTH

Person

PER-sun

Ashe

 

Franklin

FRANK-lin

Pfafftown POFF-town
Aulander AW-lan-der Fuquay-Varina FEW-kway vuh-REE-nuh Pisgah Nat'l Forest PIZ-gah

Avery

A-vur-ee

Gaston

GASS-ton

Pitt  
Bahama ba-HAY-ma Gastonia gas-TONE-ee-uh Polk  

Beaufort

BO-furt

Gates

  Potecasi POE-tuh KAY-see

Bertie

Ber-TEE

Graham

GRAY-um

Qualla Boundary KWALL-uh

Bladen

BLA-den

Granville

GRAN-vill

Randolph

RAN-dolf

Bodie Island BAH-dee Island Greene  

Richmond

RICH-mund

Brunswick

BRUNS-wick

Guilford

GILL-furd

Robeson

ROBB-i-son

Buies Creek BOO-ees Creek

Halifax

HAL-i-fax

Rockingham

ROCK-ing-ham

Buncombe

BUNK-um

Harnett

HAR-nit

Rodanthe row-DAN-thee
Burgaw BURR-gaw

Haywood

HAY-wood

Rowan

Roe-ANN

Burke

  Henderson  

Rutherford

RUTH-er-furd

Cabarrus

Ka-BARE-us

Hertford

HERT-furd

Sampson

SAMP-sun

Cajahs Mountain KAY-JUH Mountain

Hoke

HOAK

Saxapahaw SAX-uh-pa-haw

Caldwell

CAH'LD-well

Hyde

HIDE

Scotland

SCOT-lund

Camden

KAM-den

Icard EYE-kurd

Stanly

STAN-lee

Carteret

KAR-ter-et

Ijames IMES

Stokes

STOAKS

Cashie River kuh-SHY

Iredell

IRE-dell

Surry

SURR-ee

Caswell

KAS-well

Jackson

JACK-sun

Swain

SWANE

Catawba

Ka-TAW-ba

Johnston

JOHN-stun

Swannanoa swan-uh-NO-uh
Cerro Gordo SAIR-uh GORE-duh Jones   Toxaway TOX-uh-way
Chalybeate Springs ka-LIB-e-ate Lake Junaluska joon-uh-LUSK-uh

Transylvania

Tran-syl-VANE-i-a

Chatham

CHAT-um

Kannapolis kuh-NAP-uh-lis Tuckasegee tuck-uh-SEE-jee

Cherokee

CHER-o-kee

Kerr Lake CAR Tuscarora tusk-uh-ROAR-uh
Chicamacomico chick-uh-muh-CAH-mih-co

Lee

  Tusquitee tus-QUIT-ee
Chinquapin CHINK-uh-pen

Lenoir

Le-NOR

Tyrrell

TERR-il

Chowan

Cho-WONN

Lincoln

LINK-un

Union

 

Clay

  Lucama loo-CAH-muh Uwharrie you-WHAR-ee

Cleveland

KLEVE-land

Macon

MA-kon

Valle Crucis VALL-ee CRU-sis

Columbus

Ko-LUM-bus

Madison

MAD-i-sun

Vance  
Concord CON-CORD

Martin

MAR-tin

Lake Waccamaw

WOK-uh-maw

Conetoe kuh-NEE-tuh Mayodan MAY-uh-dan Wake  
Contentnea kun-TENT-nea

McDowell

Mc-DOW-well

Wanchese WAN-cheese
Cooleemee COOL-uh-mee Mebane MEB-in

Warren

WAR-en

Cornatzer KOR-natz-er

Mecklenburg

MECK-len-burg

Washington

 
Corolla kuh-RAHL-uh Meherrin River muh-HERR-in

Watauga

Wa-TAW-ga

Craven

KRA-ven

Mitchell

MIT-chull

Wayne

WAIN

Creswell KRESS-well

Montgomery

Mont-GOM-er-ee

Wendell win-DELL
Croatan CROW-uh-tan

Moore

MORE

Wilkes

WILX

Cullasaja cool-uh-SAY-juh Nantahala nan-tuh-HAY-luh

Wilson

WILL-sun

Cullowhee CULL-uh-whee

Nash

  Wingate WIN-get

Cumberland

KUM-bur-lund

New Hanover

New HAN-o-ver

Winnabow WINN-uh-boe

Currituck

KURR-i-tuck

Norlina nor-LINE-uh

Yadkin

YAD-kin

Dare

 

Northampton

Nor-THAMP-ton

Yancey

YANT-see

Davidson

DAVE-id-sun

Ocracoke OH-kruh-coke Yeopim YOE-pim

Davie

DA-vee

Onslow

ONNS-lo

Zebulon ZEB-you-lun

 


About Bland Simpson

Bland Simpson directs the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Creative Writing Program, and he is a longtime member of the Tony Award-winning Red Clay Ramblers. His latest book is Ghost Ship of Diamond Shoals, The Mystery of the Carroll A. Deering (2002), and his earlier books include Heart of the Country (1983), The Great Dismal (1990), The Mystery of Beautiful Nell Cropsey (1993), and Into the Sound Country: A Carolinian's Coastal Plain (1997), with photography by his wife, Ann Cary Simpson. He has also collaborated on such musicals as King Mackerel & the Blues are Running, Kudzu, Diamond Studs, and the three-time Broadway and international hit Fool Moon. Simpson, who grew up in both Elizabeth City (Pasquotank County) and Chapel Hill (Orange County), has won the Governor's Award "Conservation Communicator of the Year" (1998) and the Brown-Hudson Award from the NC Folklore Society (1999); he was 2002 Chair of the North Carolina Writers Conference.

About Michael McFee

Michael McFee was born in Asheville, North Carolina, in 1954, and grew up in the small town of Arden in the Blue Ridge Mountains. He received his B.A. (1976) and M.A. (1978) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has been poet-in-residence at Cornell and Lawrence Universities, and is now a Professor of English at his alma mater, where he teaches poetry writing and contemporary North Carolina literature.

Among his collections of poetry are Earthly (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2001), Colander (Carnegie Mellon, 1996), To See (a collaboration with photographer Elizabeth Matheson: North Carolina Wesleyan College Press, 1991), Sad Girl Sitting on a Running Board (Gnomon Press, 1991), and Vanishing Acts (Gnomon, 1989). He has also edited two anthologies of North Carolina literature: This Is Where We Live: Short Stories by 25 Contemporary North Carolina Writers (University of North Carolina Press, 2000) and The Language They Speak Is Things to Eat: Poems by Fifteen Contemporary North Carolina Poets (UNC Press, 1994).


Technical Note:

The recordings of North Carolina County names are saved as MP3 files. Most current audio players, including RealPlayer, Windows Media Player, and QuickTime for Macintosh, can play MP3s. Visit mpeg.org for more information about playing MP3s (http://www.mpeg.org/MPEG/MPEG-audio-player.html).

The recordings of Bland Simpson and Michael McFee were made by recording engineer John Loy in the Manuscripts Department's John M. Rivers Audio Preservation Studio.

 

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This page was last updated Thursday, February 16, 2006.