See this nut? We’ve posted about how pecans are grown, their nutritional benefits and our favorite pecan recipes, but we’ve never really discussed a popular topic of debate: Are they pee-KAHNs, pee-CANs, PEE-cans, pick-AHNs or some other pronunciation? How do YOU say pecan?
See More: Nuts About Pecans
Turns out, it depends on where you’re from. Joshua Katz, a doctoral student studying statistics at NC State University, recently created interactive dialect maps using data from Bert Vaux at the University of Cambridge. For example, check out the map showing how people pronounce “pecan”:
It shows that pee-KAHN is dominant nationwide, but in areas of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Mississippi, pick-AHN reigns supreme. PEE-can is popular on the East Coast and in New England, while folks from Wisconsin, northern Minnesota and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula go with PEE-kahn.
The linguistics department at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee just also shared a pecan pronunciation map that gives another option – where people may say pee-KAHN by itself, but then say PEE-can when using a compound word, like pecan pie.
We found this research fascinating, so we’ve compiled a few of these dialect maps related to food. We had no idea that some people never refer to coleslaw as simply “slaw,” if other people also use “caramel” and “carmel” interchangeably, or if there really is a difference between frosting and icing. We did, however, know that The Great Soda/Pop/Coke/Soft Drink Debate will never be resolved.
Take a look at these maps, and learn if you pronounce mayonnaise like the masses, which syllable gets the emphasis in Thanksgiving, or if you’re the odd one out who says something not even provided as an option. Then, leave us a comment to let us know how you say pecan. (For the record, my parents are from Texas and Oklahoma, so I stand firmly with pick-AHN.)