In no particular order, W.F. Strong lists his 12 most commonly mispronounced words in Texas. Listen to his explainer above. And tell us: How do you say ’em?

  • Whataburger
  • Barbed Wire
  • Chest of drawers
  • Probably
  • Wash
  • Library
  • Pervert
  • Nuclear
  • Wasn’t / Doesn’t
  • Height
  • Granted
  • Dog eat dog

W. F. Strong is a Fulbright Scholar and professor of Culture and Communication at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. And at Public Radio 88 FM in Harlingen, Texas, he’s the resident expert on Texas literature, Texas legends, Blue Bell Ice Cream, Whataburger (with cheese) and mesquite smoked brisket.

When he travels he says he always introduces himself as a Texan. If pressed, he will confess to being American, too.

This story was prepared with assistance by Jan Ross Piedad.

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  • Kristin December 8, 2017 at 6:34 am

    Ya’ll pronounce “insurance” wrong, too.

  • Ari Z November 7, 2017 at 11:12 am

    Texans pronounce “understand” as “unnerschtand”

  • David Bottoms August 21, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    Some omissions here…

  • David Bottoms August 21, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    Forgot a critical one: “whal’ago.” As in “Where are they?” “Oh, they left whal’ago.” Said as one word, emphasis on first syllable.

  • kachina nde June 12, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    you fogot “oil”. my husband claims i put in about 72 vowels and at least 3 syllables.

  • Thomas April 24, 2017 at 7:28 pm

    Thank You for preserving true Texas speech! As with many cultures, its important to remember where we come from…. sorry, ended my sentence with a preposition… 🙂

  • Harold Krech January 18, 2017 at 8:59 am

    You left out New Bransfels.

  • Anonymous October 15, 2016 at 12:30 am

    From the lips of a Corpus native.

    Barb Wire
    Chester Drawers
    Wasn’t/Dosen’t Wan-n’t/Dun-n’t

  • Anonymous September 22, 2016 at 9:39 pm


  • Melissa Perez July 12, 2016 at 9:27 am

    It was when I travelled outside of the state is when I heard my Texan accent. People from El Paso who move into Austin say Central Texan Hispanics have strong Texan accents.

  • Anonymous May 20, 2016 at 10:19 pm

    Like it

  • Carolyn Moon April 8, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    My daddy was in the calvery in WWII.

  • Keith April 7, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    I am listening from Seattle so a pronunciation that I hear on KUT from various folks is “impordant” vs. “Important” which may not be 100% Texan.

  • Daryl April 7, 2016 at 11:34 am

    Listen this morning to the Texas Standard’s extended list of mispronounced words. One, not included, was repeated over again and again by the speaker, namely “pronunciation” which he pronounced “pronownciate”: “own,” as in clown, verses “un,” as in nun. How ironical was that?

  • Amy Flinn April 5, 2016 at 6:10 pm

    You forgot “would have.” I know it is two words, but I find that we pronounce it as “would of” and confuse students (especially ESL) to no end.

    • Anonymous June 16, 2016 at 2:35 pm

      Actually, you’re just hearing that wrong. We say “would’ve”, which is in fact a proper contraction of “would have”. When it its pronounced properly, it sounds the same as “would of”. The reason you hear it this way is that Texans add a diphthong, which emphasizes the difference in the syllables. But its just how you’re hearing it…Texans are saying the correct word and pronouncing correctly. Even British people will say “I would’ve rather…”. If you’re a teacher then maybe its your misunderstanding of this that is confusing your students.

  • Rev. Dr. Viola A Dukes March 30, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    This is a nice page it is very healthy to laugh at ones self once in a while

  • Amanda Wattecamps March 16, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    My mom is a native Houstonian 2nd generation, and says all of these.

  • R G March 7, 2016 at 11:49 am

    I’m only a dirty northern visitor to Texas, but I gotta love the way people talk down there. It would do those shrill announcers up north to take some lessons from the laid-back guys I hear on the radio in East Texas.

  • Laura February 18, 2016 at 9:34 am

    Born & raised in Texas. I do not pronounce any of these in the manner indicated on the video. Most people I know or grew up with do not either. That being said, some if my relatives from east TX do & actually say many more grammatically incorrect words. It is entertaining & baffling to actually hear someone speak in the manner indicated by this video, but please do not generalize it to ALL Texans. MOST of us pronounce words correctly.

    • Anonymous February 20, 2016 at 8:21 am

      Wrong. The longer the texas lineage , the less enunciation

    • Anonymous September 15, 2017 at 4:02 pm

      East Texas isn’t the same as West Texas isn’t the same as South Texas isn’t the same as Central Texas, etc. The dialects all differ slightly. My grandparents were in a mixed marriage. She was from San Augustine and he was from Sweetwater. She had no r’s (ahm for arm, buddah for butter). East Texans sounds more like Georgians. West Texans sounds more like, well, West Texans. Here’s one for yall. In Texas, we don’t say, “Did you eat yet?” We say, “Jeet?” and we don’t say “You want to?” We say, “yon to?” Here’s some more funny Texanisms…

  • John Morse December 26, 2015 at 11:19 am

    Skimming through the list, unless I missed it, no one mentioned out ways of saying “business”. There’s “bidniss” which seems to be popular with fans of the old Dallas soap opera and the more common “binness” and ‘at for that, as in; “‘at ain’t none of yore binness…”

  • Alonso Pantoja December 25, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    Correction, Bexar County as Bear County, should sound like Bejar instead.

  • Alonso Pantoja December 25, 2015 at 8:05 pm

    I live in San Antonio, people here refer to this countt as Bear imsted of Bejar (Bexar), I just don’t get it.

  • Casey December 25, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    Ha tx speak

  • Katherine December 18, 2015 at 11:51 am

    I’m SO glad there are a few people on here who disagree with this. Thank you @TrueTexan and @JohnFiles. I am 29 years old, born and raised in Texas. San Antionio and Austin, to be exact. ……and I do not say ANY of these words like this. Nor do ANY of my friends or family. I’ll admit, I obviously say things like “yall” ……. but I’m so baffled by this, that I am reading this to my friends/coworkers and we are dying over here lol. We all agree we have never said ANY of these words. TBH, we’ve never even HEARD of anyone saying “bub” for bulb (ummm?), bob wire (wtf), chester drawers (????), PREVERT instead of pervert (omg), etc. I also remember being annoyed with kids in the 2ND GRADE for saying “libary” instead of “library”. I thought that was a kid thing, not a Texan thing. Wow. Now, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with this accent… and I’m a VERY proud Texan and always have and will be… I just wanted to go on the record and say we don’t ALL talk that way from Texas. This guy mentions that not everyone says these words, but DOES say that we ALL do pronounce SOME of them like that. Nope. Not one of the ones he listed do I say, nor does anyone I know. And really with WARSH!? There’s a new movie out called “No Escape” with Luke Wilson and Lake Bell and their characters are from Austin, TX. My friends and I were DELIGHTED to see that they had NO accent whatsoever and spoke like regular people. I ended up watching interviews with them about the movie, and they said they all did their research and when they visited Texas, they did not notice a real accent so they decided not to have one in the movie. Thank the Lord!! We do not all speak “slow”. And for the love of God, someone in the comments said we say “AGGS” instead of “EGGS”. UGH! No wonder everyone else thinks we’re idiots. IF ANYONE IS READING THIS FROM OUT OF THE STATE… IT’S JUST NOT TRUE!!!!!!!! 🙁

    • Ashley March 2, 2016 at 5:22 pm

      I suppose it’s all about where u are raised BC I was raised around Huntsville and we say all those words and more.

    • Brianna April 7, 2016 at 9:48 am

      THANK YOU. I was born in Maryland, but raised in Texas in the Austin area starting from age 1. The only time I ever heard anyone say “warsh” was when I went up to Virginia and Maryland to visit my family. I will admit that there are a few of these words that I pronounce different than they should be such as; Whataburger, probably, and nuclear. Other than those I pronounce all of these words correctly. I absolutely hate when people who have just asked me ask where my accent is. I am NOT a television show or movie. The majority of us do NOT speak the way people in these shows and movies speak…

    • Anonymous May 7, 2016 at 9:51 pm

      Austin go figure! You clearly Don’t have any friends or family from rural Texas,b it you can get off your high horse and do not act all high and mighty because if I say some words like this it does not make me an idiot! Far from you grade school teacher!

    • Sonoftx May 12, 2016 at 7:44 pm

      Katherine, you just need to travel more. There are so many great places to go in Texas that do not involve the I-35 corridor. If you travel, and if you stop in local diners, and if you take the time to listen and talk with Texans you will hear all of these on a regular basis.
      Now, this is not meant as putting you down, but you are young. I know you are young because you are so worried about what people outside of Texas think of you. I know that you say that you are a proud Texan but I would suspect that you apologize for being from Texas (where all of those dumb rednecks say things like warsh) than you are proud.
      Be proud of the differences. We need different.
      And, by the way, the two richest men I have personally known and spent time with, multi-millionaires both, pronounced most of these as the author described. Saying Chester- drawers correctly is not an an indicator of IQ.

  • Bo Gardner September 16, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    There is an old saying, when in Rome do as the Romans do. In other words, the way WE as TEXANS speak, is the correct way to pronounce these words. It’s the damn Yankees and foreignerswho do not know the correct way to pronounce our language. Proud to be a Texan and to speak Texan.

  • Randy Lindsey September 16, 2015 at 11:19 am

    I cannot argue with any of the ones on his list, but I would add “rather” (druther) and “get” (git) to the list. If you want to be truthful, most Texans (myself included) commonly mispronounce any word that ends in “ing.” (walkin’, talkin’; eatin’;

  • Randy Lindsey September 16, 2015 at 11:16 am

    I can’t argue with any of these, but I would add rather (druther) and get (git) to his list. If you want to tell the truth, most Texans (myself included) commonly mispronounce any word ending in “ing.” Walkin’, talkin’, sittin’, drinkin’, etc.

  • Maria August 21, 2015 at 3:21 am

    You missed bub for bulb. It was very entertaining.

  • Tex"er"kanian August 20, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    So, let me throw out a few of my local favs.. corny dog, ain’t can replace any negative, naw/no, yander-undetermined location, hi are you during/how are you doing, ven-tie for venti (Spanish for 20), y’all, warsh and wrench the dishes, well most all words used at Starbucks are said horribly wrong lol, gunna/going to, winder/window, I can’t think of the rest.. but people crack me up, myself included

    • Anonymous November 14, 2015 at 10:51 pm

      I’d just like to say venti is a Starbucks size and vente is twenty in Spanish

  • Anne Shoemaker June 10, 2015 at 1:43 am

    whats about WAAATERRR

  • Tom key June 6, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    I thank yore rat.

  • Becky Parker June 6, 2015 at 9:12 am

    Exactly. I also hear “jewlery” for jewelry and “calvary” for cavalry. 🙂

  • Sheila Snodgrass June 5, 2015 at 10:54 pm

    I think you’re right on!

  • Rob Williamson June 5, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    My first time in TX was in 1956. I met a friend that was telling me about a trip to the zoo where she had encountered a “Line”.Being from the north I had a hard time associating “line” with “lion”.

    • Sharon Barret June 6, 2015 at 9:04 pm

      I’m fixin’ ta go pick some fliars, they’d look good in front of tha winda.

  • Tammie June 5, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    “When he travels he says he always introduces himself as a Texan. If pressed, he will confess to being American, too.” That a version of something I submitted in the early days of his Stories from Texas page. I don’t know if he was using that phrase prior to that. It is a very Texan thing to say. Either way, I like it.

    • Tammie June 5, 2015 at 9:11 pm

      Sorry about the typo. I hate poor grammar.

  • Leanna June 5, 2015 at 8:04 pm

    I moved to Chicago in 1977 at age of 22 after growing up in Texas. I was told that “might could” was grammatically incorrect. I was told in a speech class that I said “Sim -you- lar” instead of similar

  • jmhwhm March 4, 2015 at 9:07 am

    Big ol’. As in, “She’s got some big ol’ hair.” Or, “there was a big ol’ wreck on the Interregional.

  • Harry March 4, 2015 at 4:23 am

    Yer fixin to tump over in the bar ditch. Git the jack outa tha turtle.

    • Jimmie Dell June 6, 2015 at 6:51 pm

      Ordering salmon for dinner anywhere with a non Texan is not worth the speech lesson!! But my Grandkids ask for Vieenies’ just like I did @ their age.

    • Anonymous August 3, 2015 at 6:00 am

      We aint gor no turtles on iur cars here in Texas. We have a trunk.

  • Anonymous March 4, 2015 at 4:20 am

    Yer fixin to tump over in the bar ditch. Git the jack out of the turtle.

  • Andrea February 28, 2015 at 11:25 am

    When I was in D.C. I was asked what I was, I said “Texan.” They said” No, where you from.” I said “Texas.” What they wanted to know was my nationality. I’m a Texan first.

    • Anonymous February 28, 2015 at 8:52 pm

      When I moved to Illinois, people insisted that I was from the South. I insisted that I was from Texas

    • Cortez April 8, 2015 at 11:27 pm

      yes ma’am

  • Maria cantu February 28, 2015 at 7:31 am


    • panchita March 3, 2015 at 10:33 pm

      Born in Brownsville in 1933, most of us didn’t speak ‘central Texas.’ We did say yuh-ALL, and mercy me, I still do. My granddaughter drills me on the days of the week, SunDAY, MonDAY, rather than SunDY, MonDY, etc. Never too late to learn!

  • Laura February 26, 2015 at 11:56 am

    My folks are from Georgia, and barbed wire is pronounced “bob wahr.” My dad was an adult before he learned that barb was spelled with an R.

  • Linda February 25, 2015 at 1:40 am


  • david February 24, 2015 at 8:07 am

    I think the “nucular” reference is strictly a George W. Bush thing.

    • Anonymous November 14, 2015 at 10:55 pm

      Not a Texan btw

  • Carrie Ann February 24, 2015 at 7:07 am

    I did not think I had a Texas accent until I moved to Washington for a time. I worked as a restaurant hostess and had to announce over the intercom that “a blue Ford pickup truck” had “left his lights on” oh my, there was an uproar of laughter. Also another mispronounced word, “bible” it’s bahble 🙂

  • Laura February 23, 2015 at 8:22 pm

    Our state is not unique in words we pronounce incorrectly. My Grandmother was from Kansas, and even though she spent 60+ years of her life in Tennessee, she always said “warsh” for wash. We all have our cute, albeit inaccurate, quirks 🙂

    • Jana February 24, 2015 at 8:26 am

      I catch a lot of grief in the Northern states for saying I”m fixin to instead of I am going to do something. They tell me it must be a Texas thing

  • Linda Jones February 23, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    My husband believes Kleenex is kleanx and he is from Kentucky. I only speak the ways my momma speaks to me! Linda

  • Anne Davis February 23, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    I left Texas 46 years ago, but people ‘up north’ (Virginia) still tag me as Texas the moment I open my mouth. And, yes, I grew up saying chester drawers, bob wire, Bremmer bulls, waddn’t and duddn’t, chimbley; I don’t get the ‘dog eat dog’ reference. Also, my mom stayed after me about ‘wether’, wite, How many people away from Texas can pronounce Refugio, Texas? I have missed Texas every day for 46 years. “Texas born and Texas bred, When I die, I’ll be Texas dead.”

    • Anonymous February 23, 2015 at 8:38 pm

      Loved your comments.. Yes ma’am.. Me too

    • Anonymous October 15, 2015 at 1:16 pm

      I once heard it said “You can the girl outa Texas, but you can’t take Texas outa the girl.

    • Anonymous November 20, 2015 at 11:09 pm

      Don’t know what part of Virginia you’re in, but folks in Virginia say a lot of that too.

  • Anonymous February 23, 2015 at 3:25 am

    The word I mispronounce the most as a Texan is shower. I always pronounce it as “shour” . True story.

  • Amber February 22, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    Ahhh I just died laughin! Born and raised in Texas and due to military I have been a misplaced texan goin on 6 years (there is no place like home)! The sayin “you can take the girl out of Texas, but you can’t take the Texas our the girl” is beyond true. My better half is from up north or as I like to call it, Yankee land and he makes fun of me all the time for stuff I say but he also tells me ” he has always found it sexy”. I love where I am from and would trade how I talk or pronounce!

  • Lucille Keith February 22, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    Texans can say Mexia right where people from up East do not have a clue.

    • Anonymous October 5, 2015 at 3:57 pm


    • Anonymous November 20, 2015 at 11:15 pm

      Actually, we don’t pronounce most Spanish-named locations properly. Mexia would be “meh-HEE-ya”, El Paso would be “ell paw-soh”, San Antonio would be “sahn ahn-toh-nee-yo”, and so forth. I get a kick out of mispronouncing Spanish words though. I purposely say “adios” with the “a”-sound used in “apple” all the time just for fun.

  • Latonya H February 22, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    I didn’t see anyone mention San Antonio… I still hear older people call it San Antone. I’m still not sure how or where they got that.

    • Lewis February 25, 2015 at 3:41 am

      It comes from the old Cowboy days and continued through the generations. From the mouths of Great Grand Parents, to Grand Parents, to Parents, to their kids. See this in movies made in the 20’s, 30’s, & 40’s.

    • Anonymous June 5, 2015 at 7:27 pm

      Rose my rose of San Antone. Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys.

    • Anonymous June 5, 2015 at 10:10 pm

      I’m not old, and that is how I say it. Never thought about why. 🙂

    • Anonymous November 20, 2015 at 11:19 pm

      Non-Texans do that too sometimes, especially southerners. It’s like how people sometimes say “Alabam'” for Alabama, or “Virgin-y” for Virginia/West Virginia.

  • kaat February 22, 2015 at 8:35 am

    You forgot agg (egg)

  • Anonymous February 21, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    For me, being a displaced native Texan, I’ve been corrected when I say wheeds instead of weeds, because being a good Texan The clarifying sentence would be,” We’ds better be going otherwise we gotta pull the wheeds.”

  • Karen February 21, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    This is great ! I am a native CA. person, hurried to TX as soon as I could ! My husband has a few interesting words like Wensdey ( Wednesday) and cannelfly (camel fly) stand out the most…These mispronounces words add interest to any conversation. Folks are always asking him where he comes from…

    • Anonymous March 2, 2015 at 11:52 am

      Sure, if he saw camels fly, I want to know where he came from too.

  • Katie February 21, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    I can attest to the Waterburger pronunciation. For a good 18 years I just thought Whataburger just made very juicy burgers… or something.

  • Leslie Miser February 21, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    I was born in Texas about 2 1/2 hours North of Dallas (yes we also measure distance in time instead of miles lol) And I’ve noticed that I leave the “g” off of almost any word endin in “ing” I always leave the g off. I also don’t emphasize the “w” in bowl. And to me when someone says Sprite it sounds like Spyte to me because I don’t know why. I have family in Oregan and last time I talked to one of them on the phone they said I love your Teacas twang.

    • Leslie Miser February 21, 2015 at 12:57 pm

      Texas* twang

  • Tweety February 21, 2015 at 10:47 am

    Would of, could of, should of…lol

    • Tweety February 21, 2015 at 10:51 am

      Or would’a, could’a, should’a

  • Nancy Brown February 21, 2015 at 9:56 am

    if the linguistics professor had ever left the city of Austin, he would know there are multiple unique dialects across the state of Texas. Those 12 words are just a few of the wonderfully mispronounced words. Of course, Austin really isn’t part of Texas, so how would he even know about TRUE TEXANS!?!?!

    • Anonymous March 5, 2015 at 12:38 am

      The linguistics professor is from, er, Harlingen.

    • Anonymous November 14, 2015 at 11:01 pm

      I’ll claim Austin over Houston any day of the week.

  • Lloyd Sargent February 21, 2015 at 9:45 am

    i suspect I was in my teens when I came across (while reading) the words “barbed wire” and, being a proud Texan, immediately sent a missive pointing out this grave error. Needless to say I was both shocked and embarrassed to find the the publisher was correct.

    When pressed I acknowledge that I speak two languages – Texan and Standard American English.

    • Janelle Eastham June 6, 2015 at 10:43 am

      My family has been in the South since 1607 and in Texas since 1845. I can make myself understood in Regular English but I only hear in Texan.

  • RD February 21, 2015 at 6:45 am

    the list is as big as the State!

  • Anonymous February 21, 2015 at 12:38 am


  • Andrea Simpson-Jones February 20, 2015 at 10:42 pm

    I met my husband at Fort Hood, TX. He is originally from St. Louis, but he mispronounces these words just the same. On our first date, he took me to Whataburger (the drive through no less)! He turned to me and asked, “What do you want?” I said, “Sooooo, this is where you are taking me to eat….What – A – Burger?” He said, “It’s not What – A – Burger; it’s Wot-ah-buhrgur.” All I could think was good grief, how tacky and absurd!

    • Anonymous February 18, 2016 at 5:31 pm

      Tacky yes but you stayed with him.

  • Jenni Smith McCowan February 20, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    what about:
    striped (stripe-pid)
    oil (awl)
    iron (arn)

  • Anonymous February 20, 2015 at 7:41 pm

    Texans always mispronounce Massachusetts. They call it Massatusets. This drives me crazy.

    • Anonymous June 6, 2015 at 1:33 am

      People from Mattasusets drive me insane with their “pahk the caah” and “mo the yaahd”.

  • paul February 20, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    I think Mr. Strong mispronounces Texas! It should be “teks uz”, not “teks is”. Signed; Hick

  • Katie Tillery February 20, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    My husband likes to say ‘steer’ for ‘stir’. “Honey, did you steer the chili”… “where am I supposed to steer it to?”

    • Anonymous February 27, 2015 at 7:13 pm

      My husband said that too. Both of us Texas born but I stirred and he steered. Drove me crazy!

  • Greta Eagerton February 20, 2015 at 10:45 am

    You are so right, Mr. Strong. The list is MUCH too short. I am an Alabamian and we also murder the English language. My sister is a retired English teacher, 38 years of teaching English. Americans have gotten lazy, so lazy in speaking correct English. Thank you for posting these 12 misused words.

  • Anonymous February 20, 2015 at 10:16 am

    From this 5 generation Texan ,I enjoyed his comments, and I will continue to talk Texan and correcting some as well.

  • Cindy Rusher February 20, 2015 at 10:11 am

    My grandmother Ethel Amie Lusby, born in a log cabin 1904 near Gordon TX called light bulbs, lightbubs!

  • Sheila Stokes February 20, 2015 at 9:47 am

    My husband, a native Texan, says Calvary for cavalry….always! He also says Calvary for Cavalry.

    • Anonymous June 6, 2015 at 11:09 am


  • Katy February 20, 2015 at 9:18 am

    Right or wrong, as a misplaced Texan, I find nothing more delightful than real Texas talk!

    • Anonymous February 20, 2015 at 10:24 am

      Did you take English as second language?

  • Linda February 20, 2015 at 9:17 am

    ambulance. unless that’s just a Houston misspronounciation

  • Kim February 20, 2015 at 9:01 am

    I was forced to leave Texas and move to Indiana. Love or some such nonsense. Anyway, after 17 years, people still get me for cement (SEE-mint), July, and Tuesday. I can’t even tell you what’s wrong with those last two. My 13 yr old daughter was served Asti Spumante by mistake (Asti = iced tea) and the first year I was teaching art, a student raised his hand and asked what we were going to fix. (We were fixin’ to put the pottery in the kiln.) I had to actually stop and think of words to take the place of fixin’ to. Proud Texan. Can’t wait to get back home!

  • mary February 20, 2015 at 5:00 am

    I’m fixin to decide!

  • De February 20, 2015 at 12:23 am

    How about oil pronounced oll. Tire _ Tir fire -far

  • Anonymous February 19, 2015 at 11:06 pm

    You order a coke and they ask what kind?

  • Anonymous February 19, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    I am a Daughter of the Republic (of Texas of course) and am proud of my grandson’s nice 2 syllable name. Ben.

  • Courtney Paige February 19, 2015 at 10:06 pm

    I think it depends on what part of the state and which generation you are from. My grandfather, in particular, has a very strong “twang” – he says things like “O’er yondah” (over yonder) and “yeller” (yellow) -the rest of my family, not so much. Especially with the “younger generation” aka the grandchildren, we have a more diverse, “globalized” dialect with a touch of South Texas “twanginess”. I have often been asked where I was from only to answer with, “Umm … here”. This just happened at Panera this evening. It always bewilders me, as I still hear the “twang” in my own accent. Out of this list of words, I think I used to say “Whataburger” wrong, but I have grown out of that phase, for good or ill.

  • Katie February 19, 2015 at 9:40 pm

    We (my grandparents and me) say ‘arn’ for iron. Trying to be proper, I can force out an i-run or i-rob but it never sounds natural.

    • Jenni June 6, 2015 at 1:16 pm

      Ha! I do this, too! I try to concentrate and saw iron “normal” and it sounds like I-yurn. My Pennsylvania laughs at me.

      • Jenni June 6, 2015 at 1:17 pm

        Bah! Sorry, was typing too fast. I try to *say* iron….. And my Pennsylvanian *husband* laughs at me.

  • Michael February 19, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    I think some are way off base but many are completely left out
    Over there …..Ov’ere , Aunt….. Ain’t
    Can’t ….. Cain’t , about to….. fixin’ ta. There’s many more that are far better’n those twelve. The smaller the town the more words were created…. or maybe cut off as the case may be.

  • Deborah February 19, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    R I T E !

  • SYH February 19, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    My favorites have always been “smelp” (some help) as in “Y’all need smelp?”

    Then there’s pitcher (for picture) and warsh (for wash), which I’ve heard Midwesterners say too.

    Finally there is “acrosst” which is said to mean “across” but sounds like a hybrid of across and accost.

  • Cindy February 19, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    I left Texas at 18 in 1991 and was told by a new friend from Minnesota that I was the only person he had ever heard who could turn the word “no” into 4 syllables. Also, most of our vowels are wrong (I thank I’ll use an ink pin cuz I cain’t use a pincel.). It’s a wonder any of us learned to spell. It does vary by region, though. Someone from East Texas speaks very differently from those in West Texas. Also men and women speak differently in most regions of Texas. Women tend to open their mouths wide and stretch out their vowels (although maybe not 4 syllables), while men, especially those from south and west Texas, tend to speak as if holding a pencil in their teeth (think Boomhauer on King of the Hill, or more realistically, old Nolan Ryan Advil commercials). I’m not a linguist, but I have always been fascinated by these things.

    • Blu_i_girl77 October 30, 2015 at 8:08 pm

      This literally had me rolling! Our vowels are definitely messed up. I grew up in west texas from birth to 12 and then moved to north central texas. I have quite the Texas vocab!

  • Gary Jacobs February 19, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    Mamanyms is not a homophobe, but, is a destination. “After church, we gonna have lunch at mamanyms.”

    • Anne Davis February 23, 2015 at 2:28 pm

      I had forgotten about mamanems; lots of Virginians use that word. Also, ovair. “Where do you live?” At mamanem ovair.

  • RG Courtney February 19, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    When I heard Brent Musberger call the river Brazos Bra Zos, I laughed. Someone should have taught him how to pronounce Braz us. Also, why do folks call lightening bugs “fireflys”? or say refrigerator instead of “icebox?”.

    • Anonymous February 19, 2015 at 6:08 pm

      lightning bugs / fireflies

    • Anonymous February 19, 2015 at 6:24 pm

      I cringe when I hear a new to Texas news person TRY to pronounce Brazos. I believe they should go through training on how to pronounce places people or events in Texas before they go before the camera.

    • Anonymous February 20, 2015 at 1:26 am

      They are called fireflys I’ve never heard anyone say lightning bugs. As far as icebox I have no idea people are just dumb, at the very least I could understand calling the freezer an icebox.

    • Anonymous February 21, 2015 at 12:23 pm

      Ice box sounds weird to me, im a Texas girl and its just a weird word….like sofa, i say couch but some dont….

  • Anonymous February 19, 2015 at 11:48 am

    When we first moved down to Texas everyone said “can I hep ya, and the gas stations all said “hep ya sef”!!

  • Kurt February 19, 2015 at 11:17 am

    Most southerners and Texans, pronounce Illinois wrong.

    • Anonymous February 20, 2015 at 9:42 am

      Why did you, put a comma there?

  • Steve February 19, 2015 at 10:20 am

    You left out “oil”, “picture”, “morning” and “have a good one”,

  • Stacy February 19, 2015 at 10:05 am

    I mispronounce a lot of words also. We tend to run syllables together which creates our lyrical manner of speech. Also, Mr. Strong, you have a very smoothing voice. I could listen to you all day.

  • Susan February 19, 2015 at 10:01 am

    Nice catch. Then there is the word COUPON. There is NO “Q” in “coo-pon”. This one drives me crazy.

    • Anonymous February 19, 2015 at 5:16 pm

      R i t e!! Lol

  • K February 19, 2015 at 9:40 am

    They missed “oil”! Pronounced “ull”.
    Source: I am a texan

  • Peggy February 19, 2015 at 9:33 am

    You must include “ideal” for “idea”, as in, “I had no ideal.” My daddy used to say, “He’s at the gulf course.” Drove my mother nuts!

  • T Fenske February 19, 2015 at 8:46 am

    Never had a problem with any of these (including Whataburger is riduculous — it isn’t three words it IS one word). The two I get zinged on is war (sounds like are) — uncivilized people in the provinces often prefer wor.
    The other is theater. I always said and heard the accent on the A. Thee-ay-ter. If corrected on this I switch to a hoity-toity thee-a-tah.

  • Freddie Gallas February 19, 2015 at 8:46 am

    Learning to read and spell was an eye-opener to this Texan. Bob wire was actually “barbed wire”, wash had no “r” and my husband was very relieved to learn that he actually did not have Chester’s drawers somewhere in his bedroom.

    • SYH February 19, 2015 at 5:00 pm

      Hahaha! Hilarious!

  • Freddie Gallas February 19, 2015 at 8:44 am

    Love The 12 Words Texans Mispronounce the Most! When I learned to read and spell, it was a real eye-opener to discover “wash” had no “r”, “bob wire” was barbed wire and my husband was relieved to learn that he did not actually have Chester’s drawers somewhere in his bedroom.

  • Sissy February 19, 2015 at 8:17 am

    Pecan is my downfall

    • Paul February 19, 2015 at 11:35 am

      Please tell me you say pe-cahn, and not pea-can. The latter is like fingernails on a blackboard.

      • Kat February 20, 2015 at 9:08 am

        Yes Paul! My Midwest in-laws say pea-can and I always want to scream.

  • KP February 19, 2015 at 7:45 am

    I’m constantly told I mispronounce “oil” (also, “spoil”, “boil”, etc.).

  • Andrea February 19, 2015 at 7:38 am

    How can you leave out “Pedernales”?

    • Kat February 20, 2015 at 9:10 am

      Hard as I try, can’t shake Pur-dnaleez.

    • Ken Reed February 21, 2015 at 10:44 am

      We pronounce it “Purd-uh-nallis” so folks won’t think we are saying “pederast.”

  • Merle February 19, 2015 at 7:35 am

    we say them right, other people don’t.

  • Terry February 19, 2015 at 7:34 am

    I might just be that everyone else says them wrong! lol

  • Jackie Jackson February 19, 2015 at 7:32 am

    loved this !

  • Anonymous February 19, 2015 at 7:23 am

    This is hilarious

    This is truly funny. Laughing out loud while listening. People thinking I am losing it in the waiting room

  • Anonymous February 19, 2015 at 3:57 am

    “Fermiliar” and “realtor” drive me crazy, but I don’t really think they’re limited to Texans.

    • Anne Davis February 23, 2015 at 2:32 pm

      Where I live now it is “re-ali-tor.” Drive me crazy, too.

  • Anonymous February 19, 2015 at 2:31 am

    harse , fark turnament

  • MaryL February 19, 2015 at 12:52 am

    Schlumberger vehicle side panel: (me) how do you say that? (daddy) Halliburton

    • Stacy February 19, 2015 at 10:07 am

      This is priceless!!! Hahahaha. So true.

  • Anonymous February 18, 2015 at 10:05 pm

    The most often misused word in Texas lingo is “chunk”
    instead of “chuck.” As in, “This bread is moldy. I’m going to chunk it!”
    What, cut it into pieces? If you toss something, you “chuck” it, okay? Lol

    • SYH February 19, 2015 at 5:01 pm

      My friend from Alabama does this too. Maybe it is a general Southern thing.

    • Anne Davis February 23, 2015 at 2:34 pm

      I still
      I still “chunk” stuph.

  • Anonymous February 18, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    So very wrong not to include my own bete noir, athlete!

  • Marilyn February 18, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    cuddlesack . lol

    • Anne Davis February 23, 2015 at 2:35 pm


  • katy February 18, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    I loved this article! As a Texan living in diaspora I got a good laugh at this article and I’m definitely guilty of many of these pronunciations. Too often Texan’s have a bit of an inferiority complex in comparison to other places in the country. They quickly try to lose their Texan twang to blend in. I say embrace your accent and way of speaking. Accents are a lovely piece of culture that we are losing far too quickly.

  • Lauren Blood (@L99Blood) February 18, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    Do you speak Texan? A fun audio clip via @TexasStandard:

  • David R. Jackson February 18, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    I’d Burn it!!!

  • David R. Jackson February 18, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    Burn it!

  • MJ February 18, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    Although I was an Air Force brat and we traveled, I loved coming to my Nannies’ east of Waco and they would make a pallet on the floor for their people to sleep on. I loved your article and have nothing but good memories of slow talking and warm evenings out on the porch.

  • Dina Mensing February 18, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    The only one I mispronounce is “Whataburger”. The popularity of the Mel Tillis commercials decades ago is the reason; that’s how HE pronounced it.

    The only person I know who mispronounced #8 was George W. Bush, and I’m convinced that was a put-on. He wasn’t born in Texas, his parents certainly didn’t have Texas accents, and I doubt they would’ve tolerated that level of poor grammar/annunciation.

    I mostly hear Spanish-origin location names mispronounced: Manchaca, Refugio, Guadalupe, etc. Also, Burnet, TX and Burnet Rd in Austin were named after David G. Burnet, but his name is pronounced like the comedienne Carol, whereas the places are said like”burn it”.

    • Tami February 19, 2015 at 9:06 am

      Agreed. I do say words such as either and neither with long e sounds rather than long i sounds. There are definitely things Texans say differently but you are correct that many of these are abnormal.

    • Eric February 22, 2015 at 9:49 am

      Guilty of Burnet…..the others for Austin aren’t so much mispronounciations as they are a way to spot outsiders…..I know its “guad-a-loo-pay” and “man-cha-ka” but not when I’m giving directions. I assume this is true for most Austinites.

  • Anonymous February 18, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    Uh don’t think any of those words are higher than sixth grade vocabulary.

    • katy February 18, 2015 at 8:06 pm

      Actually, wasn’t, doesn’t and library are pretty common words in conversational language. Further, on average most people use simple words – or 6th grade level words-often in their language. I think you’d be surprised to know that most newspapers are at about a 6th grade reading level.

  • larry hodge February 18, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    Prolly the most common of all: Texiz instead of Texass.

  • True Texan February 18, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    What an ignoramus. Plenty of Texans say all of those words correctly. And “heighth” goes back to Old English, over 1000 years ago.

    • katy February 18, 2015 at 8:08 pm

      It depends how you define ‘correctly’. Language is a living organism and if a mass group of people speak this way then, descriptively speaking, it’s correct. It’s a classic case of descriptive vs. prescriptive linguistics.

  • John Files February 18, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    This is just silly. I am a fifth generation Texan and no-one in my family (including myself) pronounces (or mispronounces) any of the twelve words according to your recording. I have heard these words pronounced this way in movies and when people I know are trying to sound like the ‘prototypical Texan’, but not in real conversation. I remember hearing about this type of research when I was working on my Ph.D. in Linguistics at UT, but never met anyone that actually spoke this way.

    • katy February 18, 2015 at 8:10 pm

      Hi, I’m a Texas native and fellow Longhorn as well. I however do sometimes pronounce words this way and know many people who do as well. Just personal experience I guess. Also aren’t you in turn assuming that YOU are the prototype because you don’t speak this way?

    • Kat February 20, 2015 at 9:17 am

      It depends entirely on what part of the state you grow up in. The difference in dialect between west texas (where I grew up) and north texas ( where I live now) is huge.

    • Patti February 20, 2015 at 10:03 am

      Hi – just thought you would like to meet someone who speaks this way. My family pronounces several of these words incorrectly – mainly wash and whataburger. I have a family who was raised out in the country, and I grew up in Houston. With as big as Texas is, it is naive to think that nobody has this accent just because your family doesn’t. Just sayin’.

    • Anne Davis February 23, 2015 at 2:43 pm

      I’m a 4th generation Texan, and I had to teach myself, after I left Texas, how to correctly pronounce most of these 12 words. Ah still have a bunch of Texas friends, and they can be spotted the moment they open their mouths. Texan-ese is Texan-ese. I hope we never lose our lovely mispronunciations.

    • Anonymous June 5, 2015 at 8:46 pm

      Come to west texas.

  • St Mary's University (@StMarysU) February 18, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    Funny! Listen to @TexasStandard’s 12 Words Texans Mispronounce Most –> h/t @TPRNews #Texas

  • Alex Vickery (@alexvickery) February 18, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    Who actually says ‘What-a-burger?’ The 12 words Texans mispronounce the most: via @TexasStandard

    • Anonymous February 26, 2016 at 6:48 pm

      I think that many of the older generation, or younger and not too literate generation, may speak like this due to the fact when they were young there weren’t many options of learning except the radio, television and relatives to teach young children how to speak. We now have many other avenues of learning and our accents are changing, and yet, still distinct. All of you who are taking exception to this little clip, “Chill out”. It is all in fun and we must be able to stand back and take a good look at ourselves in order to progress forward.

  • Katey Psencik (@psencikk) February 18, 2015 at 11:58 am

    Do you speak Texan? The 12 words Texans mispronounce the most: via @TexasStandard

  • Wells Dunbar (@WellsDunbar) February 18, 2015 at 10:42 am

    What other #Texas mispronunciations drive you nuts? Tweet us! @TexasStandard

  • Trace Levos (@tracelevos) February 18, 2015 at 10:35 am

    @TexasStandard @Whataburger Still amazed at how many people say "water-burger." Drive me nuts.