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How do you pronounce "OYSTER"?

alkapal Jul 2, 2011 05:09 AM

Watching the adorable John Besh, who was born in Meridian, Mississippi, and raised in south Louisiana, I heard him pronouncing "oyster" as "oyshter." (He was making this fried oyster salad: http://www.coastalliving.com/food/kit... ).

I am from Florida, and I pronounce it "oy-ster."

How do you pronounce it, and where are you from? I would love to hear the different regional variations, not that there could be too many with a two-syllable word, I suppose.

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word oyster comes to us thusly: ""oyster
mid-14c., from O.Fr. oistre (Fr. huître), from L. ostrea, pl. or fem. of ostreum "oyster," from Gk. ostreon, from PIE *ost- "bone" (see osseous). Related to Gk. ostrakon "hard shell" and to osteon "bone."
Why then the world's mine Oyster, which I, with sword will open. [Shakespeare, "The Merry Wives of Windsor," II.ii.2]"" http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?t...

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  1. t
    Ted in Central NJ RE: alkapal Jul 2, 2011 05:19 AM

    Like you, I also pronounce the word as, "oy-ster".

    However, as a result of having spent my formative years in Hudson County, NJ, I can tell you that many old-timers in Jersey City pronounce it as "er-ster".

    Along similar lines, those same Jersey City folks pronounce the word, toilet as, "ter-let".
    "Voice" is sometimes pronounced as "verse" by these unique linguists.

    What is sometimes referred to as a "Brooklyn accent" is actually a Jersey City accent.

    Go figure!

    12 Replies
    1. re: Ted in Central NJ
      tracylee RE: Ted in Central NJ Jul 2, 2011 04:51 PM

      I always wondered about terlet! I had a friend who always pronounced it that way. I knew in context what she meant, but was pretty confused as to where it came from.

      Here on the West Coast, I've always heard it pronounced "oy-ster" also.

      1. re: Ted in Central NJ
        Bill Hunt RE: Ted in Central NJ Jul 4, 2011 08:15 PM


        Thank you. While I spent a Summer in Cape May, I now know why the "bathroom" was seldom pointed out to me... [Grin]


        1. re: Ted in Central NJ
          WCchopper RE: Ted in Central NJ Jul 4, 2011 08:40 PM

          Yeah, you're right. I know a guy called "pool" whose name is Paul from JC. it's unique. And I say OY-ster.

          1. re: WCchopper
            Bill Hunt RE: WCchopper Jul 4, 2011 08:52 PM

            Now, back on the Gulf Coast, I knew a family of Pooles.Is that the same?


            1. re: Bill Hunt
              WCchopper RE: Bill Hunt Jul 5, 2011 10:22 AM

              Ha- only if they said "Poole" and spelled "Paul" which I've never seen in the south, especially along the "Guff Coast". I love accents. They make life more fun.

              1. re: WCchopper
                Bill Hunt RE: WCchopper Jul 5, 2011 06:26 PM

                That family pronounced their name "Pool," but then they could well have from "out of town," before they moved to The Coast?

                Being from Mississippi, and spending a great deal of time in New Orleans, and then marrying a lady from there - I enjoy accents too.


          2. re: Ted in Central NJ
            CindyJ RE: Ted in Central NJ Jul 5, 2011 10:16 AM

            I do believe there are some neighborhoods in Brooklyn where the same pronunciations of "terlet" were common. Maybe a generation or two (or three) ago, those folks "migrated" across the river to "Joisey City" and brought their accents with them.

            1. re: CindyJ
              shanagain RE: CindyJ Jul 7, 2011 11:27 AM

              My FIL was Brooklyn born and raised & used "terlet" as well as one that always amuses me: spatchler. My then-boyfriend and I got into a disagreement over the actual spelling of said word - he was incredulous when I showed him S-P-A-T-U-L-A in the dictionary.

              (Now, I'm from Texas, where we pronounce most things fairly normally, unless it's a town or street name, in which case all bets are off.)

              1. re: shanagain
                thew RE: shanagain Jul 7, 2011 11:50 AM


                1. re: shanagain
                  Veggo RE: shanagain Jul 7, 2011 05:41 PM

                  Town or street name? How about whole states? I have a friend whose wife is from deep east Texas, and she refers to Vermont's neighbor as "New Hamster".

                  1. re: Veggo
                    LulusMom RE: Veggo Jul 8, 2011 04:07 AM


              2. re: Ted in Central NJ
                NellyNel RE: Ted in Central NJ Jul 28, 2011 01:37 PM

                I'm from Brooklyn, and my Italian Grandma, who came to Brooklyn as a child, called it a ter-let...
                And Oil was "earl"!

                I now live in JC, and have to listen out for the "unique linguists" LOL!!!

                (I never herad anyone call an oyster and oyshter!!)

              3. inaplasticcup RE: alkapal Jul 2, 2011 05:38 AM

                Count me in the OY-ster boat.

                But I have heard Louis Armstrong calling them ER-sters in his rendition of Let's Call The Whole Thing Off with Ella, so I'm guessing a few other folks from New Orleans also call it an erster. :)

                13 Replies
                1. re: inaplasticcup
                  Leepa RE: inaplasticcup Jul 2, 2011 05:44 AM

                  What a lot of people don't realize is there is a fairly large pocket of native people in New Orleans who have what is remarkably similar to a Brooklyn accent. Besh doesn't have it, but many do.

                  1. re: Leepa
                    Bill Hunt RE: Leepa Jul 4, 2011 08:18 PM

                    Ah, the Brooklyn accent.

                    I do agree, and having grown up in those environs, would also typify the accent as closer to Brooklyn, than any spot in the Deep South - Hollywood's ideas out the window.

                    At one time, I could listen to a New Orleans woman's pronunciation, and likely hit her neighborhood within a few blocks. I am not so good anymore, but then I have been listening to Midwestern for too long.



                    1. re: Bill Hunt
                      shanagain RE: Bill Hunt Jul 7, 2011 11:28 AM

                      My (aforementioned Brooklynite) husband thought I was CRAZY when I mentioned that many of the people I talked to in Nola sounded like they were from NY!

                      1. re: shanagain
                        Bill Hunt RE: shanagain Jul 7, 2011 07:29 PM

                        I hear much the same, though it depends on the neighborhood, where the person grew up.

                        Love to poke holes in Hollywood's portrayal of a NOLA accent. Few even come close, with often humorous results.

                        Though my wife is a native New Orleanian, she has not lived there for decades. One of the first things that people comment on, is that she does not sound like "Scarlett O'Hara," but then, why would she?

                        After she has visited her family, her speech pattern does change a bit, but I am probably the only one, who notices.


                  2. re: inaplasticcup
                    twyst RE: inaplasticcup Jul 2, 2011 05:58 AM

                    Everyone I know from back home (new orleans) calls them oyshters FWIW.

                    1. re: twyst
                      hazelhurst RE: twyst Jul 2, 2011 09:50 AM

                      But remember that Mayor Maestri, hosting the famous luncheon for FDR at Antoine's, is supposed to have said "Howya like dem ersterz?" Most people I know who use that pronounciation do it as a joke or minor affection, such as still saying "banquette" for "sidewalk." Even "making groceries" is usualy self conscious today.

                      1. re: hazelhurst
                        Bill Hunt RE: hazelhurst Jul 4, 2011 08:21 PM

                        Yes, there are many affectations on New Orleans pronunciations, like "Naw-leens" for New Orleans.

                        Maybe it was my Gulf Coast upbringing, but we always said, "New Or-lens," and even my wife, the native, says the same thing. "Naw-lens" is just not part of our speech, but maybe to some?


                        1. re: Bill Hunt
                          bayoucook RE: Bill Hunt Jul 8, 2011 04:17 AM

                          My husband is a native of New Orleans, as well. We have always said New Or-lens, and leave other pronunciations to those who don't know better (haha). And we say oysters like John Besh does, oyshters. Didn't know that until this minute.

                    2. re: inaplasticcup
                      BobB RE: inaplasticcup Jul 6, 2011 01:01 PM

                      Louis Armstrong sang the lyrics that way because they were written that way, by Ira Gershwin (a New Yorker, not a New Orleanian), in the 1930s. But I wonder how many people today still say "ersters."

                      1. re: BobB
                        inaplasticcup RE: BobB Jul 6, 2011 01:09 PM

                        Interesting! Thanks for that tidbit, Bob.

                        Seems so incongruous with the few New York accents I have heard, but most of the New Yorkers I've known or worked with were Manhattanite corporate types, so my exposure is limited.

                        1. re: BobB
                          porker RE: BobB Jul 6, 2011 10:24 PM

                          I think Ira was just pressed for another way to say oysters and made it up for the song, kinda like Phil Collins Suss-Sussudio...

                          1. re: porker
                            BobB RE: porker Jul 7, 2011 08:08 AM

                            Maybe. but I tend to doubt that. He could have chosen from any number of real examples, (you say turtle, I say toitle) why make something up? Besides, others below say they know people who still do say erster.

                            1. re: BobB
                              porker RE: BobB Jul 7, 2011 05:12 PM

                              I was just kidding - imagining the great Ira Gershwin started the lyric "I say oyster, you say......you say....HEY LEONORE! I CAN'T GET STARTED! WHATS 'NOTHER PRONOUNCIATION FOR OYSTER?"
                              "How should I know?"
                              "Shit...oyster...oyster....ahhh dammit, I'll just use 'erster'. Yeah, thats it, ERSTERS! Now I got rythm!"

                      2. h
                        Harters RE: alkapal Jul 2, 2011 09:31 AM

                        Oy-ster. I'm British and, specifically, English.

                        I've never heard it pronounced differently in the English language

                        1. b
                          beevod RE: alkapal Jul 2, 2011 09:49 AM

                          This is a tough one.

                          1. LulusMom RE: alkapal Jul 2, 2011 09:58 AM

                            another oy-ster, this from a person raised in Washington DC.

                            1. porker RE: alkapal Jul 2, 2011 10:18 AM

                              "OY-ster", but I've heard it as oy-stah in Boston.

                              1. FLFoodieGrl RE: alkapal Jul 2, 2011 11:20 AM

                                "OY-ster" is how I pronounce it and I'm from the South. I've heard people in bayou country call them "Oysh-ters," Bostonians say "OY-stah," some Georgians and people from the lowcountry call them "O-EE-stahs" and I've heard a few people (don't know what dialect this is) call them what sounds like "Er-sters." But, "OY-ster" is how I pronounce it and most often hear it pronounced.

                                1. Uncle Bob RE: alkapal Jul 2, 2011 02:12 PM

                                  Oyshture.....Doesn't everybody say it that way????

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: Uncle Bob
                                    bayoucook RE: Uncle Bob Jul 8, 2011 04:18 AM

                                    yes, that's it! Never realized how we said it until this post!

                                    1. re: bayoucook
                                      Parrotgal RE: bayoucook Jul 18, 2011 01:28 PM

                                      That's exactly how I learned it. I was going to spell it oyscher. Now, as an adult, I say oyster.

                                    2. re: Uncle Bob
                                      2roadsdiverge RE: Uncle Bob Jul 18, 2011 12:35 PM

                                      As in, rhymes with "moisture"? Wow, that's a new one on me.

                                      1. re: 2roadsdiverge
                                        Uncle Bob RE: 2roadsdiverge Jul 20, 2011 02:26 PM

                                        Now you got it!!!! :)

                                      2. re: Uncle Bob
                                        mpjmph RE: Uncle Bob Jul 18, 2011 12:49 PM

                                        Same here...

                                      3. thew RE: alkapal Jul 2, 2011 02:32 PM

                                        i'm almost with the majority - but id say its like OYs-ter. the sibiliant "S" sounds to me like it belongs more to the first sylable than the second, though it clearly bridges them

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: thew
                                          workintheater RE: thew Jul 2, 2011 02:36 PM

                                          Oh, for a large sock filled with manure....

                                          1. re: workintheater
                                            thew RE: workintheater Jul 2, 2011 05:15 PM

                                            maybe so, but the way words sound and syllables break, is the crux of what i do.

                                            1. re: workintheater
                                              mnosyne RE: workintheater Jul 3, 2011 03:31 PM

                                              Hey! That's MY line!

                                            2. re: thew
                                              Veggo RE: thew Jul 2, 2011 02:52 PM

                                              there goes thew again, OY vey iz mir, STIRring up trouble...

                                              1. re: thew
                                                Bill Hunt RE: thew Jul 4, 2011 08:25 PM

                                                Yes. That is me too. I thought that it was my Jewish heritage, as OYs is sort of part of the language, but I that is also what I have heard for my entire life - Jew, or Gentile.


                                              2. Sue in Mt P RE: alkapal Jul 2, 2011 03:11 PM


                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: Sue in Mt P
                                                  LulusMom RE: Sue in Mt P Jul 2, 2011 04:39 PM

                                                  Yes, when I've been drinking.

                                                  1. re: LulusMom
                                                    LorenM RE: LulusMom Jul 3, 2011 05:18 PM

                                                    There should be a language dialect for those under the influence- the whole officer- occifer thing.

                                                    1. re: LorenM
                                                      Veggo RE: LorenM Jul 3, 2011 05:25 PM

                                                      In need of a bail ombudsman....

                                                      1. re: Veggo
                                                        Bill Hunt RE: Veggo Jul 4, 2011 08:29 PM

                                                        There is usually on, available at the 9th Precinct Lockup on Rampart Street.

                                                        I have used that service during Mardi Gras, so I know that they are good.


                                                2. David11238 RE: alkapal Jul 2, 2011 03:35 PM


                                                  1. s
                                                    Sherri RE: alkapal Jul 2, 2011 03:36 PM

                                                    In Southern Maryland they're pronounced "arse-ters" by the watermen who tong them in theChesapeake Bay.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Sherri
                                                      MGZ RE: Sherri Jul 2, 2011 07:49 PM

                                                      That's the way a buddy who used to "grow" them on Deal Island pronounced the word.

                                                      "Er-sters" was the way the bartender in the Rita Hayworth movie Cover Girl referred to the bivalves.

                                                      Here at the Jersey Shore, we say "oy-sters." The accent is on the first syllable and the "s" is part of the second.

                                                    2. s
                                                      smartie RE: alkapal Jul 2, 2011 08:23 PM

                                                      I can't even start to phonetically spell out how my bf from Alabama says oysters, it's sort of 'awhsters' but not quite as in awesome. Like how southerners pronounce oil and boil which is a little like 'awhl'.

                                                      25 Replies
                                                      1. re: smartie
                                                        alkapal RE: smartie Jul 3, 2011 12:15 PM

                                                        this southerner says oy-l and boy-l. this southerner being from south florida from a north florida mom and a yankee indiana/illinois dad.

                                                        1. re: alkapal
                                                          Bill Hunt RE: alkapal Jul 4, 2011 08:31 PM

                                                          Now son, The South does not include Florida, nor does it include Texas, regardless of the Latitude, or anything else. The South is a place, and also a "state of mind."


                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                            CindyJ RE: Bill Hunt Jul 5, 2011 10:21 AM

                                                            I always thought that northern Florida, particuarly the panhandle, was "southern" whereas southern Florida is "northern."

                                                            1. re: CindyJ
                                                              alkapal RE: CindyJ Jul 5, 2011 12:39 PM

                                                              cindy has it right-- and the southwest coast is south. its only the yankees in the miami stretch over on the east coat that ruins our southern rep. LOL

                                                              1. re: alkapal
                                                                thew RE: alkapal Jul 5, 2011 12:40 PM

                                                                i think you mean - enhance the diversity

                                                                1. re: thew
                                                                  smartie RE: thew Jul 5, 2011 02:20 PM

                                                                  I'll agree with alkapal!

                                                                  1. re: smartie
                                                                    bayoucook RE: smartie Jul 8, 2011 04:20 AM

                                                                    me too

                                                              2. re: CindyJ
                                                                Bill Hunt RE: CindyJ Jul 5, 2011 06:27 PM

                                                                Grin. I see your point!!!

                                                                Good one,


                                                                1. re: CindyJ
                                                                  bucksguy14 RE: CindyJ Jul 18, 2011 11:37 AM

                                                                  Having lived on Eglin AFB for almost 2 years, many, many years ago, I can tell you that the FL panhandle is really South Alabama!

                                                                  1. re: bucksguy14
                                                                    alkapal RE: bucksguy14 Jul 18, 2011 12:07 PM


                                                                  2. re: CindyJ
                                                                    Uncle Bob RE: CindyJ Jul 20, 2011 02:42 PM

                                                                    You are correct....The panhandle is Southern....Between there and Gainesville is iffy....South of Gainesville?? Yankee Land!!!!

                                                                    1. re: Uncle Bob
                                                                      alkapal RE: Uncle Bob Jul 20, 2011 04:15 PM

                                                                      nosiree bob! you ain't got that right. south of gainesville has PLENTY of the south. e.g., ocala, clewiston, fort myers, labelle, etc.

                                                                      1. re: alkapal
                                                                        flavrmeistr RE: alkapal Jul 21, 2011 10:55 AM

                                                                        Not quite, Bob. Plenty of snowbirds in the panhandle as well. Plenty of ruthless, toothless white trash everywhere else down there. I say that with love, of course, having been a Florida resident myself over half my life.

                                                                        1. re: flavrmeistr
                                                                          alkapal RE: flavrmeistr Jul 22, 2011 02:44 PM

                                                                          flavrmeistr, you are not a native, though, correct?

                                                                          i'm not quite sure that i'm getting this correctly -- being a southerner and all -- but are you intimating that we are "ruthless, toothless and white trash"?

                                                                          1. re: alkapal
                                                                            srsone RE: alkapal Jul 22, 2011 05:59 PM

                                                                            im almost toothless...only have a couple left........

                                                                            1. re: srsone
                                                                              Veggo RE: srsone Jul 22, 2011 06:09 PM

                                                                              for us snaggletoothed, we can barter for deep dentist discounts off that gummint insureeance, sometimes gettin' that drain unclogged.

                                                                            2. re: alkapal
                                                                              flavrmeistr RE: alkapal Jul 23, 2011 05:35 PM

                                                                              Not really. It's from a John Prine song. You know..."worthless, ruthless, toothless man/seeks wealthy woman with a plan". Don't worry about it. The mind wanders.

                                                                              1. re: flavrmeistr
                                                                                srsone RE: flavrmeistr Jul 23, 2011 07:57 PM

                                                                                john who??

                                                                                1. re: srsone
                                                                                  Passadumkeg RE: srsone Jul 24, 2011 10:42 AM


                                                                                  1. re: Passadumkeg
                                                                                    srsone RE: Passadumkeg Jul 24, 2011 03:31 PM


                                                                                    never heard of him tho....

                                                                                    closest i get to folk music is a few Phish songs....

                                                                                    1. re: srsone
                                                                                      Passadumkeg RE: srsone Jul 24, 2011 04:40 PM

                                                                                      I saw Phish a few years ago at Limestone, Me.

                                                                                    2. re: Passadumkeg
                                                                                      flavrmeistr RE: Passadumkeg Jul 24, 2011 05:03 PM

                                                                                      Nice one! Thanks.

                                                                  3. re: smartie
                                                                    Leepa RE: smartie Jul 3, 2011 01:44 PM

                                                                    LOL Been living in the south my entire 58 years and I don't say "awhl" or "bawhl" at all.

                                                                    *scratches head*

                                                                    Funny the generalizations people make.

                                                                    1. re: Leepa
                                                                      Veggo RE: Leepa Jul 3, 2011 01:49 PM

                                                                      Boone Pickens made his first billion in the awhl patch, and he can pretty much call it whatever he wants....

                                                                      1. re: Veggo
                                                                        Leepa RE: Veggo Jul 3, 2011 02:48 PM

                                                                        True enough. ; )

                                                                  4. c
                                                                    CanadaGirl RE: alkapal Jul 3, 2011 03:07 PM

                                                                    In Nova Scotia, I've only ever heard "oys-ter", just like it looks.

                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                    1. re: CanadaGirl
                                                                      LulusMom RE: CanadaGirl Jul 3, 2011 04:03 PM

                                                                      I'm fascinated that some people put the S in the first syllable. Just goes to show how different this language can be from place to place.

                                                                      1. re: LulusMom
                                                                        CanadaGirl RE: LulusMom Jul 3, 2011 04:49 PM

                                                                        Yep. The way we say it, the "s" is definitely in the emphasized part of the word. Any wonder some say English is the hardest language to master.

                                                                        1. re: CanadaGirl
                                                                          thew RE: CanadaGirl Jul 3, 2011 04:50 PM

                                                                          careful - i was threatened with a sock of manure for saying that

                                                                          1. re: thew
                                                                            porker RE: thew Jul 4, 2011 11:50 AM

                                                                            a LARGE sock...

                                                                            1. re: porker
                                                                              Veggo RE: porker Jul 4, 2011 12:02 PM

                                                                              I am guessing, based on history, that thew is not a big fan of socks. Which leaves....oh, nevermind.

                                                                              1. re: Veggo
                                                                                Bill Hunt RE: Veggo Jul 4, 2011 08:33 PM

                                                                                Hey, can that not be remedied by a glass of Port, and a Cuban?


                                                                    2. s
                                                                      shallots RE: alkapal Jul 4, 2011 12:09 PM

                                                                      When the guy shucking your oysters asks "How many errrrsters you want?" you follow his pronunciation lead.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: shallots
                                                                        porker RE: shallots Jul 4, 2011 07:14 PM

                                                                        a derzon and a herf...

                                                                        1. re: shallots
                                                                          Bill Hunt RE: shallots Jul 4, 2011 08:34 PM

                                                                          Is that the gentleman with but two fingers per hand?


                                                                        2. Bill Hunt RE: alkapal Jul 4, 2011 08:13 PM

                                                                          Now, maybe this is my Jewish heritage, or perhaps my MS Gulf Coast heritage, but I have always pronounced it - OYs-ter.

                                                                          For many, in the family, and from New Orleans, it's often Ur-ster.

                                                                          Guess that it just depends.

                                                                          Now, how do you pronounce "pecan?"


                                                                          16 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                            deet13 RE: Bill Hunt Jul 7, 2011 05:38 PM

                                                                            That's an easy one...

                                                                            It's pee-can.

                                                                            1. re: deet13
                                                                              LulusMom RE: deet13 Jul 8, 2011 04:09 AM

                                                                              I worked as a waitress for years. I was stumped when someone came in and asked for PEEKun pie. then the light went on.

                                                                              1. re: deet13
                                                                                somervilleoldtimer RE: deet13 Jul 9, 2011 07:43 AM

                                                                                Yup. But I'm up here in the north, so we don't have personal experience. It's just another one of those nuts we get shelled and in a plastic bag.

                                                                              2. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                alkapal RE: Bill Hunt Jul 7, 2011 06:01 PM

                                                                                it is definitely pih-cahn, accent on the second syllable.

                                                                                pee-can is said by those same people who say q-pon for coupon.

                                                                                1. re: alkapal
                                                                                  Veggo RE: alkapal Jul 7, 2011 06:23 PM

                                                                                  I wonder what Ron White calls his nuts? He says Coop-uns.

                                                                                  1. re: Veggo
                                                                                    alkapal RE: Veggo Jul 7, 2011 06:26 PM

                                                                                    "my little buddies?"

                                                                                  2. re: alkapal
                                                                                    LorenM RE: alkapal Jul 7, 2011 06:44 PM

                                                                                    Ha. Not necessarily. I say q-pon and peh-cahn. So, is jalapeno hala-peen-oh or hala-pain-yo where you're from?

                                                                                    1. re: LorenM
                                                                                      alkapal RE: LorenM Jul 7, 2011 07:23 PM

                                                                                      i studied spanish for many years. so i pronounce it correctly. LOL

                                                                                      1. re: alkapal
                                                                                        LorenM RE: alkapal Jul 9, 2011 08:45 AM

                                                                                        That's awesome. Jalapeno was a pet peeve for a long time until I realized the mispronunciation wasn't going anywhere, especially when I noticed a few tv chefs (especially from the east) used the peen-oh pronunciation.

                                                                                        1. re: alkapal
                                                                                          shanagain RE: alkapal Jul 9, 2011 01:23 PM

                                                                                          Add me to the q-pon, peh-cahn & hala-pain-yo group.

                                                                                          It makes me nuts that people will go to such pains to pronounce andouille or duck a l'Orange correctly, but stubbornly refuse to accept the proper pronunciation of jalapeno. In other words, I take it entirely too seriously.

                                                                                        2. re: LorenM
                                                                                          tracylee RE: LorenM Jul 9, 2011 11:46 PM

                                                                                          I once heard a story of a bunch of co-workers who went to a sub shop for lunch and were asked if they wanted jal-O-panos on their orders.

                                                                                          1. re: tracylee
                                                                                            DeppityDawg RE: tracylee Jul 10, 2011 08:27 AM

                                                                                            That is a great story.

                                                                                        3. re: alkapal
                                                                                          BobB RE: alkapal Jul 8, 2011 05:57 AM

                                                                                          I think it's more mix & match - I'm a PEE-can guy but also say COO-pon (although these days I'm more of a GROO-pon user).

                                                                                          1. re: alkapal
                                                                                            somervilleoldtimer RE: alkapal Jul 9, 2011 07:44 AM

                                                                                            Yup. Although I've learned to say koo-pon because otherwise the cashiers look at me funny.

                                                                                          2. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                            WCchopper RE: Bill Hunt Jul 7, 2011 07:18 PM


                                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                              bayoucook RE: Bill Hunt Jul 8, 2011 04:28 AM


                                                                                            2. im_nomad RE: alkapal Jul 4, 2011 08:36 PM

                                                                                              I have often heard something that sounds like a cross between Oys-ter and Eye-ster in accents (Nfld)

                                                                                              1. s
                                                                                                somervilleoldtimer RE: alkapal Jul 7, 2011 07:39 PM

                                                                                                "you say potato . . ."

                                                                                                I say oy-ster. I know some people from Philadelphia do an "sh" on the front of some words, i.e. "shtrawberry." Actually, now that I think about it, maybe it's only on that word. . . . ?

                                                                                                I was recently on the Cape and the waiter, who had grown up there, laughed when I said "scahllops" (with the "a" as in "pat") rather than "scohllops" with an "o" as in "pot".)

                                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: somervilleoldtimer
                                                                                                  alkapal RE: somervilleoldtimer Jul 7, 2011 07:59 PM

                                                                                                  me, too. scallops with "a" as in "pat." or now, is it? now my husband thinks i'm crazy for saying scahllips, then scollops…..then back again. maybe i say scahllops -- with the "a" as in "ah, i see what you mean." yes, that's it!

                                                                                                  chowhound can make you crazy, y'all know that -- right?

                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                    Veggo RE: alkapal Jul 7, 2011 08:11 PM

                                                                                                    I like the way Humphrey Bogart pronounced his brown liquor in Casablanca:
                                                                                                    boor- bun. There aren't too many variations for his gin in African queen.

                                                                                                    1. re: Veggo
                                                                                                      alkapal RE: Veggo Jul 7, 2011 08:44 PM

                                                                                                      gin…only turns into "schgiiin" -- after a couple of good stiff G&Ts, that is.

                                                                                                      as to bourbon, i guess i say it more like "burr-bun." or i just say maker's mark.

                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                        flavrmeistr RE: alkapal Jul 19, 2011 10:43 AM

                                                                                                        "Maker's" is how I say bourbon.

                                                                                                      2. re: Veggo
                                                                                                        mnosyne RE: Veggo Jul 18, 2011 02:49 PM

                                                                                                        Richard Burton did something similar with bourbon in "Virginia Wolff".

                                                                                                      3. re: alkapal
                                                                                                        somervilleoldtimer RE: alkapal Jul 7, 2011 08:23 PM

                                                                                                        Aha! Scahllops.

                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                          thew RE: alkapal Jul 8, 2011 04:26 AM

                                                                                                          scallops - with an a like in alice and "ups" at the end

                                                                                                          1. re: thew
                                                                                                            bayoucook RE: thew Jul 9, 2011 04:46 AM

                                                                                                            me too - even if scahllops is right, I don't like it -

                                                                                                      4. s
                                                                                                        shallots RE: alkapal Jul 10, 2011 08:12 AM

                                                                                                        Craw fish
                                                                                                        Cray fish

                                                                                                        and then there was the clueless hostess at an early Ruby Tuesday in Knoxville who asked a single male patron if he wanted the Quickie of the day.

                                                                                                        (Quiche du jour.)

                                                                                                        10 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: shallots
                                                                                                          Leepa RE: shallots Jul 10, 2011 08:46 AM

                                                                                                          Or maybe she just thought he was cute!

                                                                                                          1. re: shallots
                                                                                                            porker RE: shallots Jul 10, 2011 01:53 PM

                                                                                                            We would write our soup of the day on a whiteboard, but patrons never read it. Our servers were to memorize the soup at the start of their shift. So one day, a waitress went a half shift telling customers our soup was "cheapskate bay fish chowder"...she mis-read Chesapeake....
                                                                                                            Another time, a server comes into the kitchen, "Hey Porker, some guy wants farmer John cheese"
                                                                                                            "Are you serious?"
                                                                                                            "Yeah, thats what he said."
                                                                                                            "Farmer John cheese?!'
                                                                                                            I racked my brain for a minute..."Whats he eating?"
                                                                                                            "The jambalaya pasta."
                                                                                                            "Could've he said "PARMESAN" cheese?"
                                                                                                            "Uhhhhh, maybe...."

                                                                                                            or another time, I scribbled some night specials on a scrap piece of paper and handed it to a server "I'm a bit stuck for time, can you mark these down on the Special Board?" Well we had a few snickers and jeers when the customers were greeted with "Black Anus Porterhouse" as an evening special - she dropped the G...

                                                                                                            1. re: porker
                                                                                                              LulusMom RE: porker Jul 18, 2011 04:23 PM

                                                                                                              Oh my god, this is so funny. Thank you porker.

                                                                                                              1. re: porker
                                                                                                                inaplasticcup RE: porker Jul 27, 2011 09:46 AM

                                                                                                                Thank you, thank you for this mid-week cackler, porker.

                                                                                                                1. re: porker
                                                                                                                  NellyNel RE: porker Jul 28, 2011 01:57 PM

                                                                                                                  Hilarious post!!

                                                                                                                  along those lines, I have a friend named Angus...A business associate was introducing him to someone, and said "I'm sorry - is your name Annuuss or Anus"

                                                                                                                  With a dead pan serious tone he said "Yes, my name is Anus"

                                                                                                                  Being an Englishman in Florida, I suppose the guy thought it could be an English thing...and proceeded for the rest of the week to call him and introduce him as- Anus.

                                                                                                                  My hubby was on the same trip and they could hardly contain their giggles each time it happened!!

                                                                                                                  1. re: NellyNel
                                                                                                                    porker RE: NellyNel Jul 28, 2011 03:50 PM

                                                                                                                    I'm sure they laid it on thick as well:
                                                                                                                    being in Fla, maybe "you're tanned, Anus"
                                                                                                                    or maybe "Uptight, Anus?"

                                                                                                                2. re: shallots
                                                                                                                  aggiecat RE: shallots Jul 18, 2011 01:14 PM

                                                                                                                  Did anyone else grow up calling them crawdads? Sugarland/SW Houston TX? I never heard Craw fish until I was well in my teens. It's still crawdad etouffe', I just can't break myself and it sounds affected when I hear myself say crayfish.

                                                                                                                  1. re: aggiecat
                                                                                                                    shanagain RE: aggiecat Jul 18, 2011 01:39 PM

                                                                                                                    Same as a kid in Austin - that or crawdaddies.

                                                                                                                    1. re: aggiecat
                                                                                                                      LorenM RE: aggiecat Jul 18, 2011 02:21 PM

                                                                                                                      Yep, my Dad called 'em crawdads and I do too (from Colorado) unless I am going to a crawfish boil (never heard of a crawdad boil- just doesn't sound right to me for some reason).

                                                                                                                      1. re: aggiecat
                                                                                                                        alkapal RE: aggiecat Jul 19, 2011 05:14 AM

                                                                                                                        yes, i heard "crawdads," but they weren't a big thing in sw florida, where i grew up.

                                                                                                                    2. f
                                                                                                                      flavrmeistr RE: alkapal Jul 18, 2011 01:54 PM

                                                                                                                      On Kent Island, they call them "arsters". In Ft. Pierce, FL they call 'em "eye-sters".

                                                                                                                      1. junescook RE: alkapal Jul 18, 2011 03:02 PM

                                                                                                                        I ALWAYS pronounce them "fried oy-sters." I can't recall having pronounced them in any other way in my life.

                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: junescook
                                                                                                                          porker RE: junescook Jul 18, 2011 04:47 PM

                                                                                                                          So you never, in your life, pronounced them "raw oy-sters"?

                                                                                                                          1. re: porker
                                                                                                                            somervilleoldtimer RE: porker Jul 18, 2011 05:17 PM


                                                                                                                            1. re: porker
                                                                                                                              junescook RE: porker Jul 20, 2011 10:04 AM


                                                                                                                          2. Midlife RE: alkapal Jul 18, 2011 03:59 PM

                                                                                                                            Someone needs to help me out here with an explanation of how the "sh" could get into the word oyster in what I assume from these posts is likely a cajun influence. I haven't spent time in that area but I've heard a number of cajun accents and don't get it....... unless it's something that has morfed from some colloquial influence over the years.

                                                                                                                            BTW, being from NY I AM familiar with the erster pronunciation. And oystah does come easily in New Enland-ese.

                                                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: Midlife
                                                                                                                              Ted in Central NJ RE: Midlife Jul 20, 2011 07:28 AM

                                                                                                                              "Someone needs to help me out here with an explanation of how the "sh" could get into the word oyster in what I assume from these posts is likely a cajun influence."

                                                                                                                              Some of these added sounds are really inexplicable, IMHO.
                                                                                                                              In a similar fashion, why do so many people in the NYC area add an "SH" sound to words that merely have an "S"?

                                                                                                                              For instance, "strong" somehow morphs into "SHtrong".
                                                                                                                              "Straw" becomes "SHtraw".

                                                                                                                              And then we have one of my pet peeves that actually relates to food and to menus.
                                                                                                                              Why is Rollatini (as in Eggplant Rollatini) so frequently pronounced "RollaNtini"?
                                                                                                                              In fact, I have seen this gaffe in print on many menus!

                                                                                                                              1. re: Ted in Central NJ
                                                                                                                                MGZ RE: Ted in Central NJ Jul 20, 2011 08:03 AM

                                                                                                                                "In a similar fashion, why do so many people in the NYC area add an "SH" sound to words that merely have an "S"?

                                                                                                                                For instance, "strong" somehow morphs into "SHtrong".
                                                                                                                                "Straw" becomes "SHtraw"."


                                                                                                                                1. re: MGZ
                                                                                                                                  Ted in Central NJ RE: MGZ Jul 24, 2011 09:37 AM

                                                                                                                                  Hmmm...Well, if "alcohol" is the explanation, then there are a few newscasters in the NYC area who are frequently drunk while on the air!

                                                                                                                                  Trust me, this strange substitution of "sh" for an "s" sound is fairly widespread in the NYC area, and I doubt that all of this mispronunciation can be chalked up to alcohol use.

                                                                                                                                2. re: Ted in Central NJ
                                                                                                                                  2roadsdiverge RE: Ted in Central NJ Jul 20, 2011 08:07 AM

                                                                                                                                  The same way sherbet becomes sherbeRt. People pronounce unfamiliar words in ways that sound more natural to them.

                                                                                                                                  Laziness also has an effect. Ever eaten "gabagool"?

                                                                                                                                  1. re: 2roadsdiverge
                                                                                                                                    Dave_in_PA RE: 2roadsdiverge Jul 21, 2011 11:19 AM

                                                                                                                                    I didn't even know enough to ask for gabagool until I started watching the Sopranos. Also schfoyadell.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: Ted in Central NJ
                                                                                                                                    Midlife RE: Ted in Central NJ Jul 21, 2011 11:20 AM

                                                                                                                                    Ted, I get it but I'm not familiar with any other words or constructions in the Louisiana area that would appear responsible for a "more' comfortable" 'sh' pronunciation.

                                                                                                                                    Aside...... I grew up in New York and never heard "shtrong" or "shtraw", though I certainly heard lots of other interesting things.

                                                                                                                                3. Passadumkeg RE: alkapal Jul 19, 2011 11:00 AM

                                                                                                                                  Downeast Maine, oystah, as in chowdah and lobstah, of course!

                                                                                                                                  1. Veggo RE: alkapal Jul 20, 2011 06:04 PM

                                                                                                                                    I was about 6 when my grandmother did this Q&A wiith me:
                                                                                                                                    Granny: "What kind of a noise annoys an oyster?"
                                                                                                                                    Me: I don't know.
                                                                                                                                    Granny: A noisy noise annoys an oyster."
                                                                                                                                    Try it on a little tyke, they love it.

                                                                                                                                    1. srsone RE: alkapal Jul 21, 2011 11:11 AM

                                                                                                                                      i grew up going to the Milford OY-stir festival.....

                                                                                                                                      1. sbp RE: alkapal Jul 21, 2011 11:18 AM

                                                                                                                                        I pronounce it "throat warbler mangrove."

                                                                                                                                        1. Passadumkeg RE: alkapal Jul 22, 2011 06:07 PM

                                                                                                                                          This weekend is the Damariscotta Oyster Festival. Pronounced oystah. About as far north as the natural range went.

                                                                                                                                          Read Marc Kurlansky's book about NYC harbor having one the greatest oyster beds in history.

                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: Passadumkeg
                                                                                                                                            porker RE: Passadumkeg Jul 23, 2011 04:34 AM

                                                                                                                                            Never mind oystah, how the hell do you pronounce Damariscotta.
                                                                                                                                            Da-ma-ris-COT-ta Oy-stah Fes-ti-val - almost sounds like a toddler's tongue twistah

                                                                                                                                            1. re: porker
                                                                                                                                              Passadumkeg RE: porker Jul 23, 2011 04:54 AM

                                                                                                                                              Jeezum Crow, Bub, ya got 'er.

                                                                                                                                              Pisctaqua Passadumkeag Passamaquoddy Pemaquid Pemetic Passagassawakeag

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Passadumkeg
                                                                                                                                                porker RE: Passadumkeg Jul 23, 2011 08:33 AM

                                                                                                                                                My mother-in-law, who speaks fluent Mohawk (she's 82 to boot), would say thats crazy talk! - hehe.

                                                                                                                                          2. e
                                                                                                                                            elenacampana RE: alkapal Jul 27, 2011 09:33 AM

                                                                                                                                            I pronounce it HEA-ven!

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