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"Jason, how do you pronounce THAT?" - A Visitor's Guide to Austin

I have lived in the Austin, Texas area for almost exactly 20 years now, having moved here in August of austin texas real estate1988 to begin attending Southwestern University in nearby Georgetown.  As such, I have seen a lot of visitors and new residents in the area who mispronounce town and road names, and refer to them strangely, at least in my humble opinion.

In an effort to assist those who are visiting or moving here to fit in a bit better, I have compiled a short list of the most common mistakes that I have witnessed.  In several of the cases that I will cite here, I KNOW that the word should be pronounced differently, but trust me on this.  People will look at you funny if you ignore this post and pronounce things properly.

Much like the spelling bee, I will attempt to use each of the landmarks in a sentence in an effort to help.

BURNET ROAD - Seems easy enough, right?  I thought so, too, until I learned that it is pronounced BURN-it, not Bur-NETT.  My son has his martial arts classes in Austin on BURN-it Road.

BUDA, Texas - This is not pronounced "Buddha".  Instead, the phonetic pronunciation is BYOO-duh.  The Y is not a separate syllable.  Instead, it's like a hard Y sound, sort of like the "y" in "yarn".  I am headed to BYOO-duh for a barbeque tonight.

HUTTO, Texas - This one has always seemed really easy to me, so I am constantly surprised when I hear someone say "HOO-toe" when it is clearly "HUT-toe", as it appears.  My family and I live very close to HUT-toe.

MANCHACA Road - This is one of the worst offenders around.  It would seem to be the Spanish pronunciation - Mahn-CHA-cah, right?  Wrong.  It is pronounced "MAN-shack", like a seedy bar.  MAN-shack is a road in south Austin.  It is also the name of a town just south of Austin.

ELGIN, Texas - This town located due east of Austin about 30 minutes is pronounced "ELL-gihn", not "ELL-Jen" like the watch company.  ELL-gihn is home to regionally famous "ELL-gihn hot guts" (sausage).

KOENIG Lane - Try getting used to saying, "KAY-neg", NOT "KOH-nig".  KAY-neg Lane has several names, as it is the same road as 290 (to the east), Northland, and 2222 (to the west).  Easy, huh?

MANOR, Texas - This is a common problem for newcomers, as manor is an actual word used elsewhere in the English language.  In central Texas, however, this is pronounced "MAY-nur".  MAY-nur is located between Austin and ELL-gihn.  MAY-nur is also a road near central Austin.

PFLUGERVILLE, Texas - This is where we have lived for 13 years, and it is named after the Pfluger family.  As you might imagine, the P is silent and the rest is pretty much phonetic - FLOO-gur-ville.  I enjoy living in FLOO-gur-ville.

LLANO, Texas - Try "LANN-oh".  LANN-oh is on the outskirts of the Austin metro area. 

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas - This German-settled town between Austin and San Antonio is home to Schlitterbahn, which is a giant water park and regional summer destination.  The primary mistake I see here is people putting an additional "s" after "braun".  It is New Braunfels, not New Braunsfels. 

The next few examples are not actually mispronounced very often.  Instead, they are mistakenly referred to by their proper names, rather than what everyone who lives here actually calls them.  In many cases, there are roads that have several names - I will tell you the best name to use here.

MOPAC - This regional highway runs from far southwest Austin to far north Austin.  It is also known as Loop 1 (although it is not an actual loop).  Please don't call it Loop 1 unless you want people to stare at you.  Also, don't call it "The One", which seems to be common among out-of-staters.  It is Mopac, plain and simple.  As a bit of trivia, Mopac was originally MO-PAC, which stood for the Missouri-Pacific railroad, since it runs parallel to the train tracks for several miles in town.

183 - As with Mopac, don't call this "the 183", as you are simply wasting a syllable.  Just say "183", as in "that restaurant near 183 and Braker Road", or "the traffic on 183 is terrible right now".  183 is also called Research Boulevard, although people only use this when giving out mailing addresses, not directions.  No one says, "turn on Research".

U.T. - This is the University of Texas at Austin, but why use 11 syllables when two will suffice just fine?

I-35 - This large interstate highway runs right through the heart of town.  Just say "35".  A good example of a sentence here would be "35 is a nightmare during rush hour traffic.  I had to shoot a man on the way home."

360 - This is alternately known as Capital of Texas Highway (although I may never understand why there are so many lights on a highway).  I never hear a single local resident call this road Capital of Texas Highway.  Much like Research Boulevard above, this is only used for mailing addresses, not in everyday parlance.  Also, don't say "Loop 360", even though it is technically correct.  As with Mopac, Loop 360 is not a loop at all, but sort a C-shape on the west side of Austin.

So, that covers most of the more common errors that you could make.  If you have any questions, please do not hesistate to call me.  I would be happy to help!

If you are considering a move to the Austin area, I would love the opportunity to assist you with this.  You might also be interested in my online relocation package here:

Austin Texas Relocation Package

My cell phone number is 512-796-7653 and our Austin real estate website is at www.austintexashomes.com.  Thanks!  Jason Crouch 

 

If you're looking for a home in the Austin area, you can also visit my primary website at www.austintexashomes.com.  Thanks!

Comment balloon 43 commentsJason Crouch • August 02 2008 08:51PM

Comments

"Keep Austin Weird" is alive and well...

Posted by Paul Francis, Las Vegas Real Estate Agent - Summerlin Homes (Francis Group Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Jason, I have never been to Texas and most likely never will. (unless it's for one of your birthdays some day) Even knowing nothing about Texas, I enjoyed reading your post. You are always a pleasure to read. Nobody blogs like Jason Crouch. (do I get points for using your whole name in a comment?)

Posted by Sharon Young (Ivy League Mortgage Philadelphia, Pa) over 10 years ago

Jason,

Love the picture of Austin & your clearing up of how things are said! Thanks for sharing..

Posted by Greg Nino, Houston, Texas (RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP) over 10 years ago

I tried to guess correctly when I read the words, but was wrong on ALL of them... and I live in Texas.  A now friend of mine knew I moved from California because I use to say 'THE 114' or 'THE 720'.  It did not take long to get rid of the 'THE' but that is how we said it in California.  I actually use that now when talking with people.  If I hear THE, I ask where they are from which usually throws them off.  After I explain the THE story, we both laugh, and perhaps it opens the door to other conversation.

As far as  your list above, I love BURNET and MANCHACA the best.  Have a good rest of your week.

Posted by John Cannata, Texas Home Mortgage - Purchase or Refinance (214-728-0449 http://TexasLoanGuy.com) over 10 years ago

Jason...

In GA we have cities like Cairo (Pronounced Kay - row) and Vienna ( Pronouced Vi -Ann - a" and Houston County (How -stin")

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional (Richard Weisser Realty) over 10 years ago

Jason, this was very helpful and I will print it out and carry it with me if I ever get the opportunity to visit with you.  But I think I'll need more help on this one: 

BUDA, Texas - This is not pronounced "Buddha".  Instead, the phonetic pronunciation is BJU-duh.   The J is not pronounced.  Instead, it's like a hard Y sound.  I am headed to BJU-duh for a barbecue tonight.

Huh??  I'd call you, but being hearing impaired, I'm not sure that would shine any light on the pronunciation!

Posted by Susan Mangigian, Chester & Delaware County Homes, Delaware and Ches (RE/MAX Preferred, West Chester, PA, RS152252A) over 10 years ago

I think the funniest pronunciation of a town in Texas is Waxahachie.  I wouldn't even begin to know how to spell it phonetically. However, it may be WOKS-a-hatchie not WAX.

Another is Mexia...ma-hay-ah, not mex ia.

Posted by Shirley Parks, Broker, 210-414-0966, San Antonio TX Real Estate (Sands Realty 210-414-0966) over 10 years ago

SUSAN - I altered it for you - maybe it's more clear now?

Posted by Jason Crouch, Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653) (Austin Texas Homes, LLC) over 10 years ago

SHIRLEY - Having lived in Waxahachie for three years (my mom lived there a lot longer than I did), I remember an old joke about the Hachie Indians (fake tribe).  Hachie is of course pronounced "HATCH-ee".  The joke is that someone saw a Hachie Indian walking on the street, and they said, "Look, there walks a Hachie!".  Get it?  Walks-a-HATCH-ee.

Posted by Jason Crouch, Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653) (Austin Texas Homes, LLC) over 10 years ago

Ok, I'm with Susan... I'm still not sure I have the Buda thing figured out...  Is it Bye Yuda? But Manchaca as Manshack?  It makes sense one you say it but for a second there...

 

Posted by Jesse & Kathy Clifton, Retired (Jesse Clifton & Associates, REALTORS®) over 10 years ago

Jesse, you are always with me in spirit!!!  xxoo

Thanks Jason.  I can't say it's clearer but it may be the Cabernet!

Posted by Susan Mangigian, Chester & Delaware County Homes, Delaware and Ches (RE/MAX Preferred, West Chester, PA, RS152252A) over 10 years ago

SUSAN and JESSE - It's just two syllables.  The first one is BYOO (not Bye-you), just the B and Y sound together, like the "y" in "yarn".  The second syllable is easier - "duh".  :)

Posted by Jason Crouch, Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653) (Austin Texas Homes, LLC) over 10 years ago

Hi Jason, Thank You for your creative and certainly compelling post!  I love correct spelling and pronunciation of words and you hit the ball out of park on this one!  Then again, you are such a natural home run hitter, I wasn't surprised!

Posted by Dan Woodworth, Encouraging Communicator (The Connection) over 10 years ago

that is funny in our county, visitors always mispronounce it...it is Horry County...the H is silent though! Just like honest.

Posted by Jeremy Blanton, Myrtle Beach REALTOR®- myrtlebeachhomesblog.com (Myrtle Beach Homes Blog) over 10 years ago

Jason: Looks like I had better study for my next trip to Austin. I may flunk the test if I don't

 

Posted by Roland Woodworth, Q Realty - Power In Real Estate (Q Realty) over 10 years ago

Holy cow, Jason!  I thought we had a lot of mispronounced street names and towns here in San Diego....I think you may have us beat!  Just for the fun of it, here are a few of my favorites for my area:

Via de la Valle - Unless you speak and/or understand the Spanish language, it's a guarantee you will mess this one up.  The correct pronunciation is VEE-AH DAY LAH VIGH AY.  With VIGH sounding like the word HIGH and the AY like the word SAY.

Poway - Nope...it's not POE-WAY.  It's pronounced POW WAY.

Cuyamaca - Pronounced COY YA MAHK AH.  This is a real bugger.  Almost no one gets this right the first time.

I think I may just have to write a blog about this for the San Diego area...this could be fun!  Thanks for the great post!

Posted by John Doe over 10 years ago

Great post Jason.  I think I pronounced most of them wrong when I first read them!!  :o)  When I first moved to WA (age 8) I had the hardest time with Puyallup, Yakima, Tacoma and Bothell.......thanks for clearing things up in Austin for us, I'd hate to visit and get it wrong!!

Posted by Sandy Noll, Real Estate Team From Mill Creek to Mercer Island ((RSVP Real Estate) 425.890.0878) over 10 years ago

Jason,

I am surprised at how much I had forgot about the Texas language.  Although I did remember a few of the cities and some of the more common mistakes.  Thank you sir for the refresher course on how to speak Texanese.

Don R.

Posted by Don Rogers, Realtor, Broker, CDPE, GRI, OnullFallon MO & St Charles County MO homes (Keller Williams Realty Chesterfield) over 10 years ago

I guess this stuff is what separates  the visitor from the local!

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) over 10 years ago

Jason:   Congratulations on a great localism post which includes good photos.   You've given me some ideas for a blog in my area.

Posted by Kathy Torline, Colorado Springs Real Estate Blog 719-287-1049 (ERA Herman Group Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Jason, lots of work here. Being from Texas...I knew some but not all. I've been gone a long time. Interesting read for me. As always you do such a nice job!

Posted by Jeanean Gendron, Specializing in Selling Unique Properties (The Address Realty) over 10 years ago

Jason, you must have had a lot of fun writting this post. Now, how to you get us to use the propert Drawl. AJ

Posted by Alan 'AJ' Nisen California Contra Costa Mortgage Officer (A Large Bank in America) over 10 years ago

Hi Jason.

Beautiful picture of the city.

Ken

Posted by Ken Tracy, Helping clients buy and sell since 2005 (Keller Williams Realty Infinity) over 10 years ago

Hi Jason... As you know, I lived in Austin (not far from your new office) and while I know all the proper pronunciations, I kinda like pronouncing the "P" in Pflugerville!  It sounds kinda Pfunny to me! :)

Posted by Steve Shatsky over 10 years ago

Jason my friend...

That has to be the most gorgeous picture of a city skyline I've ever seen!  It is spectacular, seeing that someone should want to more to Austin on the spot!

Call or e-mail me if you get a chance tomorrow, would like to talk to you about what I can do when TX is available on the 8th?  I have one person ahead of me, and not sure if there is anything I can do?

Are you using the Google toolbar spell check?  If not check out the new blog I wrote today on it.  It will save you a ton of time.  It spells checks and corrects Evey word with just one click!  L

PS...my "battle: begins on Tuesday night

Posted by Liz Carter, Broker/Owner of Liz Carter & Team Realty, Katy TX (Houston) (Liz Carter & Team Realty-Your Real Estate Resource For Life!) over 10 years ago

Hmmm - with my accent, pronounciation of these words could be interesting to say the least. :)

Posted by Simon Conway (Orlando Area Real Estate Services) over 10 years ago

Jason, We live in Kerrville where everyone pronounces the name Kerr-ville but the real family name is pronounced Car-ville.  So almost everyone here is wrong on this one.

Posted by Don Eichler (Eichler Properties) over 10 years ago

Jason:  Thanks so much for the translations and the pronouncing keys.  I always wondered what the heck a Mopac was... so Mo - Missouri - Pac - Pacific... now makes sense.  For me... Austin has always been a city that I could get lost much too easily in.  Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) over 10 years ago

Hi, Jason:

I passed the pronunciation test! I lived in Austin for a few months when I was relocated there (by a con artist, as it turned out) to work for Nowlin Mortgage, oh, about 100 years ago. I always got lost north of town on 183, dunno why. In those days I lived in Hyde Park, a somewhat seedy area. I imagine it's gotten a lot better, or at least more expensive.

I'll have to do a primer for San Antonio. There are a lot of Spanish and German street names that have been Anglicized.

BTW, I've heard people who live in New Braunfels call it New BraunSfels. It makes me shudder.

Cheers,

Robin

Posted by Robin Rogers, CRS, TRC, MRP - Real Estate Investment Adviser (Robin Rogers, Silverbridge Realty, San Antonio, Texas) over 10 years ago

This is as funny as it is informative! Thank you!

Posted by Anonymous over 10 years ago

Very funny and a beautiful picture of Austin.  I've also been told Herpes is a town in Texas - have you heard of it?  Karen

Posted by Karen Kruschka, - "My Experience Isn't Expensive - It's PRICELESS" (RE/MAX Executives) over 10 years ago

Jason, I love this as I can definitely relate.  You can imagine it happens a lot with all the interesting names we have in Louisiana!  Great Localism Post!

Posted by Toni House, Realtor, Baton Rouge Real Estate Expert (Keller Williams Realty- Red Stick Partners) over 10 years ago

Karen - We don't have a Herpes, Texas, and Chlamydia, Texas was renamed long ago.  Actually, someone was pulling your leg.  We don't have a town by either name. 

Posted by Jason Crouch, Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653) (Austin Texas Homes, LLC) over 10 years ago

Jason, we can only hope and pray that Paul doesn't get wind of your last comment!  This could start an avalanche.  Thankfully, this is a public post.

Posted by Susan Mangigian, Chester & Delaware County Homes, Delaware and Ches (RE/MAX Preferred, West Chester, PA, RS152252A) over 10 years ago

"MANCHACA Road - This is one of the worst offenders around.  It would seem to be the Spanish pronunciation - Mahn-CHA-cah, right?  Wrong.  It is pronounced "MAN-shack", like a seedy bar.  MAN-shack is a road in south Austin.  It is also the name of a town just south of Austin."

To add to the confusion, the actual spelling of the name of the man that both are named after is Menchaca. 

 

"KOENIG Lane - Try getting used to saying, "KAY-neg", NOT "KOH-nig".  KAY-neg Lane has several names, as it is the same road as 290 (to the east), Northland, and 2222 (to the west).  Easy, huh?"

You left out Allandale (between 290 and Northland). 

 

"183 - As with Mopac, don't call this "the 183", as you are simply wasting a syllable.  Just say "183", as in "that restaurant near 183 and Braker Road", or "the traffic on 183 is terrible right now".  183 is also called Research Boulevard, although people only use this when giving out mailing addresses, not directions.  No one says, "turn on Research"." 

This one drives me nuts, and it really DOES brand you as "not from around here".  Sort of like "on line" (I always find myself looking on the ground that we're supposedly standing on, rather than the line of people that we're clearly in.)

 

Then there's Pedernales (many locals, though not I, put an extra "r" in there - Purdenales). 

 

And Mueller, pronounced "Miller".  Named after a local family, THEY get to decide how it's pronounced, and that's what they say. 

 

Looking forward to finally meeting you in the flesh at the gathering! 

 

 

Posted by Tricia Jumonville, Texas REALTOR , Agent With Horse Sense (Bradfield Properties) over 10 years ago

Jason, thanks for the great pronouciation guide.

As a former San Diego resident, we had many names that people couldn't pronouce, such as La Jolla, El Cajon and Rancho Penasquitos (if you can't pronounce it or spell it, you can't live there)

Here in North Carolina we have the famous (or should I say infamous) town of Fuquay- Varina.  Say it FUU  KWA  Vah Ree Na.    It's kind of a joke that we let visitors try to say it first before we let them hear us say it.

Have a great day!

Posted by Linda Jandura, Realtor, North Carolina Buyer & Seller Specialist (Raleigh Cary Realty) over 10 years ago

Jason, thanks for the great pronouciation guide.

As a former San Diego resident, we had many names that people couldn't pronouce, such as La Jolla, El Cajon and Rancho Penasquitos (if you can't pronounce it or spell it, you can't live there)

Here in North Carolina we have the famous (or should I say infamous) town of Fuquay- Varina.  Say it FUU  KWA  Vah Ree Na.    It's kind of a joke that we let visitors try to say it first before we let them hear us say it.

Have a great day!

Posted by Linda Jandura, Realtor, North Carolina Buyer & Seller Specialist (Raleigh Cary Realty) over 10 years ago

Nice informative post Jason.  The photo is REALLY gorgeous, makes me want to plan a trip to Texhas.  ha ha.

Posted by April Hayden-Munson, Brookfield Wisconsin Real Estate over 10 years ago

Jason, having lived the first 8 years of my life in New York and then 8-18+ in Boston, the two accents cancelled each other out.  That makes it much easier to pronounce things and be understood wherever I go, especially here in Northern Virginia.  Many newcomers to areas do need pronunciation guides so that they don't feel foolish when moving to a new town.

Posted by Brian Block, Northern Virginia & D.C. Real Estate (RE/MAX Allegiance, Managing Broker/Branch Vice President) over 10 years ago

MANCHACA-  A student interviewed the grand or great grand daughter of the Mr. Manchaca on News 8 Austin in 2005 or 2006.  In that interview, she stated that the correct way to say it is the spanish way.. MAN-CHAK-A... Check with the Police Dept. It is my understanding they say it the same way......

Posted by Vicki almost 9 years ago

Yes, and as I mentioned, the correct way to spell the family name is Menchaca, not Manchaca.  However, if you wish to get around in Austin, or give directions, talking to the locals, you'll need to learn to say Manshack. Even the police know to say that off-duty - at least, the ones I know do!

 

Posted by Tricia Jumonville, Texas REALTOR , Agent With Horse Sense (Bradfield Properties) almost 9 years ago

Vicki - Thanks for the comment.  They may say it that way at the police department, but no one else does.  :)

Tricia - Right you are.  I've never heard anyone local say, "Man-chak-a", even if it is the proper pronunciation.  It's always been "Manshack", which bugs me, frankly.

Posted by Jason Crouch, Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653) (Austin Texas Homes, LLC) almost 9 years ago

I used to work for 7-11 in Georgetown and also she at 4 Points and we had some little word plays to help tourists.....one was "it's Burn-it, Durn-it" Another one was "Pray for me I drive 183"

Posted by Martha Salyer 3 months ago

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