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Pecan Pronunciation

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  • On the main page for the show, I made a comment about this segment. Now that I’ve listened to it and tracked down the reference I was remembering, I’d thought I’d elaborate.

    Google Books to the rescue, it does appear in Search for Belle Prater (p 52), by Ruth White. The story is set in a coal mining region of Virginia in the 50s. The book is narrated by Gypsy, and in this scene another one of the main characters is talking to a boy (from North Carolina) on an inter-city bus, trying to make friends with him.

    Now people in our neck of the woods were in the habit of pronouncing that word PEE-can because that’s how we had always heard it said.

    But apparently we were wrong, because the boy said knowingly, “I think what you want to say is pe-CAN. You say CAN harder than pee. A pe-CAN is a nut. They grow ’em in Georgia. A PEE-can is something you put under your bed at night.”

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