The Correct Way to Say Pecan
How do you say pecan? Pee-Can, Puh-Kahn, Pee-Kin, Puh-Can, people say the word pecan many different ways. But is there a correct way?
French explorers arrived on the lower Mississippi in the 1700s and described a small tasty walnut type nut as the Puh-Kahn. That's what the natives called it.
Around 1760, pecan tree seeds were brought to the colonies from Illinois. That why at one point in history the pecan was called the Illinois nut.
On the East Coast, President's Washington and Jefferson each planted pecan trees on their estates, but each pronounced the nut differently.
Anytime a French word is Americanized, pronunciation, inflection, annunciation and the way syllables are stressed changes as we see with the word pecan. But when the South got wind of the pecan, well, that's when the pronunciations of the word really became a hot mess.
These days the pronunciation of the word pecan changes from state to state, city to city and from family to family and a lot of times people within the same family will pronounce it differently. Heck, sometimes people will say it differently within one conversation.
So what is the correct pronunciation of the word pecan? Going back to when the French explorers arrived (the first time the word was used in America) they settled on Puh-Kahn. So that would have to be the correct pronunciation. Not Pee-Can.