Cities in Texas are often as unique as the state itself and many have unique pronunciations. How well do you think you’d fair if you made a linguistic trip around the state?
How do you pronounce 'Bexar'?
This Texas city, located about 90 miles southwest of Austin, was originally settled in the late 1500s by an Irishman. But a formal Spanish expedition reached a waterway in the southern part of present-day Bexar County on June 13, 1691. A Catholic priest traveling with the expedition named the San Antonio River, along which Franciscans established five Missions that would become the foundation of the City of San Antonio and Bexar County.
How do you pronounce 'Mexia'?
To Texans the city of Mexia (located about 145 miles northeast of Austin) is pronounced Muh – hay – uh, not Meh-ee-ah as its Hispanic origin might indicate. In general, Texas towns are officially known by an Anglo-esque version of the word. But Spanish speakers often pronounce these places the way the language indicates. The Mexia family, who were said to have been versatile linguists, founded the area in the 1890s, according to the city’s website. Mexia became a town when the Texas and Central Railroad reached Limestone County in 1871. The city's motto is "A great place to live, no matter how you pronounce it."
How do you pronounce 'Balmorhea'?
Though the area, located about 400 miles west of Austin, was originally settled by Native American and Mexican people, the town was laid out in 1906 in the center of a 14,000-acre tract watered by the springs. Balmorhea, pronounced bal-muh-ray, was named for the three land developers who sent their agent, Ira M. Cole, to file the plat for the townsite. Their names were Balcum, Morrow and Rhea.
How do you pronounce 'Buda'?
The area about 17 miles south of Austin was originally part of a Mexican land grant to Stephen vanRensslaer Egleston but had been settled by 1846 by Phillip J. Allen. According to legend and the Texas State Historical Association, the name originated in 1880, when, as the railroad pushed into Hays County, the postmaster at Mountain City approached a railroad official and requested, "Do, pray, give us a depot." In 1887, at the request of the post office department, the name was changed to Buda, pronounced byoo-duh. The common explanation for the new name is that it derives from Spanish viuda, meaning "widow." In Spanish, the letter “v” is pronounced as a “b.” The town had gained a reputation as a popular eating stop for rail travelers and the name may refer to a pair of widows who cooked at the Carrington Hotel in the 1880s.
How do you pronounce 'Refugio'?
This city is located about 155 miles southeast of Austin and it translates to “refuge” in Spanish, but the pronunciation is anything but Hispanic. Locals say reh-FURY-oh. Spanish settlers camped in the are as early as 1749 and The Refugio Mission, the last Spanish mission to be secularized after the area became part of Mexico, operated continuously until February 1830, according to the Texas State Historical Association. After the Texas Revolution and the Civil War, the town had almost disappeared. By the early 1870s, gamblers, drifters and criminals were most attracted to the area. The discovery of oil in 1928 led to a population boom in the city, but as of the 2000 U.S. Census the city had fewer than 3,000 living in Refugio.
How do you pronounce 'Nacogdoches'?
About 230 miles northeast of Austin lies nak-uh-DOE-chis, as locals say. Archeological research has established that mounds — filled with human remains and pottery —found in the area date from approximately A.D. 1250, when the the Native American tribe of Nacogdoche built lodges along Lanana and Bonita creeks.
How do you pronounce 'Fluvanna'?
Named for a surveyor's home county in Virginia, Fluvanna or floo-VAN-uh was established by realty promoters who knew that the Roscoe, Snyder and Pacific Railway would terminate at its site. The location is about 310 miles northwest of Austin. The railroad arrived in 1908 and the town boomed briefly in 1911. In 1990 and 2000, its population was reported as 180, according to the Texas State Historical Association.
How do you pronounce 'Palacios'?
This Gulf coastal city is located about 170 miles southeast of Austin. Despite its Spanish meaning as “palace,” locals say the word as pu-LA-shis. Palacios was named after an inlet of Matagorda Bay called Tres Palacios Bay. According to the Texas State Historical Association, an apocryphal story has it that sailors from a Spanish ship that wrecked in Matagorda Bay thought they saw palaces on the shoreline. As they neared the shore, however, the palaces disappeared.
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