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Twitter Users Locked In Heated Debate Over The Correct Pronunciation Of Pecan

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December 22, 2020

Twitter can’t seem to decide between the age-old debate over the pronunciation of the humble pecan nut; We’re getting right to the bottom matter.

A polarizing issue, it is indeed. The region largely influences our diction and pronunciation of words. This is not necessarily the case with the word “pecan,” as shown by the results of a survey from the National Pecan Shellers Association.

The pronunciation of the word ‘pecan’ is a contentious issue and has been for years and it’s about time it gets settled. (Whatever the outcome, I'm going to keep saying PEE-can, okay? okay)

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The Pecan Debate

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It  was all set off by a single tweet from Twitter user and the self-proclaimed “official mascot of the official snack of the #NuttiestTimeOfTheYear, officially”  Bart.

Following the tweet, people had a lot to say about which of the word’s two pronunciations were correct; each camp taking jabs at the opposing side.

Why Puh-KHUN 

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To get to the bottom of this, the best place is the origin. The word ‘pecan’ comes from the Native American word pakani, which evolved into the American-French pacane. The case for ‘puh-KHUN’ is looking pretty strong as its the closest of the two variants to the origin word

Additionally, Dictionary.com and Merriam-Webster both list “puh-KAHN” as the first pronunciation and provide the audio for that pronunciation. 

Why PEE-Can

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Even with the evidence stacked up against “PEE-can” sayers, there is still a large percentage of people who use this variant. One may ask themselves, “do PEE-can sayers just not care to be right?” 

This Twitter poll isn’t much further than the results found from the National Pecan Shellers Association found that forty-five percent of Americans preferred to say “PEE-can.”

Who Wins

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Related

Executive Director of the American Pecan Council, Alexander Ott, chips in his two cents on the debate. His explanation for why Americans pronounce “pecan” differently has to do with pecans themselves growing in different places—” fifteen states from coast to coast,” he told Reader’s Digest. 

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“Any and all pronunciations are welcome as long as the pecans are being eaten!”

Ott says.

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