• http://blogthemagnifcentferret.blogspot.com/ blogthemagnificentferret

    Ain’t regional variations fun?

    I find myself in agreement with the people who stick up for “colors,” too. “Crayon” (which, as I posted above, I say CRAN) is too fancy, reserved for cocktail parties and meetins with the royal family.

    My mom, who grew up in like western Illinois, said “warsh,” but my first grade teacher told the class during a reading lesson that there is no r in “warsh.” Heavily traumatic – my parents showed me the dictionary, which proved the teacher was right, and I ran off to get a pen to correct the dictionary.

    Anybody have any opinions on “sofa” vs. “couch” vs. “davenport”?

    Heather, when you pronounce “Crayon,” it’s a two-syllable word, because the “o” sound in “crown” is actually two sounds, kind of like “ah-oou.” If you focus, you can feel your lips moving in the middle of the vowel . . . and of course, it’s more obvious in Southern pronunciation.

  • Trackellalouise

    Ooooh, girl, you are letting your West Tennessee show. I bet you went to school with people who said “Do you have a prencil I could borrow?”

    I’m from Middle Tennessee, and I pronounce it “cray-on”.

    P.S. Love your blog, and I want to sop Leta up with a biscuit!

  • zan

    From the Harvard/MIT dialect survey:


    For me, from Southwestern Ohio, it’s “cran,” with a bit of a lilt between the ‘a’ and the ‘n’ (“cray-in”).

  • Nifle

    Heather, I love you, I really do! But, PLEASE, PLEASE only record Jon speaking the word crayon. It’s two syllables. It’s going to take me a while to recover from that auditory hit and run.

    I grew up in Utah (Okay, peep’s my closet is now open and the skeleton is coming out) and I have been able to perfect my newscaster accent so that people would not be able to detect that part of my origin – I’m hiding the rest.

  • http://bellybuttonbugs.blogspot.com bellybuttonbugs

    I grew up in Australia where it was definitely Cray-on. I too haven’t heard the crown version.

    I’ve checked with some colleagues here (London, UK)and they all say it is cray-on too. Sorry Heather. But, don’t know if you can believe them, as some cockney londoners say ‘fings’ instead of things and ‘free’ instead of ‘three’. Now that does my head in.

    B x

    PS. thank you for brightening up my day

  • Erin

    Oops, that would be me with the misspelling of merriam-webster. My bookmark spelled it that way (and was made by someone else). I’m so ashamed.

    And still waiting to hear how one would pronounce walk with the L.

  • http://bloomingyou.typepad.com bloomingyou

    Dictionary.com has it as two syllables Cray-on.

    Sorry Heather but Jon is right on this one.

  • Jeni

    Even though I share Memphis as home, and Bartlett High as well, I fear the pronunciation of “crayon,” was somehow taught to me as just “crown.” But I get ridiculed everywhere that I go. It’s just too much effort to say cray-on.

    So, I am in total “agreeance” with you, Heather.

  • http://sheknows.com Betsy

    Look at all these comments – dialect makes people crazy!

    I am a Southern OH girl married to a native westerner. We (lovingly) argue about dialect differences all the TIME.

    Our latest: I say /bowl/ and /bull/ are homonyms. DH disagrees. Alas the dictionary backs him up. But I’m the English major and he’s the software engineer so no matter: I win. ;-)

    PS: I’m pretty sure I pronounce the /l/ in /walk/ and /chalk/. I *have* however broken myself from the following hillbillyisms:

    Crick for creek
    Warsh for wash
    Ohiya for Ohio

  • keagansmom

    Dooce, baby, so totally funny and so totally WRONG. “crown” is pronounced “crown”. “crayon” is pronounced “cray-on”. Hot hubbie is totally right! I’m from Massachusetts where we KNOW how to pronounce words correctly: “drawer” is “draw” “car” is “cah” (my husband from Missouri completely disagrees, of course!)
    Now I’m gonna go have some friggin chowda.

  • JennJenn

    Holy Crap that’s a funny post!
    (and I needed it this morning)

    And by the way, when you say, “I asked you if that was your poopie diaper”, it’s pronounced Assked, not Axed.

    And when you say, “That’s especially delightful Ragu”, it’s pronounced esssspecially, not exxpecially.

  • http://belleofmadison.blogspot.com/ belleofmadison

    I was raised in Mississippi, by a Mississippi mother and Indiana father, went to college in Alabama, and currently reside in Wisconsin, and I never knew there was more than one way to pronounce Cray-on!!! But I’m such a huge Dooce fan that I might try calling them crowns.

  • andrea

    I even created a typepad account so I could chime in on this one!

    Either cray-on or cran…. never crown

  • Dana

    Oh my lord Heather. CROWN??????
    Living my whole life in California I had no idea that the pronunciation “crown” even existed. Until now.
    But then again I come from a land where people ridicule you if you pronounce “kitten” kit-ten rather than kit-n. It’s all the tv we watch – we must conform!

  • rodona

    It’s cran if you’re from Chicago.

    Every time I read the cray-on pronunciation it seems like you should lift your pinkie when you drink your tea.

    I got in trouble at my in-laws’ when they asked me to “take stuff up” (take food off the stove and put it in bowls on the table) and didn’t know what they meant.

  • http://fairycreations.blogspot.com Arty Steph

    I completely heart the fact that someone actually spelled Merriam-Webster and Mirriam Webster instead :) The funny thing is, it still takes you to the freaking dictionary site anyway! Which i guess makes sense, cause it is a site for peeps who can’t spell :)

  • http://www.lippoldthaus.com kate

    Um, I don’t know which Chicago GoCubsAmy is from, but–no accent? Honey, seriously now. When I went to college in Missouri, I got made fun of for the ridiculously hard/nasal vowel sounds in such inoccuous words as “box” and “dollar”. And, I gotta disagree with you. Everyone I know says “cran” around here. It’s not right, but there it is. And, it’s got the hardest sounding “aah” sound ever.

    No accent in “tchicahgo”. Must be an uppity north-sider. (I kid!)

  • Ambrosia

    Crayon is spelled like another stickey wicket: Mayonnaise. What’s your take? Man-nays, may-nays, My-Oh-nays..?.. surely not Mao-nays? I’m a west coaster, so it’s cray-un and mayun-nays, though sometimes it verges on cry-on.

  • jessica

    after saying it a few times, i find myself saying cran, but there is something weird w/ the “a”, as if it strains to last a bit longer than it should, maybe as if it is blocking an “yo” in there? i don’t know. i never liked saying that word in the first place.

    i grew up in MN, have lived in TN for about 5 years now. and i never, until moving here, heard the thing where people would drop the L in words like cold and old and it just makes my skin quiver. unless they actually have a cold. then it’s ok.

    my born and raised tennessean friend votes cray-on. just for the record. but she also purposely avoided the accent somehow.

  • AuntEliz

    I would say cray-on. The only single syllable pronunciation I’ve ever heard is the painful CRAN. Yikes! But I have a confession. Being from the South (Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas)…deep in my heart….they’re not cray-ons; they’re not crowns; they’re not crans. They’re colors.

  • http://antisocialcoder.blogspot.com jomama

    I have what can be considered no accent sprinkled with southern here and there. I agree that it is CRAY-YON but the l’s in walk, talk and chalk are all pronounced. They are soft, but they are there. But how in the world is iron supposed to be pronounced? I still can’t figure it out. I say i-ern and my husband makes fun of me for this. But he’s from Philly and says wooder (water), so I can’t really take him seriously.

    And Jon should do an audio post for mao-in, cause I can’t wrap my head around that one.

  • http://www.unretouchedphoto.com Mel

    Save yourself the trouble and just call them “colors” which is what we did when I was a girl. However, I must say that cray-on is clearly the winning choice.

    And now that my daughter just bonked her head on a table, I must depart.

  • http://delusive.net Delusive

    Cray-on all the way!

  • ritsgirl

    I believe the correct pronunciation is cray-in. I’ll also admit to saying cee-ment and inkpen. This must be endearing because sometimes when I’m talking, my husband will smile and shake his head, and give me a great big hug making me forget what I was saying. Either that or he’s trying to shut me up out of the goodness of his heart.

  • Kate

    Oh you, sillies.
    It’s CRAN.
    Where are my CRANS?

  • http://www.biggestapple.net BigA

    I had to listen to that several times just to make sure I was hearing what I thought I was hearing. Wow. Now my father is a yankee (from NYC) and my mother is a southerner (from SC) so I’ve spent a good bit of time in both areas. NEVER have a heard such a pronunciation. It is truly remarkable and you gets points for that alone. Still – Jon is right. Yankees won the war after all.

  • Erin

    I apologize from the depths of my loins (loy-ins?), but I’ve never heard crayon pronounced “crown.”

  • http://rancidraves.blogspot.com cagey

    Here in Kansas we say “crayon”, but I’ll be a monkey’s uncle – I sure as hell can’t vouch for what the Kansas Bored of Education would say is the correct pro-nounce-iation.

  • Cheryl

    It it so totally cray-on, not crown. And for the life of me I can’t figure out how one would actually pronounce the L in walk, talk, etc. As someone else said, I’d love to hear some audio clips of you saying those words.

    Your accent really caught me by surprise. I didn’t expect you to be so twangy. ;)

  • Kerri

    Oh my. I love that this post has already inspired 353 people to comment. I agree with John on all counts, and submit that perhaps it is you, dear Dooce, who is butchering the language. Crown? WaLk? Who says that?

    Please don’t let the fact that I’m from NJ color your judgement of my comment. Although I do, in fact, say “wudder” for “water”, most of that Sopranos-esque accent comes from NEW YORK, not NJ.

  • LadySincere

    Yea it’s CRAY-on. And yes I hail from Alabama, and NO I do NOT have the obnoxious southern TWANG :)

    now, can you kindly teach telemarketers to pronounce my last name? SINCERE…NOT Sinclair, Sincer-AY, Sincer-REE-REE, or SPENCER(got this today at the hospital)S I N C E R E spelled just like sincerely…MINUS the LY

  • http://nowseriously.blogspot.com LeafGirl77

    You know… I read this post and thought “Everyone KNOWS it’s Crayon”.

    Then I said it.

    I say Cran. Shit.

  • Jill

    I’m from TN, as well. But I pronounce crayon as a two syllable word. CRAYon.
    But talk and walk and chalk, all have the L obvious in it.

  • http://premise.blogspot.com Kari

    So is Leta going to think there’s two different kinds of coloring implements? The ones she uses with Mama and the ones she uses with Daddy?

    (I have heard it pronounced “crown” before, but it was by a Jack Mormon. Sorry.)

  • kidsmom

    In Milwaukee, you have Crik instead of Creek. Ruff instead of ROof and, the all time favorite: MEER instead of mirror.

    What d ya’ll use to flatten your shirt collars: urns or irons?

    I’m from the east coast, too.

  • curlygirlymm

    I’m a southerner born and raised (Georgia), and everyone in my family pronounces it cray-on. On the other hand, I’ve never imagined that you COULD pronounce walk and talk without the L. Someone earlier is right- they’re soft, but definitely there.

  • Jeff, the film prof

    Instead of kindly insisting like everyone else that Jon is correct (but I’m a guy, and study movies, so what do I know?), let me offer up a couple pronunication problems in our East Coast household that stem primarily from my wife being from Cape Cod. No joke, she claims that after hearing her mother yell, “Anjeler, Hethah, get in the cah, it’s time for orkester practice!” she vowed she would never learn a Cape Codder accent. She was nevertheless surprised in 8th grade when, asked to identify on a spelling list the object you pull out from a bureau, she wrote “draw” and got it wrong. Even now, she still occasionally pronounces “drawer” as one syllable, which makes me giggle.

    The neverending battle in our house, however, revolves around shellfish. For me, a particular bivalve is pronounced “SKAH-lop”; for her, it is a “SKAW-lop.” For a long time, she got me by saying, “How do you pronounce ‘all’? Well, ‘all’ is in ‘scallop.’” About four years ago, I finally retorted with “How do you pronounce ‘gallop’?”

    Luckily for us, she doesn’t really care for them anyway. This is perhaps one reason why we are still married.

  • GoCubsAmy

    In Chicago it’s CRAY-on. We don’t have accents here!

  • PinkPoppies


    Of course, pronounciation is the new verboten topic, like religion and politics used to be.

    I’m in Canada from the far East, and we don’t say “aboot” or even “eh”, but I’ll cop to hearing differences between “Merry Christmas Mary, when will you marry?”

    Nor should you be confused with the three known tones used for those round rings of baked and boiled dough: bay-gel, bah-gel, and baa-gel.

    And I love your accent! There’s something so creamy about it; just like white sugar icing (or do you call it frosting, fraw-sting, fruh-sting?) on cinnamon rolls.

  • Killeen

    Question, how do you pronounce “rayon”?

    Love ya doocer but I’m also with Jon on this one.

  • lucysliver

    my entire life, until i went to college, i said “crown” not realizing everyone else thought it was wrong. my college boyfriend pointed it out the very first time he heard me say it and suddenly i spiralled into a lonely state– me versus the world. after interviewing everyone i knew, asking how they pronounced “crayon,” i finally decided i must at fault and converted to saying “cray-on,” but not before practicing quietly for a few days alone in my room.

    thanks to the internet, i now know that there are plenty of crown-sayers out there. though i’ve switched sides, i will never forget my roots and never ever make fun of someone who says “crown.” you rock.

  • Mack’sMom

    Imagine that, a typ-o….

    I meant to say that we say SCHEDULE as SCEDule….whoops.

  • Dinamyte

    As a responsible Dooce fan, I’ve read every daily entry (and most nubbins) from the archives since I discovered your site, but this is my first time commenting… that is how much this post has moved me!

    My first-grade teacher TRAUMATIZED me by pronouncing crayon “crown.” I am from the east coast, so there was no excuse for it, no excuse at all. She told us to take out our “crowns” one day and my 5-year-old OCD self thought I had Alzheimers because I could not for the life of me remember when we were told to bring crowns to class, or when we had made paper crowns, or how I could have missed a day of school without remembering I had missed a day of school. Someone sitting next to me had to explain that the teacher meant CRAY-ONS to get me to stop hyperventilating.

  • Jennifer in Ohio

    Ok, I’m sorry but the person who said that it’s ok to say nuculer instead of nuclear is just wrong. It grates on my nerves to hear it said like that.

    That’s like the people who say ath-a-lete. It’s athlete, two syllables! No more!

  • nicoledale

    do people honestly say walk, talk, & chalk like they would say ‘balk’? that’s so messed up. when you say ‘walking’ does it sound like ‘wall-king’?

    some other clarifications:
    OR-i-gun, not or-i-GONE
    ne-VAH-duh, not ni-VAW-duh
    gon-zay-guh, not gone-zag-uh
    walla WALLA, not WALLA walla
    yak-i-MA, not YAK-i-muh

  • http://howdoyoulikeme.blogspot.com jw

    CRAY — own

  • eledhwenn

    Go there.


    Helps to figure out how things are pronnounced. :)

  • http://sbfh.blogspot.com PK

    Amen, sister.
    Also, w-o-l-f, pronounced “woof”, and b-u-t-t-o-n, pronounced “buddun”, and w-i-s-h, pronounced “woosh”.

  • hules

    Opinion time from Canada, eh??? And, Heather…..it’s CRAY-ON!! Gotta go with Jon on this one.

    Let’s hear Leta say it now!

  • lilaclifter

    I’m afraid I agree with Jon on this one. I have never heard crayon pronounced crown and I’ve lived in many states. I’ve always heard cray-on or cran.