« Thinking like an economist | Main | New York speaks »

Saint Louis dialect

You might think your high school French or German will be enough to get you by in St. Louis, but don't bet on it. St. Louisans have their own unique local flare for some traditional French and German words. For those new to the area, consider this an unofficial guide to some local variations.


Gravois is the French word for gravel which is appropriate since Gravois Avenue runs along the gravel bluffs. Although "Grav-wah" may be the correct French pronunciation, this main street is pronounced "Grav-oy" or occasionally "Grav-oize" in St. Louis.

Creve Coeur

The city name Creve Coeur (meaning heartbreak in French) derives from Creve Coeur Lake, which was named for the tale of a lovelorn Indian girl whose broken heart led her to suicide off the famous dripping springs. While the formal french pronunciation is "Crev-Cure", a native St. Louisan know that "Creeve-Corr" is the only way to say the name of this city.


This ones a bit confusing... The formal German pronunciation is "Spur-duh", while locals say "Spay-dee."


Chouteau Avenue was named after Auguste Chouteau who was the stepson of Pierre LaClede. The French pronunciation of Chouteau is "Shoo-toe", while St. Louis natives say "Show-toe."

Lemay Ferry

An outsider might mistake this road for "La-may Ferry", but St. Louisans know to add a couple extra vowels - "Leeemay Ferry."

DeBaliviere Place, a neighborhood of St Louis, is pronounced "Duh-boll-uh-ver" by the natives and "Duh-bah-liv-ee-air" in French.

Bellefontaine Neighbors

Bellefontaine Neighbors, pronounced "Bell-fount-in" in St Louis and "Bell-fon-tayne" in French, is a suburb city in St. Louis County. At 22 letters, it has the longest name of any incorporated place in the United States.


"Gurr- tah" in German or "Go-thee" in St Louis, Goethe Avenue was named in honor of the German poet and novelist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)