Can you say these Corpus Christi street names?

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated. In an earlier version, the county in which the town of Refugio is located was incorrectly specified.

If you live in Corpus Christi you may think you know the city inside out.

But do you know how to say the street names?

It’s like Tom-Ay-To, Tom-Ah-To: you probably hear different versions of it.

Is there a “right” way of saying places we know?

We all make mistakes in our daily speech and writing.  Sometimes mistakes are even made for us - like with automatically corrected emails and texts.  Even people who reach the top of their field misuse words, pronounce them incorrectly, or even make up their own.  A former Washington resident, President George W. Bush, was so famous for it that he himself inspired one word - Bushisms.  Even when he used words correctly, he sometimes pronounced them incorrectly.  Like Homer Simpson, he said, “nuclear

Shannon Fitzsimmons-Doolan, coordinator of applied linguistics at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, collapses.

“It is common to have multiple pronunciations of a word,” said Doolan. “The language varies … This means that you always have alternative pronunciations, word and grammar options for a particular message.”

Doolan said the language is constantly changing and can be inspired by the people we spend time with.

English is an impressive language.  It has a functional vocabulary of around 200,000 words (French and Spanish usually only use around half that number) and adds thousands more words every year - an estimated 20,000 a year.  English is also a welcoming language.  It comes from the West Germanic branch of Proto-Indo-European, a language spoken 5,000 years or more ago by nomads in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and is related to modern German, Dutch, and Yiddish.  However, many of his words come from the Romance languages ​​- Latin and later French, Spanish, etc. - as well as from Classical Greek.  But this is just the beginning: English contains vocabulary from a total of more than 350 languages.  As befits a language with so many different origins and so many words, it is full of ambiguities.  There are, for example, many homonyms (words that are spelled and pronounced the same but have different meanings, such as

Many difficult-to-pronounce words can originate from other languages.

“There’s really no such thing as a ‘proper’ pronunciation per se,” said Doolan. “If a person is unsure of a pronunciation, I would encourage them to listen to the many people uttering a word and perhaps request the pronunciation of speakers whose choices they appreciate.”

Doolan explained that someone unfamiliar with the word’s native language may use English sounds to say it. “Language is a very creative system,” she said.

Here is a list of places you might come across in the Corpus Christi region and their most common pronunciation among locals.

Kostoryz Road

Kostroyz Road in Corpus Christi.

Many Corpus Christi streets are named after friends and family of Henry Kinney, the city’s founder.

A 2008 Caller-Times article revealed the history of street names.

Kostoryz, pronounced Kah-stor-iz, was named after Stanley Kostoryz, who came here in 1904 and bought 7,000 acres of the Grim Ranch and resold the land to Czech farmers, the article says.

Kinney also named streets after several Indian tribes, including Carancahua, Tancahua, Comanche, Lipan, Waco, and Winnebago.

Lipan Street

Lipan Street in Corpus Christi.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines Lipan as “an Apache people in eastern New Mexico and western Texas”.

Some say luh-pan, but the correct pronunciation is luh-pahn.

Tancahua Street

This street is named after the Tonkawa tribe. Tancahua is pronounced ton-ka-wa. The “h” is silent.

Tancahua Street in Corpus Christi.

Carancahua Street

North Carancahua Street in Corpus Christi.

The spelling of this Native American tribe was later changed to begin with a K, which is pronounced Kuh-rang-kuh-wah. The “h” is also silent here.

Listen to this debate.


This town in Refugio County – the birthplace of baseball star Nolan Ryan – means “protection” in Spanish. However, there are at least three common pronunciations of the name of this city. Do you pronounce it Ref-fur-ee-oh or Reh-fury-oh? Or are you one of those who use the Spanish pronunciation and say ra-foo-hee-oh?

Listen to the debates here.

Signs line the street in front of the Bobcat Stadium in Refugio on Monday December 18, 2017.


It’s quite a drive from Corpus Christi to Riviera, but this town, about 15 miles south of Kingsville in the Kleberg County, had to make the list of hard-to-pronounce places.

Many people in South Texas completely ignore the second “i” in their name. While some will pronounce it as ri-vee-eh-rest, you will often refer to it as ree-veh-rah or ree-vair-uh.

CCAD (Corpus Christi Army Depot)

“Depot” is pronounced differently depending on the context.

A place for the storage of goods, automobiles, and military equipment is pronounced with an “e”, as in the name of actor Johnny Depp: Deh-po.


Whataburger on the Bay on Shoreline Boulevard in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Although the name of the fast food chain is “wut-a-burger”, some are used to saying it differently. We all heard one of our friends say “Wasserburger”.

Anger ever works.

Monica Lopez covers trends and breaking news in South Texas. Support local journalism with a digital subscription to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.