How to pronounce 10 ESVA place names like a local

How to pronounce 10 ESVA place names like a local

You wanna tell your mom about the relaxing summer vacation you just booked in Onancock, Virginia, but you don’t wanna put the em-pha-sis on the wrong syl-lab-le because well… that would be a little embarrassing. Don’t fret! This brief guide will teach y’all how to pronounce 10 place names on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.

After reading this, you’ll sound like you were born at the old Shore Memorial hospital in Nassawadox, and you’ll avoid becoming the butt of a joke that a local tells about “some come-here” who butchered the name of his hometown.

The first spelling is a phonetic spelling that doesn’t use any special characters. Bold text indicates primary stress on a syllable (the syllable that gets the most emphasis). The second spelling in parentheses () is what you might see in Webster’s college dictionary. The third spelling in brackets // uses the International Phonetic Alphabet, which you might see in a linguistics publication.

From north to south, here we go!


  • shink-uh-teeg (ˈSHiNGk-ə-tēg) /ˈʃɪŋk.ə.tig/
  • chink-uh-teeg (ˈChiNGk-ə-tēg) /ˈt͡ʃɪŋk.ə.tig/


  • tan-jeer (ˈtan-jir) /ˈtæn.d͡ʒiɹ/


  • uh-nan-kok (ə-ˈnaNG.käk) /ə.ˈnæŋ.kak/


  • pun-guh-teeg (ˈpuNG.gə.tēg) /ˈpʌŋ.gə.tig/


  • watch-uh-preeg (ˈwäCH-ə-prēg) /ˈwat͡ʃ.ə.pɹig/


  • nas-uh-wah-ducks (nas-ə-ˈwä-dəks) /næs.ə. ˈwa.dəks/


  • match-uh-pun-go (maCH-ə-ˈpuNG-gō) /mæt͡ʃ.ə.ˈpʌŋ.goʊ/


  • chair-uh-tin (ˈCHer.ə.tin) /ˈt͡ʃɛɹ.ə.tɪn/

Cape Charles

  • kayp-charlz (kāp ˈCHärəlz) /keɪp ˈt͡ʃaɹəlz/
  • kip-tuh-peek (ˈkip-tə-pēk) /ˈkɪp.tə.pik/

Note: Some locals pronounce the "eeg" as "ig" in names like Chincoteague, Pungoteague and Wachapreague. For example, instead of watch-uh-preeg, you might hear watch-uh-prig.



  • I also pronounce it SHink-uh-teeg, but I’ve heard locals say CHink-uh-teeg. It might be a generational thing. We’re hoping to ask questions like this in the ESVA Oral History Project and get locals’ answers! You can find more info about the project here: Thanks for commenting!

    Ryan Webb
  • You got Chincoteague wrong. Its SHink-uh-teeg. No true local would EVER pronounce it Chink-uh-teeg!

    ESVA Gal

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