We asked Professor Lionell Cuille, the Jane and Bruce Robert Professor of French and Francophone Studies at Webster University, to talk about some French names in St. Louis. He told us about the difference between the local dialect and the way a native speaker might say the same name. Click on the speaker icon to hear what Professor Cuille had to say.

St. Louis
/seɪnt ˈluːɪs/
[sɛ̃ lwi]

Americans add the 'T' at the end of "Saint", and an 'S' at the end of "Louis". Both consonants would be dropped in French.


In St. Louis, "Carondelet" ends with the word "let." In French, it sounds more like "lay."

/ ˈʃoʊ toʊ/

Instead of St. Louisans' "show-tow" pronunciation, Professor Cuille recommends a mnemonic: "Associate the 'toe' with the 'shoe.'"

Creve Coeur
/ ˈkriːv ˈkʊər/
[krɛv kœʁ]

Creve Coeur, a "very romantic name" is pronounced with a long 'e' and 'o' in St. Louis, but not in French.

/ ˈgrǽ vɔj/

Gravois means "gravel", so Professor Cuille suggests thinking of "grav" and then "wow", instead of the way we usually say it, with an "oy."

/ ˈsú lɑ́rd/

Soulard (not with a 'd') means "drunkard" in French — an appropriate name, Professor Cuille says, for the neighborhood that celebrates Mardi Gras.