Learn how your comment data is processed. Hopefully, it’s sufficient enough for me to just say that patterns exist. While I was lucky enough to end up in a city simply named Madison, the majority of Wisconsin city names are quite difficult to pronounce. I can’t win. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Find her on Twitter as @mel_lawder or follow her on Instagram as @mellawder. Eleva's story is the exception to the rule. "They got as far as Eleva, and so that became the name of the town!" Forget it. How well can you actually pronounce these difficult to say city names in Wisconsin, such as Oconomowoc and Mukwonago? It's the first name that often comes to mind when one thinks of hard-to-pronounce place names in Wisconsin. “I think most people, rather than be offended, smile and think ‘That’s my place, that’s my hometown, I know how to pronounce it and here’s my opportunity to tell people about it.’”. Wisconsin native: *laughs*. Apps said. Jan 8, 2018 - It is super hard for people not from Wisconsin to try and pronounce the names of some Wisconsin towns and cities. Ypsilanti was a hero in the Greek War of Independence from the Ottoman Empire. To not risk beginning a research paper, this blog remains at the surface level on purpose. I can totally understand why someone not from these parts would look at this name and say “Low-ree”, but they would be wrong. According to Gard's book, the tiny Trempealeau County village of Eleva, about 20 miles south of Eau Claire, could have stumbled into its name after a grain elevator was constructed near the village's railroad tracks around the mid-1800s. Some patterns can be distinguished, like if a word ends in –gy or -phy, the third to last syllable is stressed (ex: bi-OL-o-gy, ci-ne-ma-TO-gra-phy) or if a word ends in –tion, the second to last syllable is stressed (ex: con-sti-TU-tion, va-CA-tion), but even still there are exceptions. These town and city names in Wisconsin that are so hard to pronounce, however, are not of English origin, which should be no surprise. How nice of them! A lot of these words were originally from the Ojibwe, Potowatomi or Menominee languages, which are all a part of the Algonquian language family. Stress patterns are found in Algonquian languages. Wisconsin cities: hard to pronounce. “And I think because it’s something special, it’s like a little secret, but it’s something they have — to be able to say 'Oconomowoc,' or 'Rio' or 'Waukesha.'”. Underlying the complexity of the enunciation of these Wisconsin names can sometimes be small conflicts. Others were inspired by the area's distinct geological features. Somebody went around, called up all the towns in Wisconsin and recorded their pronunciations. Here, 15 hard to pronounce baby names. Instead, we’re taking a look at Canadian place names that are so hard to pronounce, so hard to roll off our tongues, we’d rather be forced to say “Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Milwaukeeans are sometimes even worse, though none of us will admit that we even have an accent. How to pronounce Wisconsin. “I’ve heard Ray-cine and Ruh-cine and each side will argue that the other side is wrong.”. Listen to the audio pronunciation in the Cambridge English Dictionary. The Minnesota Historical Society will be hosting an archive of CityPages.com. And according to some Wisconsinites, it's painfully obvious when somebody in radio mispronounces a well-known Wisconsin word. The entire name rolls off the tongue as Zah-shah. In fact, the name “Wisconsin” itself is an Anglicized version of the French version of a Native American word given to what is known today to be the Wisconsin River. (Do you pronounce TE-le-vi-sion or te-le-VI-sion?) According to the Wisconsin Historical Society, the word "Wisconsin" itself is a multi-ethnic concoction: it's the English spelling of a French version of a Miami Indian name for the river currently known as the Wisconsin River. How to say Wisconsin. Wisconsin Badgers men's basketball - The Wisconsin Badgers is a NCAA Division I college basketball team competing in the Big Ten Conference. Do you think YOU can pronounce these Wisconsin towns? But, for Texans? The name was later changed to Ypsilanti in 1829 in honor of Demetrius Ypsilanti. Updated: 5:36 PM CDT May 2, 2019 Slideshow. Because Americans aren't just adept at butchering the names of foreign places, here are 20 cities in our OWN DAMN COUNTRY that we still don't know how to pronounce. Knowing this, my frustration at the difficulty of pronunciation makes a little more sense: the stress assignment of any of these words is based on a stress pattern that I am not familiar with. In the Midwest, we use some strange language. Not only is Elalaka, Montana, hard to pronounce, it’s also considered to be one of the strangest town names in Montana, joining the ranks with Crow Agency, Nimrod, Pray, and Two Dot. This is a common mistake so don't stress yourself too much. BuzzFeed Staff, UK. It’s really just a shot in the dark for all of these at this point. Its Ojibwe word was “Zhaawanong”, which loosely means “in the south” or “of the south”. For example, Potawatomi = … "You can tell in a minute people who are not familiar with our names. But for those who may not be familiar with the Midwest’s naming convention, these Texans have one heck of a time. Specifically, Johnson — who receives lots of feedback on how to pronounce place names because of her site — said there are two place names that incite the most passion among people who reach out to her through social media and email: Waukesha and Racine. Just when you thought you knew a lot about the United States – maybe you've been visiting or studying there for quite some time – you realize that there are some cities that you are pronouncing incorrectly. Most words that come from a language we don’t know are hard to pronounce – imagine that! But what was perhaps more interesting was the way the responses were laced with a sort of reverence toward many of Wisconsin's more intricate-sounding towns and cities. Funny, considering its way up nort der. Wisconsin city and town names can be a challenge to pronounce even for those living in the state. “People do take pride not only in their hometowns, but the pronunciation of the name of their hometowns,” Johnson said. The stress patterns in Ojibwe, Potowatomi and Menominee are all slightly different because there are several factors that go into analyzing such a pattern (it involves assigning iambs and counting light or heavy syllables). Subtly, they conveyed the message, "Damn right, these towns are hard to pronounce and we're proud of it.". Going Out Reporter Melanie Lawder can be reached at melanie.lawder@gannettwisconsin.com or 715-845-0607. Many Wisconsin place names are derived from the ethnic history of the place in question, Apps said. Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin - Wisconsin Dells is a city in south-central Wisconsin, with a population of 2,678 people as of the 2010 census. In fact, the name “Wisconsin” … “People get passionate, even people who live in that city (Racine) differ amongst themselves,” she said. Still, the city has embraced it and branded itself accordingly. One of my favorite past-times as a Wisconsinite is watching my Minnesotan friend try to say “Oconomowoc”, which looks and sounds like she’s trying to cough up a brick. If I knew the pattern, it wouldn’t be so much of a guessing game! One of the best of these was made in 2011, when Mike De Sisti of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had Texans try to pronounce Wisconsin cities: Wisconsin place names incite a sort of fervor among natives of the dairy state. Wisconsin is a state located in the Midwestern United States.As of April 1, 2010, there were 190 cities in Wisconsin. ... I’m not sure why this one is so hard, but I’ve heard it pronounced on TV as “Shack-oh-pee”. All Rights Reserved. Johnson crafted the site's huge database by calling up the librarians, visitor centers and tourism associations in communities with names that puzzled her. How to say Wisconsin. 3. Wisconsin pronunciation. We all once pronounced epitome like “eh-pi-tohm” or placebo like “place” and “bo” at one time in our lives, right? There are many more specifics that go behind this blog that I don’t touch on. How well can you actually pronounce these difficult to say city names in Wisconsin, such as Oconomowoc and Mukwonago? Because why not, right? All rights reserved. Wisconsin is notorious for towns with difficult to pronounce names. Video by Mike De Sisti Places are named because settlers want to live in place that reflects their own heritage — Stockholm in Pepin County came about because the emigrants were Swedish — and thus many Wisconsin place names can be traced to the American Indians and the French. Seeing a need, Johnson built MissPronouncer.com, a website that lists the state's more than 1,000 place names with an audio clip that sounds out the correct pronunciation of each. Usually, the people who butcher names like "Wauwatosa" … ©2021 Fox Cities Magazine. "They represent how we were settled; they represent the different kinds of people, where they came from, and that we had and still do have a tremendous Native American presence.". And in at least one case, a Wisconsin name came about as a result of an unfinished 19th-century construction project — or so the legend goes. 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