Pronounce Wisconsin.

Pronounce Wisconsin “is an online pronouncing gazetteer of place names in Wisconsin, including counties, cities, villages, and unincorporated communities. Over 1720 place names in Wisconsin can be accessed by simply mousing over the map.” Now that’s what I call a public service! [2024: It has moved here.] And for a hipper take on the same theme, with audio clips right there by each name, visit, where you can scroll down and find out instantly that Metomen is me-TOE-men, Mukwonago is muk-WAHN-ago, and Stettin is ste-TEEN (which surprised me — I would have expected it to be Americanized to STET-in). This kind of thing should be available for every political entity everywhere!


  1. They should also show how “Wisconsin” is pronounced in foreign languages — particularly Italian.

  2. Jeffry House says

    I grew up in De Pere. The source pronounces it correctly, that is, as its denizens do, dee-PEER. However, the original name was Rapides des Peres, in reference to a rapids which passed in front of a Jesuit Mission founded by Father Claude Jean Allouez (AL-ohway). His name graces the village just to the north.

    The Lost Dauphin of France had a cabin in the woods nearby in the mid-1800s. Sadly, he turned out to be an imposter from Quebec, not even from France, and no royal, either.

  3. Hat: This kind of thing should be available for every political entity everywhere!

    Meaning everywhere in America ? Your post is about how furrin-looking American place names are pronounced in America by Americans. I presume you’re not going for that issue of how furrin place names such as München are, or (horrible dick, too !) should be, pronounced in America by Americans.

  4. MissPronouncer lives up to her name, mispronouncing Milwaukee as trisyllabic.

  5. Meaning everywhere in America ?

    No, and why on earth would you think that? Meaning everywhere everywhere.

    Your post is about how furrin-looking American place names are pronounced in America by Americans.

    No, it’s about how place names are pronounced by locals. This is a thing everywhere.

  6. Well, OK, that wasn’t clear to me. But that is just a small part of the largish topic of how everybody everywhere pronounces everything in every language.

  7. Okay, Bill W, how many syllables should “Milwaukee” have?

  8. Hat, there oughta be many sites with systematically presented audio bites showing the main features of the pronunciation of different languages. Do they exist ? I’ve never seen such things mentioned here. I guess computational linguists wouldn’t undertake such things, but they would sure be useful.

  9. @ John Cowan: Just two syllables, of course: Mwa-kee.

    Like Fluffya.

  10. Philadelphia ??

  11. Yes.

  12. People keep poking fun at me for saying NOO-yok instead of N-you-YOWK. Could somebody tell me where I got it from? I lived in NOO-Yok in the 60s, Central Park East.

  13. I’ve never heard a native English speaker stress the “New” in New York (though the New in New Haven is very commonly stressed locally); maybe you got it from other Russians?

  14. oh dear, but it’s N-you-YORRK in Russian.

  15. Right, but I thought the habit might have developed of pronouncing it with “foreign” stress — after all, if MoskVA is MOS-cow in English, why shouldn’t Nyu-YORK be NEW-York? That would be the same kind of overcompensating that makes English-speakers say Bei-ZHING rather than using the perfectly appropriate j sound of English.

  16. J. W. Brewer says

    Do indigenous Nuyoricans (or others) stress it (when using the Hispanified toponym in the middle of an English sentence) as “Nueva YORK” or “NUEva york”? I feel like I may have heard in both ways.

  17. Stress aside, New Yorkers (and Americans generally) have long since dropped the historic yod in /tju/, /dju/, /nju/, /lju/, so you expect (and get) /nuˈjɔ(r)k/.

  18. so, stress aside, my Noo isn’t that far off the mark?

  19. In the gold, my dear Sashura, in the gold.

  20. The Milwaukee example shows that for big cities the project would get complicated. When I was a teenager in suburban Toronto in the 1960s, we pronounced it “Toronno.” Kids from downtown said “Tronna.” Only news readers, people who had moved in from elsewhere in Canada, and the pedantically articulate pronounced the final “t”. And amongst them, there were those who lightly tapped that final “t”, and those who lingered on it, like they were dictating for those god-awful language tapes that one used to have to suffer through in university language labs.

  21. NEWhaven is also the English pronunciation for the English Channel port in Sussex.

  22. Ho Chi Minh used to work on the Newhaven-to-Dieppe ferry.

  23. If only he’d gotten better tips, history would have been very different.

  24. There are at least three dimensions of differentiation in pronunciation:
    1. accent-based: it’s unreasonable to expect Brits to pronounce New York as Noo York, or Nebraskans to pronounce it Noo Yawk.
    2. allegro vs lento: I expect that the citation or deep form of a Tronnan’s name for Toronto would more closely resemble an out-of-towner’s than the usual conversational form. Familiarity breeds succinct.
    3. lexical: the most common anglophone bugbear seems to me to be stressing the wrong syllable, as in NewCAStle-upon-Tyne or NewfoundLAND. BlackPOOL in Cork is not called after BLACKpool in Lancashire, but DorSET Street in Dublin is called after the Duke of DORset in England: does that affect the acceptability of the non-local pronunciation?

    In preliterate societies, it’s harder to disentangle these dimensions, so Brighthelmstone becomes Brighton and Bristow becomes Bristol. In literate societies, spelling pronunciations are what send people astray.

  25. Familiarity breeds succinct.

    Nice one! A version I particularly like: “Familiarity breeds contempt – and children. ” [Mark Twain (Notebooks, 1883-1891)]

  26. Mollymooly, the accent-based differences are tricky. I’d say that predictable transformations like rhoticity or lack thereof, or the “cot”-“caught” merger, are applied to names whose “native” accent is different from one’s own, but other differences, like changes in stress pattern, are not. I pronounce the last syllable of “Birmingham” differently depending on whether it’s Alabama or England I’m talking about, but I always pronounce the “r”.

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