Michigan Pronunciations or Things I’ve Been Saying Wrong FOREVER!
My first day on the air I missed pronounced "Charlotte" and I got and earful about it right away. I have lived in Michigan on and off for the better part of my life. Some of these I have down pat. Hamtramck, no problem. But Ontonagon, Dowagiac, Lake Gogebic...some of these still make my head spin.
The State of Michigan has a full database of pronunciations for cities, townships, street names and even famous people. It's complete with quick audio files so you can listen for yourself how things are pronounced.
For our purposes, we pulled out 25 notable Michigan roads and destinations you're probably not saying right. Use this as a guide for your next Michigan road trip - or just to show off to your family and friends how smart you are.
Let's get the obvious one out of the way. Most everyone knows the C is silent and you pronounce this like the way the name Mackinaw City looks: "Mack-in-awe." (Listen)
2. Sault Ste. Marie
The first word of this notable Upper Peninsula town trips many people up. It's "Soo Saint Marie." (Listen)
This Upper Peninsula county, which features the Porcupine Mountains, is pronounced "On-ton-ogg-on." (Listen)
No, it's not pronounced like in the children's book or the North Carolina city. It's "char-LOT." (Listen)
This small southwestern Michigan city, near the Indiana border, is pronounced "doe-wah-jak." (Listen)
It's easy to get tripped up by this Lansing suburb: "Oh-kuh-muss." (Listen)
If you're saying "yip" at the front, you're doing it wrong. It's "ip-sill-ann-tee." (Listen)
8. Kitch-iti-kipi Springs
Talk about a tongue-twister! That first word is "kitch-iti-kip-ee." Don't forget about that extra "i" sound. (Listen)
Now let's turn to street names! This metro Detroit road is "duh-QUIN-durr." (Listen)
Here's another metro Detroit street name that a lot of people get wrong. It's "lah-sir." (Listen)
Most get this southeastern Michigan city name wrong by emphasizing "LAN." It's actually pronounced "my-Lynn." (Listen)
12. Lake Orion
It's not like the constellation. It's "Lake oh-ree-en." (Listen)
There's a hidden I sound in the name of this Polish city. It's "ham-tram-ick." (Listen)
Both the Upper Peninsula city and Michigan's largest inland lake are pronounced "ho-ten." (Listen)
This is another tricky one. The street name - and fort - is pronounced "grash-it." (Listen)
You don't pronounce it "lord" at the end of this northern Michigan city name. It's "gay-lerd." (Listen)
17. Lake Gogebic
The largest inland lake of the Upper Peninsula is pronounced "goh-ghib-ick." (Listen)
This major metro Detroit road is pronounced "Shane-err." (Listen)
This small township in Marquette County has a Y sound in front: "Yoo-ing." (Listen)
Put the long E sound in the first syllable, not the second. It's "kee-win-awe." (Listen)
21. Bois Blanc Island
Native metro Detroiters and folks near Mackinac may know this one, but it'll trip a lot of outsiders up: Bois Blanc is known as "Bob-low." Yes, really. (Listen)
This northern Michigan township, which hosts the largest waterfall in the Lower Peninsula, is pronounced "ah-key-ock." (Listen)
23. Grosse Ile
The first word of this metro Detroit township is what you expect: "Gross." But the second word is "eel." (Listen)
This small town near Lake Michigan is "oh-neck-em-uh." (Listen)
It's pronounced "pop."