Pronounce Wisconsin Map

Posted by on Jan 2, 2013 in Maps in the News | 8 comments

Wisconsin bicentennial quarter - click to see all state quarters

Today I am launching my “Maps in the News” Wednesdays with a map close to my heart. Many of you know I have had the great pleasure of teaching in Wisconsin for about five years now, from Cedarburg to Muscoda and some places in between. Wisconsin seeped into my heart, both because I am very fond of some of its residents, and because it is just plain interesting.

However, the place names in Wisconsin are set up to separate the wheat from the chaff: the locals from the intruders in other words. No one, but no one not born and bred in that state could figure out how to pronounce some of the points on the map of Wisconsin. Some towns read as French, such as Trempealeau, Lac du Flambeau and Fond du Lac. Others as German, such as  Goetz, Randolph, Schleswig, and Smelserand.  Still others seem inspired by the Hawaiians, such as Kaukauna, Waupaca, and Ahnapee. The best ones are right out of Middle Earth: Koshkonong, Lemonweir, Nepeuskun, Oconomowoc and Thornapple.

Try as you may, you will not likely blend with the Wisconsinites without effort. Texans are the worst offenders.

The good news is that now you have a map of how to say them all in Wisconsinese. With this map you can hover over any city, township, or berg and hear the proper way to announce its name.

Click on the map above to direct to the interactive map.

Thank you to the Wisconsin State Cartographer’s Office for this herculean effort to help us blend in with the locals in the Badger State.



  1. Yay! I’m so glad my home state is your first Maps in the News feature. I’m from Waupaca, and I love asking my Ohioan husband to pronounce the town names as we drive through the state. This pronunciation map is awesome!

  2. Jill, this is WONDERFUL! I have to say, they got the pronunciation of “Fond du Lac” fairly close! Only locals know that it’s actually “Fonda Lack”. 😀

  3. This is a riot! Busted out laughing. Well you should hear me trying to read city names in Los Angeles.

    • oops.. not cities in Los Angeles… dah… in southern California.

      And try this one for size… nearly everyone pronounces is wrong.. Muscoda

      most people say Mus co dah (o is long)

      Pronounced: Mus ca day (a is short)

  4. What a good idea, Jill! It’s so true about the pronunciations.

    Grand Old Badger State

  5. Hah! Mel, you are so right! It’s my hometown and I always have to chuckle when I hear people pronounce it as they would in France! Then, if you are/were from certain parts of Milwaukee, you might say “Fon Ja Lack”! :-) Thanks,Jill!

  6. Love, love, love. My favorite national forest in the Dairy State – Chequamegon!

  7. How fun is that. Never heard a local Milwaukee say Mil-wau-kee, more like Mwa-kee. But they were spot on with most of the towns that mess people up.

    Love, love, love the map though. What a find!

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