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.