Detroit May 30, 2018
If You Can Pronounce These 9 Words, You’ve Lived In Detroit For Far Too Long
We Detroiters are no strangers to hard-to-say words. In fact, our city seems to overflow with French-based names that are quick to trip up out-of-state visitors who aren’t quite sure about proper pronunciation. If you’re a longtime Motor City resident, though, you’ll have no problem with these nine unique monikers.
Ah, this one is a classic. Non-Detroiters often struggle to properly pronounce the name of this street in the Motor City, but those of us who live here don’t give it a second thought. We’ve heard all sorts of incorrect pronunciations over the years: "Gray-tot," "Grah-shee-oht," "Gray-tee-ott," and countless others.
This town near Detroit is known for its rich Polish heritage and delectable paczki offerings each year, but it’s certainly not the easiest name for tourists to pronounce. We’re not sure why, but something about that "mck" combination at the end of the word throws people off. Never fear, though: once you hear its proper pronunciation (Ham-tramick), you’ll be all set.
This one is pretty straightforward: its correct pronunciation is "De-quin-der," but it’s certainly been known to throw off newcomers and tourists in years past as they make their way down the beautiful Dequindre Cut. In our humble opinion, though, the name of this awesome urban pathway shouldn’t take primary importance when its lovely atmosphere is considered.
4. Bois Blanc
Bois Blanc Island played a large role in Detroiters’ lives for many decades, largely due to the presence of its amusement park — known by locals as Boblo Island. This name was developed as a means of helping newcomers pronounce "Bois Blanc," which should technically sound like "Bua Blanc." We suppose "Boblo" is slightly easier for non-French speakers to remember, though!
If you’ve lived in Detroit for many years, you’ve likely visited the iconic Cadieux Cafe — and pronounced its name properly! Non-Detroiters, though, might struggle with this moniker due to its abundance of vowels. Despite its history as a Belgian bar, Cadieux Cafe’s name is French and should be said "cad-jou."
Another French word that can be difficult for out-of-towners to master! Livernois Avenue is one of Detroit’s most traversed roads, but its name is sometimes butchered by those who haven’t spent much time in the Motor City. Longtime Detroiters, however, will know that it’s pronounced "Liver-noy."
We mentioned this delectable Polish dessert in our "Hamtramck" entry above, but we failed to explain that the sweet treat itself is often the subject of poor pronunciation. Here in Detroit, we take Paczki Day very seriously — only slightly more seriously than we take the importance of pronouncing this beloved pastry’s name properly. Say it with us: "poonch-key."
Situated just a stone’s throw from the Motor City, this town offers all sorts of lovely attractions for visitors young and old. Its name, however, manages to throw off newcomers from time to time. It’s easy to assume that the community is called "Wy-an-dote," but locals know it as "Wy-an-DOT."
We’re not quite sure why so many outsiders struggle to pronounce the name of this town near Detroit, but we suppose it has something to do with that uniquely placed "Y" at the beginning of the world. Never fear, though: Ypsilanti’s pronunciation is largely phonetic: just say "Ip-si-lanti!"
Alright, Detroiters: we want to hear from you! Are there any other words or names from the Detroit area that always seem to throw off visitors with their unique pronunciations? Let us know in the comments!