You’ll find plenty of easy-to-pronounce names and words here in the Great Lakes State — from Grand Rapids to Ann Arbor, a large majority of our Michigan monikers are largely familiar and phonetic. But there are a few tougher-to-say words that should never be flubbed in front of someone from Michigan. Luckily, we’ve compiled a special guide that will help you feel prepared. Never mispronounce these nine words during your time in the Great Lakes State.
Oh, Mackinac. If we Michiganders had a dine for every time we’d heard your name mispronounced, we’d all be extremely rich. Sure, we can understand why a non-Michigan resident might look at this word and feel inclined to say "Macki-nack," but the correct pronunciation is "Mackinaw." Now you know!
If you’ve ever driven down Gratiot in Detroit, you might have struggled to pronounce the street’s name. We’ve heard it all: "Gray-tee-oat," "Grah-tot," the list continues. If you want to impress a Michigander, be sure say it properly: "Gra-shut!"
3. Sault Ste. Marie
If you find yourself up north, perhaps you’ll want to visit this delightful town that sits just minutes away from the Canadian border. While you might feel inclined to include the word "salt" in its pronunciation, Michigan’s oldest town is actually pronounced "Soo" Sainte Marie — hence the name of the fascinating Soo Locks!
That extra "x" at the end can really throw a non-Michigander off. This lovely town is a popular tourist destination, but many first-time visitors aren’t quite sure how to pronounce its name. Charlevoix’s unique French moniker doesn’t have to trip you up! Forget the "x" and say it with us: "Char-luh-voy!"
If you’ve ever gone grocery shopping with someone from out-of-state, perhaps you’ve heard them mispronounce the name of our beloved grocery store chain. That sneaky "j" in the middle of the word can be a bit confusing, but it’s not too tough! Just say "Myer" and you’ll be perfectly fine.
While Kalamazoo might not seem tough to pronounce for those of us who live in the Great Lakes State, it can be a tongue twister for non-Michiganders. After all, some people don’t even believe that Kalamazoo is a real place! Thankfully, we’re here to guide those who haven’t spent much time in Michigan — it’s "Kalla-muh-zoo."
Another day, another confusing spelling situation. While the beginning of this lovely town’s name might throw you off, it’s actually not too tough to pronounce once you’ve heard it said out loud. When you’re asking for directions from a longtime Michigander, make sure to say "Ip-si-lanti."
Even some lifelong Michiganders might be thrown off by this town’s pronunciation! We know what you’re thinking: isn’t this pronounced just the same as the name Charlotte? Nope! Here in Michigan, we’ve added our own special pronunciation — this town is known as "Char-LOT."
If you've ever explored the Porcupine Mountains or other beautiful attractions near this Upper Peninsula destination, we’re sure you’ve been blown away by its stunning atmosphere. But do you know how to correctly say it’s name? Well, it’s time to learn: this breathtaking destination is pronounced "On-ton-ogg-en."
Alright, Michiganders: did we leave any other tough-to-pronounce words from the Great Lakes State off our list? We’d love to hear about times you’ve had to correct your out-of-state friends and family. Share your stories in the comment section below.
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