Minnesota May 07, 2018
If You Can Pronounce These 9 Words, You’ve Lived In Minnesota For Far Too Long
Here in Minnesota, many of our commonly used words and place names have Northern European or Native American roots. This can make it difficult for out-of-towners to get the pronunciation right. In fact, even some native Minnesotans struggle when trying to say – and even spell – these unusual words. Here are 9 of the most difficult words that only Minnesotans can pronounce:
For some reason, visitors to Minnesota have a tendency to pronounce this town as Ed-ee-nuh. But that would sound strange to any Minnesotan's ears. We know it's really pronouned E-die-nuh.
Askov is an east-central Minnesota town that has a Danish heritage. In fact, the name comes from a word that means "ash forest." If you have difficulty pronouncing Askov, you'll have an even harder time with some of the streets. Many have Danish names!
3. New Prague
The Czech capital of Prague has a different pronunciation, but early settlers gave New Prague a Minnesota twist. The town is pronounced Pray-gue, and we wouldn't have it any other way.
Many out-of-towners tend to give Shakopee a hard A sound, but for Minnesotans, Shock-uh-pee rolls off the tongue just a little bit easier.
Here's a town name that gives even lifelong Minnesotans trouble. But we're here to set the record straight: Mahtomedi, when pronounced correctly, sounds like Mah-do-me-die. It's not the most intuitive name for English speakers today, but it has Native American roots. The name comes from the Dakota word for White Bear Lake.
Here's another Minnesota town name with a Native American heritage. Bemidji comes from an Ojibwe word that means "a lake with crossing waters." The name certainly suits the area, but it can be difficult for non-natives to wrap their heads around. But really, the pronunciation is quite simple: Buh-mid-gee.
7. Vadnais Heights
The spelling of Vadnais Heights lends itself to all sorts of pronunciations, but Minnesotans have gone with the most simple. Next time you're in this lovely south-central Minnesota town, make sure you call it Vad-nus Heights.
Here's another town name that trips up locals as well as out-of-towners. Wayzeta's pronunciation is quite different from its spelling, but once you get it, you won't forget. The town is properly pronounced as Why-zeta.
This town's name comes from the name of a French-Canadian fur trader. The fur trade may have ended about a century ago, but Minnesotans have stuck to the French pronunciation of this charming town's name: Fair-bow.
What names would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments!