Next stops, Ogema, Taegesville, Orihula and Zittau

This Wisconsin place names guide for WHA radio announcers is among the archival items on display in the Wisconsin Public Radio and Wisconsin Public Television lobby.

There’s an old joke about a visitor  to Wisconsin driving down I-94 and puzzled by the name Oconomowoc.  He pulls off the road and stops in a restaurant.  “How do you say the name of this place?” he asks the staff.  “Bur-ger King,” comes the reply.

Funny or not, Wisconsin does have some unusual place names.  Many, like Oconomowoc, derive from American Indian place names, including the name Wisconsin.

Early French trappers named their share of places as well, like Lac du Flambeau and De Pere.  And many reflect the heritage of European settlers, like Luxemburg, and New Berlin (though it’s New BER-lin as opposed to old Ber-LIN).

It’s understandable then that, like the subject of the joke, we could all use some help in pronouncing Wisconsin places.  The Miss Pronouncer Web site has long been a great resource, not just for place names, but for politicians and other Wisconsinites of note.

Now, the site has added, by way of the State Cartographers Office, a wonderful interactive map that you can simply scroll over and hear the correct pronunciations of places near and far, big and small.  Perfect for tongue-twisting trip planning.

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