Oconomo-Wuh? When Municipalities Are Mouthfuls, New Website Can Help


A little-known state office has created an interactive web map of all Wisconsin municipalities that helps users with name pronunciation.

Pronounce Wisconsin is online through the state cartographer’s office. On it, users can scroll across a state map and stop on just about any city, town, village or crossroads.

Jackie Johnson is a reporter with Wisconsin Radio Network and the person behind the website Miss Pronouncer, which she founded several years ago.

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Johnson is a Wisconsin native who still struggled occasionally with how to correctly say place names.

“Oconomowoc is one, but another one is the national forest we have up in the upper third of the state, Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest. Not only because it’s a long name … there are short names. ‘Rye-Oh’ — some people say ‘Ree-oh’. There are many, many names mispronounced.”

Johnson was contacted by the state cartographer, Howard Veregin. He came across Johnson’s website while his office was compiling a map of Wisconsin’s more than 1,000 unincorporated communities.

“Often the only people who know about them are the people who live there or people who used to live there. A lot of these places are kind of transitory: They disappear if land use changes or if the small number of people moves away. It was initially an effort to map those places and create a record of those communities.”

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