This Website Will Help You Pronounce Wisconsin’s Tongue-Twisting Towns

By Christina Lorey

October 5, 2023

There’s no scientific way to prove Wisconsin has more hard-to-pronounce city names than your average state, but considering that we have an entire website devoted to correct pronunciation, we’d argue that’s probably the case!

20 years ago, Wisconsin native Jackie Johnson was working in local news when she ran into a problem: “If I didn’t know how to pronounce somebody’s name, or a word, city, village, town, I would ask somebody (else) — but there was no guarantee that they would know,” she told the Wausau Daily Herald.

So, Johnson built, a website that lists more than 1,000 Wisconsin locations, along with an audio clip that sounds out the correct pronunciation of each.

Wisconsin has more than 190 cities, 400 villages, 1,000+ towns, and 1,000+ unincorporated places (give or take a few),” reads the website’s welcome message. “Learn how to pronounce them all!”

Johnson compiled the site’s huge database by calling local librarians, visitor centers, and tourism associations in communities with names that puzzled her. She’d get her information from a community leader or a trustworthy citizen by recording their pronunciation.

TRY IT! How to Pronounce Every Wisconsin City

However, even locals don’t have all the answers…

“People get passionate, even people who live in a certain city differ amongst themselves,” Johnson said. “I’ve heard Ray-cine and Ruh-cine and each side will argue that the other side is wrong.”

MORE: The 10 Most Phonetically-Challenging Wisconsin Cities & How They Got Their Names

This Website Will Help You Pronounce Wisconsin’s Tongue-Twisting Towns


  • Christina Lorey

    Christina is an Edward R. Murrow-winning journalist and former producer, reporter, and anchor for TV stations in Madison and Moline. When she’s not writing or asking questions, you can find her volunteering with Girls on the Run, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and various mental health organizations.

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