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Posted on Sat, Apr 13, 2013 : 11:21 a.m.

How do you pronounce Milan?

By Paula Gardner

A small Michigan town that straddles the borders of Washtenaw and Monroe counties joins La Jolla, Schenectady and Kissimmee on a notable list released this week by FoxNews.

Milan was named to the Top 10 list of American's most commonly mispronounced towns and cities.


From the City of Milan

As many people near Milan learn - typically after they refer to it Italian-style, or Mi-LAN - the city is pronounced MY-lan.

That pronunciation blunder was enough to land Milan in the number 2 position on the Fox News list.

Number 1 is Spokane. Number 3 is Boerne, Texas. Unclear: why Saline, Michigan - that's Sa-leen not Say-Leen - wasn't the second Washtenaw County city to make the top 10.

See the full list of America's top 10 most commonly mispronounced towns and cities.

View Larger Map



Mon, Apr 15, 2013 : 6:20 p.m.

How about 2 norhtern MI towns, Topinabee and Alanson?


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 10:55 p.m.

Is it saline solution - Or Saline Michigan- alkaline -- or Al Kaline


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 8:22 p.m.

How about Detroit? That's probably the most often uttered mispronunciation...

Freight Train

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 4:49 p.m.

Does anyone want to head up to Boys Blank Island? You know, next to Mack-in-ack? (Bois Blanc :)


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 3:59 p.m.

On a trip to Oregon we said something to someone about the Willamette (Wilamet) Valley and they proceeded to say it's the Willamette (w??læm?t) damn it.


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 3:20 p.m.

I'm surprised no one has mentioned Mackinac ( the bridge the island )


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 2:46 p.m.

There are a lot of Michigan city pronunciations that do not make sense. Milan, Saline, Charlotte, Sault Ste. Marie, Ypsilanti, Caro, Presque Isle, Grosse Isle, Charlevoix....there seem to be a lot in Washtenaw County.


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 2:25 p.m.

How do you pronounce "Fox" as in Fox News? Is it Faux?


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 4:19 p.m.

Is that all you've got?


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 2:31 p.m.

Oooo aren't we original

Craig Lounsbury

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 12:13 p.m.

With the NCAA tournament just ended I'm surprise Louisville isn't high on the list. I had to learn the "correct" pronunciation from daughter #3 who migrated to Lexington 8-9 years ago.


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 2:48 p.m.

It sounds like Looovle. I don't think they open their mouths very far when they say it.

Nicholas Urfe

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 3:46 a.m.

I pronounce it "Roy's BBQ and Burgers". It is worth the road trip. Everything on the menu is excellent. I can't seem to stray from the pork sandwich with slaw, and fries. The little burgers, available to go only, are also great.


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 3:44 a.m.

You should hear a Midwesterner try to handle "Mamaroneck (NY)."


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 3:22 a.m.

I pronounce it Milan.


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 2:31 a.m.

Milan=Mailand: It's just how it's pronunced and the way it's spelled in German. Probably because of a lot of 19th century immigration in the area. Check it out


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 9:41 p.m.

very true...i know a number of families who've lived there for generations and, while most people now have dropped the "d" sound on the end, the older generations still pronounce it that way

Ann English

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 12:44 a.m.

Schenectady is nowhere nearby, but I do remember hearing how it's pronounced before ever seeing how it is spelled. I don't remember how I found out that it's the SECOND syllable of KisSIMmee that is accented. You'd think that we would all make an extra effort to remember the proper pronunciation of Kissimmee, Florida so that others hearing us over the phone line won't misunderstand and think they heard, "Kiss me."Even a fast talker, saying KisSIMmee, won't be misunderstood.


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 12:07 a.m.

Thank you so much for posing this very interesting question! It takes my mind off a more important thing like spring football practice (NOT!) and a trivial matter like North Korea (Double Not!!). The post-home delivery "E-snooze" is all over it. We're talkin' Pulitzer in A2, folks!

Boo Radley

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 4 p.m.

Was that arbitrary humor?


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 3:52 p.m. deleted comment was meant to be hurmous

Boo Radley

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 3:32 p.m.

I think I already have enough other sources for what is going on with North Korea. I rather enjoyed reading this, and the comments to it.

Paula Gardner

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 2:52 p.m.

You should email if you really think it's arbitrary. On our end most comments that come down are for obvious reasons. Add in a few mistakes (we know we make them and try to fix) and the relatively few that require discussion/judgement calls and there isn't much left for arbitrary.


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 1:33 p.m.

We get to be anonymous - you get to apply arbitrary moderation. Seems like a fair deal.

Paula Gardner

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 1:19 a.m.

Hey, at least you got to blow off some steam with some anonymous sarcasm. Have a good night!


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 12:17 a.m.

So why did you bother reading it ?

Jack Gladney

Sat, Apr 13, 2013 : 10:39 p.m.

Add Charlotte, Michigan and Lake Orion, Michigan to the list...


Sat, Apr 13, 2013 : 10:25 p.m.

LOL... try Ypsilanti

Basic Bob

Sat, Apr 13, 2013 : 9:54 p.m.

How could one leave out Armada and Charlotte for unique pronunciation. Also Rio Grande, OH (long i, long o, short a, silent e)

Basic Bob

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 1:52 a.m.

ar-MAY-da shar-LOT


Sat, Apr 13, 2013 : 10:28 p.m. Armada pronounced like the fleet of ships ?


Sat, Apr 13, 2013 : 9:20 p.m.

My favorite mispronunciation is when people think Frontage Road is French...and pronounce it frontajjj...hilarious.

Paula Gardner

Sat, Apr 13, 2013 : 9:42 p.m.

That's awesome!


Sat, Apr 13, 2013 : 7:58 p.m.

The easy way to remember is to imagine everything beautiful and graceful about the Italian city, then butcher that Midwest-style.

Dog Guy

Sat, Apr 13, 2013 : 6:31 p.m.

To locals, it is "MY-lin", just like the small Mercury car. I visited Huron, South Dakota, and discovered the invariable local pronunciation is "urine". Returning from SD, I stopped in "MONTE VIDEO" Minnesota.


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 8:18 p.m.

It's "MonteVIDeo", MN or "Monty" for short. About 20 miles from another MYlin. Never thought I'd heard a shout out for Monty here. Good going!


Sat, Apr 13, 2013 : 7:31 p.m.

The car is pronounced Mih-lan like the foreign destination.


Sat, Apr 13, 2013 : 6:43 p.m.

I've never heard the car pronounced as "MY-lin", only as "Mi-LAN".

Chip Reed

Sat, Apr 13, 2013 : 6:19 p.m.

Let's not forget Versailles, Indiana.


Sat, Apr 13, 2013 : 9:25 p.m.

There are zero words pronounced the same in Kentucky and France.

Kyle Austin

Sat, Apr 13, 2013 : 6:37 p.m.

I think that there's Versailles, Kentucky, too that's pronounced different than the one in France

Chip Reed

Sat, Apr 13, 2013 : 6:17 p.m.

DTE's recorded messages used to pronounce Scio as ski-oh or sky-oh. I think there was once a criminal who was tripped-up when he claimed that he had never been to "Ypsi", when the detective asked about "Ypsilanti", (implying some degree of familiarity...).


Sat, Apr 13, 2013 : 8:58 p.m.

So what's the correct pronunciation? Sigh-Oh ? Scio is a city in northern Greece. With the Greek Revival (architecture) that hit the U.S. after Demetrius Ypsilanti ousted the Turks from Greece in the 1830's, it became popular to give Greek names to new settlements on the frontier, viz: Ypsilanti and Scio. Fifty years later immigrants from Greece would land in New York City and buy a RR ticket to the West. On the map the town named "Ypsilanti" caught their eye and many detrained there.

Tom Drake

Sat, Apr 13, 2013 : 5:15 p.m.

named after and just not jsut. pardon my poor typing skills.

Tom Drake

Sat, Apr 13, 2013 : 5:13 p.m.

cairo illinois is locally pronounced like karo syrup, even though named for the city in egypt. sa-leen mich. was names after the say-leen springs found there by native americans, it jsut gets to be however you learned it.

tom swift jr.

Sat, Apr 13, 2013 : 5:11 p.m.

On an initial trip to California, I was looking for La Jolla Drive. I got a bit lost, pulled into a gas station, went in and asked the Hispanic clerk how to get to (pronounced phonetically with very prominent "l"s in the way I said it ) La Jolla Drive. It took him about five minutes to stop laughing before he could give me directions. I went back to the car and explained to my fluent in Spanish wife what had happened. She laughed for about 10 minutes.

Ann English

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 12:33 a.m.

La Jolla is pronounced La Hoya. Listening to an audio CD version of Michael Crichton's novel, Next, I frequently heard the California city's name pronounced La Hoya. I knew Spanish rules of pronunciation well enough to realize that La Jolla fit those rules and therefore must be the La Jolla, California that Henry Kendall (the protagonist of the story) resided in. In Spanish, a double L is pronounced as "y" the consonant.


Sat, Apr 13, 2013 : 9:21 p.m.

What is the correct pronunciation? Now I'm paranoid... :)


Sat, Apr 13, 2013 : 5:05 p.m.

At merchandise call centers, I sometimes hear "Ann Harbor." Other confuse "Ann" and "Anne" (as in Anne Arundel County, Maryland). Anne Arundel County is the home of Anna-polis). So there you have the 3 Ann's: 1. Ann, 2. Anne and 3. Anna. Hmm . . . Any other important news breaking on Saturday afternoon?

Eric S

Sat, Apr 13, 2013 : 4:35 p.m.

What Anna said. I would have accepted MY-len, although I personally prefer Anna's reading. So, if a list of mispronounced cities gets the correction wrong, should it move up the list?


Sat, Apr 13, 2013 : 4:33 p.m.

I don't know how Ypsilanti didn't make the list


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 10:46 a.m.

Tag.....The only other Ypsilanti is in North or South Dakota (as far as I know )


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 6:05 a.m.

I don't know if it's still true today but it's the only word in the english language that starts with YP. About 5 towns across the USA have the same name.

Ann English

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 12:27 a.m.

If you're in Ypsilanti or near it as a child, you hear it pronounced correctly before you learn to read. That can help you avoid giving the Y two sounds one after the other. I was more to mispronounce the names of other STATES after learning to read them, because I didn't have close associations with them.


Sat, Apr 13, 2013 : 7:54 p.m.

If you call the Ypsilanti CVS, the recorded message at the pharmacy pronounces it "IP-se-LON-tay," which always cracks me up, as if that pronunciation classes it up more.


Sat, Apr 13, 2013 : 5:05 p.m.

Paula...Same thing happened to me.I ordered something from California when he asked the city I just spelled it to him.He said "that sounds like Ypsilanti " (proper pronunciation) he was from South Lyon

Paula Gardner

Sat, Apr 13, 2013 : 4:44 p.m.

Good point! I'll never get tired of hearing people saying Yip-si-lan-tee. When I lived there I once had a JCrew catalog operator call it Y-P-silantee ; the next time I called, the woman taking my order breezed through it correctly, then told me she was an EMU grad.


Sat, Apr 13, 2013 : 4:12 p.m.

slow news day?


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 1:05 a.m.

Well, I think it's pretty amazing that our My-len made it onto this list of some quite illustrious cities. Very enjoyable read!


Sat, Apr 13, 2013 : 4:30 p.m.

Just like yours ( apparently ) what would you prefer ? a fire ? a shooting ? a traffic accident ?

Paula Gardner

Sat, Apr 13, 2013 : 4:22 p.m.

Kind of. But we'd write this on a busy day, too.


Sat, Apr 13, 2013 : 4:06 p.m.

I love it when news anchors butcher Saline!


Sat, Apr 13, 2013 : 3:37 p.m.