It may come as a surprise to visitors (and even many Minnesotans) that even the most simple sounding town names are pronounced differently by the locals. And while in the past I have written about great Minnesota town names, and the extremely uncreative ones, here are 6 towns in our great state that you are probably pronouncing wrong.
5. Winona, MN – A college town in the southeast region along the Mississippi River, Winona, MN is the namesake of the actress Winona Ryder who was born here in 1971. And while many think this one is pronounced “WHY-nona,” it actually is pronounced “WUH-nona.”
4. Faribault, MN – A very historic town south of Minneapolis about an hour, Faribault’s name comes from Alexander Faribault, was the son of Jean-Baptiste Faribault, a French-Canadian fur trader. Since the word Faribault is French in nature, what reads like “Fair-uh-balt,” this one is actually “FAIR-boh.”
3. New Prague, MN – Much like New Germany, New Ulm, or New London (all in Minnesota), New Prague was named after European immigrants who settled the area in the late 1800’s. However, locals will be quick to tell you that the “Prague” part rhymes with “bag,” not “bog,” like the capital city of the Czech Republic.
2. Gaylord, MN – Gaylord is a town of about 2300 people, and the county seat of Sibley County (southwest of the Twin Cities). And while it seems simple enough, folks ’round those parts commonly pronounce this one “GAIL-erd.”
1. Cosmos, MN – Cosmos is a cosmic-themed little town on the prairie, with streets named “Milky Way Street.” and “Gemini Ave,” and a galactic scene of spaceships and planets on its water tower. But puzzlingly enough, the locals pronounce it “COZ-mus.”
Honorable Mentions: Milan, MN (locals say MY-lin), Leroy, MN (Luh-ROY), and Miesville, MN (MEES-ville).
**Editor’s Note: Many locals of Leroy, MN, pointed out that locals pronounce it LEE-roy, and the out-of-towners often say “Luh-ROY.”