Do you ever find yourself wondering…is Minnesota a good place to live? Read our pros and cons post from a local and find out now:

Have you ever seen a word and not known how it’s pronounced? Well, you’ll see those kinds of words all the time if you visit Minnesota – so in today’s article we’ll help prep you so you’ll be talking like a Minnesotan in no time at all…you betcha! 

Scroll to the bottom of this page or CLICK HERE to watch our travel video “How to Pronounce Minneapolis…and other Minnesota Cities”

Hey, it’s Jack from Travel with Jack and Kitty. 

You know I flunked my way through an English degree at Winona State University. One day I had to read a story I had written out loud to the entire class. I vividly remember one of my professors laughing at me because I didn’t know how to correctly pronounce a word I had used in my story. This didn’t make sense to me at all.

Why laugh?

To me this just showed my professor had a limited point of view. You see, I read a lot. And there’s a ton of words that I’ve read that I’ve never heard spoken before. I’m telling you this story because if you mispronounce a word – it’s not funny or something to be ashamed of – it just means you’ve read that word, but never heard it said out loud.

I’ve always been proud to mispronounce words…there’s no shame in that. By the way, that professor said I’d never make it as a writer. I’m proud to say I’ve made my living as an author for the past decade or so.

How to Pronounce Minneapolis…and other Minnesota Cities

Anyways, let’s get into the article…

A lot of people have a hard time pronouncing the name of our largest city, so let me help you.

Minneapolis is pronounced as “min-ee-ap-uh-lis.”

How to pronounce Minnesota?

In case you’re wondering, Minnesota is pronounced as “min-uh-soh-tuh.”

Hardest cities in Minnesota for tourists to pronounce?

There’s a lot of cities in Minnesota with names that are a bit hard to pronounce…if you’ve never heard them spoken out loud before. Let me tell you a few…

1. Wayzata – pronounced as “why-zet-uh”

2. Mahtomedi – pronounced as “mah-toh-mee-die”

3. Shakopee – pronounced as “shahk-uh-pee”

4. Burnsville – pronounced as “burns-vil”

5. Chanhassen – pronounced as “chan-hass-en”

6. Edina – pronounced as “ee-die-nuh”

7. Owatonna – pronounced as “oh-wuh-tawn-uh”

8. Brainerd – pronounced as “bray-nerd”

9. Bemidji – pronounced as “buh-mij-ee”

10. Sauk Rapids – pronounced as “sock rap-ids”

Love Minnesota? You betcha!

If you love Minnesota as much as we do, you’ll probably love these cute items. They’ll definitely have you saying, “oh for cute”! Hehe…

Why does Minnesota have such hard city names to pronounce?

Maybe you’re wondering: why does Minnesota have such hard city names to pronounce? Well, the difficult city names in Minnesota can be attributed to several factors, including:

Native American Influence

Many of Minnesota’s city names have roots in the Native American languages spoken in the region. These languages often have unique sounds and pronunciations that can be difficult for non-native speakers to master.

European Influence

Minnesota was settled by European immigrants, who often gave cities names that reflected their cultural heritage. These names may include letters or sounds that are uncommon in English, making them challenging to pronounce.

Regional Dialects

Minnesota has a unique dialect that includes distinct vowel sounds and intonations. This dialect can make city names sound different from how they would be pronounced in other parts of the country.

Overall, the difficulty of pronouncing Minnesota’s city names is a result of its complex history and the influence of various cultures and languages in the region…which, if you think about it, is actually pretty cool.

Make the most of your time in Minnesota! Click here for a FREE COPY of our new eBook, or you can support us by purchasing it on Amazon.

Will Minnesotans laugh at me if I mispronounce a city name?

Now Minnesotans most likely will not laugh if you mispronounce a city name. Folks here are generally friendly and welcoming, and they are used to hearing mispronunciations of their city names from people who are not from the area. Most people in Minnesota would not find it rude or offensive if someone mispronounced a city name. In fact, many Minnesotans would be happy to help someone learn the correct pronunciation. So, if you are visiting Minnesota and struggling with a city name, don’t be afraid to ask a local for help – they will likely be happy to assist you.

What is the best way to ask if I am pronouncing something correctly?

If you are unsure about the correct pronunciation of a word or city name in Minnesota, the best way to ask if you are pronouncing it correctly is to simply ask the person you are speaking with.

You can say something like:

“Excuse me, I’m not from around here and I’m not sure if I’m pronouncing this correctly. Could you tell me how to say Way-z-ata?”

Or, you could try:

“I’m sorry if I’m mispronouncing this, but could you tell me how you say E-din-a?”

By showing that you are aware that you might be mispronouncing the word or city name and asking politely for help, most people will be happy to assist you and will appreciate your effort to get it right.


At the end of the day, Minnesotans are pretty laid back and won’t care if you know how to pronounce a city’s name…so don’t let it stress you out. Just come here, eat some tater tot hot dish and have a good time. Hope this helps. Lemme know in the comments the weirdest Minnesota city names you’ve encountered…talk to you soon! 

Have a super day!

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About the Authors
Jack and Kitty Norton are Emmy Award winning travel experts. They have spent a lifetime on the road: as traveling musicians, documentary filmmakers and television producers. They now focus on writing for their travel blog ( and making fun videos for their YouTube channel. Jack and Kitty offer travelers fun and quirky things to do in Minnesota, the Midwest and beyond. High school sweethearts turned married soulmates, the couple lives in the small college town of Winona, Minnesota and would love to have you over for some hotdish.

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