In Buzz

What's the statute of limitations in calling the U.S. Bank Building the "First Wisconsin Building?"

M'waukee's most mispronounced and misused words

There's hardly a major city in America that doesn't have its own regional accent, colloquialisms and verbal idiosyncrasies. Back in 2004, we took a serious look at the Milwaukee accent, but this time around, we're highlighting the lighter side of our local dialect: the mispronunciations, the phrases and the abbreviations that make sense to Brew City -- but perhaps nowhere else.

We came up with more than 50 examples, but instead picked a handful of our favorites to feature. Chime in below with your favorite "Milwaukeeisms" using the Talkback feature below.

In alphabetical order:

Apostrophe "s" -- We've already blogged about this, but pick any restaurant or bar, and you'll find Milwaukeeans who will add an "apostrophe s" to make it possessive. That makes sense for Vitucci's or Victor's or Axel's. It doesn't make sense for BBC's, Nomad's or Trocadero's.

Brewer game -- You hear people say, "I'm going to the Brewer game tonight," but surely they're referring to the entire team, right? It's not just nitpicking; imagine Cleveland fans talking about the "Indian game" or Chicagoans taking in a "Cub game." As much as Milwaukeeans love to add an "apostrophe s" to everything, they drop the plural when talking about their sports team.

"Fonjulock" -- Yes, we're actually talking about Fond du Lac, the avenue and the city. File this one under other French-inspired Wisconsin cities like "Oh Klare."

"Highway A hunnert" -- When did "Highway 100" morph into this strange variation? Entire numbers and letters have gone missing. Maybe they can be found at Capitol Court (no longer there) or Mitchell Field (which has been Gen. Mitchell International Airport for years) or inside the First Wisconsin Building (read: U.S. Bank Building).

New Berlin -- Spelled the same way, but not pronounced like the German capital. Rumor has it that locals changed the pronunciation during World War I, when it wasn't cool to be Teutonic. Speaking of which, we're pretty sure that Teutonia Avenue shouldn't be pronounced "Tie-tone-ya."

"O'Creek" -- That's Oak Creek, by the way. It's very close to -- "acrosst" the way from, actually -- Wes Stallis (otherwise known as West Allis). Oddly, O'Creek isn't called O'Crick, which is how most Wisconsinites pronounce the word, "creek."

Honorable mention:

  • Borrow me (lend me)
  • Brown Port (Riverpoint)
  • Bubbler (water fountain)
  • Counnie Stadium (Milwaukee County Stadium)
  • Dere (there)
  • Down by (by)
  • Grand Avenue Mall (The Shops of Grand Avenue)
  • Irregardless (regardless)
  • Journal (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
  • Mark Antanasio (Mark Attanasio)
  • Melk (milk)
  • Mike Holmgrum (Mike Holmgren)
  • Milwaukee Art Center (Milwaukee Art Museum)
  • Once (unnecessary preposition at the end of sentences)
  • Over by (by or near)
  • P.A.C. (the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts)
  • Pellow (pillow)
  • Port Road (Port Washington Road)
  • Robin Yunt (Yount)
  • Ruff (roof)
  • Ruht (root)
  • Samwich (sandwich)
  • Shprecher (Sprecher)
  • Stop and go lights (stoplights)
  • The Calatrava (Milwaukee Art Musuem)
  • TYME Machine (ATM)
  • Viaduck (viaduct)

Talkbacks

rm2now | May 27, 2016 at 8:04 a.m. (report)

Noosepaper instead of newspaper.

Rate this:
  • Average rating: 0.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

wwinkler | Aug. 27, 2015 at 9:05 a.m. (report)

What's the deal with "mah-naze" for mayonnaise? The first two syllables are MAY and O. Where does "mah" come from?

Rate this:
  • Average rating: 0.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

wwinkler | Aug. 27, 2015 at 8:58 a.m. (report)

It's hard to break the habit of saying "The Journal." Journal Sentinel is just too long.

Rate this:
  • Average rating: 0.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

wwinkler | Aug. 27, 2015 at 8:57 a.m. (report)

When we were little, we called a footstool a hassock. I haven't heard anyone else ever say that. Maybe it was Czechoslovakian.

Rate this:
  • Average rating: 0.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Vivian124 | Aug. 20, 2015 at 2:39 p.m. (report)

A lot of these verbal quirks have parallells in German or in the Scandinavian languages, where a lot of the initial European immigrants to Wisconsin originated. I'm not sure about Polish.

Rate this:
  • Average rating: 0.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5


Show me the other 33 Talkbacks
38 comments about this article.
Post a comment / write a review.

Facebook Comments

Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.