"You Say it How in Michigan?" Offers Correct Pronunciations of State's Unique Cities and Places

Get the Names Right with New Online Guide Developed by the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons

Media Contact: LARA Communications 517-373-9280
Email: mediainfo@michigan.gov

January 12, 2017 - Whether you’ve lived here all your life, just moved here, or happen to be visiting or planning a vacation to this great state, there’s now an online directory to help you with the correct pronunciation of Michigan’s many unique cities and places. The “You Say it How in Michigan?” guide is the first-of-its-kind comprehensive directory, primarily developed to benefit audio book production for the blind and visually impaired, will benefit anyone looking to experience Pure Michigan.

“We initially developed the ‘You Say it How in Michigan?’ guide for narrators across the country during audio book production to get Michigan name and place pronunciations right,” said Susan Chinault, manager of the nationally recognized Michigan Braille and Talking Book Library (BTBL), where the guide was developed. “Actually the guide is invaluable for anyone, especially since Michigan has so many unique names that can be mispronounced.”

The guide includes an audio MP3 and the phonetic pronunciation of more than 2,200 listings from Cohoctah and Kitch-iti-kipi -- to Ypsilanti and Wequetonsing and everywhere in between, including the often debatable pronunciation of “Presque Isle.” The guide can be found by visiting www.michigan.gov/howtosayit or on the BTBL website at www.michigan.gov/btbl under “Pronunciation Guide.”

The BTBL is a division of the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons (BSBP). William Robinson, BSBP director praised the BTBL efforts saying, “the ‘You Say it How in Michigan?’ guide is a perfect example of an innovative outreach that illustrates the creativity of the library team. I have used the guide myself and it is a great resource to bookmark on your web browser.”

The BTBL loans books and magazines in braille and audio formats free of charge to those who qualify and serves more than 11,000 patrons annually. More than 556,500 braille and talking books were circulated in 2016, averaging 2,100 – 2,200 per day. There are 30,085 titles available in audio format and 10,275 titles available in braille. These include popular fiction and nonfiction, best sellers, how-to books, and talking book versions of magazines and foreign language materials. The BTBL is located on the first floor of the Michigan Library and Historical Center in downtown Lansing. 

The BTBL’s Local Recording Studio Program records books and magazines of Michigan and Great Lakes interest, as well as books by Michigan authors. The recordings are also made available to Libraries for the Blind nationwide through the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) service provided through the Library of Congress. 

For more information about or to apply for BTBL resources, call toll-free 800-992-9012 (TTY 888-864-1212) or visit www.michigan.gov/bsbp and click on the link titled “Braille and Talking Book Library,” then “Application.” The Bureau of Services for Blind Persons provides training and other services for individuals who are blind or visually impaired to achieve employment and/or independence in the careers of their choice. For more information about BSBP, visit www.michigan.gov/bsbp or call toll-free: 800-292-4200, (TTY 888-864-1212.)

Currently, there are more than 228,000* citizens in Michigan with a prevalence for vision loss and that number is expected to increase as baby boomers age.

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* American Foundation for the Blind (2013)