Why you say Mackinaw but it is truly Mackinac

So this is the infamous question. Why don’t you pronounce it as it is spelled? I for one was a guilty party forever and a day for spelling it with a W and not a C. It was brought to my attention in a group I belong too.

So many ask why is it said and spelled differently? The name Michilimackinac, the place of the “Great Turtle”, was first given to Mackinac Island for its shape and was eventually given to the entire Straits of Mackinac region. In time, certainly by the 1820s, it was shortened to simply Mackinac. According to an article in Michigan Up North, the French built the fort and recorded as ending in a C but pronouncing in true French as ending in AW. This did confuse many and some would still province it sounding as though ending in – ACK.

Edward Conkling founder of the city changed the name to Mackinaw to match the sound. So in that area of upper Michigan you have Mackinaw City, Straits of Mackinac, Mackinac Bridge, and the ice breaker Mackinaw. These all are pronounced the same- if you say -nack at the end you are mispronouncing.

People who live on the island truly prefer you to spell it with the C ending. And to be honest I was doing it wrong for so long. This is just a classic example of it is spelled one way and said in another.

So there you have a quick little bit of info to help you know the history of the island. AND how to say and spell it 💜💜💜

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