How do you say it? It ends in “awe,” never “ack”. Never, ever. Make Mackinac rhyme with Saginaw. Doesn’t that sound nicer? If you simply MUST say “ack”, you can call the bridge “The Big Mac.” That’s the only time you can say “ack”.
So, what’s with the spelling? Well, it’s confusing. So, while we’re at it, let’s get the spelling right, too.
- Mackinac Island
- Mackinac Bridge
- Straits of Mackinac
- Fort Michilimackinac
- Mackinaw City
Why the confusion? Blame the French. And the British. You can even blame the area’s Native Americans. When Europeans got here (the French first), they picked up on all these words spoken by the local people and tried to write them down in their own language.
Are there other Mackinaw things? You bet. A mackinaw can also be cloth or coat made from thick woolen material, pronounced with an “awe.”
What does Mackinac – or Mackinaw – even mean? Mackinac – and Mackinaw – are abbreviations for Michinnimakinong. Michinnimakinong is four words mashed together; mish-inni-maki-nong. In English they mean great connecting sound fault land or place. That, of course, is a good way to describe the Mackinac area.