Friday, December 15, 2006

How to Talk Minnesotan--The Glamorous Redneck way

When I moved from California to Virginia, I didn’t really notice much of a difference in speech patterns. The general SoCal speak is slow and drawn out. Granted I heard “y’all” a lot more on the East coast, but that was the only vocal difference I noticed.

However, when I moved to Minnesota from Virginia, it was a HUGE difference. I constantly found myself saying “what did you just say?” because people here talk so damn fast! My friends would constantly be rolling their eyes at me because 85% of conversations consisted of me saying “What are y’all talking about? Could you speak just a little bit s-l-o-w-e-r?”

There are a lot of other differences in pronunciation as well. Milk comes out as malk. Bag sounds more like beg. And words with an “o” in them are just different. Think the movie Fargo. Long and drawn out. Don’t even get me started on the whole “soda” verses “pop” debate because while I’m not nearly as stubborn as I once was, I will. Not. Bend. on that discussion. And I was so perplexed when people would ask me what I was having for dinner at 12:00 in the afternoon. I’d look at them like “what? I don’t know. Call my mom and ask her.” That is until someone was kind enough to actually explain that meals go like this out here: Breakfast (between 6:30-8:00 am), Lunch (9:30 am snack), Dinner (noon), Lunch (2:30 pm), Supper (6:00 pm). And after spending a winter here, I understood why they had so many meal times—you need all those extra calories to stay warm!

For the first year or so that I lived here, I was annoyed by all the pronunciation differences. I was certain that I wasn’t going to fall into that. I would hold on to my “Southern” accent for the three years I was stuck here and then I’d be gone. And, well, we all know how that worked out, don’t we?

While I still say milk and bag and hand correctly, I cannot stop myself from turning “gross” into “groooos” unless I’m actually thinking about what I’m saying. I hear myself and I cringe.

What about you? Have you moved around a lot and noticed different pronunciations? Or can you point out the regional nuances just because you hear them naturally?

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

One that I wish would spread is how we name interstates. On the west coast, an interstate highway is referred to as "The Five." The rest of the country will call an interstate "I-95" or something similar depending on the number. I like "the..." better. Oh well.

Anonymous said...

Even living in Eastern Montana speech differences were pretty obvious once I moved to ND. Montanans still speak more quickly than anyone in the south, but it's still a more relaxed and open accent. The further east I move, the worse I get. I'm looking forward to moving to Tennessee for a few months, just to see what happens.

Anonymous said...

I have lived in the South my entire life. Of course, I don't think I have an accent - but when I call other parts of the country on business, I typically hear, "I love your accent."

People also give me a hard time about "y'all" and "fixin'".

Monique said...

I've stayed in the midwest, but ended up in Indiana after growing up in Michigan. In Indiana, people say highway for just about any road, whereas I say expressway for roads that are well, expressways. I also say "bar-rette" for barrette and "cran" for crayon. I get made fun of a lot for that by my Hoosier bitch friends lol.

Anonymous said...

cran drives me crazy. :)

I say measure wrong apparently. randy used to always give me shit about it, as did my old wisconsin-ite roommate. apparently I say mezhyur, and it's mayzhyur. how do you say it?

Anonymous said...

oh ick! don't listen to randy bsg! you are TOTALLY right.

and ps. have you HEARD the wisconsin accent? they're the WORST. the end.

Anonymous said...

ps. i even just looked up measure in the dictionary. montana is totally right on this one. woo big sky!

Anonymous said...

I lived in Abilene, Texas for two years. After being born and raised in California, two years is apparently all it takes to start saying "y'all", "fixin'" and "yeehaw". I left Texas and moved back to CA. fifteen years ago, but I STILL say y'all.

Mr. Fabulous said...

I bet you say pop instead of soda now don't you? :)

jenn said...

my hubby served a mission in the midwest and he still talks about how funny they talk there.

People tell me I have an Idaho accent, but I didn't know that Idahoans had accents. :)