Skip to comments.Vowel Movement: How Americans near the Great Lakes are radically changing the sound of English
Posted on 08/24/2012 2:10:57 PM PDT by JerseyanExile
On July 4, 1960, the Eugene (Ore.) Register-Guard rang in Independence Day with a dire Associated Press report by one Norma Gauhn headlined American Dialects Disappearing. The problem, according to speech experts, was the homogenizing effect of mass communications, compulsory education, [and] the mobility of restless Americans. These conformist pressures have only intensified in the half-century since the AP warned that within four generations virtually all regional U.S. speech differences will be gone. And so as we enter the predicted twilight of regional American English, its no surprise that publications as venerable as the Economist now confirm what our collective intuition tells us: Television and the Internet are definitely doing something to our regional accents: A Boston accent that would have seemed weak in the John F. Kennedy years now sounds thick by comparison.
Before you start weeping into your chowdah, though, I have some news: All these people are wrong. Not about the Boston accent, necessarily; that one might really be receding. But American linguistic diversity as a whole isnt dyingits thriving. Despite our gut-level hunch about the direction of the language; despite the fact that 70-cent, three-minute, off-peak, coast-to-coast long-distance calls that cost four inflation-adjusted dollars in 1970 are now free; despite cheap travel, YouTube, and the globalization of film and television, American dialects are actually diverging.
There are multiple examples of such divergence. But none is as dramatic, as baffling to linguists, and as mysteriously under the collective radar as whats happening in the cities that ring the Great Lakes. From Syracuse, N.Y., in the east to Milwaukee in the west, 34 million Americans are revolutionizing the sound of English. Linguists first noted aspects of the change in the late 1960s.
(Excerpt) Read more at slate.com ...
I’ve been told that we have a somewhat southern accent in extreme southern Michigan. Mostly central and east. However Michigan is actually a large state with some petty distant corners.
I use the term “winder” out of habit.
I have been watching the Little League World Series playoffs, and when the team from Tennessee played, each player looked into the camera and stated his name, position and favorite pro baseball player.
Not one kid from the Tennessee team had a Tennessee accent, or any kind of Southern sounding accent.
It’s the water...
If people who lived in Detroit or Cleveland had any self-awareness they would have hanged themselves in shame a long time ago.
Map of the infected regions.
Michigan has an accent, but it’s not drastic. “Tire” is “tahr,” for example. I know because I picked it up.
SNL has skit about a shop called “Jack’s Back Pack Shack” that highlighted an extreme version of the Great Lakes accent. Kinda like Dan Ackroyd’s Elwood Blues accent on steroids.
Michigan Pronunciation Guide
“aeh Narbor”: Ann Arbor. Home of the Michigan Wolverines.
“Bob-lo”: Bois Blanc. The name shared by several Michigan islands (and a former amusement park).
“Char-LOTT”: Charlotte, a Michigan village close to Lansing.
Related: Durand, MI, pronounced “DUrand”, Saline, pronounced “SuhLEEN”, its neighbor “MYlun” (spelled Milan), and of course, Lake Orion, pronounced “OReeyun.”
“Crick”: Creek, in some parts of the state, they say “crick”.
“Deerburn”: Dearborn, home of Ford Moder Company.
“Di’TROI’”: Detroit. You can always tell a non-native because they’ll say “DEEtroit”.
“Drownded”: Drowned. “
“FI-yerr”: Fire. Say it in two full syllables.
“Graage”: Garage. Ahhh, shuddup an’ go parrk yer cahrr in the friggin’ graage. (another one from Tim)
“Gran Blank”: Grand Blanc, a suburb of Flint.
“Grrarapids”: Grand Rapids
“Hunnerd”: Hundred. Alternate pronunciation: “hundrid”.
“I-munna”: I’m going to.
“Kiddycorner”: Kitty-corner. Elsewhere in the US: “catty-corner”.
“KI-nuh”: Kind of. I dunno, I kinuh like Vernor’s.
“LayKEERie”: Lake Erie.
“liVONEya”: Livonia. Perhaps the fladdes’ ciddy in Michigin.
“Michiganderr”: Michigan native.
“Muskeeda”: Mosquito. The State Bird of Michigan.
“Er”: Or. Ya know, it wuz like watchin’ X-Files er somethin’.
“Pahp”: Pop. “Soda”, in other parts of the world.
“Port Urine”: Port Huron.
“Reeelatur”: Realtor. This one sent in by Joe in KalamazOOOOOO.
“Sherbert”: Sherbet. Is this unique to Michigan? Another one from Kalamazoo Joe.
“Stold”: Stole. “
“Tuh”: To. It’s hardta get inta the habita sayin’ teeeoooo.
“U-sta”: Used to. My deead u-sta work at th’ Tek-Cenner in Warn.
“Winzerr”: Windsor, Ontario.
Here in south central Michigan there are a lot of southerners who have been here for 2 or 3 generations but still have close family in the south so they don’t really lose their accents.
My last boss was a guy named Gator who has never lived south of the state line.
I’ve lived, and my family has lived, in SE Lower MI for over 150 years. I’ve been told that I have a Cleveland accent. What’s really odd about this: that’s the area from which my family moved those 150, or so, years ago.
My DH says I speak, “Monroe-vian.”
Spartan fan, eh?
Nah, I don’t have a preference there. I’m Baseball and NASCAR.
“Not one kid from the Tennessee team had a Tennessee accent, or any kind of Southern sounding accent.”
The South has been invaded by cocka-roaches from around the planet, they love moving to Nashville and ‘discovering’ it. I thank God for the wise and compassionate New Yorkers who lifted us up from Cracker barbarity. I even read an article about this Yankee lady ‘discovering’ Primm Springs in Hickman Cty. (where my people have been living since the late 1700’s) and I never knew the rustic charm before that moment.
It’s a changing world ain’t it.
Everyone has regional dialects.
“squeet” Let’s go eat.
“wudja” as in “wudjado”: What did you do.
“woodja” as in “woodjago”: Would you go.
“howzat”: How’s that.
There’s a bit of southern influence, especially if you get south of I-70:
You get the idea.
That's due to so many southerners moving to the lower counties-SE mostly-to work. Many that live in the City of Monroe sound like they just moved from Appalachia and they don't call it Ypsitucky for nothing.
In North Dakota, people keep their money in a beenk, and send their kids to skoo-wull.
Here in Dallas you sure don’t hear the Texas accent a lot.
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