Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Speaking Minnesotan


I think it's time for me to face the facts. I speak Minnesotan. I never wanted to do it but it was pointless to resist. I was born into it, there was no escape.

Minnesota, land of 10,000 lakes and 14,000 odd pronunciations.

I only lived in Minnesota for a couple of years before moving away but apparently the dialect made a big impression on me. No matter where I lived as I was growing up people would say "You're from Minnesota aren't you?" Depending on my mood I would respond with "Yah, sure! You betcha!" or "Nuhooooo!" (That's "no" to you non-Minnesotan speakers.)

The Minnesota dialect is a powerful thing but it's not the only influence on my speech. The six years that I lived in California did a number on the way I talk. My conversations skills have been seriously dumbed down by the fact that I can't get through two sentences in a row without throwing in a "you know" or "like" or "whatever". Here's a hint for all of you unfamiliar with the West coast. Californians aren't all stupid. They just sound that way.

I've also been effected by living on various Air Force bases for many of my formative years. I think of Jesse's boss as his "first shirt". I want things done asap. Not ASAP, asap. I sometimes think that I need to stop at the BX for something or other.

I don't think my time in Colorado had any effect on my accent at all. Colorado, like much of the middle of he country is kind of vanilla when it comes to accents. Why is that do you suppose? Why is it that the north, south, east and west have such strong, recognizable dialects while the middle of the country doesn't? How do they speak so normally with stupid speech patterns invading them from every side?

But I digress. The point is that I've finally come to accept my Minnesota dialect. It took living here for 11+ years but I've finally embraced my Minnesota speech. The other day I picked up something heavy and said "Oof-duh" without a hint of irony. I think I've fully assimilated.

Oh, one more thing. A quick tip for those of you non-Minnesotans who may someday find yourselves within our borders: If someone offers you a "salad" be prepared for the fact that whatever they give you will most likely contain jell-o and/or mini marshmallows.

I hope you've entered dat dere popcorn giveaway I've got going on right now. It ain't too bad a deal but it's endin' tonight.

12 comments:

Cathy said...

I always loved to listen to my extended family speak Minnesotan. Hearing a Minnesota accent reminds me of being a little girl and playing in the dirt at all those family reunions at "the barn".

Manager Mom said...

My husband was born in Minnesota and lived there for only one year, yet he has spent his entire life clinging to his love for the Twins, and trying to cultivate a Fargoian twang. Do you give lessons?

Laggin said...

I prefer a hot dish to a salad.

This entry was "oh fer cute!"

(My SIL is from Alex so I hear it all the time.)

Ben said...

The one that always killed me my senior year in high school was "You're from Minnesota? Do you talk like Fargo?"

(Yes, that was exactly how people always phrased it. Do you talk like Fargo.)

Also I think the only lasting effect the Air Force thing had on me was a tendency to look down on Army kids.

lexerdax said...

My husband's family is Norwegian, and over the years I've picked up a few phrases, including "oof-duh." In fact, it was one of our older daughter's first words! :)

heathenmommy said...

The Wisconsese (Minnesotan lite) drives me nuts here. And I only came from one state away!

Alison Wonderland said...

I love the Minnesota accent. I have no idea why, I've never even been to Minnesota but I find the accent completely charming.

Shamelessly Sassy said...

I speak Kentuckian. I'm sure a conversation between us would be hilarious.

Mandy said...

LMFAO.... this is one of the funniest posts I've read lately! I hear you loud and clear! Colorado may be vanilla when it comes to speech but my family and friends out there love to rag on how I say "couch" "boat" "saran wrap" and "mountain" when I'm out there! Thanks for the giggle!

Jen said...

cathy - You should visit me in Minnesota. Playing in the dirt is one of my favorite things to do!

manager mom - Have your husband call me and give me his credit card info. For only $4.99 a minute I'll teach him to talk like a native.

laggin - Augh! Hot dish! I hate that!

ben - Well, yes. The whole army thing? I was trying to be polite and not mention that. I didn't want to offend any grunts.

lexerdax - Oof-dah is a great word. There is no equivelant it. It's a wonderful first word.

heathenmommy - At least it's not Canadian. You can harld tell what those crazy kids are saying.

alison - We are a charming people. And a hearty people. And a bug bitten people.

shamlessly sassy - What? I can't understand a word you're saying.

mandy - When I lived in Colorado everyone mocked me for the way I said "milk". It's my strongest memory of the place. Ok, not really.

Mandy said...

lol, I forgot about milk, but it was my arizona roommates that made fun of me for that one. I'm betting you say it like "melk" as I use to do.... we can't help it, it's how everyone says it... lol

Kim said...

I was born in Dallas but raised in MN and I'm 39. I would just like to say that I am humiliated by the movie Fargo and HATE that people make fun of the accent and act like we're stupid! I live & work in Mpls and even though I've always been here, I'm proud to say I've never said oof da, you betcha, or any of the other things. My O's and A's are longer and I'm trying to correct it. Thanks for the tip on couch!! I will stop saying that now thank you! I have already switched over to soda from pop! I don't however know anyone in MN that says melk. In fact the DJ on our Pop station is from CO. and he says melk and everyone makes fun of him so I don't think you can blame that one on us. And I would also like to point out that Fargo is in North Dakota so I think they should be blamed for that! I don't think I've ever heard you betcha now that I think about it, unless people are making fun. Hmmm, strange! I'm glad you all like it and aren't laughing at us but I would like to speak more like a Californian myself!

Kim