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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Minneso-ahta

  I’m on vacation this week in Minnesota —the land of 10,000 lakes, coffee shops that look more like ski lodges, and some darn entertaining accents.  I love listening to Minnesotans talk about picking up a case of rutbeer (a popular kind of paap).  They’ll load their paap into a baig and head to the parking ramp to pick up the car.  Perhaps this errand has brought us to the town of Maple Grove—otherwise known as Mapa Gro-ahv if I can try to capture the sound phonetically.  It’s a truly great “o” to roll around in your mouth.
  When I, on the other hand, talk about rewtbeer (a popular kind of soda) in a bayug going out to the parking garage, there’s no way anyone would mistake me for a Minnesotan.  And I was definitely never confused with a Louisiana native when teaching in the South.  It was often hard to understand the accent and phrases of South Louisiana, and many people I met didn’t really know what to make of my speech patterns.  “Excuse me,” a police officer once asked me as I sat at a diner with my dad, chatting away in our non-Boston Massachusetts-ese (i.e. normal pronunciation).  “We’ve got a bet going here –are you in telemarketing?” 
  When I started teaching in Louisiana, what I knew as a backpack containing some crayons and a mechanical pencil became a booksack with colors and a pencil-pen.  The air conditioning and lights could be “cut on” rather than “turned on” and a stapler morphed into a staple machine.  Southerners are always “fixin’ to” go somewhere or do something, or sometimes even just “fi’in to.”   At the grocery store, “fixin’ to put some cold drinks in the buggy” translated into non-Southern speak as being “about to put some soda in the shopping cart.”  Those carbonated sugary drinks in cans sure do come in a wide variety of names!

   What are the particularly funny (or supposedly “normal”) pronunciations or words where you live?
Image: http://statehouserock.com/minnesota/

5 comments:

Teacher Stuff said...

I was in Minnesota years ago when I was in high school. Being from Southern California, I never knew I had an accent. People in Minn. thought we were from Alabama. Talk about a shock! I had never been asked what kind of "pop" I wanted til I got there. Strange that I didn't hear everyone saying "dude" like we did back then!

Sarah said...

When we moved to Texas, I discovered that "crayons" are actually "crowns" down here. Shocking ;)

Anonymous said...
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MrsKP said...

I never thought I had an accent, but I was on vacation one year when a man came up and asked if we were from Georgia. I was shocked he could tell!!

I get a "coke" when I go out to eat. What kind? Dr. Pepper.

Anonymous said...

I spent a year living in Japan (moving there from Sydney, Australia my home), on my return i discovered just how used to local pronunciations i had become when i walked into a takeaway food place and asked for "a large cock", unfortunatly my jetlagged mind took a while to catch up and that now i was home again i really did have to ask for a "coke"