I was born in Iowa. You may not think it’s far from Minnesota, but you would be wrong. By way of accents, at least where I came from in Iowa, the two states are world’s apart. We moved to the town I grew up in in Minnesota when I was going into first grade. I was six years old. I was teased a lot in first grade for calling pens “pins”, and random other words like that.
I lived in Georgia as a nanny for six months when I was 20. In the 6 months that I lived there, I was teased mercilessly about my Minnesotan accent. Then, once I came home, I was teased about the slight southern accent I had acquired down there in order to not be so badly teased for my MN accent. What’s the deal with all the teasing?? I tease because I love. I always assume the same is true for others. After living down there, I started really listening to people’s accents, and I have to say Minnesotans have quite the variety of accents. Here are some that I’ve noticed in all of my years of living here.
1. The people who talk like they are in the movie “Fargo”. Of all of the people I know who live in Fargo, I’ve never heard any of them speak like that. However, I definitely know some Minnesota peeps who speak with this accent.
2. The people who have an old school European accent. Not an English accent or anything like that. It’s more like this, “Ohh, Dae-vuht, how’ss werk going thesse dayss?” (David, how’s work going these days?) Notice the accent on the esses? They also may or may not say things like, ” Shad, please feed the shickens”. (Chad, please feed the chickens) – I didn’t have much experience with this type of Minnesotan accent until I met Dave’s grandparents. I LOVE listening to them talk. And I love listening to Dave talk with them because he takes on the accent as he’s talking with them and for at least an hour after we head home, he has this accent.
3. The people who talk without an accent for the most part, but get stuck on the OHs sometimes. MinnesOHta. DOHn’tcha knOHw. I definitely fall into this category. I like to say things like pOp (you know, like sOHda?) in kind of a nasally voice. Embrace my Minnesota-ness like that. We also like to pronounce the word bags like “baygs”. In Georgia I always got teased for saying “wok” when I was going to waLk somewhere. They pronounce every letter down south. And very slowly as well. They all thought I talked fast when I lived down there. It’s funny because when I lived down south, at first I really liked the soft-spoken and drawl-y way that women spoke down there. But after a while, I got homesick for the louder, faster, more nasally sound of a Minnesotan accent.
Here are some translations you may need, should you ever choose to visit the great state of Minnesota:
Uff-dah: pronounced “oof-dah”: used in sentences like, “Uff-dah, it’s going to be a humid and hot summer this year”.
Dontcha know: used in sentences like “Well that Swenson girl married that Anderson boy instead of the Larson boy, dontcha know”. (Those are some good MN last names). Usually answered with a “yah, yah, we knew dat one”. (Eze’s got a good MN “yah” going on already).
Yah sure, you betcha: (Thanks to Inga (good Minnesota name) for reminding me of this one) used in sentences like:
“Oh yah, hey der Lars, could you help me pull my tractor out of dat der pasture today?”
“Yah sure, you betcha, Sven. I’ll be over right after I help Greta finish canning da lutefisk today.”
Lutefisk: Don’t EVER eat this if you get invited to a Lutefisk Feed, unless you have a stomach of steel. It’s a kind of fermented fish. Don’t worry, you’ll smell it before you see it.
Any of you other hearty Minnesotans have any other good words we can translate for the friendly folks who read this here blog?