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North Central Dialect
Transcript of North Central Dialect
Class: Lin 001Y
North Central Dialect
aka "Minnesota Accent"
Common Contractions and Phrases
There are a few distinct pronunciation differences between the North Central Dialect and General American
Linguist Erik R. Thomas believes that some of the unique vowel shifts in the North-Central Dialect are the direct result of language contact between the Scandinavians and Germans who immigrated to Minnesota in the late 1800's.
The most notable difference in grammar in the North Central Dialect is the use of the preposition "with." It is often used as an adverb, without the object. Where most people would say, "do you want to come with me?" Minnesotans just say, " do you want to come with?"
It is believed that this grammatical nuance came from either the Scandanavian, Dutch, or German immigrants
Where is the North Central Dialect spoken?
It is spoken in the upper Midwestern United States
It stretches from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to Eastern Montana
It includes portions of Minnesota, Iowa, North and South Dakota, and Wisconsin
The Minnesota accent is, in a sense, a stereotype of the North Central Dialect.
A vowel shift affecting /aj/ (vowel sound in buy) and /aw/ (vowel sound in cow), but only IF they are pronounced before voiceless constants (sounds being pronounced without the larynx vibrating)
Northern Cities Vowel Shift
One of the several sound changes in the Northern Cities Vowel Shift that is prevalent in Minnesota is the raising and tensing of /æ/ (the vowel sound in cat). In extreme cases Minnesotan's and other speakers in the upper midwest and east coast region of the U.S. will pronounce that vowel sound as /ɪə/ (vowel sound in pier or beer).
Darker blue = North central Dialect
There are many words/phrases that are unique to Minnesota and they tend to have unpredictable meanings. A few of the most common ones are outlined below.
Uff-da is of Norweigein origin and is used to express surprise, astonishment, relief or sensory overload in general. For example, you may say "Uff-Da" when you wake up and look out the window to a few feet of fresh snow.
Up North is not a direction, as in "go up north on Highway 165N." Up North is simply a location (north, east, south, or west) where your cabin is.
While the term "hot dish" does technically refer to a specific type of casserole, in practice it is used to refer to any casserole.
Example: First 4 seconds of this video
If someone in Minnesota is going ice fishing and asks, "do you want to come with?" Just say NO!!!! Trust me...
Two notable pronunciation differences include what is known as Canadian Raising and the Northern Cities Vowel Shift
The word "back" at 2:20
Also, notice "about" at 2:22 (Canadian Raising)
In Minnesota people will ask for a grocery "byag" ([bɪəg])
are affected, but not
A form of agreement; often used with "dontcha know." Can also be used to give an affirmative response, in other words it can also mean yes.
You betcha (bet+you)
Darn-tootin means yes! for sure! or fine! (can be used in excitement, or frustration)
"Are we going deer hunting this weekend?"
When literally translated, it means "don't you know." However, Minnesotans will add this word to the end of a sentence to make sure the listener understands, as if saying "do you understand?" It can also be added to the end of a sentence to engage the listener.
Thank you for listening!
Dialect Survey Results
From the University of Wisconsin at Madison
[ɑ] as in "ah"
[æ] as in "ant"
Major Pronunciation in
[u] as in "coop" (coopon)
[ju] as in "cute" (cyoopon)
[æ] as in "man"
[eja] (2 syllables "cray-on")
[ʒ] as in the middle consonant of "measure"
[dʒ] as in "edge"
Note: There were more than two pronunciations for each word; only the two major ones are given
Speakers of the North Central Dialect have several common phrases made via contractions. These phrases are often considered improper English to many individuals who are not familiar with the North-Central Dialect. This aspect of the dialect is believed to be a result of many years of blended versions of English spoken by individuals that migrated to Minnesota from over 43 countries to work in the iron mines. Many Norwegians, Swedish, and Scandinavian individuals migrated over to Minnesota, to name a few. A few of the more distinct phrases are outlined below.
*Not a contraction,
just an interesting phrase
Blue = Pop
Red = Soda
One further distinction to make is the term a sweet carbonated beverage. In a significant part of the United States, the term pop is used, which is rare in California.