Midwest Horse Welfare Foundation, Inc. ----Discussion Forum

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I am laughing at all the lil nuance's we hear in different parts of the state.  There def. is a WI accent that is very easy to recognize, you just have to be away from it for awhile to recognize it.  And it is not too hard to tell a Milwaukee vs. Eau Claire vs. GB (Madison is big mix but you can tell it as general WI accent)

True story, was in New Orleans for business, female bartender serving us, after a few I asked; what part of WI ya from.  She said; I never said I was from WI.  I said; you didn't have to.  She kind of gave me an odd look like I was a stalker or something.  Next drink I said; you don't have to tell me what part, I already know.  She gave this look like ok smarty pants, what part am I from.  I said Eau Claire.  Her jaw dropped.  But I was wrong, she was from Thorp.  (I have relatives in the Chippewa area and she sounded just like they talk so it was an easy guess)

The North thing is funny too; took my boss, who was from Maryland, and a few other co-workers up to the cottage (about an hour or so NW of GB) for a weekend then for the Pack game on Sunday.  We got talking about somewhere and I said; no that is North of here.  My boss with big eyes said; you mean there is more North???  I thought the next stop was the North Pole.  He is the same guy that had a theory why so many of us wore blaze orange; he said our brains froze so solid in the winter it seemed like a normal color to us.  Smart-A$$ he was.
Lindsey N

Karen! You've heard the "n' so" thing too.  I was starting to think I was crazy, but the definition you gave it makes SO much more sense now in the context I heard it in.  Whew.

I love the way "th" becomes "t" up nort. When I asked one of my clients where he was from he told me he was from " up Nort" . When I asked where he said "Torp". Of course being the linguist that I am, I new immediately what he said. We also had close friends from the UP and ending every sentence with " eh" was common. The most interesting idiom I heard from our friend was " Holy Wah". I guess it was better than what I would have said. :). One more thing, natives say is Wis CON sin. Foreigners say WIS con sin. Dead giveaway.
Karen H
Growing up we always called the ATM Tyme machines, so when we were on vacation in North Carolina I went into the gas station and asked if they had a Tyme machine.  Oh my goodness did those two gentleman have fun with me!
That is funny Karen! 

Adding on to Mary's, did you ever notice how some of the announcers when calling the Packer game will pronounce it GREEN Bay with the emphasis on the Green?  Troy Aikman does that routinely. 

I notice a lot of different dialect and sayings around here and in different parts of the state like everyone else, and I think that part of it has to with heritage influences too, like German, Polish, etc.  I know for sure that there is surely a Polish influence in a lot of parts of the Stevens Point area.  Some of their routine sayings are very Polish oriented.  
I remember doing a photo shoot for someone a couple of years ago, I had never met them, and their "accent" was really strong...there are really different types and degrees right in our area.  We get a lot of telephone messages that we have to listen to, so we get to hear quite the variety. 
Tricia - No. WI
...and if you really want to start a dialogue, let's talk about funerals.  I grew up in Manitowoc County, and it just wasn't a funeral without ham on rolls w/poppy seeds, German potato salad (hot, of course), kolatches, a keg of beer, and tons of relatives hooting and hollering and telling stories...  Not that we don't also grieve appropriately, but it is also a celebration of life and reminiscing.  Inso?  You betcha!!
Tricia, I have been told by older siblings that is what we did in Milwaukee on special occasions.  Hard roles and ham and all the other fixens.  I miss my Grandmother's tangy hot potato salad.

I agree with Karen, we saw - see a lot of regional / ethnic carryovers in certain areas on food and sayings; German, Polish, Irish, Scandinavian, French Canadian, and more.  It is our WI heritage and I think it is pretty cool and a lil funny to look at.

This weekend, don't ya know I am going to grab a ham sandwich, a PBR, an watch dem Packers beat da Giants.  You betcha.  Do you think the Pack can beat da Giants?  Or no?  I just hope we don't tackle like a bunch girls for cripes sake.

YUP.. dem guys from Torp do talk differently and I sure could tell ya bout dat.  It's that Polish influence, like Karen said of Point.

Growing up there, ya thought everyone knew what a busha was and you got used to old ladies talking about you in Polish behind your back.

You are pretty amazing that you can tell different parts of the state apart!  I can tell when some are from Milwaukee or GB but not always.

I spent some time in Atlanta years ago and often had people stop and ask if I was from WisCON sin. They could tell the difference between Wis and Minn people and I thought it was wild. 


Chicago is also an easy one to identify.   I remember when I first met Christine's husband, Nick, I guessed that he was from Chicago.  :) 

Debr, I've met people out in Vegas and that area who could tell the difference between Wisconsin and Minnesota too. 

John, I find it amazing that you can tell the different parts of the state apart, because in my experience there seems to be a mix even within one area, and some areas are a lot like others too. 

Now craving sauerbraten....

Tricia - No. WI

Seems most of my dialect issues center around food...

"I had a bleener for breakfast."  And:  Were you at the smelt fry or schmelt fry?


I've never heard of a bleener, but I say it schmelt (I am half German).  I do like to say Gesundheit when someone sneezes. 

Sue J
My German grandparents were from Marathon WI and my Grandpa always said "in so" and the couch was a Davenport, and boy was my Grandma's German potato salad the bomb! I sure do miss them.
 I do not know what a bleener is, that one is new to me.  I say smelt. 

You are right Karen, it gets more and more mixed in the state so getting harder to pin-point accents.  That is why Madison is a tough one.  Cindy's part of the family are born and raised there and kind of have a general WI accent (daughter-in-law also) Def. can hear it but can't pin-point it.  Even Cindy and I hear the accent in our own families.  GB area and North starts getting more of that yooper flavor to it (relatives there too)  Western part of the state takes on that more MN flavor (Fargo)  Having relatives that have been born and raised on all sides of the state, when you hear someone talk you go; wow that sounds like my uncle in Eau Claire or my sis-in-law from GB or my aunt in Milwaukee.  Milwaukee has become tough to identify now though.  I can tell a Beloit accent though as I have a few friends from there and you would think they were from Kentucky with a splash of WI.

My best friend was born and raised in Chicago.  Oh yeah, a native Chicagoan is very easy to pick out.
They drop their H's after the T's but in a different way then WI.  "How about the tree of us get a beer" or "I'll bet the bod-of-yas da Bears win"  Has a definite Italian influence to it.

I worked with a brilliant Ph.D. physicist from the twin cities (his definition of the twin cities was Houghton - Hancock in the UP BTW)  You could tell he was Midwest in normal conversation, but get a few beers in him and wow, watch out, he reverted right back to his ole yooper dialect.  It was hilarious.  Fun to listen to the slight variations in accents.  One thing that is always a dead give-away with a MN-WI UP accent are how they drag their O's out with many words.  Just like a simple phrase; "oh I don't know"  Becomes oooh I doown't knoow.  I never heard it till I was away from it, but def. always heard more of it in the North.  It is not a dis, just what it is.

Kind of fun, some day it will probably be all vanilla

Tricia - No. WI
A bleener is a jelly-filled donut.  I go to the "smelt" fry and as the beers kick in, it turns to "schmelt."
OK, full disclosure: My client from "torp" had lots of "z" s, "c"s, "s"s and almost no vowels in his name.
What the heck is going on here?  This is all so foreign! 
Thanks Tricia on the bleener.
MJ, do they also say; yous guys in Torp? (as Karen mentioned)  I had a coach from Milwaukee and that was a big one with him.  Brings a smile to my face, I can still hear him saying; "Yous guys playen nutten but shinny hockey"  By the way that meant we were playing bad. 
Wow, how I can remember something like that from nearly 40's years ago is a mystery but yet I can forget what day garbage goes out.
Oh to add, Karen H. that is funny about the TYME machines too.  I thought it was a national thing also, I had never heard the term ATM till I moved out of state.  TYME machines had just come out when I was in HS and it was the only way I could deposit my checks and get money out as my hours were never the same as "Banker's Hours"

For anyone not knowing what TYME is, it stood for; Take Your Money Everywhere.  I have not even noticed, do they still call them that anywhere in WI?
Kara w.
I take phone calls for life insurance everyday from people all over the U.S.
I can figure out east and west coast pretty quick. SC has a very distinctive accent as well.
I am asked many times a day if I'm from MN and I very quickly answer back "nope I'm from wisconsin, just a little south of Green Bay."
You would not believe how many people will pick on you for your accent everyday. It can get a little old. Sometimes it can be fun but when you have been told the same thing for the 25th time that day... You loose the humer quickly. Here in wisconsin it's fine for us to pick on each other but other states are the ones with the accent not us :)
Oh and talking to people from FL they often say "it sounds like I'm home again"

It's bubbler not water fountain. A water fountain is what you throw pennies into to make a wish, and when you say good bye at the end of a phone call.... It's " mmbye"

Scott: MHWF
Kara, I worked in a call center about 20 years ago and still remember getting comments about being Canadian or from Minnesota all the time. At least it was an ice-breaker to warm up the conversation.

People always made fun of the way we say "about" and "roof" and I cannot tell you how many times people asked me if I ever rode on a snow machine?

Yes, South Carolina and Georgia have really distinct dialects, as does the east coast, but don't even get my started on Louisiana and trying to understand some of the Cajuns dialects....a totally different language in some cases. 
I'll tell ya, I interpret every day for my job and I didn't think I could ever get thrown for a loop.  Well, I will never forget sitting down out to dinner with my brother and sister-in-law down in Texas, meeting some of their friends.  When one of their friends (from Arkansas, near Texas) started talking to me I was thrown for that loop.  The first few sentences, I had absolutely no clue whatsoever what he said, at all, but we did make it through.  The guy sounded exactly like Boomhauer from King of the Hill, only a little harder to understand.  When we got out in the car after dinner Scott and I both started saying who we thought he sounded like and we didn't even have to finish and we all had a good laugh.  Funny, as long as my brother and SIL have lived in the south, they have never picked up any of that accent, but have picked up some of the sayings of course.  :) 
I have to share a clip for those of you who don't know who Boomhauer is. 

Tricia - No. WI
Hilarious, Karen!

Hey, Kara...south of Green Bay? My hometown is Trivers.
Kara W.
I live in Neenah but say just south of Green Bay cause everyone seems to know where Green Bay is. :)

When I was 22, I was sent downtown Chicago on business for the first time in my life. Talk about culture shock to this small town Wisconsin gal.  The worst was trying to get something to eat in a cafeteria line.  I had NO idea what the black service women were asking me and they wanted an answer STAT.  They never smiled or looked at me. Everything was so fast.  I just took what the person ahead of me had as I had absolutely no idea what they were saying.  Now I can laugh. It's why I loved the soup nazi on Seinfeld.  The worst thing was feeling like you were the only one who was clueless.

Love the video Karen, so true.

Any takers?

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