Michigan Accent

Shelby   Friday, November 28, 2003, 19:17 GMT
What does everyone think of the Michigan accent? Is it easy to understand? Do you like how it sounds? What characteristics come to mind when you think of a Michigan accent? How do you think a person in Michigan talks? All comments are welcome!
Hythloday   Friday, November 28, 2003, 19:36 GMT
I've heard that it's the most prestigious accent in the US, but personally I can't tell the difference between most US accents. I'm British and they all sound pretty much the same to me, I'm afraid.
Shelby   Friday, November 28, 2003, 21:19 GMT
Don't be afraid Hythloday,
I'm American and I can't tell many different British accents apart! Then again, in rare occurance do I actually hear any British accents!...

Also I am a little confused with what you mean by the Michigan accent being "prestigious"....? Like it sounds "upper class"? I wouldn't have thought that....please tell me what you were thinking...

Later, Shelby
buh duh dah   Friday, November 28, 2003, 22:55 GMT
Hythloday is an arsehole. Please just ignore him. All he says is good things about himself and bad things about Americans.
Shelby   Friday, November 28, 2003, 23:38 GMT

If anyone has anymore comments on the actual subject that would be appreciated!

Later, Shelby
mjd   Saturday, November 29, 2003, 07:56 GMT
In Hythloday's defense, I see nothing offensive about what he wrote on this particular thread.

On the Michigan accent.....I work with a girl from Michigan. She speaks with the typical Midwestern accent. For example, here in the Northeast, the words "Mary," "marry," and "merry" are pronounced differently, whereas in the Midwest they are pronounced the same. It's a rather flat accent, at least to my New Jersey ears.
Clark   Saturday, November 29, 2003, 10:00 GMT
I pronounce "Mary, merry and marry" all the same as well. And I also pronounce "caught and cot" the same as well (I think some people pronounce these differently; if not, I know there are some vowels that are pronounced differently like the "-au-" and "-o-" in the English-speaking world).
Hythloday   Saturday, November 29, 2003, 13:12 GMT
Sorry everybody, I've no idea what I did to incur buh duh dah's wrath, and I apologise for his use of gutter language.

Shelby, in answer to your question - according to Preston, D. (They speak really bad English down south and in New York City) in Bauer and Trudgill, Language Myths (1998), the Michigan variety is the prestige variety (or acrolect) viewed as the most 'correct' and 'attractive' form of US English, and the accents of southern states and NYC are stigmatised varieties (or basilects) viewed as the least 'correct' and 'attractive' forms of US English. He is at pains to point out, however, that outsiders can't tell the difference, so it is obviously the social connotations which these accents have which makes them seem 'better' or 'more attractive' - there is nothing inherently superior/inferior or attractive/unattractive about them.
Jay   Monday, December 01, 2003, 06:27 GMT
OK, when I think Michigan, I think Michael Moore. And his accent...well, I wouldn't really think it would be a prestige accent. But, I think his accent (like my own) is a usual inland urban northeast/northcentral Rustbelt, which may not be the Michigan accent you are thinking of.
And, UP (upper penisula) accents are a different story.
Hythloday   Monday, December 01, 2003, 10:06 GMT
What are UP accents?
mjd   Monday, December 01, 2003, 20:29 GMT
Here's a map of Michigan: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/united_states/michigan_90.jpg

I believe the Upper Peninsula is the top half of Michigan separated by Lake Michigan.
mjd   Monday, December 01, 2003, 20:31 GMT
As for the UP accent....Jay will have to tell us about that...I have no clue as to how it differs from the "typical" Michigan accent.
ANE   Monday, December 01, 2003, 22:48 GMT
Is it any different from the Minnesotan accent at all?
Jay   Tuesday, December 02, 2003, 06:41 GMT
People from the UP (Michigan's Upper Peninsula), also known as yoopers, tend to sound a lot like the accent parodied/depicted in the movie Fargo--which, yeah, pretty much the Minnesotan accent. But I'm sure there are nuances between/among say Minneosotan, upper Michigan, upper Wisconsin, and eastern South Dakotan accents.
Clark   Tuesday, December 02, 2003, 06:51 GMT
I asked this question a while ago, so I hope no one minds me asking again since we are talking about accents near and in Wisconsin.

My great-g-ma was from Wisconsin, and while we were visiting there once, she noticed that out innkeeper had a "Wisconsin German" accent. When I heard the lady speak, it sounded just like American English, but my g-ma said that she had a different type of accent. The lady did not speak German, nor did her parents. Does anyone know anything about this?