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Old 04-16-2013, 02:20 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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This is a spin off of the Northern culture thread.

Some people have been arguing that there are cultural commonalities between the Midwest as a whole, and presumably the Northeast as a whole, that they are cultural, and not merely geographic, regions. I'd disagree, mainly on the following reasons.

1. There's no such thing as a Midwest accent. The cities around the Great Lakes have an Inland North accent, which is somewhat similar to New England in speech, and even more similar to parts of Upstate New York (especially Buffalo and Rochester, which have accents almost identical to say Michigan). In contrast, most of the lower Midwest (Central/Southern Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, extending into Missouri and the southern plains), either speaks with Midland dialects similar to Pennsylvania, and blends into Inland South in down by the Ohio river.

2. There's no such thing as a Midwest style of architecture. Again, the northern cities look like New England (mainly wood frame detached housing, even in urban areas) and the more southern cities look more like Philadelphia (more brick, often attached rowhouses in older areas, often closer to the street).

3. In contemporary politics, rural areas in the southern Midwest tend to be right wing (as is the case in Pennsylvania), but rural areas in the northern Midwest tend to vary from moderately Republican (like Upstate New York), or fairly Democratic (like much of New England these days).

In contrast, I cannot think of anything which is distinctive about the Northeast as a whole, or the Midwest as a whole. I suppose if a Midwesterner's only experience with the Northeast is the BosWash corridor they might define themselves in opposition to this, but having lived in rural New England, and having spent time in Central Pennsylvania, this by no means encompasses the entirety of the Northeast. In general, the Northeast does have less farmland than the Midwest, but there are huge swathes of the Northeast which are productive farmland (South-Central Pennsylvania, Western Massachusetts, Vermont), and huge swathes of the Midwest which are forest land (northern Michigan, Wisconsin, and Northeast Minnesota).

Anyway, alternate interpretations are of course welcome, but I'd like some data points, not baseless assertions.
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Old 04-16-2013, 03:41 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
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I don't think there's one Northeastern culture. There are obviously great differences between urban and rural areas though the former tend to serve as the face of the region as a whole. It's really several different "cultures" all encompassed within one geographic region. The coastal cities (Boston, New York and Philadelphia) are very similar in some ways, however.

I think the same could be said for the South too.
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Old 04-16-2013, 04:12 PM
 
Location: Lincoln, NE (via SW Virginia)
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I agree w/ Bajanyankee...these cultures aren't easy to pinpoint...state boundaries don't even do it. Same thing happens in the South. The Appalachian cultural region where I grew up in SW Virginia, Southern WV, Eastern KY, Western NC, and Eastern TN...not easily to define because the state boundaries really don't do anything in terms of defining the culture. Same goes for the Northeast and Midwest...Western Kansas is nothing like Eastern Iowa whih in turn is nothing like South-Central Indiana. Brooklyn is nothing like Oyster Bay which is again nothing like Burlington Vermont...these areas just have tons of differences.
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Old 04-16-2013, 04:12 PM
 
Location: New York
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There really isnt a Midwest culture, its just the name given for everything in the North that isnt in the megalopolis.

Midwest might as well mean "everywhere else"
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Old 04-16-2013, 07:22 PM
 
Location: Somewhere extremely awesome
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Yes, I do think there is a "Northeastern" culture and a "Midwestern" culture. It's just that it's very subtle and hard to characterize with specific criteria.

But being a Midwestern dude myself you could probably stick me anywhere from North Dakota to Ohio and I'd recognize it as Midwest.
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Old 04-16-2013, 07:29 PM
 
Location: M I N N E S O T A
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Not at all.
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Old 04-16-2013, 07:36 PM
Status: "Happy New Year!" (set 1 day ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
This is a spin off of the Northern culture thread.

Some people have been arguing that there are cultural commonalities between the Midwest as a whole, and presumably the Northeast as a whole, that they are cultural, and not merely geographic, regions. I'd disagree, mainly on the following reasons.

1. There's no such thing as a Midwest accent. The cities around the Great Lakes have an Inland North accent, which is somewhat similar to New England in speech, and even more similar to parts of Upstate New York (especially Buffalo and Rochester, which have accents almost identical to say Michigan). In contrast, most of the lower Midwest (Central/Southern Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, extending into Missouri and the southern plains), either speaks with Midland dialects similar to Pennsylvania, and blends into Inland South in down by the Ohio river.

2. There's no such thing as a Midwest style of architecture. Again, the northern cities look like New England (mainly wood frame detached housing, even in urban areas) and the more southern cities look more like Philadelphia (more brick, often attached rowhouses in older areas, often closer to the street).

3. In contemporary politics, rural areas in the southern Midwest tend to be right wing (as is the case in Pennsylvania), but rural areas in the northern Midwest tend to vary from moderately Republican (like Upstate New York), or fairly Democratic (like much of New England these days).

In contrast, I cannot think of anything which is distinctive about the Northeast as a whole, or the Midwest as a whole. I suppose if a Midwesterner's only experience with the Northeast is the BosWash corridor they might define themselves in opposition to this, but having lived in rural New England, and having spent time in Central Pennsylvania, this by no means encompasses the entirety of the Northeast. In general, the Northeast does have less farmland than the Midwest, but there are huge swathes of the Northeast which are productive farmland (South-Central Pennsylvania, Western Massachusetts, Vermont), and huge swathes of the Midwest which are forest land (northern Michigan, Wisconsin, and Northeast Minnesota).

Anyway, alternate interpretations are of course welcome, but I'd like some data points, not baseless assertions.
Well, you didn't really give any data points, but who's counting?

There are few times when I laugh out loud at something I read on the computer when I'm in the house by myself, but that statement about midwesterners talking like New Englanders did make me do just that. I lived in big ag country in Illinois, Champaign, for seven years, and my spouse of 33 years is from Omaha, Nebraska. I have spent a lot of time in Omaha in those 33 years. I also have a lot of extended family in Wisconsin. My daughter went to college in Minnesota, and I visited her frequently there. My other DD's boyfriend is from Duluth, MN. There is no way the people in any of these places talk like New Englanders. These people all pronounce the words "marry, merry, and Mary" the same, where many New Englanders pronounce at least two out of three differently. People in the midwest do not pronounce the word "cart" as "caht". Just a couple of examples. The northern midwesterners have an accent that is way different from the accent in Chicago, let alone that of Buffalo and Rochester. (Did I tell you my ex-husband is from Rochester?) In Champaign and Omaha, they have a more standard "American" accent, but in both cities, they have certain idioms that you do not hear in the NE. They "scoop" snow there, they don't "shovel" it. People have "hissy fits" there. Many Omahans end a sentence with a preposition, especically "at" as in, "I don't know where it's at". St. Louis has its own accent, and people from Kansas City speak with a faintly southern accent (some of them).

As for Pennsylvaina, there are several accents there. Philadelphia has its own version of an east coast accent. This fades out as one goes both north and west. Pittsburgh has been called "The Galapagos Island of Linguistics". There have been many threads on the Pittsburgh forum about "Pittsburghese", including such words as yunz/yinz, the Stillers, dahntahn, etc. No one in the midwest talks like that. The biggest compliment anyone from Pittsburgh can give another Pittsburgher out here in Colorado is "You don't have the accent". For those of you who haven't been to Pittsburgh, think Mr. Rogers, although his accent sounds a little more cultured than some of the accents one hears there. Ron Paul, who is from Pittsburgh as well, has a trace of the accent, too, though his Texas overrides it. Up in Erie, they talk more like the people from Buffalo. It sounds similar to some of the upper midwestern accents, but not quite, and they have their own lingo there too, like "jimmies" for sprinkles on doughnuts.

New England English - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Pittsburgh English - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
North American English regional phonology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
http://travel.nytimes.com/2006/03/17...anted=all&_r=0
**The Midland would not hold much interest to a person searching out accents were it not for three enclaves that have retained unique speech: St. Louis, Cincinnati and, in particular, Pittsburgh, which seems to be the Galapagos Islands of American dialect.

2. Midwestern architecture is quite distinct from eastern, and also from the west and southwest. Bungalows are common in the MW, also in Denver. Generally traditional styles are popular in the MW, also in Denver. Not so much innovative stuff in the MW. ALL midwestern cities have attached housing.

3. Midwestern cities tend to be "garden variety liberal" as they are everywhere. Suburban and rural areas tend to be more conservative. The farther west you go in the MW, the more libertarian "mind your own business" it gets.

If an easterner's only experience with the Midwest is Chicago or St. Louis, s/he might think there is no difference in the midwest and the east.
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Old 04-16-2013, 07:38 PM
 
Location: MD suburbs of DC
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Northeastern culture is usually seen as American culture in general to foreigners. Culturally speaking, there isn't much of a difference between the Midwest and Northeast, but there are small differences. I can't really give specific detail on this... it's kind of hard to explain.
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Old 04-16-2013, 08:04 PM
 
Location: Jefferson City 4 days a week, St. Louis 3 days a week
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I guess you've essentially just gone ahead and said that there is no Northeast or Midwest, and that the two are indistinguishable. I guess that's why they are both considered distinct regions. From history, politics, etc., the two are very distinct from one another. Boston and New York aren't like Chicago, Minneapolis, and Detroit at all.
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Old 04-16-2013, 08:05 PM
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Location: NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Well, you didn't really give any data points, but who's counting?

There are few times when I laugh out loud at something I read on the computer when I'm in the house by myself, but that statement about midwesterners talking like New Englanders did make me do just that. I lived in big ag country in Illinois, Champaign, for seven years, and my spouse of 33 years is from Omaha, Nebraska. [ I have spent a lot of time in Omaha in those 33 years. I also have a lot of extended family in Wisconsin. My daughter went to college in Minnesota, and I visited her frequently there. My other DD's boyfriend is from Duluth, MN. There is no way the people in any of these places talk like New Englanders. These people all pronounce the words "marry, merry, and Mary" the same, where many New Englanders pronounce at least two out of three differently. People in the midwest do not pronounce the word "cart" as "caht". Just a couple of examples.
But you haven't lived in New England. The dropping r's is only in eastern New England. The differentating marry/merry/Mary is more common in eastern New England as well. But someone from Michigan and much of the Great Lakes region would have an accent difference compared to someone from Western New England.

Architecturally, from what I've seen the Midwest does seem distinct. But there seems to be a lot of similarity between Ohio and western NY. Thinking about it, the northeast to midwest transition seems rather gradual. Does western PA or western NY have more in common with the coastal "northeast corridor" or Ohio further west? The Northeast corridor region seems distinctive in its own right from the rest of the northeast. The changes westward seems rather gradual, there's no sudden, here you're in the Northeast, there you are in the Midwest. Going from north to south, I think is more sudden, perhaps more on the eastern seaboard.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
If an easterner's only experience with the Midwest is Chicago or St. Louis, s/he might think there is no difference in the midwest and the east.
My only real experience with the Midwest is Chicago. As a city, at least, it felt rather different to me. Culturally, it's hard to judge from a brief visit.
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