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Old 06-27-2007, 02:19 AM
 
Location: Mount Vernon, WA
255 posts, read 1,153,854 times
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When we lived in Wisconsin, our small town was settled predominantly by folks from Yugoslavia, among others. I always took the accent for granted, even though I was a linguist in one of my former lives. I suspect that it is Norwegian but the local Yugoslavia folks weren't from Norway yet they spoke with an accent that everyone recognizes as being typically associated with Wisconsin.

So where did it come from? And how is it perpetuated?
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Old 06-27-2007, 07:04 AM
 
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After living in various states in the east including New York (Long Island) prior to moving to WI, it is my opinion that nobody (or everybody depending on how you look at it) has accents, but rather different ways of pronouncing letter sounds and blending them together. Just because words are pronounced slightly different than what a person is used to, does that mean that the other person has an "accent," or does the person listening? It does get confusing!
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Old 06-27-2007, 07:15 AM
 
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I seem to hear 3 distinct "accents" out here. One has a very definite Norwegian lilt, another has a more German sound to it, and the third one I can't identify at all because it seems to be associated with very rapid speech and I have a really hard time understanding them.

In the Appleton area, the Norwegian lilt seems most dominant and is actually fun to listen to.
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Old 06-27-2007, 11:02 AM
 
Location: kronenwetter
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I know coming from Chicago I do sound different from people that were raised in central WI. I was in southern Indiana once and talking to someone. And another person came up to me and said I don't care if your license plate says WI you are from Chicago.
There are quizzes that you can take and it tells you about your accent. I have an Inland North accent.
A few years ago when I went back to school, in Green Bay the professor loved to make me say certain words because of how they are pronounced in Chicago. And we also talk really fast.
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Old 06-27-2007, 12:00 PM
 
Location: Ladysmith,Wisconsin
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When I moved to S.C. they all thought I was Canadian.
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Old 06-29-2007, 12:48 PM
 
Location: Mount Vernon, WA
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From the linguistic viewpoint, accents do come from blending one's mother language with a new language - certain sounds don't exist in every language and so accommodations are made.

I hadn't thought of German being one of the blending languages in WI but that makes sense because there are a lot of German influences throughout Wisconsin. We lived in Phillips and knew nearby Rhinelander (well, reasonably nearby since we had to travel to get anywhere outside Phillips) which originally must have been settled by German folks.

I find language fascinating.
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Old 06-29-2007, 12:59 PM
 
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The Wisconsin accent is similar to what is spoken in the Dakotas, northern: Illinois, Indiana and Ohio...as well as Michigan. Similar to the Canadian accent.
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Old 06-29-2007, 04:05 PM
 
Location: Mount Vernon, WA
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I had no idea that it was so widespread. Don't you know!!
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Old 06-30-2007, 04:50 AM
 
Location: Chicago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chelito23 View Post
The Wisconsin accent is similar to what is spoken in the Dakotas, northern: Illinois, Indiana and Ohio...as well as Michigan. Similar to the Canadian accent.
The Chicago accent and "Wisconsin" accent are similar but distinguishable. A lot of people think they're the same because of Milwaukeans, who actually speak with more of a Chicago accent (albeit it stronger form of it) than a Wisconsin accent. Chicago's accent is more Polish & Eastern European-influenced than the Wisconsin accent, which is more Scandanavian-influenced. Both have German influence. What is commonly known as a "Chicago" accent is really more of a "Southern Great Lakes" accent and extends from Milwaukee/Chicago across the Southern Great Lakes region including Detroit, Cleveland, Erie PA, Buffalo and Rochester NY. The "Wisconsin" accent belongs to a similar but distinct accent "family" if you will that stretches from upper Michigan to Spokane WA and northward into Canada.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BacktoNE View Post
I seem to hear 3 distinct "accents" out here. One has a very definite Norwegian lilt, another has a more German sound to it, and the third one I can't identify at all because it seems to be associated with very rapid speech and I have a really hard time understanding them.
I'm guessing you encounter this third type in southeastern Wisconsin, particularly close to the lake. This is pretty much a "Chicago" accent which hugs the lakefront up to about Sheboygan. We're a fast-talking lot.

Last edited by Drover; 06-30-2007 at 04:59 AM..
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Old 06-30-2007, 07:12 AM
 
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Drover,

Where, in your personal experience, would you say the "chicago accent" ends, going south?

What about the Madison accent? To me, and I generalized since I am not sooo familair with all the areas and dialects...but I always thought of the thick thick accent being the fartherst north and rural. So, is Madison just slighlty less of a northwoods accent? and would it be fair to say Chicago and Milwaukee have the same accent to a lesser degree?

I know most people in Madison think that Chicagoans speak differently(slightly), and they do to an extent, but to someone who has moved away, when I hear someone from Chicago speak, it reminds me of Wisconsin...

One thing I remeber thinking when I lived in Wisconsin was that Mid Illinois, Indiana etc had southern accents haha. Just a typical rural midwest accent I suppose now...and the southern accent isn't until you get way to the bottom of Illinois, Indiana right near the Kentucky border (my opinion after not living in Wisconsin anymore), yet my family thinks people in say Peoria have a southern twang. Oh well, would be interested in hearing your thoughts.
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