Have you ever been told that you have a Wisconsin accent? Did you deny such a thing even exists?
Some of us truly believe the way we speak here in the Badger State is the correct way to speak. It’s everyone else who has the accent. Sorry, but that’s just not true.
Of course, there are some things we are right about, including words which we have the authority to decide the pronunciation. For instance…it’s Green BAY not GREEN Bay. And it’s WIS-sonsin, never WES-consin. However, most of us pronounce it like Wuh-Skaaaahn-sin.
Whatever the case…there’s no reason to be embarrassed! At WhooNEW, we say proudly wear your Wisconsin accent like a badge of honor.
Sometimes, people outside of our state think Wisconsinites are super friendly simply because of the way we say things.
For example – the way we use the word “interesting.” Instead of saying “I don’t like that chicken booyah”, we might say, “Dat’s some interesting tasting chicken booyah, eh?”
Speaking of interesting, there’s actually some pretty hardcore research behind the language of America’s Dairyland.
The Wisconsin Englishes Project (WEP), is a group of faculty, staff, and students around Wisconsin who study our unique language patterns. WEP was formed in 2006 and the group aims to understand regional differences in English across our state – including its distinct vocabulary, pronunciations, idioms and ethnic influences, among other things.
There really is such a thing as Sconnie speak, dontcha know. Here are some examples…
1. Dem, Dat. Dis & Dere
Our Wisconsin dialect has mainly been influenced by the northern and central European language family. And because of this northern European influence, we tend to drop the “th” and replace it with a “d” – creating words like dis, dat, dem, dere, dese or dose.
2. Yous Guys/Yous
Here’s one that I’m not really a fan of, but that you hear often around here, and especially at a greasy spoon dinner. No offense, but that’s probably where I’ve heard it the most! The nice waitress comes up to the table and says “what can I get for yous guys today?” A true Wisconsinite, eh? Well, so are you when you ask for a “brat” instead of bratwurst for “supper”.
3. Stop ‘N Go Lights
I’m guilty of this one for sure, and I didn’t really even know that people elsewhere say traffic lights!
Since red means stop and green means go, stop ‘n go lights are a way better name. Technically, it could be stop, slow, ‘n go, but yellow has become more of a – hurry up and get through it before it turns red – kind of light anyway.
4. Up Nort’
This is where a lot of Wisconsinites go on vacation, go camping or go to hunt and fish. It’s also a dead give away that you live in some part of the northern Midwest.
Up Nort’ isn’t a specific location, it’s a state of being. In Wisconsin, you can always go Up Nort’ – until you get to Lake Superior.
5. Ya Know?
This phrase enters my conversations multiple times a day. We mostly say it at the end of a sentence as a way to ask if the other person agrees or is understanding what you’re talking about. Or we might say it at the very beginning of the sentence to let someone know you’ve had a thought in your head that you’re about to share.
Other people in the country have this expression in common with us, but I’ve heard it started here – and we have a very distinct way of pronouncing it..
In Wisconsin we pronounce bag or bagel like “bay-g” or “bay-gel.” People from outside of Wisconsin will argue that you must say it with a short “a” sound so it starts the same as the word “bad”. I’ve always said bag like “bay-g”, and I’ve been in a few in depth discussions about it with non-Wisconsinites.
At least we don’t call it a “sack” like people from the southern U.S.
7. Real Quick
When you hear Wisconsin folks ask you for a favor and then add “real quick” or “really quick” to the end of it, we aren’t talking about speed. We’re simply trying to make it seem like the favor is no big deal.
For instance, someone might ask, “Can you stop at da store real quick before you come home? I got a meatloaf in da oven.”
8. Once/One Time
Have you ever wondered why we say “come here once” or “let me see dat one time”? It’s about sounding less aggressive or like you’re not demanding too much. It’s yet another way we get the friendly vote.
I’ve been made fun of a time or two for asking where the bubbler is when I was outside of my home state. Most people will refer to it as the drinking or water fountain. If you’re interested to know more about this specifically, my husband has written some great insight into the real reason why we call it a ‘bubbler’ in Wisconsin and who else does too. Check it out!
10 ‘N So
You’ve probably heard this before, ‘n so? Which is simply a reduction of the phrase “Isn’t that so”? My classic Wisconsin grandma and her sisters use this expression a lot. In fact, I think I’ve heard them say all 10 of these words and phrases!
So – dere ya go, eh? 10 silly things we say in Wisconsin!
Maybe you’ve often heard people say more silly things like “you betcha” or “oh, fer sure”? Can you think of any more expressions, pronunciations or words that are unique to our home state? Leave a comment!
We should keep this list going, ‘n so?
Check out this funny video featuring Wisconsin Slang! And don’t forget to Like WhooNEW on Facebook for more Sconnie fun!