10 Silly Things We Say In Wisconsin

10 Silly Things We Say In Wisconsin

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.

"Interesting" Chicken Booyah

“Interesting” Chicken Booyah

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..

6. Bag

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.

9. Bubbler

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!

Rob Brackenridge on the Wisconsin Accent

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  1. Claudia Castello says

    my husband makes fun of me when i say “yah,hey!” a lot of times my accent shows and i’ll forget where i am and i’ll say it. we like to talk about the time we were driving on the freeway and it started to rain really hard and my husband said, “wow, it’s raining really hard!” and i said, “yah, hey!” he looked at me and laughed, “do you realize what you just said?” and i started laughing so hard. my husband’s from IL.

    • That’s a good story, Claudia! Sometimes we just say these things without even thinking about it. It’s in our blood.

    • Moving to Wis-Kaaansin from Missouri in 6th grade taught me many new and strange expressions and words.
      To this day the strangest of which is (regarding a new hairdo): Oh hey, your hair looks different did you get ‘EM cut?
      Also, can you hand me A Scissors.
      The way things like the word Tow-e-l is so drawn out.
      The ever famous: Oh ya hey, we’re gonna go up Nort’ once hey dis weekend and suck down some brewski’s don’tcha know.

  2. The use of “er no /or no” is definitely a Wisconsin, even just a NEW thing. “Are you going to game tonight, er no?”

    • That’s a super good one, pete! I can’t believe we forgot it…thanks!

      • I’m from FL, I visit Sheboygan every year and I always notice the “right away”. Everywhere we go, someone will be with us “right away”, which I discovered means nothing. In Florida, right away means we’re doing it right now, immediately, a priority. Your waitress will be with you “right away” means nothing in Sheboygan.

        • My closest friend is born and raised in Wisconsin on the farm, still farms. When she says right away, she means RIGHT AWAY, no delay, better not take time to blink or swallow either.

        • Brian Schild says

          You’s guys should come down by Prange’s once n’ so and see who I hang by! It ain’t dat far!

    • I actually just posted this to Facebook and wrote about the “or no” after questions before I saw this. I just think Wisconsinites like to make sure that the person knows they can really say no if they want to: “Do you want to come with, or no?”

      • I was just made aware of the ambiguity of the phrase “Do you wanna come with?” – ending with a preposition, my Ohioan friend had to ask “With what?…with who?”

        • OMG I have always use “come with”. When I was in Washington and said that people laughed. They said it wasn’t finished. I said , oh “Do you wanna come with me to the store to buy milk today at 2.” How long does it have to be? lol

      • barb peterson says

        SPOT on V …cause that’s just how us sconnies rolllll lol

    • I catch myself saying “er no” all the time!! I got chastised once (by a fellow Wisconsinite, no less!) for using “er” instead of “or”. She said it made me sound “ignorant”. I told her that correcting me made her sound pretentious. 😀

    • ya know, er no, yous guys (although i always HATED the teachers at school who said that) i always get funny looks when i say bubbler, unless they are stoners and even then i get a funny look when i say its not a water pipe. i can’t imagine anyone using dis, der, dat, maybe in some kind of joking manner or something but not in regular speech. many southern and western states can tell im far from home but very few people can identify where exactly, sometimes people ask if i have family in Canada. in Appleton i learned “ya know” not “dont cha know”

      • Yeah I always thought “dat” “da” “der” , was a IL thing Chicago ,, “Da- Bears!” SNL!… Plus I never hear it regularly. Not in Milwaukee at least n not even out of the customers that r comin from all over WI… On the Res or Way way way up north I spose u hear it. That’s another WI thing ,,”spose” or “I spose” .. Or “come on now” .. Anyways even with my inherant hints of Italian ,, I get called on my WI !!

        • My hubby is from ‘Sconsin, Wausau to be exact and he uses dat, der, dese, dose, and dem. I’m from Illinois and it was like listening to a foreign language when we first met. It still sounds that way to me when we visit. The first thing I noticed though when we met, was the way he pronounced boot. It had that Canadian oo sound. So exotic sounding to an Illinois flatlander. HAAA!!

    • Totally! My husband is from WI and has me saying that all the time. Is that a good idea errrr…. 😀

  3. My Wisconsinite husband says ATMs were/are called TYME machines (as in Take Your Money Anywhere).

    • Oh – that’s a great one too Julia! Wish I would have thought of it. I do remember those Tyme machines.

      • I remember asking if there was a ‘TYME machine anywhere close by’ on a visit to AZ. Now that I think about how that sounds to someone who doesn’t know it’s an ATM, I understand why the interaction was so strange!

      • When I moved to Wisconsin, I got a job in a local bank. One day as I was standing in the lobby, a man rushes in all flustered and asks “where is your time machine?” I laughed. I mean, that was good comedy there, until a teller started too tell him where the ATM was. Hehe

    • When I asked a young man in AZ if they had a TYME machine, He said,”why do you want to go back to the future. A “true story” another Wisconsin expression.

      • TYME is not a Wi thing. It is the acronym for the machine itself. It stands for Take Your Money Everywhere. That’s the ‘brand’ of the first ATM.

    • Yes! My father definitely calls them tyme machines which makes him look like a crazy person whenever he asks where one is when he is in a different state!

      • Sometime in the eighties on a trip out west I needed to find an ATM and asked the checkout at a store where the nearest TYME machine was. I received this quizzical look and he slowly pointed at the clock on the wall behind him. At that point I had never heard of a TYME machine referred to as an ATM. It still slips out once and awhile.

        • HA! I use to say the same thing when I first moved out to California…my then boyfriend looked at me like I lost my mind!

    • My first morning in AFROTC at UST a few fellow cadets asked me if I wanted to grab breakfast quick. I said sure but do you guys know if there is a TYME machine on campus… To this day I’ve never seen so many confused faces looking at me like I was nuts all at one.

    • TYME machine isn’t really a Wisconsin saying. That’s using a brand name for a generic item. Other common examples are Band-Aid for bandage; Kleenex for facial tissue; Asprin for acetylsalicylic acid; and Velcro for hook and loop fastener. Yes, I am from Wisconsin and No, I don’t say TYME machine.

      • Eric you are right about the brand name thing. But you are wrong about it being a Wisconsin saying. It was a brand of ATMs found only in Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. That’s why it’s unique to Wisconsinites.

        Bubbler – was also a BRAND of drinking fountains from Kohler Plumbing. But most people consider that to be a Wisconsin thing too.

        • I grew up in South Dakota where TYME machines were prevalent. All the rest of Wisconsin – speak was new to me!

      • pkinsell says

        I have lived all over the US, and world for that matter (military brat). The first time I ever heard the expression “tyme machine” was when I moved to Wisconsin. I would say it’s definitely a Wisconsin thing! 🙂

        • You said military brat, referring to being a child who grew up in a military family. However, in WI, we see brat and think delicious German sausage served best with sauerkraut and mustard! 😉

    • I moved to Indiana 10 years ago. Kept referring to ATM as Tyme machine until someone asked where I kept this thing. I had to laugh. They don’t have them here. I had to do some serious explaining. Everyone hears my accent. Never knew I had one until I had been here about 5 years. Then I kinda heard it myself after awhile. Most people like it so I love it! I do miss Wisconsin!!

  4. Oh, jeepers. That was perdner near da best article on Wisconics I’ve read in a while . . . oh, yah, hey!

  5. Laurie jonas says

    I really get frustrated because many people outside our dairy state mispronounce our main dairy product. They say melk instead of milk.

    • So true, Laurie!

      • This is an interesting point – I was just in Europe and one of the airlines I flew on (I think Scandinavian?) had tiny milk containers and it was spelled “melk.” I’m guessing this is one of the many Northern European pronunciation influences we have and largely don’t notice. My mom says “melk” all the time; oddly enough, I don’t, but I do say “pellow” instead of pillow.

      • I was born and raised in Wi my entire life till 6yrs ago and i and everyone around me say melk not milk.

    • Hey, I grew up in Wisconsin and myself and everyone around me all say melk…. lol

    • Mae Robinson says

      I am from New York State and have lived in 9 states and in each there is something a little different. I enjoy it. I think bubbler sounds much better than drinking fountain as I always said. The one thing I see in Wisconsin is the a on the end of words. My granddaughter grew up here and she uses that all the time and I like it. I notice that Lawrence Welk who is from North Dakota also puts an a on the end of words. Where does that come from?

  6. I have lived in Wisconsin all my life and yes some of this is true, BUT that “da” thing is not from Wisconsin that is a Minnesota or a Dakota saying for sure!!

  7. I’m from northeast Wisconsin. My people said “N so,” at the end of sentences. My husband Don is from southeast Wisconsin. His people said “Ain a.”

    • Pam Markulin says

      Usually it was, ‘Aina-huh’ when I was growing up…..LOL!!!

    • Ain a? I moved from Wisc in 1970 and people are always commenting on my “accent”!
      My Milwaukee Grandma tacked an “Ain a” on to most every sentence. Whenever you asked her how she was, she’d always say “Oh just kickin along” ain a? Never heard that from anyone else tho.

      • I believe it has a Germanic background. My former sister in law and her family said that all the time and they were all German.

      • I’m originally from Wisconsin (Mo-waukee in particular) and I recall how most of us ended our sentences with ‘enna?’ I always thought it was a shortened version of ‘isn’t/ain’t that so?’ I’ve lived in St. Louis for 25 years and people still make fun of me when I say ‘boat.’ I still can’t figure out that one!

        • Because we pronounce it “boot,” like Canucks do. I didn’t believe that until I moved to Alabama and even my Midwestern-raised doctor chuckled at me.

          Listening to my niece talk, I can hear echoes of my very German grandfather and his vowels. It’s a nice break from what I am inundated with down here! : )

          • I grew up on the west coast but have lived in Mo-waukee for 10 years. I still tease my native Wisconsinite husband for saying bo-it for boat and bay-g for bag. 😉 His aunts and uncles are the perpetuators of the “yous comin’ with?” kind of statements but I hear the next generation speaking a little bit more properly… I said a little bit. 😉

      • My great-aunt used “ain’a” in the same way! I’ve always wondered where that came from. She grew up speaking German so I wondered. But no German speakers I know say it, so I still wonder.

  8. Rick Huston says

    I moved to Green Bay from Milwaukee as an adult. As my kids grew I would hear them say something happened “on accident” instead of by accident that I grew up with

    • Charity Recla says

      I recently realized that “on accident” is not the correct way of saying it. I have spent a lifetime saying this. How did I get through graduate school for Education and this was never pointed out to me until a few weeks ago? Another Wisconsinism indeed.

    • June Hodgson says

      Our kids always said ‘On accident’ also, thought it was just them-never knew it was a WI thing.
      also see the ‘ain a’ thing, should have read the Comments before commenting…

  9. Rick Huston says

    I also noticed that when a Green Bay native Green Bay resident wants to ask you something nicely they put an icing front of it. Like “If you could stop and pick up some milk”. This always seemed odd to me

  10. Kristi Jensen says

    My friend and I have gone around and around about the meaning of “hotdish”. I use it meaning casserole, such as “There’s hotdish in the fridge to warm up for supper (the supper/dinner thing is another thing we’ve jokingly argued). She finds it absurd that a “hotdish” would be in the refrigerator….Again, must be a Wisconsin thing!

    Or how about the people that worsh things rather than wash them?? That one gets me every time!!!

    • It is sort of funny that your “hotdish” is in the fridge! I wonder how many others say “hotdish” too? The worsh and supper are two great ones too! Check out this article on 6 Signs You Have a Classic Wisconsin Grandma. I reference both of those in there – you’ll probably get a kick out of it too! Thanks for your comment ; ) http://whoonew.com/2013/04/classic-wisconsin-grandma/

      • I’ve definitely heard hotdish used for casseroles and stuff – especially when people bring a hotdish to church potlucks. I think it’s more of a Minnesotan term – but there’s certainly some Wisconsin spillover.

        Check this out – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotdish

        • I moved to Wisconsin from the east coast and lived there for four years! I definitely picked up on some differences… Like “bar time” instead of “closing time”; “parking ramp” instead of “garage”; and “yet” instead of “still”. That was the hardest to understand. Like “we have some pizza yet”.

          • Wow, those are all good ones, Mary! All true. You mentioned some things a lot of Wisconsinites aren’t even aware of.

          • Totally! That’s why it’s good to get some east coast point of view! Thanks for sharing ; )

          • Lori from Bay View says

            Yet vs. still drives me nuts! Regionalisms and slang are not an excuse for poor grammar! :-p

          • Heil! Where my Grammar Nazis at?! 😉 Get it Lori? I ended that sentence with a preposition. GET IT?!?

          • It’s a shortening of “as of yet.” We have forty gallons of booyah yet = We have forty pounds of booyah as of yet. Also, yet and still can mean the same things: “I haven’t eaten yet” means that one still hasn’t eaten.

          • I’m from Alabama, but lived in Wisconsin for 2 years. At church, when we would have a pot luck dinner, they would say to bring a “dish to pass”. Also, at the grocery store, instead of a shopping buggy (a southern expression I’m sure) they would say cart. I agree with someone else that mentioned them adding the word “yet” to the end of a sentence instead of “still”. For instance, instead of “we still have some pizza left”, they would say “we have some pizza left yet”. Another is the pronunciation of the word “roof”. It would sound more like “ruff”.

          • Wait… These aren’t the norms? I have to get out of state more! Lol

          • I once had to explain the “still” use of “yet” to an Australian friend. It’s grammatically correct, as Tom pointed out, but apparently very regional.

      • Born and raised in Wisconsin, have lived in Wisconsin and Wyoming, now living in Kansas and have a sister still living in Wisconsin and I don’t remember hearing an r in wash except down around the Kansas/Missouri area.

        • I’m from Missouri and the ‘warsh’ was definitely used by by grandmother and mother. Here in Wisconsin now & my mother-in-law also uses it too.

          • You hear warsh in Arkansas and even Louisiana too. I think it is a rural thing rather than regional. People that say it tend to be “country folk.” 🙂

          • The one and only time I ever heard Worsh (Warsh?) was when I lived in Indiana for 2 years, my friends mom was from Kentucky, and her and her mom would Say “Warsh the dishes” or “Put those in the warshing machine” all the time.

            I lived in Wisconsin for 10 years before moving to MN then IN, then back to MN (for my hubby), and I never once heard anyone say Warsh, just.. my 2 cents.

        • OMG!!! I worked with a couple of older gentlemen who always said “warsh” instead of wash, we also had “kittles” instead kettles. This could be a German influence with all of the German heritage in our lovely state. Hail to all of our quirky ways!! Seeing this whole article has made me laugh, my son (13 years old) had just commented on that he had been told that we in the Sheboygan area have an accent, I didn’t think so. That is until I read this article. Thankx so much. (Another way that I give away where I live a “X” at the end of Thank instead of a “S”)

        • I have heard examples of all of these “isms” except using “da” instead of “the” I believe that carries over from Norwegian immigrants and is really only used in fun or for nostalgic reasons. I still don’t believe Wisconsinites have an accent, what you are talking about are dialects. One thing Wisconsinites and upper mid~westerners are known for is using time in place of distance. If someone asks how far is it from Eau Claire to Madison. You are likely to get “Oh, about 3 hours” and not “Oh, about 175 miles.” I guess distance to us is irrelevant. It’s how long it takes to get there is we care about!

          • While you’re right that there’s a difference between dialect and accent (dialect, which is more what this article is focused on, is words or phrases used in a region and accent is sound and pronunciation), Wisconsinites do have a distinct accent. Rather, I should say upper midwesterners do–I don’t have the ear to discern between MN, WI, MI, etc, though I’m sure there are differences. I first noticed it when I moved away and came back for a visit. You can hear it most in the long “o” sound. It’s kind of halfway between “oh” and “oo.” As mentioned elsewhere in this post, “d” replaces a hard “th.” My dad, who was from Maryland, would always tease me about pronouncing “about” like “aboat,” along with other words with the “ow” sound. This is also quite Canadian. I still catch myself doing that sometimes. When you hear people making fun of our accent, as in Fargo, these main sounds are what they’re emphasizing, and it very much comes from our German and Scandinavian roots.

          • That’s so true!
            I’ve also noticed in WI we call an exit by the “street name” and not “exit 28” like they do in NC.

  11. Patti Magee says

    I’m going to Fleet Farm, you wanna come with? And of course the long drawn out

  12. How about…”go by” or “come by” …as in “let’s go by your house”. When what you reall y mean is let’s go to your house.

    • Fer sure, Lisa! ; )

    • Lisa – that’s the one that I noticed when I 1st move to Wisconsin. (I grew up in West Virginia). For me, “go by” meant to drive by and maybe make a quick stop to drop something, off not to stay for a while. Lots of Wisconsinites “go by my ma’s for Thanksgving?!

    • I lived in MO for five years and I was called out on this one! I just didn’t understand why I received strange looks when I was going to go out with some friends and I asked them “to come over by me” before we headed out? What’s wrong with that, hey? 🙂

    • My former boss (from North Dakota)…HATES they way we go by and over by. For example…I am going by my folks’ place tonight. She also made fun of “folks” instead of parent’s.

      • Yes!
        Ya wanna come sleep by my house?
        To a 6th grade transplant from Missouri I figured that meant we’d be sleeping outside near the house.
        I showed up with sleeping bag, flashlight and the Wisconsin kids thought I was weird!

    • I moved to WI from MN when I was young. I met my husband when I was 15, and he would always say this! I got annoyed and tried to correct him because it didn’t make sense to me. I’ve since accepted it and understand what he means when he says it.

  13. One I hear a lot is the use of “them” in place of “those”. As a transplant from the southwest, it was a bit surprising to hear statements like, “Them were some big walleye’s we caught.” or “Them are some juicy brats.” At first I thought maybe I was just hearing some undereducated individuals, but I’ve heard it too many times from too many people. As for the rest of your, ‘dem are some funny examples.
    Another…..the addition of -ah to some words ending with vowels, as in, “How are you-ah?” or, “I think he’s from M’waukee, but I don’t know-ah.”

  14. newscale62 says

    There may a connection to the Canadian accent as well. I sometimes hear it when my “up nort” friends pronounce words like “boat” with a little more nasality.

  15. In wisconsin we go “up” to everything …..not just up north. I caught myself driving “up” to ohio ro visit my aunt that’s feom milwaukee too. She didn’t have an issue. It was her ohio feiend and husband that pointed it out. Whoops. I have a friend that moved to florida too …she thinks we should come “up” and see her. We only apparently go down to illinois (with an s )

    • Hilarious! I am guilty of this too ; )

      • My grandpa would say lets go uptown…. as far as wash and warsh… I think thats a regional thing for Southwestern wis…. I noticed a big difference in the ‘accent’ everything southwest of Madison.. I am from Green Bay, and I repeat a lot of the same terms as this article mentioned … and living in TN now I still get looks when asking for a TYME machine, or the bubbler, or where’s the pop… and my husband looks at me funny sometimes when I say no or go.. the long ‘o’ sound must sound strange to him and I cannot figure out why …. really how can you screw up a two letter word? But it was fun rediscovering my quirky language after not hearing it everyday…

        • As a teacher I have noticed that many of my students make no and go into two syllable words: no-uh and go-uh. Maybe that’s what your husband is hearing. When I point it out to the kids, they have no idea what I am talking about.

    • Oh yeah…I lived in PA for five years and I was constantly getting corrected for saying “going up” to anywhere that was actually “down” or “over” from wherever we were at the time. lol

    • I’m constantly saying that I’m going up somewhere. When in reality it’s south of where I’m at.

    • Yes! So true!

  16. Half of this list is just ripped off from the Yoopers in the Upper Peninsula

  17. Oh gosh…I know I’m a stickler for good grammar as well, I correct my friends and coworkers all the time. However, having been born, raised and living in ‘Scansin for 26 years of my life…I every once in a while catch myself saying these with my accent. Some that pop out of me are hotdish (I make it all the time!), let me see that once, “real quick”, ya know (before and after a sentence)…I refuse to use the word “bubbler”. I also use “dontcha” (“dontcha got any beers to go with these curds?) I would also like to point out that cheese curds are a sort of anomaly for people who come to ‘Scansin….Beer battered, greasy, deliciousness that will destroy your fitness hopes, dreams and aspiriations….n’so?

    • Fer sure, Preston! I served in a restaurant a while back and suggested cheese curds to an out-of-town-er… He said they tasted like feet and he didn’t know why people in WI liked them so much!

    • memyselfandi says

      I’m a Grammar Nazi also and while living in Wisconsin all my life, I hear people use bad grammar ALL the time such as: ” I ain’t got none; She don’t like that; I ain’t got time; I’m going to get my hairs cut; She don’t know where to go; There ain’t no more gas in the lawnmower; I ain’t got no more money; I can’t find my car keys nowhere; That won’t do you no good; I didn’t see nothing; She ain’t going no more”, etc. Drives me NUTS and I’m always secretly correcting their grammar.

      However, being a “Wisconsinite Cheese Head”, we make hot dishes, I use the word, “dontcha” quite often as in “Don’tcha have time to cut the grass, etc.

      I had an aunt that used to use, “Ya hay” ALL the time, “Ya hey that was a good time; How ’bout we do it again, ya hey”


  18. Sorry, I’m born and raised in central Wisconsin and I really don’t agree with the list. I could only connect with #5. Although some of the comments others have put on I do agree with (“go by your house” “have some pizza yet”). Perhaps in Wisconsin itself there are different Wisconsin accents…….

  19. Amy Blanchard says

    I say “over by” like “I’m going over by Sue’s” It drives my husband crazy. He’s from lower Michigan

    • Ha! That’s funny, Amy ; )

    • When I was little, my mom and I used to go shopping for kids’ clothes in the basement of this store on College Avenue in Appleton called, “Campbell’s.” The saleslady, Denise (she had big, blonde, curly hair and was very nice and helpful), would always say “Come by me.” Even at 6 years old, I knew this was wrong. I guess I was a grammar nazi at an early age. I may use some colloquial terms, like “pop” and “bubbler,” but never incorrect grammar. Drives me crazy. Geez, how do I remember all this? It was 30-some years ago!!!

    • Yes! Yes! I say that all the time! LoL!

  20. Carol Hoyer says

    I’m from Southern Wisconsin, when my husband and I were getting some advice from a forester in the Bayfield area we noticed that he always prefaced advice with ‘If a guy wanted to . . . .’ rather than, ‘I’d suggest . . . .’ or ‘you could . . . ‘. Seemed rather courtly.

    • L Mattson says

      When my Dad was giving advice he always said ” What a fella could do is…..” 🙂

    • I knew a guy who’d say “If a guy wanted to…” but the real kicker was: His name was Guy! So every time he’d say “If a guy wanted to…” I’d hear, “If a Guy wanted to…” and imagine a slightly miniature version of him doing whatever he was talking about. That’s funny, enna? Also in the Bayfield area.

  21. There are definitely regional differences within the state. One thing that was not mentioned is our tendency to leave the pronoun off the beginning of an I sentence, such as “going to the store.” and not finishing sentences at all. Either we leave the end for granted, or add ‘n all, or y’know, when the rest is obvious.

  22. I’ve lived in Northeast Wisconsin my entire life, until attending college in Ohio a few years ago. I hadn’t realized that we Wisconsinites had such a strong accent, people from other states noticed right away! Besides being made aware of my strange “bay-g” pronunciation, I also learned that we say weird phrases like “Don’t cha know?” and in the situation of someone asking for a favor, the response of “You betcha!” Hilarious!

  23. Absolutely there are different dialects in WI. I’m from Green Bay and had never heard “hotdish” until I dated a guy from MN, so that makes me think people from the Western part of the state would say it. I used to work in a restaurant and when people would ask for things I’d catch myself saying, “Oh, sure!” I’d try to stop but never could. Now I live in South Korea, and my friends from Canada and other parts of the US love hearing me slip into my “Wisconsin accent”, although when I return home, people ask why I’m talking funny. Ya know, I guess dats just da way it goes!

  24. Jane Engel says

    Well, I’m from Wisconsin and I’ve never heard any of the comments that he was talking about…..however, the sound of his voice made me homesick. Yah!

  25. Clare Conroy says

    Say! Dats some real insight ya got dere hey!

  26. I had a friend who had just moved from our east pull me aside and ask in all seriousness what her neighbor meant when she said ‘ I am going to the store, do ya wanna come with?’ I explained that she asked if you wanted to come along to the store with her. ‘ why didn’t she just say that?’ I said Wisconsinites do not like to waste words. Lol. Former Sconnie girl

    • We don’t waste words, or syllables, or letters!

      When my kids were little, their rooms were upstairs. When they were playing too quietly, I would go to the stairs and ask, “What are you doing?” But it came out, “Wha-yoon?” They always said, “Nothing!” But my ex, who was from west-central Illinois (and has the Iowa drawl to prove it) could not decipher this hybrid word. The same went when he was leaving the house, and I’d have to enunciate “Where-are-you-go-ing?” because he didn’t get, “Were-yown?”

  27. I was born and raised in Northeastern Wisconsin, and I remember my grandma and her sister using the word “dasn’t.” As in, “You dasn’t do that.” Anyone else ever hear that?

  28. I’m from Shawano & I’ve always heard people from Milwaukee & Madison areas say bubbler. We say drinking fountain. We also pronounce Milwaukee without the “l” sound!

    • That’s odd because I’m from Shawano area and everyone I know says “bubbler.” My sister-in-law thought that everyone said that. I moved to WI from MN and didn’t know what a bubbler was when I moved here. I have since adopted the term, but I still find myself saying “water/drinking fountain.” In fact, when I used that term when I moved to WI, people didn’t know what I was talking about. They thought I meant a fountain you’d find in a pond or your front yard or something.

  29. super and dinner, my husband always makes fun of me for this one

  30. did yous want to have some pop then too?

  31. Holly Eystad Johnson says

    I finally figured where the yous guys came from. My second cousin is in Ireland for the summer with her in-laws and they post on Face Book. Yous guys has been there more than once. I don’t use it (hate it) or most of the others, but after moving to Florida in 1972, I’ve lost most of the expressions from WI and picked up the red neck slang. Don’t know which is worse.

  32. Gina Schraven says

    Yes I do say Bubbler; stop and go lights, yah, hey dare, Ya know; hot dish; pop; You bechya; I’m just sayin; and many other goofy wisconsin sayin’s. lol I love my state.

  33. Kathy Mack says

    South Side Chicagoans also use “youse” and Dem, dos, etc. Like “Da Bears!”

  34. What about “budging” in line instead of cutting in line?

  35. I say a lot of those for sure! I just caught myself saying “stick it”. A friend of mine asked if she could drop off our playhouse and I told her- “oh sure-just stick it in the back yard.” I laughed after I caught myself. Another big one is “toss it” or “throw it” as in-“ya want a brat?” ” oh Sure-just throw it on my plate der!”. Or “toss one on der.”

  36. GrewupinMerrill says

    Yep, I also say Ma (almost na “oo) waw kee, no “l” and instead of “I’m going to go now,” it’s “Imina go now.”

  37. When I moved to Wisconsin, it was YEARS before I figured out that a bubbler is where I wanted to go for a drink. But what really drove me crazy was, “I can borrow you this.” Ugh! And maybe this is Sheboyganese, but one of my favorites is, “There are a lot of people here that I don’t see.”

    • Tammy Grady says

      Lol! There’s a lot of people here that I don’t see…don’t know if that is regional, generational, or what it is…but YES! I’ve lived in various areas of Wisconsin and that one has definitely been part of my vocab…and doesn’t make a bit of sense, but everyone knows what ya mean. 🙂

  38. I was born and raised in Kenosha , WI.. and moved to NC three years ago.. I had NO idea that I had an accent or the sayings I said were very regional to southeastern WI. We never said bubbler growing up ever, maybe because we were closer to Chitown… since moving I can hear how strong my familys accent is when i talk to them. I noticed the saying ” you know”.. that really sticks out. I asked where ‘pop’ was at a store down here and they looked at me like I had three heads!! I also didn’t realize being out of state how so many people pronounce WIsconsin like WESconsin.. like nails on a chalkboard.. i can’t stand it . Drives me nuts. Quite a few people have asked if were from Canada.. so funny…I read all these ‘sayings’ we have and I think oh ya I say that.. oh ya and that.. Love WI. Miss it.

  39. Zachary T. says

    Does anyone remember calling the back of the station wagon “the way back” ? as in put the groceries in the way back.

    • Totally – is that Wisconsin talk?

    • Yes! I sat in the way back all the time. That’s funny. Not sure if it’s a Wisconsin thing either, but I’ll always remember sitting backwards in the way-back and thinking it was so cool…until I started getting car sick.

    • Having grown up in MN I can assure you that this is NOT just a Wisconsin thing. With 5 brothers and 2 sisters, there was always someone sitting in the “way back”. When we picked Grandma up for church some of us even sat in the “in-between” – the area between the back seat and the way back seat about a foot wide. Couldn’t get away with that now-a-days!

    • We called it the back back. The kids loved riding in the back back of my car.

    • I was literally just going to mention that! I live in NC now and have a jeep. I told this person once to just throw my daughters stuff in the way back and they looked at me like I wa crazy! LoL!

  40. I don’t really know if it was a Wis. thing or not I do remember my Ky. Friend had no clue. He also had no idea what a beater car. But then again my first year living here I had a student come to me to tell me that someone stole his tobaggon. I asked him where he had put it and he replied his locker. I continued to question him as how he got something as big as that in such a small space. Finally, the laughing teacher behind had to tell me that down here a tobaggon was what I would call a stocking cap- not a style of sled to go down a snow covered slope!

    • I experienced the same serious confusion when I was at an Ole Miss game in Mississippi and the weather ended up colder than expected!

  41. I’m from Green Bay and we say almost all of the comments listed but not “you becha” very seldom heard, maybe that’s far more north where use of “der” or “dem” is maybe used more often. My mother also says “I spose” instead of “I suppose” and “Omina” instead of “I’m going to”. Often I would tease my mother when talking to her sisters on the phone growing up, her word usage was limited to just saying “Oh, Okay, Oh ya ya O Oh”. I also didn’t know until later in life that the Green Bay Catholic Church’s picnics having “Chicken Booyah” was special to Green Bay, the church community bought potatoes and veggies and other stuff and it was made in 3 or more large witches keedles, so yummy if it turns out right. We used to be so hungry from the smell in catholic mass waiting to eat the booyah later. We would sing the hymn “Hallelujah”3 times was it hard not to sing “Chicken booyah”3 times in your head!

  42. dcbadger says

    I might have missed this one in previous comments … “could you borrow me ten dollars?”

  43. I grew up in northern Wisconsin, “dose dere u betcha” bothers me, it is a yooper thing also from Canada and Minnesota. I still have my accent, “off of” is “offen”, as in “get offen there”, and sorry everyone, it’s “you guys” Not “yous guys”…get it right or get offen it okay? “up” is north and “down” is south, from wherever you happen to be. The “hey” at the end of things came down from Canada, it’s from the Hay River, as in “throw it in the river, “ay?”. (that from a college classmate from Canada) And yes, I spose I get teased some about how I talk, specially when i ask you guys if you can borrow me somethin’, y’know?

  44. PS, I Loved sitting in the wayback!

  45. I grew up in Green Bay and moved to Denver a year ago. When I first moved here I got made fun for my accent, especially when I was drinking and it came out more – and it still does! I was talking to a lady in Denver on the phone for work and out of nowhere she said “You’re a Packer Backer, aren’t you? You sound just like my friend from Neenah WI!” I also get told that I’m really nice and sweet a lot (by people who aren’t from WI), and I think it is because of how I talk in general, ask for things, and say thank you almost too much. I notice that I say ‘Oh yah!’ when I’m listening to or agreeing with people, and ‘yep’ instead of yes. I also still say “Up Nort” and catch myself referring to going ‘up’ when I travel. Chicken Booyah is a funny Green Bay area thing – I went to college in Kenosha, and no one there had ever heard of it. I even had friends from Oshkosh who never heard of Booyah before. I wish I could get some here! Broasted chicken is another thing I can’t seem to find in Colorado – I can’t figure out if they call it fried chicken instead or if it really is just a WI thing, but the fried chicken does not taste the same. Ya’know and N’So definitely occasionally come out of my mouth too, and those phrases remind me of my Grandma. Finally, I do notice that people say WESconsin instead of WISconsin – it drives me nuts!

    • Marissa H says

      I live in central wisconsin and my grandma always says chicken booyah. It’s not just a Green Bay thing. Also, I went to Colorado and somebody said we would be having barbecue. I was worried because I hate barbecue as in BBQ, but they meant grilling. We’ve never called it barbecue around here.

  46. Around Sheboygan no one “grills” or even “barbecues”, they “fry out”

    • On a “fryer” LOL! If you’re selling “brats” it’s a “brat fry”. This seems very much a Sheboygan and surrounding areas thing. My friend who grewn up in Cedarburg had never hear of fry and teases me about it.

  47. don’t forget “Well” pronounced “wull” when someone starts to make an excuse for letting their thinking cause the problem. Also, there is the pronunciation test, how people pronounce, “Stoughton and Oconomowoc.” Finally, if you are from M’waukee, you probably aren’t from Wisconsin, because you don’t understand the accent.

    • I was just telling my Florida grandsons that other people say Milwaukee, but if you live in Wisconsin, you say M’waukee. They tried to practice it.

    • I can pronounce both Stoughton and Oconomowoc… and anyone that doesn’t thing you betcha is a green bay thing …. talk to my sister on the phone for an hour and you will probably hear it 60 or more times… lol…

  48. Charity Recla says

    “I borrowed him $10.” Lol! It wasn’t until I moved to California in my 20s that I realized this sounded ridiculous. Even though I think it is ridiculous, I still catch myself saying it at times. Lol!

    • jeff bronson says

      I’m originally from Arkansas and I’ve lived in northeast Wisconsin for five years and I’ve picked up some sayings like n so and yet. But I still laugh at come ere once and when I first moved here I was so disappointed when I found out what tamales really are and really confused over the bubbler and a couple two tree beers lol

  49. Sheila Leary says

    Within Wisconsin’s borders are found three different major dialects of American English. The new book WISCONSIN TALK will be published in a few weeks (August 2013). See more info here: http://uwpress.wisc.edu/books/5168.htm

  50. I didn’t even realize this was being said to me this way until it was texted to me this way. “I’m PROLLY gonna stop at the store before I come to your house”. That made me laugh!!!

  51. Prolly is hilarious! My husband was from Pittsburgh (don’t even get me started on their vernacular) and the first time I said, “Come ‘ere once”, he sounded puzzled when he replied, “As opposed to twice? I don’t understand.” I’ve never said it again, but my mother tells me it’s a shortened version of “come here at once”. Seems legit….. we’ll go wid dat. Have soda and pop been mentioned? That one is strange to me. I grew up saying “pop”, but as an adult, I say “soda”. Some folks even say “soda pop”.

    • “Soda” is an adjective. “soda pop” “soda water” “soda fountain” So *obviously* “pop” is the correct term. No duh! (Is “no duh” a Wisconsinism, or just an ’80s kid saying…?)

  52. I have lived in South central Wisconsin (Madison, Janesville) since I was two years old and I do not use 99% of the words or terms listed. I will agree I use “Real Quick” and ” One time” otherwise my words start with “Th” needed and not a “D” and so on. I would say most of these colloquialism are used in Northern Wisconsin and along the Minnesota border.

    • From Fond du Lac and lived in Milwaukee…. almost every single one is true. Lived in NY for over 10 years and still cannot break myself of most. As soon as I open my mouth, people constantly say – are you from Wisconsin. Biggest eye opener was when I realized, when saying Ya (as in yaaaaaah) that it is really German Ja for yes that I was saying.

  53. Chuck Coan says

    Pete and Lou Berryman “Up in Wisconsin”

    While you up once, get me a beer, hey?

    I believe the album was “No Relation”

    • Saw them in Madison in the 70’s: oh ya hey. In squirrelly valley, they talk so funny, they act so silly. Oh ya hey, while yer up yet, get me a beer once, I’m going crazy.

  54. To my ears, Wisconsin people seem to say Green Bee, rather than Green Bay!

  55. I always hear a -boat when you say.about. People in Milwaukee call 7up white soda and potlucks a carry in. The first time someone asked to borrow them a dollar I really had to think about that one.

  56. Janice neddo says

    License plates are a Wisconsin thing. Down south (another WI phrase) they call them “tags”

  57. I’m surprised I don’t see “crik” instead of “creek” mentioned yet. For example, “ya, I went up ta Deer Crik to do some fishin’, ya know?” Additionally, and this one really bothers me, “hunnerd” rather than “hundred.” For example, “I told him a hunnerd times, we’re goin’ up nort’ fer da weekend. Gawddd, doesn’ he lis’in?” (That last word is listen, by the way!) I’m not poking fun (ok, maybe a little), but this is how some Wisconsinites talk.

  58. In Central Wisconsin (very polish community), I hear a lot of older people say “I’m gonna go to work and weed the garden” or “we went to work and painted the house”. Not being from there originally, it took me a long time to understand that they meant they were going to go and weed the garden at their house, not at their job. Also, I was asked when I moved there “what’s your name from home?” or you have to say “what’s your maiden last name?” or people don’t know what name to give, their first or last.

  59. What about “a horse a piece”… I am a native Wisconsinite living in Missouri, and always get picked on for this gem. Then I have to explain and they still don’t get it.

    • Love this! My friend and I always try to think up farm idioms… Although this is from a dice game, still it says horse in it… Lot of those used in farming states… Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, don’t put the cart before the horse, raining cats and dogs, long in the tooth, chicken or the egg… Etc etc.

    • Was working in TX and used that expression-had to explain what it meant to my coworkers. Also asked someone to move the davenport, he didn’t have a clue as to what I meant

    • This is from rolling dice in the bar. When there were two guys left (and the loser had to buy a round for all those at the bar playing), you had to win 2 out of 3 to go out. If you won, you got a horse, and a tie was a horse a piece, indicating that the next round of dice shakes would determine the loser and round buyer. Loved doing this with the farmers. Brings me home.

      TYME machines, bubbler, you betcha – I lived it!

    • Barbara Erceg says

      Yes! I lived in Houston for 5 years, always saying “a horse a piece” before someone asked me- “why are you always talking about horses?” I had no idea it was a Wisconsin thing. I’ve lived in Houston for 20 years and I still say “come ‘ere once” and get a lot of strange looks!

  60. Katrin Patience says

    How about “onbelievable” instead of unbelievable and “veecation” instead of vacation and “a hunnert” instead of one hundred?

  61. Then there is “your HAIR! They’re so pretty today”:-and an active “listener:-“ya ya ya…”-and “let me just grab that for you….”.

  62. This is a little off subject but I lived in NC for 15 years and people asked me often if I was a Green Bay Packers fan. I would look at them innocently and say “of course. It’s on our birth certificates.” They always believed me. “Really? They do that?” lol

  63. My favorite is ending a question with “err” or even “at all, errr”. Would you like a drink with that at all errrrr? It gets really fun when someone is talking a shortcut they found – “Oh really, is that way quicker errrr?”

    • I do this sometimes, but my mom is especially guilty!! Once in awhile I just ask her “Or what?”, and it’ll take a couple seconds for her system to reboot. 🙂

    • Yes! I never realized I said “er no?” Till I moved to NC.

      • Yes!!!!…..I’m always saying ….errrr…..To my husband I’ll say…. Ya so is that cool errr no?….if we “hafta” …”have to”..agree on something or come to a common ground.

  64. Maybe one of these things is exclusive to Wisconsin alone. New England calls it a bubbler and Philly says yous.

  65. Oh. And many on the easy coast say “bay-gel”. It’s not a Wisconsin thing.

    • I’d be surprised if I heard someone pronounce bagel correctly. Most around here call it a “bagg-el”. There is quite a bit here that isn’t exclusive to Wisconsin, though I didn’t realize that bubbler was used elsewhere. People back East, and even in Texas, say “or no?” at the end of a sentence, etc.

  66. Inter changing Bring and take. as in Bring this to Gramma’s.
    My favorite “true story.” My English teacher colleague and her husband were ordering some bakery and the clerk asked, “What do youse want?” After a 5 minute lecture on the misuse of you. The clerk simply said , “I’m sorry, I thought youse two were together.”
    I sat next to a woman from Madison area for years at the Packers game and always laughed when she hollered for the “Peckers.”
    Saying set down not sit down.

  67. A woman has some trouble moving her car. She asks me, “how ’em I doin?”.I says,”pretty good. Go ahead and backup.”

  68. Linda Balzan says

    We always go to Mawaukee and you can tell immediately someone from another state says MILLwaukee.

  69. Did you charge the Batt`chree or no (aka battery)?

    • I would not have know how to spell that, but you nailed it.

    • After hearing my dad saying baaatrees all weekend long while visiting my parents up north, on the way home, my two year old son was sitting in the back seat, saying “good trees, bad trees, good trees, bad trees”

  70. Jon P. Morris says

    I’m from Milwaukee, currently in the Army deployed to Afghanistan. I’ve been gone from ‘Sconsin for over 10 years now, people always tell me I have an accent. Funny thing is that each part of the state has different accents or just say words differently depending on the part of the state you are in. I’m black so by default I say a lot of words differently than even many of my white friends (brothers and sisters) back home say. I love how peaceful and laid back Sconnies are in general. being in the Army, I have run into a few fellow Soldiers from back home, and no matter what part of the state we come from, we immediately have a bond just being from the same state! I love Wisconsin! That was, is and always will be my home! Funny story about the TYME machines. I went to basic training in FT. Benning, GA in 1999. I had never left the state before going joining the Army. I needed to get some cash so that I could get my hair cut (shaved bald back then). I asked (which Sconnies tend to pronounce: axed) my Drill Sergeant (which we say Sarnt) where the TYME machine was. After he laughed at me and made fun of me because he seriously thought I was axing (lol) about a watch or a sci-fi device to jump forward or backward in time, he realized I was serious so I had to explain to him I was looking for the portable bank that allows me to get cash without physically going to the bank and he realized I was talking about the ATM. Another thing we say in Milwaukee, not sure how much of the state, but we call the Nike shoe, Air Force Ones: dookies or doo-doos. Not sure why but we do. That’s just one example of the different state dialects that we have in Wisconsin. People think we are so weird outside of Sconsin, but to thems I say, “eh, least we (instead of we’re) not Oregon!” LOL

  71. I hear bag pronounced BAY-g from Chicagoans and others on the shores of the Great Lakes, so I call that way of talking, a Great Lakes accent”. In North Dakota, where I live, it is often pronounced “beg”.

    Here, in conversations, people often tend to end a sentence with a drawn-out “so…” to indicate it’s the other person’s turn to talk.

    Also, when women, especially, end a telephone conversation (maybe more generally a business call), they say “mm, bye”.

  72. Claudia Castello says

    my husband tells me all the time that we Wisconsinites (he’s from IL) over pronounce our vowels, particularly our “o”‘s and double “o”‘s. words like “cone”, or “moon”, or “noon”, or “raccoon.” a sentence like, “By da light of da moon, dat raccoon ate an ice cream cone” would sound funny when you say it.

  73. I was born and raised in central Wisconsin, but in my early 20’s lived in Pekin, Il for a couple of yrs. One day at work I was helping a older co-worker get something out of the stock room and banging the flat cart into everything. I don’t even remember what was coming out of my mouth but he just stopped and looked at me and said, “you talk and drive like you are from Wisconsin” my response was you betcha! And the first time I said I was going to get a “pop” out of the vending machine they didn’t have a clue what I was talking about!

  74. German heritage giving directions would include to “turn the corner around…” and I’ve been questioned by out of state folks as to what a roof and a root are since the pronunciation here is not rufe or rute with along u sound but ruhff or ruht as in put

  75. Oh ya, der hey. I’m familiar with most of the things on the list. My mom is from Gays Mills (Crawford County, I think) and her family says worsh. That is a predominantly Irish area, so it could be related to that. I live in Tennessee now where I’ve run into a couple of other things that I learned from my family. They think they invented sweet tea and the phrase “bless their heart” down here. I have to remind them that either these things come from their Scots-Irish heritage or Southern Wisconsin is part of the South, which offends them greatly.

  76. I always thought that the gratuitous use of “once” in sentences was uniquely Wisconsinoid, until I went to Germany and heard how they use “mal.”

  77. You didnt list the most Obvious one…borrow vs loan…we say “Can you borrow me $10″…instead of “Can you loan me $10”

  78. I would say that one that we find getting in fights the most over is pop vs soda i know up is wisconsin both are said by people but most of its pop right now me and my husband live in nc and miss wi a lot lol but we say pop and our friends are like what then we say pepsi or whatever and then they go you mean soda no we mean pop lol its on going here with those words.

  79. I was visiting my cousin at college in MI once (we’re both from SE Wisconsin) and we were talking to her roommate (who lived in Michigan). her roommate said to me, “Say A-B-O-U-T” so I said “About”. She was so thrilled that I had an “accent”. I didn’t hear anything different, she sounded exactly the same to me! I was wondering if she heard “a-boot” or maybe “a-bawt” when I said it. It was interesting!

  80. You’s guys sounds New York to me, and you forgot Yah, hey. And we say “yet” instead of “still”, as in “there’s one cow still on (the milker) yet”

  81. My dad was stationed in Hawaii for a bit and when I went to go live with him, I had a bit of culture shock….

    Starting my new middle school, I asked my friends, “Where’s the bubbler at?” and they looked at me really funny. I explained (not having any other word as a reference point) that I wanted a drink of water, so where’s that thing where you turn the knob and water pours forth? (I was a precoscious child)

    They replied, “Oh, you mean the fountain?” And I was agog. Not only was my new middle school layed out in campus fashion but, apparently, they had a stylish water feature to match!

    I was a bit underwhelmed when they showed me the bubbler down the way….

  82. Hahahaha! Great article, Ashley! I’m glad Minnesotans don’t talk like this!

  83. I am a born and raised Wisconsinite and my husband is from Alabama so we have a million conversations about how weird the other talks but his favorite to point out is that whenever we are going back home to visit my family I will tell him whose house we will be staying “by”. He always responds with “are we going to just go BY there and head right back to Georgia (where we live) or will we be staying AT their house”

  84. Jackie Ponich says

    Loved reading the article and these comments. Took me back many years. My 44 year old son says “worsh”. Wonder where he got it from…? I was born and raised in Wisconsin and apparently used that word when he was growing up.

  85. Julie Pearson says

    “Have a good one”….have a good wat!? Is it so hard to say…have a good day!!!

  86. Wisconsin dialect varies quite a bit! I grew up about 30 miles outside of Madison and the only ones that I have ever used are “real quick” and “ya know”, though I have heard all the others when I travel to other parts of the state.

    • Sam – after we posted this article – I actually started noticing myself saying things I thought I never said. Especially “er no” – which we forgot to put on the list. But it’s been mentioned here in the comments.

    • “Ya know” is also pretty common elsewhere. Again, as others have mentioned, certain ways of saying things must be regional. In my little corner of Wisconsin, “quick” is inserted in the middle of a sentence. Such as, ” I have to quick run by Sally’s”.

    • Yeah I agree… I grew up and have lived within an hour drive to Madison and I can go up north (haha yes up north) and hear the stereotypical Wisconsin stuff like “oh yeah der eh, dontcha know.” Alot of this sounds like Yooper talk, and I’ve also heard it along the MN border. I’ve seen several things I do say and “real quick” and “ya know” are included, but the rest sounds way too northern.

  87. Hey at the end of everything is the one I’m most teased about. But, does anyone else call a winter hat a “chook?” My Dad always has… Fun article!

  88. There’s also ‘relation’ as in ‘relatives.’ Also ‘side by each’ meaning when things are next to each other. And ‘look alike in the face,’ albeit a bit of a lesser known and odd one, I have heard it more than once; meaning is that two things or beings look similar or have a resemblance. For example, I’ve got relation up Nort’ and they look alike in the face whenever they stand side by each.

  89. I’m originally from 30 minutes North of Green Bay. My mother’s side is grammar-strict, and my father’s side speaks like very stereotypical “Wisconsin folk”: Yous guys. The “D” instead of “Th”. ‘Eh’ at the end of a sentence as anything more than a joke. Also, lots of people drop the “G” fro the ends of their verbs i.e. “shoppin’” instead of “shopping”.
    It took a long time before I could distinguish my “BY accident” and “ON purpose”/ that I “SET a table” and don’t “MAKE a table”.
    I thought that I had heard all of the odd phrases and pronunciations that there were to hear… UNTIL I MOVED TO GREEN BAY. My manager says “Ain’t so?” at the end of something when she wants you to agree with her, and my coworker said “IllinoiS” about a million times one day.
    Also, my sister and I have the habit of substituting the “D” sound instead of the double “T”. For example: “kitten” almost always becomes “kidden”. Anyone else heard of that being a Wisconsin thing?

  90. All my Grammas (yes, Grammas… can you tell im a Sconnie?)used to say,”Ooh my stars!” Or “Oohma Lawrrdd!”

  91. Eric Kothbauer says

    One of the biggest ones they forgot was our ability to start any question with “so” and end it with “then” instead of “Are we going to the park today” we will say “So are we going to the park today then?”

  92. I am from the west coast but have lived in Wisconsin for the past 32 years….My pet peeve is
    Will you borrow me a dollar? The proper way to ask this….Will you lend me a dollar? Or can I borrow a dollar? I hear borrow me all the time…….

  93. I’m from southern Missouri, my husband and step kids are from Wisconsin. they live to make me say “bag” and to insist that I say it wrong. I was so happy to see it in this list.

  94. I live in South Texas. A friend of mine moved from Wisconsin to south Texas. She tends to refer to me as ‘Lady’…….and it strikes me kinda weird everytime she says it. “Thank you lady”, “You are welcome lady”, “Talk to you later lady”……….I’m guessing this is a Wisconsin thing. Can anyone confirm this for me????

    • Brandie – I can’t say I’ve never heard that, but I don’t think it’s a Wisconsin thing. Honestly, it strikes me kinda weird too. Almost sounds like a folksy way of saying “man” or “dude.” Maybe your friend is a huge Jerry Lewis fan?? Sorry I can’t be more helpful, lady.

  95. Shane Allen says

    For “urban” slang, the term “lookin ass” is totally Milwaukee, but also Chicagoan.

    When attached to the end of a sentence: Saying you look like someone or something. Saying you resemble someone or something. Also someone with a funny look.

    “Get yo big “CHARLIE MURPHY”, Rick James lookin ass…” = You look like Rick James…

    When said by itself: Someone who looks or does something stupid or accidental and its funny.

    Person A: *trips on a banana peel*
    Person B: “Lookin ass!”

  96. I’m originally from menasha wi. I moved to san antonio tx. I see and hear myself doing most all of these. And most of my friends here love to pick on the way I say things. But most hold true,as well as the very many extras in the comments. I very much so appreciate the ruff roof comment as I get a serious amount of picking on for that. I’m so glad I can share this with them.

  97. I am a Wisconsinite Lived on a farm so have used may of the phrases in my life still do. I moved to Missouri for about 8 months —-there are a lot of different words I was working for a store down there and the customer asked for a skillet —-I stood there dumbfounded lol after they described it I was like oh you mean a frying pan—-in wisconsin we call a shopping cart a cart well down there it is a buggy —-Everybody down there thought I was from Canada —Which I thought was funny when I moved back I had Wisconsin accent with the southern drawl just imagine the confusion on peoples faces.

    • When I lived in TX, my circle of friends were transplants from everywhere. I called it a “cart,” my friend from Ohio said “buggy,” the Texan said “basket,” and I can’t remember where this other friend was from, but she said, “carriage.” It was fun going on shopping trips together: “Go get us a buggy.” “What?” “The carriage, over there.” “Huh?” “We need a basket!” “Oh, you mean a cart! Why didn’t you say so?”

  98. They for got Pop instead of Soda

  99. On the northwest side of Milwaukee, people talked about Highway a-hunn’-erd (for Hwy 100). I also remember signs that said “Drive Slow”. But I haven’t lived there for 30 years, so I imagine those signs have been corrected.

  100. Ya der hey!

    How about this one?
    Worsh your clothes in the zinc and then put them in the dray-yer (drawer).
    I hear that mostly around Little Chute. Do you think it’s a Dutch influence?

  101. Great story! I work with a team from Green Bay and during conversations I catch myself noticing something that seems unique to them: where I’m from (Nothern Ohio) we might say, “I’ve not seen that movie yet.” But I often hear them re-state the sentence as an affirmative and add yet at the end: “I HAVE to see the movie yet.” Very fascinating!

    And what’s the deal with everyone’s last names beginning with “Van?” Love it!

    • Yeah – I think the “yet” thing is something you hear around here. I probably say it all the time. And I think there was a big Dutch community in NE Wisconsin at one time. I went to high school with some Vans who had really long last names – like Vanderzandenlangenberger.

    • Marissa H says

      I don’t really know any Vans, but a lot of people around here are some kind of -ski. It’s a Polish thing. 🙂

      • I say “yet” all the time since I moved from WI 16 years ago, but no one’s ever called me on it. In…10th grade?…when we were all introducing ourselves that the beginning of the year, one guy said his name was, “Paul Vanden Langenberg. That’s Vanden Langenberg for short.” I’ll never forget that. Growing up in Appleton, we were dominated by “Vans-,” “Vandens-” and “Vanders-,” “-ski’s,” “Sch-‘s,” and “-son’s” and “-sen’s.” You can definitely tell where the first immigrants came from…

  102. When I moved to Wisconsin several years ago I was told I live in Ma-waukee, not Mil-waukee. Locals don’t pronounce the L.

  103. So many of these are so true and I didn’t even realize them until I read the article and the comments, but I’m seeing in a lot of the comments that “pop” is a Wisconsinite word for “soda”. I’m from the suburbs of Milwaukee and I had never heard anyone call it “pop” until I moved to Iowa to go to college. Everyone in Iowa calls it “pop” and it drives me crazy! But “yet” instead of “still”, “real quick”, “go by”, “once”, and “going up to” are all so Wisconsinite and I never even realized that no one says these things in Iowa like they do in Wisconsin. Makes me a little homesick!

    • Alex – anytime you’re homesick – just come visit WhooNEW for some Wisconsin fun.

      By the way – you’re right about pop vs soda. Wisconsin is split on that one.

    • I am from Kenosha and we always said Pop.. maybe cause we were so close to Chitown… never grew up saying soda.

      • I grew up in central WI and it was always pop never soda. Water fountain was interchangeable with bubbler. Before living in Milwaukee and Sheboygan I never heard of a “hard roll “and in central WI, we went for doughnuts and rolls, not “bakery”. A bakery is a place, people, not a food group. Hard rolls in Milwaukee are actually hard and flake and crumble, in Sheb. they are soft. Never heard of a brat fry outside of Sheb. We grilled ’em instead. Also I never heard of a “double brat ” before living in Sheboygan.

        • Hard roll!! That’s an interesting one… I wonder if that’s regional for sure.

          • Every Sunday after Church, we went to Heineman’s for hard rolls and bakery–it was always the same kuchen. My brother & I would hollow out the hard roll, of course eating the soft middle, and he would fill his with ketchup and I would use Mayo (which in our house meant Miracle Whip). The leftover kuchen would get cement-hard in the bread drawer!

    • Pop is another word imported from CHICAGO.

  104. I grew up in AZ and have lived in Wisco for 16 years now – and apparently I have picked up a Wisco accent, according to my AZ family. I still call them stop lights, and drinking fountains. Lunch is lunch and dinner is dinner- but I do say “don’tcha know?”, and I end my yes/no questions with “or no?”. The one that drives me BATTY is “can you borrow me a ____?” I do not say that – you don’t borrow something to some one, you loan it. I agree about the “bay-g” pronunciation – when I started dating my husband he asked me to bring him a “bay-g” I had NO idea what he wanted!

  105. How about the phrase”thz saft” Like in, I’ll see yous thz safternoon. When I live in PA they picked on my accent so much. Said I drawled out my words. I remember the check out girls look of dismay when I asked where there bubbler was. Was amazed that you couldn’t buy beer in the grocery store or they had NO idea what a brat was. We use the term yous they say youins. How about the term kitty corner-its just kitty corner from Tippy’s Bar.and I’ll have a whiskey ol fashion sour with an olive please.

  106. The one that makes me crazy is that Sheboyganites call what everyone else in the world calls “sloppy Joes” … wait for it … “hot tamales.” Seriously. What in the world sloppy Joes have to do with hot tamales stumps me.

  107. If I ever had an accent, it’s gone now. That’s not just me, I’ve asked if people could tell where I’m from or if they could hear a WI accent. The only time was when I had just moved to Texas and my friend said she could tell I was from somewhere else, but not where. Though I do occasionally slip, especially on my o’s. “Aboat” instead of “about.” When I go home, I’ll nudge my mom and say, “did you hear that?!” But I guess still being immersed in it, she can’t tell unless it’s really thick. People will ask me to do a WI accent, and that’s fun. Very exaggerated, of course. But I’m proud of my roots. Just the other day I corrected someone’s pronunciation of Green Bay. And of course it’s a bubbler.

  108. Another one: “Lemme see that!””

    But seriously loved the “white soda” one. That was MY upbringing 🙂

  109. Er no? Wanna go to da store, erno?

  110. I’m from Wisconsin and just moved to Illinois…boo, hiss, I know… Anyway, I’ve been asked several times if I’m from Wisconsin and also was asked if I’m from Canada. I didn’t realize how much I say all of these things. The funniest one is a friend of mine who says utter for the word other. Proud to be a cheesehead. 🙂

  111. What about when we add “yet” to the end of a sentence for no reason? Like I’ve got leftovers in the fridge yet. Someone gone Washington pointed that out to us recently!

  112. you betcha….

  113. cathy hawley says

    We call it pop, my brother in law who is from Pennsylvania says coke. Coke is for every kind of pop, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, 7up, all of if is Coke! I have been told we use the word yeah..alot! My mother in law always says “who’s it is? ” when some calls or knocks on the door. Also, we answer the phone “yello”?

  114. How about this one — my dad (from NE WI), whenever the room light needed to be turned off, would say, “Make out the light!”

  115. I’ve only heard like half of these.. and some of them were from people in the UP.

  116. What about “Uff da?!” Where I come from in west-central Wisconsin, this is everyday speech. And “cow” is pronounced almost like “C’oh.” And you don’t say “go milk the cows,” you say “Go milk cows.”

    • My godparents and their kids–good German folk (the Schwandts)–say uff da all the time. And they have about the thickest WI accents of anyone I know.

    • Iris Lambert says

      I was hoping someone would mention Uff Da. That’s more of a Norwegian Northwestern thing.

  117. ” ‘n stuff.” I hear ” ‘n stuff” just added on to the end of a phrase, ‘n stuff. I think it may be used to tone down a request and make it seem less urgent or less “know-it-all” ‘n stuff. Or maybe it is just a filler, ‘n stuff.

  118. If you really want to hear the Wisconsin accent, there’s an episode of the show Paranormal Witness where this family from Chilton is being interviewed. First, the individuals speak with a Wisconsin accent that you don’t actually hear,because you are from Wisconsin. Then actors act out the interview scenarios with real voices. Man, that’s when you can really hear the Wisconsin accent. Enjoy: http://www.syfy.com/paranormalwitness/episodes/season/3/episode/15/the_innocent

  119. One of my professors is from Germany and said that here in the La Crosse area, she has noticed that waiter/waitresses say “how is everything tasting?” She said that she has only heard it around this area, but now that she told me that I notice it all the time when I go out to eat!

  120. I didn’t read through all the comments to see if this one was listed, but what about, “It’s a horse a piece”? I live in AZ now, and I said this a while back to my husband. He looked at me like I was crazy. Anyone from WI knows that it means the same as “6 of one, half dozen of the other”, right?? Or maybe it’s just me…

  121. I have only lived in Wisconsin for 5 years and there is a big one that i haven’t seen mentioned here yet. I can never get used to people saying “I am going to GO BY my Mom instead of I am going to my Mom’s house.

  122. Having lived in Alaska for the last 20 years I have been on a “crusade” to correct people in their calling a snowmobile a ‘snow machine’! I tell them we have snow machines, they are the machines they use to make snow on hills for skiing- but one cannot ride them! We also have autoMobiles, not auto machines, so it is called a SNOWMOBILE. Besides, we’nt they first made in WI ( or is that just Wisconsin folk lore?!). Your input…
    Another word I heard in the Milwaukee area, esp. from descendants of German/Polish heritage: ‘Ayn na’ (don’t have the spelling), used for example “It sure is cold outside, Ayana na?”. Used instead of, isn’t that so.( No, I never used it, but I never used ‘Des, dat or dem’ I always thought that was an Illinois accent.)
    I do remember Bubblers, the ones I remember we’re a round siler bowl w/several holes where water bubbled up from, inside a porcelain white bowl, found all over even on busy street sides.
    I had always thought any accent I might have was from a speech impediment in my childhood that I just never completely outgrew ( I couldn’t pronounce my ‘r’s – people always asked if I was from Boston-in WI! after a couple years in AK, finally figured out it must be from my speech impediment. I have finally realized, & now admit I do have a “WI accent”; when my husband came home from work one day & said a customer had asked him: “What part of the mid-west are you from.” I realized it wasn’t just me! I’ve really Ben paying attention this years visit & can ‘hear’ it more, the more ‘hard’ or ‘short/curt’ sound of what I think of as German &/or Scandanavian (1/2 Norwegian maybe 1/4 German).
    I really enjoyed your articles, will forward to my non-Wisconsin friends to explain myself, or at least my language!-“You Betcha!”…something a well known former AK governor is known to say (Sara P) & she’s not from Wisconsin (tho I always thought that was MN. Thanks for the enlightenment!
    (I’m also known to use “Milwaukee-ese” , saying parts of sentences ‘backwards’, like ‘Yoda’: “Woke up early, did ya?”)

    • Thanks for the comment, June.

      I agree – the snow machine thing always sounds strange to me too, but I guess it is technically acceptable.

      I think the dem, dat dere thing is more Upper Midwest. Definitely Chicago more-so than the whole state of IL. I always noticed that people seem to suddenly get southern accents as soon as I’m south of Chicago.

      And your Yoda comparison is hilarious!

  123. So you know when you’re driving down the road, and a nod or wave is almost expected as you pass either when in the car/truck/tractor, I’m used to hearing: “how come you didn’t hello me when I honked you” when you don’t during our next meeting. Suffer the wrath if you do not heed that greeting. Now that’s country grammar, R Kelly!

  124. I am from Wisconsi but live in California. My husband thinks it’s funny we say “grill out” instead of BBQ. No one here knows what after bar beans either 🙂

  125. How about can you “borrow” me some money, instead of lend or loan? Def a Wisconsin thing!

  126. it’s a horse a piece.

  127. It’s a horse a piece

  128. I grew up in wi and then moved to mt .. the biggest thung I notice is bbq and grill out..growing up we would have a bbq and in kt yhey called them grill outs..

  129. Wow, no matter how many Wisconsin dialect articles I read, there are still new ones I didn’t know about! I never realized that adding “er no?” to the end of my sentences was such a Wisconsinism. I grew up in WI, but my parents were from New York (Dad NYC, Mom upstate), so I was in an interesting position of never saying some Wisconsinisms, particularly cultural ones that were fishing-related. When I went to college in Appleton, however, and many of my friends were from out of state, I started to realize just how much Wisconsin had colored my dialect! (Sometimes the fights over “bubbler” got very intense.) Lately my parents have also been revealing how strange they find some of my phrases, such as “standing up” at a wedding for being in the wedding party, and doing things “on accident” (my mother always thought she’d failed to teach us the right way until she realized it was a regionalism). Now that we are living out of the country, and I am the only one with a strong Wisconsin dialect around, I realize even more how much of an impact the Badger State has had on my language. Thanks for the fun and interesting article!

  130. I get a lot of grief about “Stop and go light” and “poh ney” dontcha know–

  131. Can’t forget. (He classic response. “So how many beers u have? “. Oh I don’t know. A couple, Two, Three”

  132. Aina was a big one in my neighborhood while I was growing up. An example would be, “It’s getting to be quitting time, aina?” Which means “It’s getting to be quitting time, isn’t it?”

  133. Marsha Brown says

    My mother, from Oshkosh, would often say, “Come here for a little minute.” My father, from St. Croix, had gooms, fil-lum, ahmond, and el-lum.

  134. I think that some of the sayings were translations from Middle European languages. I can remember as a child my grandmother would say “Throw me down the stairs the broom” Or the guys would be talking about “throwing the Horse over the fence some hay. “

  135. I was born and raised in Madison. Some of the list, I can relate to, some I cannot. I have never heard of booyah until today (I’m 44 btw). I’ve never used the terms dat, dis or dere, at least I don’t think I have. Maybe I am and am not realizing it. Yous guys? Really? I know I’ve never used it, it just sounds weird. When I saw this on a quiz, I figured it was an Eastern coast accent. Very surprised that to hear that it is from Wisconsin. Stop n’ go lights..I always called them Stop lights, maybe I just shortened it. lol Up Nort…yep North is always “up”. Ya Know? Too funny, I am so guilty of saying this. or Doncha know? Bag..I’ve tried saying the other way..it just sounds WRONG. lol. Real quick or real fast. Guilty, actually had no idea this was a “Wisconsin thing” One time/once lol yep all the time. Bubbler…that is what it is…everyone else is WRONG, calling it a fountain or water fountain. I actually scolded my kids for calling a water fountain. N’ so, I’m not sure, I’ve said so anyway….

    My Dad always said Warsh…drove me crazy. He also said “vengentables” for vegetables. Anyone else ever hear that. Anyone else notice when people say mitten, butter, better..the t’s are kinda skipped over? Not sure the best way to “spell” the example so people will know what I am talking about.

    • Tanya – my Grandma always said venchetables – I think we’re talking about the same thing. She’s Norwegian, and we always thought that had somethign to do with it.

    • Tanya, that’s because those are Chicago sayings.

      • Not at all. I mean, yes, they are Chicago-ese, but just listen to my godfather–born and raised in Appleton, or our friend–born and raised in Black Creek (I mean “Crick”). Nary a voiced “th” would pass their lips–only “d” And “yous guys” is everywhere in WI. As for “warsh,” you’ll also hear that in MD–it’s one of the bits of his “Bawlimer” accent that my dad never lost.

    • I think most of these come from the area along Lake Michigan. including Sheboygan, Green Bay Very few were common in the Madison area, “bubbler” being the exception. I’ve never heard of “booyah”; sounds like chicken soup.

  136. Pert’near or pert’ner is common around Northeast Wisconsin, possibly statewide. It essentially means “almost” or “pretty near”.

  137. Growing up in Wi and moving to CA people didn’t understand when I was “gonna run to the store” or ” I’m just runnin’ to the store” and the meaning of “mmm k” instead of okay for agreement!

  138. My Dad was born in northeastern Iowa (New Hampton, Decorah) and moved around a lot but always said “warsh” for “wash”.

    He also used to say “crime-un-itly” when surprised by something.

  139. I think “Are you going to come with?” is equivalent to “Are you going to come along?” and aren’t they both utterances up with which grammarians will not put?

  140. aw, jeez. sounds kinda like cheese

  141. I’ve been picked on numerous times by out-of-Staters for how I use “yet”. Example: “I’ll be home late, I’m at work yet” when they (as they claim) would have said “I’ll be home late, I’m still at work” instead. Grammatically, their way is better, but it is a REALLY hard habit to break.

  142. Ok wow…. have to admit to most of them… however there are a few ya missed. 1. By the lake not to the lake. Example .. Let’s go by the lake. And saggy. Like my bread is soggy we pronounce it with an a.

  143. I remember eating coolers instead of popsicles

  144. My great-aunt often said “ain’a” at the end of a sentence. Where is that from? Her parents spoke German, so I assume it is a German thing, but I I don’t know.

    • My Grandma also said ‘ain’a” a lot. Sadly, I didn’t know her very well, but I know that her family was German. Whenever you asked her how she was, she would say, “oh, just kickin along.”, I thought that was funny .

    • My in-laws also said ain’a. Also German descent. I thought it was a contraction of aint it.

  145. I grew up in Sheboygan where we were lucky to get coolers in the summertime. We moved to Janesville and asked for coolers…they didn’t know what we meant…we had to learn to ask for popsicles! Yes, we also used the term bubblers!

  146. I think you missed the biggest one! We drop the “g” on all “ing” words. I have a very pronounced vocabulary and I still go “fishin'” and “drinkin'” instead of fishing and drinking

  147. How about the term “paddle pop” for a chocolate covered ice cream bar?? That might be more of a Milwaukee talk thing as people in other parts of Wisconsin didn’t know what we wanted when we asked for it. I think other people called them just plain “ice cream bars”…..how dull is that?? 🙂 This is a great article and a great comment thread….thanks!

    • Oh, that brings back memories! I’m 75 and grew up in Milwaukee, but left in 1957. We always called them “paddle pops,” and I’ve never heard that anywhere else!

  148. Richard Hartley says

    As a born and raised Madisonian, I had to chuckle at the Wisc-isms in your blog. But I wanted you to know that waitresses in Fremantle, Western Australia (my current place of residence) have also been heard to say, ” Wha duh youz want?”. It may be the Irish convict ancestory here or maybe that’s just what waitresses say but it still makes you wonder what you’ve struck when you hear it and that’s fer sher..If you would like a giggle try googling an Aussie phrase book for some peculiar expressions. R.;-)

  149. People dont say “go by your house” in other states… I have lived in Wisconsin for my whole life and I don’t say half of this stuff. Maybe because I am still kinda younger. I don’t know if this is a Wisconsin thing but my dad and I have had some argues on how to pronounce “bag”. I am not sure if this is just a Wisconsin thing or not but my whole family says bag different. Some stretch the vowel. I stretch the “g” but it is the same with bagel. My parents rip on my pronunciation of this word. Tbh I think I pronounce Wisconsin Wee-skon-sin. Not sure if that was already said but just wanna say that. I have caught myself saying Real quick or bubbler.

  150. Aaron Johnson says

    I disagree with all of this. I have lived in Wisconsin all my life. While there may be a grain of truth here and there. This is more pointed to Canadian speech.

    • Aaron, I’m Wisconsin born and raised too. But I lived in Tulsa, OK for college. In my fourth year there, I was talking to a freshman girl I’d just met and was noticing her accent (long o’s and a’s). Asked her if she was from Canada…

      She was from Racine – doncha know? She was also pretty insulted for some reason.

    • I was also born and raised in WI (38 years there). I have now lived in VA for nearly 2 years. My job puts me on the phone with people who live all across the US. I haven’t gone a single day without being asked at least once if I am from WI! This is ON THE PHONE!! Usually it’s after I say ‘about’ or ‘ya betcha’. Lots of them tell me they think WI people talk with their own sort of twang! I think we have something special about our accent or they wouldn’t say that!

    • Much of this was taken from IL as well Aaron…

  151. I am 75 and was born and raised in Milwaukee, but left in 1957. I can still remember people from WissGONsin going to buy their schneckens!

  152. Dick Hughes says

    When I moved from TX to WI, I went to a get together with food. When I filled my plate and sat at the table my wife asked why I didn’t get any hot tamales. I said I didn’t see them. She said I’ll go get some for you. She came back with two Sloopy Joes!! Wisconsin is the only place I have ever heard them called Tamales.

    • I’ve never heard the term “hot tamale” for sloppy joe in all of my 38 years. It was always sloppy joe in my neck of the woods. Maybe that’s a term used outside of the Fox Cities?

      • For as long as I can remember growing up, I, too, remember my family calling sloppy joe “hot tamales”. It wasn’t until I got older when I first heard the term “sloppy joes”.

  153. I remember saying “gool” (sp?) when we played tag as kids. It was the safe spot where no one could tag you. I when people are telling stories I always say oh yeah after they finish telling it.

    • Yes! We always said “gool.” I had no idea there was anything different, and when I finally did hear “goal” as an older child (like, jr. hi or so) I thought people were pronouncing it wrong.

  154. kevin butler says

    As a banker in Janesville in the 70s, we introduced a TYME machine. It was a brand name not used by anyone I know of in any other way. Also, don’t forget CRICK instead of CREEK!

  155. My grandma was raised in North Carolina and moved to Wisconsin when she married, we all carry some southern accent and wording! So the mix of Wisconsin and the South has always been, “interesting”

    • Plus – you probably got to eat beer brats AND North Carolina-style BBQ. Yum!

    • Tiffany – what a coinky-dink! My grandma was also raised in North Carolina and after she married my grandpa, they moved to Milwaukee. So we got to eat fried chicken, fish fry and brats! Plus I still say y’all sometimes…

  156. Joyce Libal says

    I’m from Green Bay. I remember my dad often using the term “perner”. For example, someone would ask, “Are ya almost done dere?” And my dad might answer, “Perner” meaning almost done or pretty near done.

  157. Two other expressions are “For Pete’s sake” and “A horse apiece”.
    I disagree on the meaning of real quick. When my wife tell me to pick up some “Bread, real quick”, she means don’t start small talking with acquaintances at the general store, or wander over to the hardware section. Just buy bread, and get home before dinner burns.

  158. C'mon Everyone Knows That says

    Someone has probably already pointed this out in the looooooooong string of comments above, but we don’t say “Come here once” to make it sound nicer. We say it because it is a remnant of the strong influence German has on Wisconsin. “Come here once” is a direct German-to-English translation.

    • Very interesting. I knew that German heavily influenced the WI accent, and I assumed some of the words, but I never knew this was a direct translation. I’ll have to ask my godparents, the Schwandts. (Talk about heavy German influence!)

  159. I was born and raised in central WI and I have NEVER heard anyone around here call a water fountain a bubbler. I also have not heard some of these other phrases, except for those few kids in school that were into the whole coon hunting thing and they were trying to be ‘cool’… P.S. It is not cool to say ‘dis’ dat’ ‘dem’ dere’. It’s just laziness. Oh, and don’t forget ‘fer’ instead of ‘for’, or ‘are’ instead of ‘our’. What happened to the English language…?

  160. pkinsell says

    People have mentioned “yet” in place of “still.” This stems from German influence in the Wisconsin language. Germans use the same word for yet and still: “noch”. (That’s my assumption ) I would like to point out the use of the word “borrow. ” (also German influence) because in Wisconsin people say borrow instead of lend. “Can you borrow me some money. ” horrible English grammar but perfectly acceptable if translated in German. 🙂 I have only heard that phrase commonly used in Wisconsin.

  161. CaseyAdam says

    I love all the comments on this! They add all the little ones missed on the main list. I’m guilty of some, but not all. I’m from Central-ish WI, Fond du lac, and we don’t have much of the accent all the time, but we definitely say most of these things.

    I’m in the Navy, stationed in CA, and I get called out on the word “Bay-g” ALLLLL the time by my coworkers. Also when I say Milwaukee, cuz I say “M’waukee.”

    But I love our dialect. People like to make fun of it in an endearing way, not in a way that makes us sound less intelligent (like when you make fun of a southern person from, say, Texas lol).

    Fer sure! Oh yah, ya know?

  162. “Want a baggle?” ‘…a what?’ “A baggle. I got a whole bay-g of ’em.” Actual conversation with my college roommate upon first arriving in Wisconsin.

  163. CaseyAdam says

    It seems like the “real quick” one varies though. I definitely use it in a way that I just mean I want to “see that real quick” almost politely/less demanding. Or I’m just gonna run to the store “real quick” meaning I’m leaving promptly to show a sense of moderate urgency. Or you can say “can you come here real quick” meaning “I don’t want to take up too much of your time or inconvenience you.” So there are different meanings of it. But we DO say it.

    One that I love, which my dad says when something is upsetting or unbelievable in a way is “Criminey” or “Cripes.” I always catch myself saying “for cripes sakes!”

    Also I’ve heard different Wisconsinites say “crick” AND “creek” so that might be regional. As well as the word roof being pronounced “roof” with a long oo, or “ruff” with a shorter o/u sound.

    One last thing, I also love the whole “Up Nort” thing. I might not shorten it to “Nort” but we do say we’re going “Up north” without any further explaination. It’s just implied that you’re going for a weekend at the cabin on the lake lol.

  164. Kimberly Nelson says

    Even within WI some regional differences I’ve noticed: My boyfriend is from an Antigo (he does not enunciate the T) and they say, “side by each” to mean, “next to”, “Are you fer it or aginnit?” and, “used to could”. When I moved to Madison, I noticed they started sentences with “anymore”. Example: “Anymore nobody knows their neighbors.” I had a friend in my home town of Watertown that would say, “I’m gonna take and go to the store.” Why add the TAKE? I thought it was just her family, but I later heard others say it too. And then from Watertown east to Lake Michigan pop is definitely soda. Lastly, in Watertown and some suburbs of Milwaukee (at least in the 80’s and 90’s) a drawn out, “Hey?” is a complete sentence of its own indicating agreement such as, “The Brewers are really sucking this year.” “Hey?”

  165. Spendy= expensive
    Enstead= instead
    Innersting= interesting
    Ru-al = rural
    Wensday = Wednesday
    Febuary = February

  166. I just LOVE this! I grew up in MN and now have lived in WI for 34 yrs. I think that the dat, dem, dere thing is related to Germanic heritage. My grandma, a true German speaker, used these words all the time.

  167. How about this:

    Hey der Schmitty, run on up der to the hoose and grab us some beerss,eh, its a scorcher doncha know.

    Translation: Attention Schmitty, please go to the house and obtain a 6 pack, because its hot today as you are aware, is this acceptable to you?

  168. Today I tasted a free sample of cheese on the street in St Andrews, Scotland. It tasted horrible (nothing like our WI cheese) but so as not to be rude I simply said, “Huh. That’s really interesting.” As I walked away, I said to my mom, “That was some NASTY cheese!” She laughed and said she had no idea I had disliked it from my reaction, and that my calling it “interesting” made her wish she had gotten a sample too. She is from New York, I grew up in Wisconsin. 🙂 This article is always worth revisiting. Whenever I’m feeling a little homesick, I come straight to your site. Thanks!

    • In North Dakota, the western half anyway, the comment would have been, “Well, that’s different.”

    • I live in Maryland. I couple weeks ago, I bought some cheese that said something like, “super sharp aged cheddar cheese! Aged at least 9 months!” I cried a little. I can’t find any good aged cheddar (I prefer 7 years) anywhere but WI.

  169. It may interest you that number 10 is directly translated from the northern European style of speaking. “…and so” translates into Swedish as “…och så”, which we use all the time.

    • Trailing off a conversation contribution with “…so… .” with the word possibly stretched-out, “sooooh”… .” is very common in central North Dakota. I think of it as the speaker’s signal that he or she has run-out of things to say, and it is now someone else’s turn to speak.

  170. Steve Stelling says

    I don’t have any idea what brought me here. I do know my wife’s family, from Madison, park on (in?) “ramps.” No parking garages parking ramps. This is bothersome because, to me a ramp is a transitional space–one you move through, not one you stay in. I’m from Chicago and there is a lot of shared weirdness. We live in Pittsburgh which gives the whole country a run for it’s money.

  171. A brat is something you eat.
    A Friday night date consists of taking you girlfriend shining for deer. Saturday you go the local bowling alley.
    A wedding isn’t complete without “Proud Mary.”
    At every wedding you have been to you have had to dance the hokey pokey and the chicken dance.
    At least 50% of your relatives work on a dairy farm…
    At least one kid in your class had to help with morning chores. Phew!
    You have driven your car on a lake.
    At least twice a year, your kitchen doubles as a meat processing plant.
    Bernie Brewer is your idol because he gets to dive in a giant beer mug.
    Cheese is an important staple in your diet.
    Christmas shopping” includes going to the liquor store to buy beer,
    Country Kitchen or Perkins is the place to meet after the party.
    Down South to you means Chicago.
    Driving is better in the winter because the potholes fill in with snow
    Every sweatshirt you own is either red and white or green and gold.
    FFA was the most popular club in high school. (That’s Future Farmers of America to the rest of you.)
    Football schedules are checked before wedding dates are set.
    You can visit Luxemburg, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Berlin, and Poland all in one afternoon.
    Formal wear is blue jeans and a baseball cap.
    Goodyear Tire on any Saturday is busier than toy stores at Christmas
    No and go are two syllable words: no-uh and go-uh.
    On the corner, you have Stop ‘N Go Lights
    Snow tires come standard on all your cars.
    Soda is just water with bubbles in it. No flavor.
    Someone has borrowed you $10.
    Sunday afternoons are sacred for the Packer game!
    Sunday morning at church involves lots of coffee, Jell-O molds and danish.
    The “Big Three” means Miller, Old Milwaukee & PBR
    The local paper covers major headlines on 1 page, but requires 4 pages for sports.
    The most effective mosquito repellent is a shotgun.
    The only place you go down to is Illinois. Your great aunt even asked you to come up to Florida for a visit.
    The Packers will always be better than the Vikings, no matter what the standings are.
    The proper response to “Don’t cha know?” is “You betcha!”
    The snow on your roof in August weighs more than you do…
    The town you grew up in had a bar called Ma’s Place.
    The trunk of your car doubles as a deep freezer.
    There was at least one kid in your class who had to help milk cows in the morning…phew!
    To settle an argument you say it is “a horse a piece.”
    Travelling coast to coast means going from LaCrosse to Milwaukee.
    When you father was angry he’d say, “Oh, for cripes sake.”
    When you wanna give people the choice to say no you say, ”“Do you want to come with, er no?”
    When you want to call out to someone, you say, “Hey dare”
    You “go by” your grandma’s house for Christmas.
    You add “er no
    You are a member of the Polar Bear Club and proud of it.
    You ask your cousin to “come by” your house soon.
    You believe that Badgers will always beat Gophers.
    You bring all your nickels and dimes during any family get together because you know you’re gonna play Sheep’s head
    You can actually pronounce Oconomowoc.
    You can finish out a game on your honor even if you lost all of your money.
    You can identify and Illinois accent.
    You can make sense out the words upnort and Trivers.
    You can recognize someone from Illinois from their driving.
    You can take a hotdish out of the fridge to warm up for supper.
    You can tell the difference between “real Wisconsin cheese” and “that Illinois stuff.”
    You know that creek rhymes with pick.
    You can visit Luxembourg, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Berlin, New London, and Poland all in one afternoon.
    You consider Madison exotic.
    You decided to have a picnic this summer because it fell on a weekend…
    You define Summer as three months of bad sledding…
    you define swimming season as Labor Day weekend…
    You design your Halloween costumes to fit over a snowsuit.
    You don’t have a coughing fit from one sip of Pabst Blue Ribbon.
    You drink soda and refer to your dad as “pop.”
    You drink soda and refer to your dad as “pop.”
    You end a sentence with Once… “Let me see that once”….
    You enjoy driving in the winter because the potholes fill in with snow.
    You ever went to a wedding reception in a bowling alley.
    You find 0 degrees a little chilly.
    You get choked up when you hear the University Marching Band play “On Wisconsin”.
    You go fishin, drinkin, eatin…
    You go out for fish fry every Friday.
    You go to work in a snowsuit in the morning and return home wearing shorts…
    You got a passport to go to Minnesota…
    You have been to a “BoDeans” concert.
    You have been to at least one house party on Johnson Street in Madison.
    You have caught a fish in Lake Michigan and it glowed in the dark.
    You have drank “white soda” (i.e. 7Up, Sprite, etc.).
    You have eaten a cow pie at the State Fair.
    You have ever been to State Street in Madison during a protest of something.
    You have ever partied at Summerfest, Festa Italiana, German Fest, Irish Fest, or all of the above.
    You have experienced snow storms in April.
    You have fried out.
    You have gone out of your way to eat ice cream at Gilles’ or Kopp’s.
    You have gotten frost-bitten and sunburned in the same week.
    You have had a brat fry.
    You have had school closed due to wind chills and frostbite warnings.
    You have heard a waitress say, “what can I get for yous guys today?”
    You have more fishing poles than teeth.
    You have more miles on your snow blower than your car.
    You have no problem spelling Milwaukee.
    You have said “come here real quick once.”
    You have some cake yet after the party.
    You can make sense out of the word “upnort” and “batree.”
    You have to drive thirty minutes to the nearest movie theater.
    You have to go to Florida to get a tan in August.
    You invite someone to go somewhere by saying, “Wanna come with?”
    You know at least one person who owns wooden shoes.
    You know how to polka, but never tried it sober.
    You know what knee-high by the Fourth of July means.
    You know it’s traditional for the bride and groom to go bar hopping between the ceremony and the reception.
    You know that there is no “r” in Wausau.
    You know how to pronounce “brat”.
    You know how to tell how old children are by the shade of their red robins at holidays.
    You know it’s traditional for the bride and groom to go bar hopping between the ceremony and the reception.
    You know someone who can use “ja, der hey” in a sentence.
    You know that “combine” is a noun.
    You know that a TYME machine won’t take you to the future.
    You were delighted to get a miniature snow shovel for your 3rd birthday.
    You can recognize someone from Illinois by their driving.
    You buy Christmas presents at Fleet Farm.
    You are a connoisseur of cheese curds and find anyone unfamiliar with them to be frighteningly foreign.
    You get irritated at sports announcers that pronounce it “Wes-con-sin.”
    You own at least one cheese head.
    You know that De Pere is not a wooden structure extending into “Da Lake.”
    You can leave your ice cream in the car while you go into Fleet Farm, and it won’t melt.
    You always believed that vacation meant “going up North.” No matter what direction you went!
    You have more fishing poles than teeth.
    Your definition of a small town is one that only has one bar.
    Your local gas station sells live bait.
    You laugh aloud every time you see a news report about a blizzard shutting down the entire east coast.
    Your mom asks, “Were you born in a barn?” and you know exactly what she means.
    You include beer as one of the major food groups. Isn’t it?
    You know which leaves make good toilet paper.
    You know that Eau Claire is not something you eat.
    You know that Gotham is a real city.
    You know that pasties are not articles of clothing.
    You know that stollen is better than fruitcake for Christmas.
    You know what a “flatlander” is and you know all the “why Wisconsin is better than Illinois,” jokes.
    You know what a Youper is
    You know what cow-tipping is.
    You know what Kaukauna smells like.
    You know what to do with a Blatz.
    You know where Oconomowoc is AND can pronounce and spell it.
    You know where to look when someone says dis, dat. dem or dere
    You know where Waukesha is AND can pronounce it.
    You know which leaves make good toilet paper
    You learned to drive a tractor before the training wheels were off your bike.
    Your bank has the name of your town included in its name.
    Pop is not only what you call your dad, but is the ONLY name for soda.
    You leave your car in the parking ramp when you go to the store.
    You let your older siblings talk you into putting your tongue on a steel post in the middle of winter.
    You think Lutheran and Catholic are THE major religions.
    You loved it when the Brewers hit a home run so the lady would slide from the huge keg into the mug of beer.
    You only know three spices: salt, pepper, and ketchup.
    You or someone you know was a “Dairy Princess” at a county fair.
    You owe more money on your snowmobile than on your car.
    You owned a beater as a kid.
    You play hockey outdoors 10 months a year.
    You preface advice with “If a guy wanted to…”
    You refer to the Packers as “we.”
    You run to the store in the car or on you bike.
    You say them (usually pronounced dem) instead of those, “Dem were some big walleye’s we caught.”
    You spend time at your cottage and have no problem using the outhouse.
    You start a sentence with so and end with than, “So, are we going to the mall then?”
    You tell someone where you are from and they say, “I thought that was part of Canada…”
    You think that you can do something irregardless of what others say.
    You think there should be a “FIB go home” bumper sticker on every car north of Madison…
    You thought everyone drank from “bubblers”.
    You tried to tap the World’s Largest Six Pack.
    You use time rather than distance to answer the question, “How far is it to…”

  172. You warsh your dishes in the kitch’n zinc.
    You spent more on beer than you did on food at your wedding.
    You know that Kaukauna is NOT a Hawaiian Island.
    You hear someone use the word “oof-dah” and you don’t immediately break into uncontrollable laughter.
    You think fast food is hitting a deer at 65 mph.
    You or someone you know was a “Dairy Princess” at a county fair or a Miss Action in Jackson.
    You went to the local tavern on Friday night for Fish Fry.
    You went to work and mowed the lawn and never left home.
    You think that the start of deer season is a national holiday.
    You were offended by the movie Fargo.
    You were unaware there is a legal drinking age.
    You would not find a wedding complete without Proud Mary
    Your class took a field trip to a brewery…in second grade, Borden’s in third and the cheese factory in fourth.
    You’ve been to a fly in.
    You’ve broken through the ice on Lake Winnebago so you could take a dip on Easter Sunday.
    You’ve budged in line.
    You’ve done something “on accident.”
    You’ve eaten chicken booyah.
    You’ve ever been scolded with an “You dasn’t do that.”
    You’ve made the comment at a party about there being “a lot of people here that I don’t see.”
    You’ve run after the dilly wagon.
    You’ve said to your kids, “While you up once, get me a beer, hey?”
    You’ve sat in the “way back” of a station wagon.
    You’ve seen a hodag.
    You’ve stopped off for a couple two tree beers lol
    You’ve taken your kids trickortreating in a blizzard
    You’ve thrown a hamburger on the grill or tossed a brat on a plate.
    You’ve told someone to go ahead and back up.
    Your 4th of July Family Picknic was moved indoors due to frost.

  173. Your aunt has told you to “come here for a little minute.”
    Your high school class went to the Pabst Theater to see “A Christmas Carol”.
    Your hometown buys a Zamboni when they need a bus.
    Your idea of creative landscaping is a statue of a cow next to your blue spruce…
    Your idea of foreign culture is listening to Da Yoopers.
    Your idea of the seasons is Winter, Spring and the 4th of July…
    Your neighbor throws a party to celebrate his new machine shed.
    Your school lost half their student body during deer season.
    Your sexy lingerie is tube socks and a flannel nightgown.
    Your snow blower gets stuck on the roof.
    Your whole family wears green and gold to church on Sunday.
    You’ve seen mosquitoes with landing lights.
    You are pritnear done reading this list.
    A waitress has asked you “How is everything tasting?
    See, you are from Wisconsin, don’tcha know?”
    Be proud to be a Cheesehead.

  174. I honestly can’t relate to all of these. I moved to WI from MN when I was young, and bubbler is definitely a Wisconsin saying. I didn’t know what it was when I came here, and everyone thought that when I said water/drinking fountain that I was talking about a fountain you’d find in a pond.

    I also have heard the “yous/yous guys” saying, but it’s only something I heard in one small area of WI and was not said often near me.

    One thing that drives me nuts that a lot of people by me do say is, “I seen” instead of, “I saw.”

    When I visit my family in Utah, it drives them nuts how I say bag, bagel, and flag.

    I’ve never been one to say “stop and go lights.” I’ve always said “stop light.” My driving instructor said “stop and go lights,” and I always thought it was weird.

  175. I was born and raised in Madison, and have been away since 2002. Some Sconnie isms that I hadn’t seen in comments: “You also” instead of “You too” by way of telling someone to have a “good one”. I always say “Kitty corner” but my second husband always said “Katty corner”-took me a while to figure that one out! I also get teased aboat how I say ‘sorry’. Instead of ‘sawry’, I say ‘soorry’.. because its spelled with an “O” not an “A”.

  176. No Wisconsin native would say or write “Sconnie.” In the same manner that no one in San Francisco calls that cite “Frisco.” It was/is a marketing gimmick to sell t-shirts.

  177. “French room” – that’s what it sounded like the first 20 times I heard it. I finally broke down and asked what the hell a “French room” is. I was told he was saying “front room”. Still didn’t know what the hell he was talking about until he took me to the Living Room and told me I was standing in the “french room”.

  178. I’m from Green Bay, WI and have pretty much lived here all my life. When I was younger I scorned “yous” as grammatically incorrect and illiterate. When I studied abroad in Spain, I learned linguistic constructs for first person plural that I really loved because it removed so much ambiguity that “you” meant “all of you.” And when I came home, I was glad, albeit jokingly, to be able to use “yous” when I wanted to be clear about including everyone in what I had to say. I’d use it mostly in written communication as you(s). Now I appreciate it as just another way the culture of Wisconsin is nice and inclusive.

  179. Oh is it? Is another one from the fox valley area.
    It’s used at the end of a sentence that don’t pertaining to anything.
    And Spanish hamburger, which I found out was a sloppy joe, or barbecue.

  180. A person from Wisconsin doesn’t have that annoying “up nort” accent like that. I live in northern wisconsin and I speak legit English not that er no, dat dere, crap. Funny nonetheless but kinda irritating. Lol

  181. First off, wth is chicken booyah? Then, in the Oshkosh area, we don’t say yous guys or up nort. That’s not even proper english. I think that’s more of a Northern thing. I guess I am kind of offended. This story makes Wisconsinites sound like illiterates.

  182. Another Wisconsinite phrase: will do.

  183. I get teased for saying “fir” in place of “for.” Anyone else do that or have you heard it?

    • fir sure

    • Here are some my husband and I came up with (we are both, born raised and still rooted in Wisconsin).
      fir sure (for sure)
      ya sure ya betcha
      doooon’t and you could add on: dooooon’t do dat
      noooa (get that “a” on the end)

      Don’t forget to hold those o’s and a’s.

  184. Actually you guys missed a few pretty classic ones that I’ve been hearing since a kid. O.C (outta control) Ie. Damn, dude got arrested for stealing a snickers? That’s O.C lol. Also another one. “on what” (nobody else says that but here) I.e “Dude my girl just won the lottery bro!” Average Milwaukee Reaction: On what!! That’s crazy.. nobody really knows what on what means. It just sounds good lol
    -Cata Stro Phic

  185. Maybe it’s just me, but I find this a bit insulting to the educated residents of Wisconsin. I have said “really quick” in my lifetime, though not regularly, I say “you know” too often (but not YA know), and I most often call a water fountain a “bubbler”, but that is like saying kleenex instead of tissue (as a certain model of water fountain introduced first in Wisconsin was called the Bubbler). The rest of this is language I’ve not heard and I’ve lived in Milwaukee County since I was 8 years old. These must be phrases/words used outside of the bigger cities. I don’t mean to offend anyone, but I would certainly never say “dis” instead of “this” and would never allow my children to!

    • I agree. I have lived in cities and rural areas and I never hear people say dat, dere and dem. I say bubbler and pronounce bag with a long a, but most of what is used to describe us does not apply.

      • They do. My godfather and a family friend both say “dis, dem, dose,” and those are just the people closest to me. And the friend has a Ph.D, so it’s got nothing to do with education. It’s just how you grew up, and if you care to change.

    • I’ve lived in Wisconsin my entire freak’n life and I’ve never once heard anyone say “dis” verse “this.” Not my parents, aunts, uncles, friends, teachers, cousins, no one! No one I know talks like the way the person who wrote this article describes. I do say “bag” like “beg,” call a water fountain a blubber, and I have heard some older people call stop lights “stop and go lights” but that’s really about it.

      Maybe it’s because I live in South East Wisconsin and it’s more an up north thing where they don’t pronounce the th sound.

  186. When I lived in West Virginia I was teased for how I pronounce “roof”…They say “roof”…I pronounce it “rough” “ruff”,,,,,not sure why? Then when I get my hair colored the word “roots” comes out “ruts”….they say “rooots” . I also say “you know” “come here once!” or “come here quick”, meaning it will just be a second. My most used phrase has to be “what is the temperature anyway?” I add “anyway” to many sentences…”where are we going, anyway?” Living in WV for 4 years I picked things up…”The car needs washed” “the housed needs cleaned”…no “to be” in their sentences….and to this day I still use ” If you don’t start sharing this toy, I’m gonna put it up!” Mind you I have been back in WI for 8 1/2 years.I will never say “sack” or “buggy”, however! LOL!

  187. Round the corner goes… as in:

    “…ya know, down dere where the street round the corner goes.”

  188. Renee gyrion says

    My family get togethers were often ‘barbecues’ not cook outs. We also had ‘hot tamales’ or ‘Spanish hamburgers’ meaning sloppy joes. My parents also shortened their syllables, saying battry instead of battery, radyo instead of radio. I thought of it more as a rural versus urban upbringing. When my mom invites my for dinner I have to ask if that’s at noon or later.

    • My in-laws use “dinner” for lunch a lot and “supper” for dinner….think it might me a Sunday thing, or that’s how it started:)

      • Dinner is the big meal of the day when the family is together. So you either eat:
        Breakfast-Dinner-Supper, or

        Families tend to eat Breakfast-Dinner-Supper on Sundays because it is the only day of the week when the whole family is together at noon time.

        During the rest of the week when everyone is working and studying, dinner is reserved for the evening meal when all are together.

  189. when I first arrived to Green Bay, WI, and went to get a hair cut, I was asked ” how do you want them.” I was so confused I sat there speechless. I also heard others in the shop say ” they look nice today”.
    I also hear many pronounce the word point-set-t-a instead of point-set-a for the Christmas flower/plant.
    Hope you have heard these.

  190. Looked for this in the comments above, didn’t see it – but I grew up in central WI in the 70s and we always drank “pop” (pronounced “paaahhp”). It was years later when I met people from Milwaukee (pronounced “Mih waw kee”) who called it “soda”. “Pop is your DAD” one of them said. But I always called my dad, “Dad”, never “Pop”. Definitely ‘doncha know’ (although I heard it more when I went to college in Minneapolis) and “or no” should be on the list though. Those are practically requirements for living there (and to one comment above, “or no” is definitely not new, it’s been in use at least as long as I’ve been alive. Never heard much of “dis” and “dese” however… )


  192. My mother-in-law has a fondness for winding down a topic of conversation with “and all so…no…” or just using the word “no” where it doesn’t seem to belong – quite often, too. (my husband shares this delightful habit) Sometimes to end a sentence, sometimes even after the word “yes”! (or rather, “yah”) Example – Me: Isn’t it cold today?” She: “Oh, yah, the barn was freezing this morning…..no.” I’m from “Mawaukee” and she’s pretty rural (the wife of a farmer). Incidentally, I love it when I hear friends/family using the expression, “Well, I s’pose.” meaning of course, that it’s time to go home.

  193. In just moved to North Carolina and people say I have an accent. My daughter asked where a” bubbler” was at Wal-Mart and the guy said” do what” and she asked again and he said I reckon we don’t have none of those here. Lol. Also the da dat dere thing I never heard that but I say” yeah hey” a lot n I say bag like bay-g. Lol

  194. My husband is from Massachusetts so he has no room to talk about accents. However when we were planning a trip back to my home state and I got excited about the prospect of going to the Fyr Bal festval in Ephraim he looked at me like Dorothy looks at Rose on the Golden Girls when she starts in with a St Olaf story. I explained that it was an annual festival and they crowned a citizen. They come in to the harbor (surrounded by bonfires) wearing a viking helmet. It took awhile to convince him I wasn’t pulling his leg. He finally conceded but wanted me to explain why the festival was devoted to fur balls!

  195. How about the phrase “after while”? My parents in Sheboygan use it to mean “later” or in a little while.” Example: No you can’t have cake before dinner. That’s for “after while.”

  196. MIke Jackson says

    “No, I don’t need to borrow 10 dollars.” Great way of getting out of lending money to someone while they get more and more frustrated. Lol

  197. “two, t’ree” usually in reference to beverages: “Want to go have two, t’ree?” Oh ya, we had a couple, two, t’ree last night!”

  198. Just got back from Wi for Christmas, and man! is that accent thick! I first noticed when I had moved to TX after college and came back after nearly a year. I asked my mom, “did everyone *always* talk like this?” Now I’ve been away for over 16 years and I hear it on everyone when I come back. Oddly, no one has ever been able to hear an accent on me, despite being born and raised in Appleton, except one person a few years ago who said I sounded different but couldn’t pinpoint a region. Colloquialisms, on the other hand, are part of my vocabulary. Bubbler, pop, parking ramp, etc. And occasionally a Wisconsin-sounding “o” will pop in there, but I usually catch myself. But I miss it and I want to hear that accent for the rest of my life.

  199. Is “bubbler” linked to certain regions in Wisconsin? I am from the east side of the state where we say bubbler; however, my husband is from the west side of the state and says drinking fountain. Other words my husband is perplexed by are under-duck (he says under-dog) and tow-motor (forklift).

    • Christy – there have been some people from Western Wi who say the rest of us are dumb for calling it a bubbler. Check out our article on the origins of the term – http://whoonew.com/2013/03/why-a-bubbler/

      The under-dog, under-duck thing is interesting. I’ve heard both. But I think that’s more of a thing where we get confused as kids and think it is called an under-dog (maybe because of the cartoon). I believe Under-duck is correct because you duck under the swing to do it.

      BUT – it might be a Minnesota thing. Check out this forum on the same debate – http://questionable.typepad.com/questionable/2006/04/underduck_vs_un.html Your husband’s proximity to MN may have made him inclined to talk like a Minnesotan.

      So tell your husband he is wrong. Never heard of a tow-motor either! 🙂

  200. Growing up in Milwaukee, we would “go by” the store on the way home…. It actually means stop at the store… Also ending sentences with the infamous “…ainna hey…” We really partied last night, ainna hey.”

  201. Do people outside of Wisconsin call automobile turn signals “blinkers”?

    • I’ve heard that’s a Wisconsin thing too!

      • Yes! We turn on our blinker at the stop and go lights. LOL. 🙂

      • We call them blinkers in Oklahoma, and I actually had a girl convinced there was such a things a blinker fluid and sent her to Auto Zone to ask. And she did lol Classic

        But…to add, my boyfriend and I are in disagreement. He says y’all call parking garages ramps. Is this true? Have to be on the same page when I get there. (yes, I said ya’ll lol)

        • Yep. Parking ramps. Because the entire floor of the structure is inclined. Like a giant screw. Obviously… Though I also grew up calling them garages, so you can go either way. But yes, we do call them ramps.

  202. How about do you want to go wit me?

  203. Don’t shaw know

  204. Colleen Braun says

    I am told I say Tuesday different than others. I guess I say it like toosday

    • Yep. That Wisconsin “oo” sound. Kind of a combination of “oo” and “oh” at the front of the mouth. Also we have a unique “o”. Those are the two that creep into my speech from time to time.

      • Yes I was talking to a woman at one of our branch offices out west and she asked if I was from Wisconsin or Illinois. I said, “Wisconsin….how did you know? my accent?” And she said it was the way I said, “Two.”

  205. We say ta instead of to.

  206. The use of I am guessing/I’m guessing/I am just guessing at the end of a statement.

    We moved from Waukesha to Beloit, I asked where the bubbler was and had to explain that I wanted a drink of water. My new classmates thought I was a hoot n’ so.

  207. when I was in 8th grade I lived on Milwaukee’s south side and learned a few not heard on the north side ….. make out the light, ya please? ya, say. ainna, hey go down by Schuster’s shopping area was definitely “down town”, not ‘up town’.

  208. Who came up with this crap?! I’ve lived in wi my whole life and don’t say any of this! Especially “dat” or “eh”

  209. paula henry says

    I have lived in WI my whole life, but moved from Milwaukee an hour north to a small Dutch farm town. They used the word “mayn’t” (may not) our family laughed about it all the time. We were city folk as they called us and many of the sayings we had never heard of. My daughter went to Eau Claire for college and all the Minnesota students would laugh when she ordered a soda instead of a pop! My hubby always said, “Da bout of ya” meaning the both of you. I broke him of that immediately. It is all a regional thing J. Do not get too upset.

  210. This is ultra stereotypical. I’ve lived in Wisco my whole life and some of this sounds Canadian to me. I am proud of my accent but now I feel like this is how everyone else views us. I think the only stereotypical thing I really say consistently is “Yah” or “Whatcha doin’.”

  211. My WI uncle came to visit me in CO. As he was leaving the airport he said, “I’ll be out (pronounced ‘oat’) by you at 1:30.” I wondered why just by me rather than all the to me?

  212. Linda Winter says

    We also say “Go by the store” instead of “Go to the store.” I still say it and I’ve been gone from Wisconsin for 44 years, I’m sorry to say.

  213. Love this! As a Wisconsin it who now lives in the north east, my hubby has brought “yet” to my attention! Funny how we say things and never notice how different it sounds to others.

  214. It’s not WIS-consin (the article says WIS-sonsin, BTW), it’s wis-CON-sin. The only time that the first syllable is accented is in “When you say WIIII-sconsin, you’ve said it all!” But that’s not the norm.
    I agree with some that Wisconsinites don’t understand the concept of the adverb. Play nice. My family went to a function in Sussex. The back of the greeting banner (seen when leaving) said “Drive safe.”
    One thing that I didn’t see in the comments is how the word meaning “am able to” is pronounced. My wife asks if I can reach the flour. “I kin do that.”
    She has always made fun of how I pronounce bag and bagel. At least now she’ll know why I say it that way.

  215. The reason for the people saying “no this is a Minnesota thing!” or “no this is an Illinois thing!” is that, while there are dialect traits exclusive to Wisconsin, the general vowel patterns of the state is divided between two American accents: the Inland North, which you hear mostly in stereotypically Rust Belt areas and is bigger in the southern and eastern parts of the state (the Chicago accent is also a subtype of Inland North). Inland North is most spoken along Lake Michigan and in Rock County, the bigger former industrial areas. The rest of the state is closer to Upper Midwest English, which is what someone from outside the region would probably call a “Minnesota accent.” This is like the people in Escanaba In Da Moonlight or Fargo. Most Wisconsin speakers are some mix of both but lean one way or the other.

  216. You left off a few: “Bye now” instead of bye. Phy. Ed. instead of Phys. Ed. and call garage sales, “Rummage sales or just plain rummage.Also, in Wisconsin they use the term soda instead of pop like the majority of the midwest does.

    • Nope, it’s pop. Soda is an adjective. Must be somewhere else in WI that they say soda, because everyone I know says pop.

  217. Sue Schiller Atwell says

    My aunt used to say “gel” (hard g, short e) meaning “isn’t that so?” (like ain’a; ain’ it; or inso?) Others from that family did not say “gel”. I’ve only heard it one other time, from a German secretary in California. Anyone, know where the expression originated? I believe the family is of Southern Germany (Bavaria) near Mainz. Also, she was the oldest of her family and spoke German only as a child. I have wondered about this for many years. I have traveled and lived in Germany and never heard it there.

    • My Irish family lived in New Ulm, Minnesota for a time in the early 1940s, and according to what my Mother told me, “gel” seemed to be a kind of do-all word for the German people who lived there. The “g” is hard, and the word rhymes with yell. My Dad used to say that New Ulm was the tidiest, cleanest place he ever lived in until Kraft Foods build a plant there and new people began arriving for jobs.

    • In the context described, gel (or gell, as I’ve seen written) is short for gelten, and it pretty much means “isn’t that the case”? So…. in use its concurrently questioning and confirming something is valid or true.

      As my toddler may say…. “We’re going to gramma’s for cake! Isn’t that so?” That could be replaced with “We’re going to gramma’s for cake! Gel?”

  218. -ish, used in that meat loaf was ish. I take it to mean an unpleasant thing/thought. Being from Nebraska, and serving in the Navy, I never heard the term ish before moving to Wisconsin. What gives? I asked Google and it said it was a rap music term for sh*t, I’ve asked a way with words, but they must think I’m playing around with the rap term. Any idea how ish became a word up here?

  219. My mother-in-law, uses the phrase, “you know ‘n that” A LOT when she’s telling a story. Especially if she thinks she’s cutting it short. She’ll say things such as, “….Long story short, I was shopping at the grocery store, you know ‘n that, and I bumped into a woman I used to work with. She said she moved to Florida, and was in town visiting her family for the holidays, you know n’ that..” And, ……….. 🙂

  220. I’m born and raised in Wisconsin….(not Wisc- honsin…there is no H in it and there is no space half way through the word)…all though my favorite thing I say is get instead of for…ya got it get tomorrow?… This basically means is something takin care of for the following day….we could pronounce correctly but never do….I still don t to this day….it’s just fast is all.

  221. I grew up on the south side of Milwaukee in the 60’s. A quarter was pronounced kwater, ” tell you what, I’ll give you a kwater for it”. Another was the use of “run”. Gotta run to da store for a minute.

  222. I always say “would you like to come by my house” I have had people say can I come in or just go by.

  223. I’m totally bustin’ up! You guys are so cute. I can’t get over the TYME machine thing. I’d love to be submerged in your culture and hear your lingo. (from No Cal, living in So Cal.)

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