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The Michigan Accent & Slang Words

Updated on August 16, 2017
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Melanie was born and raised in southern Michigan. She is now a chemistry major in the Honors College at Purdue Northwest.

The Michigan Accent (and fun Michigan terminology)
The Michigan Accent (and fun Michigan terminology)

Groups of people from every US state and, really, every place in the world have a unique accent and have their own slang. People from the great state of Michigan are no different! If you’re not from Michigan and have heard our accent, it might seem a little bit odd to you. And, top it all off, we also have our own vocabulary.

If you’re not from the Midwest at all, you might think, as many do, that the Michigan accent (or dialect, really) is similar to the Minnesotan accent or Chicago accent. I can see why people might think that, but the Michigan accent is one of a kind.

Growing up close to Chicago, I have a sort of hybrid accent, a bit more on the Chicago side of pronunciation. I can’t say it’s fully Chicagoan, though. I often get caught ‘Michiganizing’ words. My mother, however, has a stronger Michigan accent, which is different than mine (sometimes we’ll poke fun at how her accent is like Michael Moore’s.)

I’m going to share some of the colloquialisms and pronunciations that she and other Michiganders I’ve met (particularly those from the western/southwestern part of the Mitten, where I grew up) use.

The Michigan Accent!

Michigan Slang/Colloquialisms

There are some words and phrases we use in Michigan that aren’t often used elsewhere around the country. Here are some things you may hear if you spend enough time in the state:

Meijers and Krogers: (instead of Meijer and Kroger) – We like to put an S in the name of everything to make it possessive. Everyone around here says it as Meijer’s. Others, from out of town, have actually called it “Meijer” and it sounded weird. Friends will point out when we make these stores (and other place names possessive.)

The Mitten: (Yes, it’s a proper noun; it’s the name of a state for Pete’s sake!) This refers to the state of Michigan because, on a map, Michigan is shaped like a mitten. Mittens are of extreme importance to Michiganders because it can get fairly cold here.

Michigander: A person from Michigan. (This is probably actually a nationwide term, not just a local thing.)

The U.P.: I've seldom heard a Michigander say "the Upper Peninsula." It sounds so formal! Perhaps it's only said when teaching people what U.P. means. You say each letter like "You Pea," not like the direction "up."

Up north: This is where you go if you're traveling within Michigan.

The union: "The union" is so integrated into Michigan life that when I was a kid, I thought the student union at Michigan State had something to do with the United Automobile Workers (UAW). When a Michigander says "the union" it generally means UAW. In my area, however, it's used to describe unions in/near Chicago.

It's pop, not soda:
'Nuff said!

In Michigan, we drink pop (pronounced "pahp"), not soda.
In Michigan, we drink pop (pronounced "pahp"), not soda. | Source

Party store:

Where a Michigander buys alcohol.

Michigan left:
This is a U-turn. The name comes from the road design (common throughout Michigan) to allow for U-turns at intersections where cars cannot turn left. Instead, they are expected to make a U-turn, then turn right. The design includes a lane made specifically for U-turns. Interestingly enough, in some states U-turns are illegal. More about the Michigan left.

This Is a Michigan Left

Depiction of a "Michigan Left" road design.
Depiction of a "Michigan Left" road design. | Source

In Michigan, We...

...go tuh the store, not "to" it.

...yoosta' have jobs in Detroit, not "used to"

...go huntin' in the wuds, not the "woods"

...get our tires slashed for driving a Tie-ota, not a Toyota.

...say er, not "or."

...feel like we're ki-nuh like Minnesotans, not "kind of."

Faygo and Better Made are Michigan made
Faygo and Better Made are Michigan made

Words for People (Tourists and Locals)

Townies: A townie is a derogatory term actually used by non-Michiganders visiting Michigan. Michigan's coastline is lined with small tourist towns frequented by wealthy people. Calling a Michigander a townie is like calling someone a commoner or a peasant. But it's okay, we've got a word for the out-of-staters slinging around such terms...

FIPs: This is what Michiganders in the southwestern areas of the Mitten (particularly in Berrien County) call people who visit from Illinois. There are a number of FIPs who are actually very nice, but often Michiganders feel they are rude. The term FIP is an acronym for *ahem* "F*cking Illinois People."

FOPs: FIPs from Ohio. This term is less commonly used.

Yoopers: This is what people from the upper peninsula are called.

Flatlanders: What Yoopers call those from the Lower Peninsula.

Fudgies: This is what Michiganders call tourists visiting the northern parts of Michigan.

Trolls: This is what Yoopers call those who live in the lower peninsula. This is because they live "under" the bridge.

Adding Syllables

Sometimes in Michigan, we like to add things to words to make them longer. However, we ONLY do this if it makes it easier to say.

Realtor is just too hard to say, so it's "real-uh-terr."

I live near Cook Nuclear Power Plant, "nuke-yuh-ler."

Michiganders Like to Save Time

A big part of the Michigan accent is about saving time. We talk really fast here, so in order to do so, we do something similar to what the French call a liaison and elision. This is basically a way to mash up words in order to make pronunciation easier and faster.

The French language has a nice set of rules as to how to use a liaison. Unfortunately, there really are no rules for how we butcher our words in Michigan; it's often just what's most convenient.

A great example is a phrase my mother uses:

Ja-eat?: When I was a teen, my parents hosted a foreign exchange student from Hungary. Before she got here, someone came over to give my mom a sort of linguistics lesson on how to avoid using phrases like "Ja-eat?" so as to not alienate the exchange student. So what the heck does "ja-eat?" mean? It means "Did you eat?"

People from other states might shorten that to just "Didja eat?" but that's still not acceptable to a Michigander. Another one, very similar to this is "

Another one, very similar to this is "imunna" which means "I am going to." Again, others just shorten this to "I'm gonna'" but we're innovators, so we shortened it further!

Yuh guys: In Michigan, we say "yuh guys," even when speaking to women. Since many Michiganders won't say "y'all," "yuh guys" is what we're left with. Note the time-saving "yuh" versus "you." Keep in mind that's it's a really quickly spoken word, so don't drag out the "uh" sound.

Secretariah State: In Michigan, we go to the Secretary of State to get our driver's license, not the Bureau/Department of Motor Vehicles as in other states. In order to save time, we just change the pronunciation of "of" to "uh" and mash it onto secretary.

Lookit!: This one is kind of tough to explain, but it is definitely something a lot of people around here use (though I actually don't do this anymore). This is said when you find something cool, gross, or worth a look. You say, "Lookit." I think it's a combination of the words "Look at it" and is comparable to saying "check this out."

Where at?: This is NOT a time saver, but something my mom says all the time. Instead of just saying "where?" she adds the "at." In fact, I've noticed that a lot of people around here end their sentences with prepositions. I try to avoid it, but sometimes it slips out unnoticed.

Fyer: It's pronounced "fyer," not "fire." (I can't even pronounce fire the "correct" way!)

It's "meer" not "mirror."

We don't say "clothes," it's "cloze." "Ya' left yur cloze on the floor."

Melk - Some Michiganders say this to mean milk. (We don't say this in the southwest of Michigan, but it can be heard elsewhere.)

Michigan Place Names

Pontiac - This is pronounced "pah-neeack." If you say the "t" sound, you will give away that you're not from Michigan.

Dowagiac - You say this like "D'waah-jack" with an emphasis on the "waah" part.

Livonia - This is pronounced like "Lih-vone-yuh," so don't do an "ia" at the end. It's definitely "yuh."

Grand Rapids - The first part of this city name is apparently too much for Michiganders, so we just skip parts of it: "Grranrapids."

Quick Poll:

How do you say Chicago?

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Michigan Place Names

Pontiac - This is pronounced pah-neeack, if you say the "t" sound, you will give away that you're not from Michigan.

Dowagiac - You say this like "D'waah-jack" with an emphasis on the "waah" part.

Livonia - This is pronounced like "Lih-vone-yuh" so don't do an "ia" at the end, it's definitely "yuh."

Grand Rapids - The first part of this city name is apparently too much for Michiganders, so we just skip parts of it: Grranrapids.

Houghton – Ho’un

The Michigan Accent

The Michigan accent is a strange breed of something from Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Ontario. I've been able to stop using words like "lookit" but I cannot stop myself from using my Midwestern accent. When my sister and I tease my mom when she says "car", she gets miffed and shouts, "Well, how am I supposed to to say it?" This comes out sounding like, "Well, how my spose'ta' sayit'?" (Note that "how am I" in her speech comes out like "how my.")

The letter "A" as in "car" is a kind of light "ee-yeah" sound. If you're familiar with diacritical marks, it would be kind of like ēă, but much lighter and less noticeable.
Crayons are crēăns (similar sounding to "crans").
Dad is dēăd (again, only a slight difference from "dad").

Source

The long "e" sound, like the "i" in "mirror" is a bit longer and really nasally. Also, we don't waste our time with the "or" in "mirror", so it's just "meer." Make it really nasally, though.

Glottal stop
: This is when your voice kind of stops in the middle of a word and then starts again. Think of a kid saying, "Uh-oh!" In Michigan, we like to do glottal stops at the end of our words, which is kind of like a last bit of forced breath. For example, when we say Detroit, we don't say the "t" sound at the end. Instead, it's like "Detroi" and then a bit of forced breath.

If the word has a double consonant 't' in it, like "kitten" or "button", there is a glottal stop without the t sound actually being pronounced: kitten = kih'ihn, button = buh'ton or buh'ohn. (Thanks to from Doe·Wah·Jack for pointing this out!)

The letter "t": Leave it to a Michigander to screw up the pronunciation of a consonant! If the letter "t" occurs in the middle of a word, it has a "d" sound. This is so embedded in my speech, that I can't say a word like "city" with a "t" without sounding like I'm trying really hard for that "t" sound. It's "ciddy."

"Ah" as in father has to be drawn out. In Michigan, you don't have a mom. You have a "maahm." And after school, you go to "haahckey" practice. On a slightly related note, Chicago is "Chic-aah-go," not "Chi-caw-go."

Say, "Ahhhhhhh!" Congratulations! You've just mastered the Michigan accent!
Say, "Ahhhhhhh!" Congratulations! You've just mastered the Michigan accent! | Source

Are you from Michigan?

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What Accent Do You Have?

Source

What American Dialect Do YOU have?

The New York Times has an online quiz you can take that will analyze your accent to show which area of the country you're from.

It chose Grand Rapids for me (see the map above for my results.)

Take the quiz to get your own personal dialect map.

Where does it say you're from? Let me know in the comments below!

© 2011 Melanie Shebel

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      gneiss guy 2 weeks ago

      I was born in Ann Arbor, spent the first year or two in Ypsilanti - but then we moved to Wisconsin and stayed for a while in New York. Funny thing is...I am always asked if I'm from eastern Europe - or somewhere in Europe, anyway. In fairness, I grew up in many foster homes and my Grandmother is an Estonian immigrant and was a big part of my life, so there was definitely a lot of foreign influence on me growing up. I guess the accent that results from that combination of things comes across as European. I think learning Mandarin and Estonian for many years (I'm a dual citizen) made it more "foreign" sounding - and spending every day around my Chinese wife can't help. I'm constantly asked where I'm from - but never does anyone suspect Michigan or Wisconsin or New York. Despite the fact that my first words were spoken and learned in Ypsilanti. My mother and father were not from MI, it might be noted.

      Anyway, I guess I was never aware of this accent. Because I have never been back to MI since.

    • Msfyt profile image

      Mysfyt 3 weeks ago from Novi, MI

      "Doorwall"?? The first time I ever heard that word, I just shook my head in disbelief. (And I wasn't a child either. I was an adult.) What exactly is a "doorwall", I thought. A door is a door and a wall is a wall. A "doorwall" cannot be something that you can go through because you can't go through a wall! Those two words don't even go together. They're mutually exclusive. I now know what it is but I still cringe when I hear it. (I guess what people are trying to say is that a "doorwall" a sliding wall that you can walk through.) Why not a "walldoor"? That actually makes more sense.

    • Mary Fadie profile image

      Mary Fadie 3 weeks ago

      One thing I almost never hear since leaving Michigan is "I seen" her/him/it etc... at the store etc.... it drive me nuts! I have seen or I saw him, etc....

    • Msfyt profile image

      Mysfyt 3 weeks ago from Novi, MI

      You know you're from Michigan when you dictate on your iPad and Siri comes out with almost EVERY word different than what you said. (Siri often combines words or splits a single word into two words. Occasionally, Siri will add an "r" to the end of a word - instead of the word "two", it will put in "tour".) Please tell me it isn't just me! And I've tried it different times of the day, thinking that my early-morning speech isn't understood. (Siri doesn't understand me any better in the afternoon than in the morning.)

    • profile image

      Bill Sayo 3 weeks ago

      Lived her most of my life. Some hold true for me and mine, but just as many do not. Maybe it's the out-of-state influences...?

      I've been annoyed most of my life by the way most of the folks in SW lower MI add the "r" sound to words like wash - "warsh", only to drop the "r" sound from February - "Febuary".

    • profile image

      Kevin Mummery 6 weeks ago

      Apparently I outed myself as a Michigander when I told someone "yarnt sposta" when they asked me if something was permissible. I just though everyone talked like this...wrong again.

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      Da'Naja 3 months ago

      I started crying because I just realized that all of this is true and I didn't know that we were the only ones that have an accent like that! I thought that a lot of other states sounded like us but apparently that's not true. I was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan and I'm 11/12 y/o and I sound like all of these. It is amazing to see that our state and country is very unique and I would love to hear more of what we actually sound like than other people who aren't from Michigan. This a really cool website and I send lots of love! Thank you!

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      Venessa 3 months ago

      I love this!! I love being from Detroit

    • Msfyt profile image

      Mysfyt 3 months ago from Novi, MI

      When it comes to geographical locations of the state of Michigan, you can live in the U.P or you can live in the hand. But the hand has subparts, like the "thumb". Having spent a lot of time driving the roads of Michigan I can tell you this is where a lot of people will tell you they live especially dairy farmers. Maybe you could add that to your list of being either from the "U.P.", "the hand", "outta state" ( otherwise known as "otta state"), or "the thumb", LOL.

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      Margaret Willis 3 months ago

      Here's one that no one can say unless you're from "around here" (another Michigan saying which means "within about a 30-mile radius of the place"): NOVI. Some people say "NO-vee", with the accent on the first syllable. Others say "Nah-vee", with the accent on the first syllable. Still others say "Nah-VEE", with the accent on the second syllable. Like I said you don't know how to say it unless you live "around here": "NO-vi", with the accent on the first syllable (as opposed to: "No-VI", with the accent on the second syllable. As you see, there are at least four different incorrect ways to pronounce it and only one correct way. Have a nice day! :-)

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      KPOM 3 months ago

      You do realize that about 75% of "Michigan" pronunciations and terms apply to those of us from Chicago.

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      Kate the Great 5 months ago

      Seriously; this is one of the best write ups on a Michigan accent I have found. I never thought it was a real thing- a Michigan "accent", but somehow people could always place me as being from MI when we traveled. Now it's just something that happens, I don't try to correct myself, because what's the use, eh?

      I HAVE made an effort to say certain things correctly... Like MEIJER (no s. lol) And Realtor (real-tohr) lol.

      But there's always gonna be the short speak and abbreviation of words that don't need to be abbreviated. (Gonna, yep, goin ta tha store, etc)

      And the words we just say funny... like melk (milk), bahg (bag), tuh (to), yoosta (used to), etc... well, they're just gonna haf ta get yoosta't.

      One thing, though... wtf is a door wall. It's a sliding door in West Michigan. Never been a dang door wall. Don't make us look dumb. (hahahahaha totally kidding.)

    • profile image

      Cody 5 months ago

      Man I've lived in Southeast Michigan all my life, I swear I haven't heard more than half of this stuff pronounced that way. I agree with some of the weird slang we use, glottal stops for sure, and even the nasaly "e" uses, but a lot of it ive never heard commonly.

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      AShady 5 months ago

      Detroit, MI. Yup you got that right :)

    • profile image

      6 months ago

      My family was from Michigan

      . Moved to Indy when I was young. Kids in school would say I had a Michigan accent. Thanks to your post. I finally get what they mean.

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      Andrew 7 months ago

      It's always amazing to me as a Michigander how bad of a slang we have!

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 8 months ago from Georgia

      It's always interesting to listen to the dialect from other parts of the country. I often try to guess where the speaker is from. I confuse Boston area accents with Michigan. (I hope I'm not committing some kind of offense. LOL) I'm from the South and we have our own thing going on down here! Lol. Take care

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      greenmind 8 months ago

      Hey great hub -- love the attitude and accuracy!

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      former michigander 9 months ago

      Oh man...thank you for the great laugh. My daughter gives me so much grief saying "I'm gonna throw you in the gross nasteee crik" or mauhhh!!! I had to send her this link so she could get a good chuckle as well. I was born in the mitten and lived there for a short part of my life.

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      Leeleebee 10 months ago

      My mom says "warsh" for wash, and "sandwich" instead of sandwich.

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      Me 10 months ago

      Funny. I'm from WV, and I talk like I'm from Michigan.

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      West Michigan girl 11 months ago

      I have live in Michigan all my life. East side Flint & Detriot area. & now West Michigan Grand Rapids. & I have never hear the sliding door called a door wall. I saw this on a nother site. But could not write a comment on it.

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      John 15 months ago

      How could you possibly not include "doorwall"

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      April Richardson 17 months ago

      Oh so true! I'm from Port Austin in "The Thumb".

    • profile image

      Amanda 18 months ago

      I'm from Kentucky but I am datin a guy from MI. He loves my southern accent and I love his northern one! Although he says he doesn't have one

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 19 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Wow.....I don't know if I may have previously commented here and I'm surely not going to scroll through over 600 comments to find out! When you wrote this, did you even think you'd receive such a response??

      I am fascinated by our different accents, manners of speaking & how this often gives away where we hail from.

      I am scratching my head now though, because as I read through many of the pronunciations, it's clear to me that I pronounce a lot of the words the very same way...?? I'm not from Michigan, nor were any of my extended family members. I don't believe I even KNOW anyone from Michigan. Hmmm....this is strange to me.

      Long ago, I had a friend who constantly told me to stop using "er" for "or"......she annoyed me! LOL

      Very interesting hub. Thanks. Peace, Paula

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      moonlake 19 months ago from America

      We also say pop and Up. FIP is used often around here. Wisconsin has a lot of the same accent as Michigan. Northern Wisconsin is very different from Southern Wisconsin.

      My friend could not understand why the Mackinac Bridge and Island are pronounced MAK-in-aw. She was getting mad when we were on the island and the people there kept correcting her.

      I thought it was pretty funny because she corrects my Arkansas accent all the time.

      The one thing that drives me nuts about Wisconsin accent is my kids say, "Can I go with." They leave you out of the sentence. We often here the Canadian accents here. They took him to hospital.

      Enjoyed your hub and will share it with my Michigan family.

    • Paul Kuehn profile image

      Paul Richard Kuehn 19 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      Being originally from southeastern Wisconsin, I greatly enjoyed reading this hub. Although I learned a lot about peculiar Michigan vocabulary and pronunciation, I did find a lot of similarities. For example, in Wisconsin we did say "pop" instead of soda when growing up and we also went up north when we even went from Milwaukee to Marshfield in the central part of the state. "Tuh" for to and "yoosta" for used to was also used a lot. Thanks for a great hub which I am sharing with Hubpage followers.

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      Peter 19 months ago from England, UK

      I would agree with Hezekiah to some extent. However the more research I do in to different American accents, the more I think there are more differences than with those of the UK!

    • profile image

      Dayanara 20 months ago

      I sound like I come from ARIZONA?! WUT?!

      Good Goddess. Offend my little Michiganian heart, why don't you!

    • profile image

      Cyber 22 months ago

      Agreed. We really do make Meijer plural for some reason. Everyone around here says it as Meijers. I had a friend from Ohio come up (Believe it or not) and she calls it Meijer. When I called it Meijers, she was plain confused.

      That was the best weekend ever.

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      Kat 22 months ago

      You dont realize the way you talk until you are trying to read this to somebody the correct way and you can't! Love it

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      Teresa Ouellette 23 months ago

      When I say " these ones or those ones " I'm always corrected but thats how everyone I know in Michigan says it. It sounds weird saying just these or those without the ones on the end

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      Linda 23 months ago

      You betcha I'm from Michigan! ;) This was fun. I didn't realize that I say most of this list but I do! We actually do say "cran" instead of crayon and "Krogers" instead of Kroger. Also we say "grossry" not grocery (most Michiganders I know don't say "groshry" however). Also we say "wha-ever" instead of whatever.

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      Tina 24 months ago

      I LOVE this! My business partner is from Michigan. I had never heard the term "Michagander" until after meeting her. Once in a while I can hear the "abo-ut" come out of her mouth! I speak with people from Michigan just about every day and yes, I can usually pick up the dialect!

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      bof 24 months ago

      and we like to add "s" on things like meijers vs meijer or fords vs ford

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      mark 2 years ago

      you left out the two main words. Is it creeeeeeeeeeeeek or crick? Is it rooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooof or ruuf

    • Mary Fadie profile image

      Mary Fadie 2 years ago

      Funny! Didn't know I was saying some of these things. I've been out of Michigan for 4 years. I have noticed that the glottal stop with the double tt like button "buh in" and "Manha in" is heard everywhere, not just Michigan. I hear mostly youngsters saying it on TV. I recently caught myself saying "acrost" and was wondering where it came from.

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      glo 2 years ago

      I've lived in MI since 1979. What I notice most is the "a" sound, very up front and nasal, and saying pitcher when they mean picture.

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      Donna Maki Paul 2 years ago

      Very nice article so accurate thanks

      It makes me wonder how my grandson is doing in Oklahoma in the Army oh boy!!!

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      Nancy 2 years ago

      WHOOOO hooooo shows I'm most like Wichita, Louisville, or Lexington and I am a MICHIGANDER (Michiganian) transplanted to CA!!!!!!! See I don't even know WHERE I am from by the way I TALK!!!!!

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      NCCaniac42 2 years ago

      I now live in NC. Y'all does fall from my mouth as easily as yuh guys. I was at an event over the weekend and started talking to the woman behind me in line. I immediately asked her what part of Michigan she was from. :-) I was born Yooper - raised Troll. My grandmother, born and raised in the UP, always said things like 'Lets go store' or 'Lets go show' because Finnish was her first language and they don't have the word 'The'. Funny this article was posted today - I was explaining to two Cary, NC Police Officers at a drivers license check stop - where Ferris State was by showing the location on my hand.

    • profile image

      JG 2 years ago

      There are Yoopers and there are Flatlanders, but those of us who live north of Grand Rapids to the Bridge, prefer calling ourselves Uplanders. We live in the Kettle Moraine area of Michigan, definitely not flat.

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      GoneBlue 2 years ago

      Anyone use 'needs' instead of/as shorthand for 'needs to be?' E.g. 'the car needs washed' or 'the dog needs out' My husband pointed this out to me (he's a no-good bruddah from Illinoise) and his Michigan coworker said it was a Michigan (eastern) thing. I never noticed I did it until he said something.

    • Rosa Malaga profile image

      Rosa Malaga 2 years ago from Indiana, U.S.A.

      Very interesting article. I think that much of your article applies to northern Indiana as well, at least in regards to pronunciation. I remember encountering people out West who would ask if I was from Minnesota. I thought that was strange since I had never been there before, but now it makes a bit of sense.

      Interesting side. Decades ago I was helping Khmer refugees learn English in California. One day a gentleman asked me what the word "jeetyet" met. I kept having him repeat it and could not figure out what he was saying. After continuing to inquire about the context, I finally realized someone had asked him if he had eaten yet, but to him it sounded like "jeetyet." I laughed and explained that sometimes we say it that way, depending on where you are from. I laughed because the poor guy was trying so hard, even looking in his dictionary. Of course when I moved to Georgia, I don't know how many times I had to ask people what they were saying.

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      Tamara elias 2 years ago

      I loved this ..I didnt realize i was saying things wrong. . Oh well. ..♡♡♡

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      Jeanie 2 years ago

      Went to Catholic school for 12 yrs. and the nuns said that we are Michiganians..........NOT MICHIGANDERS !!! Never argue with nuns, they are "always" right. Hence, a great education, for sure!!

    • Hezekiah profile image

      Hezekiah 2 years ago from Japan

      Interesting, but nothing compared to the various accents we have in the UK.

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      diane 2 years ago

      Here's two missing from your list.

      Opossum, is possum in Michigan.

      Minnows, are usually called minnies.. lolol.

    • LuAnn Braley profile image

      LuAnn Braley 2 years ago from Crab Orchard, KY

      OMG. Baltimore and Washington? I need to take a class or something and get rid of that crap. *LOL*

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      Hawk2112 2 years ago

      The one that bugs me the most (I'm a Michigander) is when people pronounce Milk as Melk.

      I lived in California for a while and a buddy used to tell I pronounced taco as tack-o. I didn't think I did, but who knows. I have heard people around here pronounce it that way

    • profile image

      Inez Robinson 2 years ago

      .Enjoyed this----wonder if I still have a Michigan accent? I've lived in Florida for 15 years where there are people from every state in the Union, as well as Canada and many other Countries around the World.

    • jimmar profile image

      jimmar 2 years ago from Michigan

      Raised in the U.P. but live now for many years in the Lower. The quiz shows my accent to be upper LP and eastern UP, mostly.

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      Carol 2 years ago

      When I read the title of this article I thought "I don't have an accent!" Now I realize that I do. LOL

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      Nashley Grier 2 years ago

      Idk about everyone else, but I know that instead of can you, I say cin you. as in "Cin you pass me the remote"

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      Melody Lassalle 2 years ago from California

      This was interesting! There was a PBS documentary called "Do You Speak American" which went around the country recording accents. I didn't realize how many accents there are in the US.

      I always feel that in California we have a very flat way of talking. It's everyone else that has the accents...LOL I enjoy the quiz as well. Turns out I talk like someone from Seattle. Well, that's close.

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      buzz 2 years ago

      in michigan they call ya michiganders,in texas they call ya texans.where would you find a list for the 50 states of people. like floridians?

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      Em 2 years ago

      It told me I had a Detroit accent! I grew up and still live 20 minutes outside of Detroit!

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      Steve White 2 years ago

      One word mash-up I got called on when moving out of state was saying [a-CROST] as in "whass that new place acrost the street?"

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      jen 2 years ago

      How about not pronouncing Gs on the end of words . It's not hunting, it's huntin'... and the t isn't pronounced in it either so it's hun-in' or fishin' or dancin', etc.

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      Katinka 2 years ago

      Though I've lived elsewhere since 1981, I still fit the Michigander mold. The mitten will always be home for me. I grew up in Detroit and after all these years the dialect test nailed it. Showed Detroit, Ontario and Grand Rapids(don't know how that one got in there). When I moved west 30+ years ago I was always surprised when people said I had an accent. Most guessed Chicago or Canada. Thanks for the memories. Still love Vernors and Better Made!

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      Don A. Hoglund 2 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I grew up in Minnesota, lived 20 years in Illinois and presently live in Wisconsin. For a short time I lived in Kansas city. MO. I was told that I had a Northern twang. When my kids grew up and moved to Minneapolis from Illinois they were told they had southern accents.

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      NikkiN 2 years ago

      How about adding an "s" to the end of store names. Such as "I'm going to Meijers" (instead of saying "I'm going to Meijer"). My Grandma also used to say KMark instead of Kmart.

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      DEBORAH HARGETT 2 years ago

      I am from Michigan (Brighton) moved to Alabama after my father died in 69I still get accused of being from Chicago (down her they pronounce it Chi-car-go) my accent is still northern even if I don't live in the state of Michigan most people can still tell I'm Northern and most of these slang words I still say just the same

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      blackconnor 2 years ago

      ..took the NYT quiz.. results are in..Detroit.Close..I was born and raised..still am in Pontiac. Or ponneeeac

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      Kelly 2 years ago

      Great article! I am working in NY now and everyone tells me I have an accent. I never understood until now!

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      brooke 2 years ago

      K'yoo instead of could you. "K'yoo hand me the remote?"

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      Annalisa 2 years ago

      That was really helpful. I'm a Michigander trying to learn a third language that uses a lot of glottal stops, and I'd been having a hard time with that definition/practice. Now that I know that I've been doing them all my life, I'll be fine. :)

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      bob 2 years ago

      i like penguins

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      ROBERT CENTALA 2 years ago

      Wow ..this was so cool...it made me come out of the " cla zit " ,,, not " claw zit "..so uneek...we have our own language. ..what about " how uz guys doing " ..thanks for posting ..made me laugh

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      Susan Gelderbloom 2 years ago

      The thicker Michigan accents pronounce "bag" like "bage". I've lived here a long time and never heard of FIP, don't say secretariah, and say "you guys" instead of yuh guys. Maybe it depends on where you live in Michigan? Even the South has some areas where there is very little accent and others where it is really thick. The more rural areas of Michigan seem to have more of an accent, too.

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      Amy 2 years ago

      My map gave me Detroit, Grand Rapids and Toledo. Glad to know I'm still a Michgander after 16 years of being away in the military.

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      Shaina 2 years ago

      Have you ever had to say "chalotte" to an outsider? Shar- lot.

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      reasonablerobby 2 years ago

      How fascinating I love idioms and accents. I've visited Chicago and loved it but not being local or from the U.S. I wasn't really tuned into the subtle differences of accent. Most UK folks can distinguish between New York and Deep South and that's about it. I'm from Nottingham or Nottnum as we say and the famous phrase for hello here is 'ay up mi duck' :)

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      ybnormal07 2 years ago

      Everyone else has an accent. Michiganders don't.:)

      ps...we pronounce Chicago correctly:) I had a room mate in college from Chicago. It is usually those from Chicago that put the "caw" sound in where the "ah" sound should be.

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      Mandi 2 years ago

      So glad someone mentioned GR as Grand Rapids, Kazoo and the D abbreviation. You better add A2 that is how we say Ann Harbor. Ippsey meaning Yippsilanti. GH is Grand Haven ( Havin). Some other things we say creek ( instead of river) mittin instead of Mitten. Same for Mountin pronounced (moun -in). Roof on a house is Rouf exaggerated vowel sound. Moose, has extra o sound. Ask us to Wolf. You'll hear us mash it Wulf.

      Pasties are something we eat not wear. Instead of saying lake us West siders say going to the beach / dunes meaning Lake Michigan. We're headin to Superior, Huron etc.. . My favorite heading to the SUE means Sault Saint. Marie. Petoskey is our favorite stone and a city too and yahkno ( you know) a dive is a really good place to eat or hole-in-wall. The takes to long to say. Don't forget ay. Yupper talk after most things said ay? Bakeries are abundant all over the state and we know what a Cream Horn or long Johns are pastries filled with creamy goodness. If your from Muskegon we call it Muskiegin. My favorite we name the closest city to our small town. Example I'm from Fremont so I say an hour away from GR or 20 minutes outside of Muskegon.

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      Author

      Melanie Shebel 2 years ago from New Buffalo, Michigan

      Rj, John is my brother!

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      Val 2 years ago

      We grew up with Faygo and Paramount Potato Chips.

      I don't even recall seeing Better Made Chips in our house growing up.

      Paramount with Slim Chiply, then eventually Frito Lay -remember the Frito Bandito?

      And at our house is was Ma, not Maahm.

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      Gordan Zunar 2 years ago from New York

      Very interesting. It's funny, in New York they also say "where at". Who took it from whom?

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      jane 2 years ago

      just a note -- we call people from Indiana -- FIP also . Reading was great LOl .

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      Dianna 2 years ago

      This was hilarious! I grew up going to school in Troy, Rochester Hills, and Utica in Southeast, MI. I went to live in Norway for a year, people kept telling me I had a Detroit accent. What they really meant was a Michigan accent. Only they didn't know it.

      My aunt is an English teacher and she was always insistent that we spoke standard English growing up. She would correct us midsentence if we said anything wrong, with grammar or pronunciation. So I thought I spoke "regular" or Standard English. I do for the most part.

      But reading this list, there is no denying that I am guilty of almost every linguistic variance on it. I think when I became a teenager, hanging with my friends, I started speaking more like them and I didn't want to sound 'dorky' and 'proper'. I can still speak standard English, but if you catch me with the group of people I am comfortable with, I sound straight Michigan.

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      Rj 2 years ago

      I grew up in new buffalo (I knew John Shebel, any relation)? And I often get accuse of having a chicago accent. My wife on the other hand - she gets the michigan one out rather often bein from "up north". Enjoyed the article - Go Green!!

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      KsaRahsaRah 2 years ago

      Loved it. Honestly I never realized we said fire wrong. It took me a few minutes also. Then I decided that other people must pronounce it like tire with an f. But who knows, maybe I pronounce tire wrong! Ahhhh!!! Lol. And I had no idea I actually talked like this but I sure do! Made me laugh.

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      Marilyn Diamond 2 years ago from San Francisco

      I love this! My friend is from Michigan and I am going to use these words! thanks! hahaha!

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      Maddy 2 years ago

      The whole time I was reading I kept saying "no way I don't say that, I speak normally." Then I started saying this stuff outloud and realized it's completely true.

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      Abby 2 years ago

      I just found out last year that "doorwall" isn't a thing outside of Michigan. Maybe even not outside of southeast Michigan. Apparently, everyone else calls it a "sliding glass door." Why all the words?!

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      Heather 2 years ago

      I'm reading some of these and thinking, 'well how'm I supposta pronounce it then?' Like fire being pronounced fyer. I read that one a few times staring at 'fire' and feeling very confused. We should have our own Rosetta Stone. Lol

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      Old Fitz 2 years ago from Lakeland, Florida

      Someone who commented some months ago got the pronunciation of my hometown right: Wahrn. Left to go to college in New England 35 years ago. Still can't lose the base SE Mich accent, which is nasal and flattens vowels with abannun. Two quick stories:

      1. Minnesota accents are not like Michigan accents. The rounded vowel, especially "o", are all theirs. I had a colleague who was from rural Minnesota. The first time we met I was driving, and she unleashes an "oh yeah, you betcha" in the middle of our conversation. I starts laughin so hard I nearly drive inna damm ditch!

      2. My wife is a native Russian who learned her English, as most continental Europeans do, from British teachers and texts. American accents are a continual source of bewilderment to her. She drove home the point that I still have my Michigan accent when we were packing some food for an outing and she thought she heard me say I was bringing a "black of cheese." And she was right.

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      carissa 2 years ago

      Oh yeah, and 'Sweetest Day' is something unknown in the south that is unique to MI/the Midwest. =)

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      Carissa 2 years ago

      A couple of small corrections/opinions: "Crick" is a back-woods thing found in other states too. It's like "warssshhh" instead of "wash." Used to always drive me crazy. I also think FIP's must be a SW MI (regional) thing... Having lived in the Lansing and A2 area's, I have to say it was more of "F#'ing A-holes from Ohio (mostly aimed at their drivers.)" Kinda like TX drivers to people from Louisiana.

      This definitely made me home sick, and giggle a bit. My brother pointed out the whole kitten thing before my significant other and I moved to Louisiana---where we're continuously confused with being from Minnesota---even though we sound noothing liike Min-ah-soda,

      eh?/ya?

      A couple things to add to shortening time? Abbreviating cities i.e. E.L., G.R., A2, K-Zoo, The 'D,' etc.

      I'm "heading (hdding)" to ___. Heading said really fast and the ending rolled together.

      RE: Kathy- Also, Okemos is pronounced Okimiss instead of oh-kee-mos; Dah-wit vs. Dewitt (dee-witt), etc.

      A lot of Michiganders pluralize things such as Meijers instead of Meijer. "I'm goin' to Meijers tuh (to) pick sum (some) things up." Thank goodness Albertsons already ends in 's', lol. How 'bout you guys with HEB's, etc.?

      We point to cities on our hand... people anywhere outside of MI don't understand this until you explain the obvious connection to them.

      "Up North" is the upper part of the mitten, the U.P. (Where "Da Yoopers" live) is just the U.P.

      FL is where the snowbirds live the other half of the year, and where many of us travel to, in addition to Chi-town, Cedar Point, etc. for fun.

      We know what things like Zamboni's, packzi's, pierogi's, coney dog's, etc. are---and how to pronounce them. ;)

      We have sports teams in the Midwest. Louisiana has college teams, no kinda hockey based fans, and any professional teams have to be sought out a state or two away.

      MI believes in public transit. Definitely not the case everywhere.

      MI is one of the special areas from Chicago to NY that has a 'love affair' with coffee---drinking it, meeting over it, enjoying, etc.. And Diners (not waffle houses.) And good pizza (damn do I miss this.) Good deli's, etc. (*The south does have amazing food in its own right though.)

      The Union in student speak is the food courts/common areas/diag's at UM and MSU. =) (*Can't speak for GVSU, Western, etc.) (*EMU didn't really have one.)

      Loved the comments and the article! =)

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      Justin 2 years ago

      I feel like another one that people in Michigan say is 'melk' instead of milk.

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      Ty 2 years ago

      I so agree that we pronounce Ts in the middle of words as Ds, except for the word 'panties', all my life I've heard all us Michiganders pronounce that one word as 'pannies', 'cause 'pandies' would just sound awkward...

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      Kathy 2 years ago

      Did no one mention mackinaw but we spell it mackinac and how about gratiot and lasher/ lahser roads.

      We don't have an accent, everyone else does.

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      shannon 2 years ago

      you forgot we call creeks, cricks

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      lisa 2 years ago

      I was born an raised in Indiana an I TALK like this! What's it mean?

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      liz 2 years ago

      Omg this made me miss home... Detroit born n raised but, now in Colorado... Cute.

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      nathan 2 years ago

      And I know I'm not the only one when you say something like middle it sounds like mittle

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      A2local 2 years ago

      This is perfect. It's validading, fa sher.

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      Sarah 3 years ago

      Don't forget c'meer. As in, come here. I say this to my kid ALL the time!

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      Sandy S. 3 years ago

      I never knew I spoke like this... But I do!!! So funny & right on. Loved it!