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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Talking Minnesotan Part 2

There are some distinct Minnesota ways of speaking that have nothing to do with an accent. You can check out my previous post for my rant about Fargo and the stereotype that everyone in Minnesota talks like that.

Do you want to go with? That is a full sentence in Minnesota. You can fill in whatever word you like at the end--me, us, him, her, them, etc. In my search of the internet, I saw this attributed to the German speakers who came to the state because it matches their sentence structure.

For me, I don't understand what the big deal is. If you're having a conversation with someone about how you plan to go to the Mega Mall (that's what we call the Mall of America near the airport) this weekend and say, Do you want to go with, that you pretty much can assume the me at the end. Why add an unnecessary word?

Minnesotans also will say, will you borrow me a pencil. Meaning lend, not borrow. That was attributed to Scandinavian speakers and their language. IIRC, it was that lend and borrow were the same word in that language or something like that. Sorry, I viewed many websites about the topic and can't remember exactly. I slip into this one from time to time, but I had a high school teacher who pointed this out to my class and explained why it was wrong, so I've mostly broken myself of this speech habit.

Minnesota Nice plays a role in how we talk. We don't like to offend anyone by making too strong a statement so we say things like that's quite the deal or it could be worse because it always could be worse. This is actually one of the things about living in Atlanta that scrapes against me--how in-your-face people are about things like politics and religion. That's not something that happens much in Minnesota and I'm always taken aback when I hear it here.

The Minnesota hotdish thing was bigger in the past than it is now, IMO. Healthy eating doesn't include hotdishes loaded with cream of mushroom soup and tater tots. I do believe these are still staples, though, at church dinners and funerals. I'm going by conversations I've heard at work from people who actually cook. Me? I'm a disaster in the kitchen and don't have the patience to make a hotdish. :-)

In Minnesota, the weather is a legitimate topic of conversation and can easily last twenty minutes. I've met people from states where they have no real weather to speak of and they are astounded by this. I attribute this to a few things--first, we do have lots of interesting weather in MN and it can change rapidly. Second, it is farm country (outside The Cities) and farmers have an interest in what the weather is doing. Third, it's an easy way to make small talk with someone. No matter who you meet, if they're from MN, you have the weather in common.

I noticed a few typos in here. I corrected the ones I found and please forgive the others. I was passionate as I wrote these last two posts. :-)