Speaking Minnesotan

By Sara Hoffmann
Senior Editor

I’ve always been fascinated by regional accents. Maybe it’s because, like a lot of editors, I find language inherently interesting. Who knows? But for whatever reason, ever since I was a little kid, I’ve noticed things like the way Southerners sometimes say “pin” to describe the ink-filled thing we use to write. Or the way people in Boston often add Rs to the ends of words (so that pizza becomes pizz-er and soda becomes sod-er). Or the way Minnesotans tend to say “aboot” instead of “about.” (The farther north you go in Minnesota, the more this tends to be true.)

Given my interest in accents, I was excited to discover this website that serves as a companion to Do You Speak American?—an excellent PBS documentary that’s all about language and accents. I was also thrilled to find this accent quiz online. Just for fun, give it a try. And please let me know your results.

As for how I did on the quiz? My results say that my accent is “North Central, [or] what people call the Minnesota accent.” They go on to say my accent “sounds almost Canadian” and that “you may have even been asked if you were from Canada before.”

Well, ya, sure; you betcha! I was born and raised in Minnesota, dontcha know?

2 thoughts on “Speaking Minnesotan

  1. Ann Kerns

    “I’ve always been fascinated by regional accents.”

    Me too! I like English regional accents as well, especially Yorkshire accents. Don't why I'm drawn to them, but I'll watch an entire movie just to hear Yorkshire people talking.

    When I first moved to Minnesota, I kept thinking, Why are there so many Canadians here? Now I don't even really hear the accent anymore.

    Thanks for the website tip!

  2. Sara Hoffmann

    Yes, English regional accents are fascinating. And it is interesting how it becomes harder to hear an accent once you've gotten used to it.

    You're welcome for the website tip. I'd definitely recommend watching _Do You Speak American?_ too, if you ever get the chance. I was pretty enthralled by it when it aired here on PBS a few years back.

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