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JoniBGoode
11-03-2008, 03:03 AM
My WIP is set in early 2008 in eastern Wisconsin, the Manitowoc/Sheboygan area, to be exact. I lived there for a year, 20 years ago, and I've visited several times recently for research. But, I'm having trouble getting my characters to talk like they are from Wisconsin.

And amazingly, walking up to WI residents and demanding, "Say something uniquely Wisconsin!" hasn't yielded the desired results.

FYI, I have two sets of characters, a flock of lower-middle-class factory workers, and a clique of upper-class executives, plus assorted residents of the small town. So I can use snippets from almost any social group.

If you are a linguist, can you point me to a website or book on language usage and pronunciation in Wisconsin?

If you are familiar with the area, can you provide any insight into the characteristics of Wisconsin speech?

I would appreciate any unique or interesting sayings, as well as general pronunciation. I remember a tourist from Illinois being called an "Illannoyance" as a routine event, from the time I lived there. More examples like that would be great!

Thanks in advance for your help!

willfulone
11-03-2008, 03:22 AM
I am from Wisconsin. Born/raised and still reside. 43+ years now. So, while not a professional linguist, I am a professional 'Wisconsonite'.

I cannot just toss stuff out there - you need to ask what you want specifically. For things I think are normal may not occur to me that they are different to you or another place in the country. Thus, I would not think to mention them to you.

BTW - I live in Green Bay - less than 1 hour from Sheboygan and even closer to Manitowoc.

I can tell you that it is not uncommon for peeps here to say Trivers for Two Rivers which is near Mani. But, aside from that, I cannot give you region specific stuff until you ask what you need/want.

Ask away.

Christine

Puma
11-03-2008, 04:13 AM
I'm in Ohio but there's a couple living near me from Wisconsin who have an oddity in their speech. I'm going to have trouble coming up with what it is exactly, but it's something like an equivalent of "you know" but it's totally different. Does that ring any bells for you? Puma

JoniBGoode
11-03-2008, 04:34 AM
I'm in Ohio but there's a couple living near me from Wisconsin who have an oddity in their speech. I'm going to have trouble coming up with what it is exactly, but it's something like an equivalent of "you know" but it's totally different. Does that ring any bells for you? Puma

Puma and Christine, thank you!!!

Jaa! I hear it as sort of a cross between ya know, and ja nooo (with the Germanic "j" pronounced as "y", but less exaggerated than in the movie Fargo.)

Actually, one of the charming linguistic quirks I was able to identify is the almost trilling final "o" sound, where "It's so true!" becomes "It's so trooooo!" Or "How are yoooooo?"

Also, my experience is that working class people often say dese, dem and does (for these, them and those) when under stress, although many deny it.

Christine, thanks for the help! Trivers is very helpful!! I'll try to be more specific. I have a character who is an elderly dairy farmer. He replies to a question with, "I dunno. I ain't but 73 years old!" But I know that's not quite right. (Maybe if it was seventy-tree years old???)

Phrases regarding work, pay, bosses, drinking or (annoying) tourists would be especially helpful. Also phrases about sex, love or attractive women (or men.) What would you call someone who is a complete and total a**wipe? Who is drunk? Who is getting married? What is a good threat (in a bar, just before two men fight?)

I'm also interested in any unique sayings. For example, I grew up in Texas where we say "cutting off your nose to spite your face" for behaving in a counterproductive way. (I never thought of this as regional until I used it once in Wisconsin!) I'm sure there are Wisconsin equivilants, but I'm drawing a blank!

willfulone
11-03-2008, 06:14 AM
Jaa! I hear it as sort of a cross between ya know, and ja nooo (with the Germanic "j" pronounced as "y", but less exaggerated than in the movie Fargo.)

Actually, one of the charming linguistic quirks I was able to identify is the almost trilling final "o" sound, where "It's so true!" becomes "It's so trooooo!" Or "How are yoooooo?"

Also, my experience is that working class people often say dese, dem and does (for these, them and those) when under stress, although many deny it.

Christine, thanks for the help! Trivers is very helpful!! I'll try to be more specific. I have a character who is an elderly dairy farmer. He replies to a question with, "I dunno. I ain't but 73 years old!" But I know that's not quite right. (Maybe if it was seventy-tree years old???)

Phrases regarding work, pay, bosses, drinking or (annoying) tourists would be especially helpful. Also phrases about sex, love or attractive women (or men.) What would you call someone who is a complete and total a**wipe? Who is drunk? Who is getting married? What is a good threat (in a bar, just before two men fight?)

I'm also interested in any unique sayings. For example, I grew up in Texas where we say "cutting off your nose to spite your face" for behaving in a counterproductive way. (I never thought of this as regional until I used it once in Wisconsin!) I'm sure there are Wisconsin equivilants, but I'm drawing a blank!

My fella says I do the extended oooo thing. He is from out East. So, I think you have nailed that one. Might be hard to put in script for effect though. Unless you intend to type it with several oooo's.

"Ya no" or "doncha no" - yepper I say those.
"You got something to say/show me?" While gesturing toward the door with their hand or head. For a bar fight
"Put up or shut up" Also, for bar fights. But, mostly we are a dirty fighting lot - we just swing first - talk later. And, if we can get the first slug in, we are happier for it.

I don't hear the working class say D for TH as you indicate. I have 3 degrees and talk a bit odd. My father barely graduated high school and STILL I have not heard such. Not even from farmers here. Not with regularity at all. Surely there are some though.

I am not familiar with the 73 year old phrase you offer at all. And, my uncle is a buffalo farmer. He is a man of very few words all together. He DOES say "I dunno, I am but a simple man" or "Never had much use for knowin' that". I hear that last one a lot.

Work - often referred to as "the man" rather than the business name or company as a whole. "head honcho" "dude with the big office" "shirts/suits" for bosses and employees who run offices versus others that may work in plants.

Don't hear many people talk about pay stuff. Course I do not listen to that stuff. I hear "off to make the rent or bills" in regards to earning/going to work. Or whatever they want/need. For instance "going to get my new stereo or new truck" as they head to work. Of course, we call it the "daily grind" too - as many other regions do.

I do not live in a touristy spot. Green Bay has attractions like that - but they are specific and tourists go there - but usually only briefly. It is not like people travel here to see sights - they come to see Packer Hall of Fame or go to a game - then leave the next day. It is not like they come to see sights for any length of time (that I am aware of). Matera the Mad may have more on tourist stuff. For she lives in an area where more tourists would go based on her location and what it offers to visitors.

We say don't cut off your nose to spite your face too - I hear that a lot. We say "cannot see the forest for the trees" too, stuff that is not regional specific.

I will come back and respond to the rest later. I have a kiddo to get to bed.

Christine

JoniBGoode
11-03-2008, 08:01 AM
My fella says I do the extended oooo thing. He is from out East. So, I think you have nailed that one. Might be hard to put in script for effect though. Unless you intend to type it with several oooo's.

Great! I will probably just type toooo or yooooo in the first few lines of dialogue, and let the reader fill in the rest themselves. Is there anything else your fella thinks is interesting about the speech? ;)

"Ya no" or "doncha no" - yepper I say those.
"You got something to say/show me?" While gesturing toward the door with their hand or head. For a bar fight
"Put up or shut up" Also, for bar fights. But, mostly we are a dirty fighting lot - we just swing first - talk later. And, if we can get the first slug in, we are happier for it.

This is wonderful!! Is there anything that a bartender might say trying to prevent a fight?

I don't hear the working class say D for TH as you indicate. I have 3 degrees and talk a bit odd. My father barely graduated high school and STILL I have not heard such. Not even from farmers here. Not with regularity at all. Surely there are some though.

Maybe I'm wrong about that. I remember it very clearly, but they might have been teasing someone who used to live in Chicago. Nobody in my story has anything approaching your level of education, so I really appreciate your help!

I am not familiar with the 73 year old phrase you offer at all. And, my uncle is a buffalo farmer. He is a man of very few words all together. He DOES say "I dunno, I am but a simple man" or "Never had much use for knowin' that". I hear that last one a lot.

Wow, those are great -- I will definitely use them!

Sorry, I should have explained better. Here's the dialogue:

A group of men are sitting around a bar when the conversation turns to past indiscretions. One says, "Okay, I know I used to be an a**hole, but that was years ago! How long does it take for a woman to forget?"

They have forgotten that the retired dairy farmer is even there, until he chimes in, "I don't know. I ain't but 73-years old!" I like the sentiment, but the "ain't but" sounds more Texas than Wisconsin to me. How would your uncle say this?

Work - often referred to as "the man" rather than the business name or company as a whole. "head honcho" "dude with the big office" "shirts/suits" for bosses and employees who run offices versus others that may work in plants.

Don't hear many people talk about pay stuff. Course I do not listen to that stuff. I hear "off to make the rent or bills" in regards to earning/going to work. Or whatever they want/need. For instance "going to get my new stereo or new truck" as they head to work. Of course, we call it the "daily grind" too - as many other regions do.

This is sooo cool!! Thank you, thank you!!

I do not live in a touristy spot. Green Bay has attractions like that - but they are specific and tourists go there - but usually only briefly. It is not like people travel here to see sights - they come to see Packer Hall of Fame or go to a game - then leave the next day. It is not like they come to see sights for any length of time (that I am aware of). Matera the Mad may have more on tourist stuff. For she lives in an area where more tourists would go based on her location and what it offers to visitors.

Is there any insider Packers stuff that my characters might know? The story takes place after the 2007/2008 season ends. My characters actually get into a lot of trouble, because there's no football game on. I know about team ownership, foam cheesehead hats, I've been to the Packer's Hall of Fame, and I'm onto tiny pink baby-sized packers jerseys. And 17 different biographies of Brett Favre (who was retired during my story) at the bookstore. Anything else?

We say don't cut off your nose to spite your face too - I hear that a lot. We say "cannot see the forest for the trees" too, stuff that is not regional specific.

I will come back and respond to the rest later. I have a kiddo to get to bed.

Christine

Thank you so much!! This is very, very helpful.

My story takes place between about April 17 and July 4, 2008 -- so anything you think of regarding that time of year would be very helpful!

And, I do realize that people from Wisconsin talk right, and those of us from Chi-KKAA-go are the ones with the accents! (Not to mention the bad driving!)

willfulone
11-03-2008, 11:19 AM
My education is not that vast really. Accounting, Respiratory Care Practitioner and Speech and Language Pathology. I am not a scholar by any means. I run with a normal crowd.

I will ask him what I say that sounds funny or different. I will post that after he tells me. I just remember him mentioning the ooo thing off the top of my head. I meant to ask this eve, but forgot.

OH! I know - YOU - we say eewu - longer or more stressed on the first sound (initial placement sound in word) for a split second more.

Bartender - break up a fight? In their clean white shirt and bow tie? Surely you jest woman. Really, there are bouncers that break up fights. I cannot recall a specific place small enough that only had a bartender that had to handle such by themselves. Though there are small places like that. I do not go to those places. "Break it up" "The police are on the way" are the only things I can remember from a bartender. The bouncers? They are a colorful lot. I suppose you could just use their stuff for your bartender. They be tossing people out by their napes and yelling the whole way. IF they cannot just escort peeps nicely after a quiet talk. "I'll do what he can't if you don't move along" "He may not be able to handle you - think you can handle me?" Things like that. But, that may not be regional specific. I cannot know that for sure. I do not hang in bars. I am 44.

My uncle would say (as he did about his wife). "A woman don't forget nothing til she dies if it serves her to remember"

Crap - there is tons of Packer stuff about. I used to work for the VP of the Packer Alumni Association. Although not during that year.

There was a court case with a Packer that owned a bar. Barnett I think. That was recently settled or whatever. I am not sure about that. And there is always the stuff surrounding the rumors about Favre in that he retires/wants to play again and such. So, by July 2008 that was a hot topic. Tons of rumors surrounding that. I am sure as early as May. The packers are always having something going on with one of them it seems. What type of thing were you looking for? I know someone at the local paper, I can scare up some past articles.

Christine

RJK
11-03-2008, 10:59 PM
Listen to Sarah Palin. She somehow picked up that accent.

JoniBGoode
11-04-2008, 03:35 AM
My education is not that vast really. Accounting, Respiratory Care Practitioner and Speech and Language Pathology. I am not a scholar by any means. I run with a normal crowd.

I will ask him what I say that sounds funny or different. I will post that after he tells me. I just remember him mentioning the ooo thing off the top of my head. I meant to ask this eve, but forgot.

OH! I know - YOU - we say eewu - longer or more stressed on the first sound (initial placement sound in word) for a split second more.

Bartender - break up a fight? In their clean white shirt and bow tie? Surely you jest woman. Really, there are bouncers that break up fights. I cannot recall a specific place small enough that only had a bartender that had to handle such by themselves. Though there are small places like that. I do not go to those places. "Break it up" "The police are on the way" are the only things I can remember from a bartender. The bouncers? They are a colorful lot. I suppose you could just use their stuff for your bartender. They be tossing people out by their napes and yelling the whole way. IF they cannot just escort peeps nicely after a quiet talk. "I'll do what he can't if you don't move along" "He may not be able to handle you - think you can handle me?" Things like that. But, that may not be regional specific. I cannot know that for sure. I do not hang in bars. I am 44.

LOL!! That's perfect -- my bartender doesn't actually disrupt the fight, he just convinces them to take it outside!

My uncle would say (as he did about his wife). "A woman don't forget nothing til she dies if it serves her to remember"


That's perfect! Thank you!!

Crap - there is tons of Packer stuff about. I used to work for the VP of the Packer Alumni Association. Although not during that year.

There was a court case with a Packer that owned a bar. Barnett I think. That was recently settled or whatever. I am not sure about that. And there is always the stuff surrounding the rumors about Favre in that he retires/wants to play again and such. So, by July 2008 that was a hot topic. Tons of rumors surrounding that. I am sure as early as May. The packers are always having something going on with one of them it seems. What type of thing were you looking for? I know someone at the local paper, I can scare up some past articles.

Christine

Thanks! The Packer stuff will just be small talk between beers. So that's perfect.

JoniBGoode
11-04-2008, 03:37 AM
Listen to Sarah Palin. She somehow picked up that accent.
Ya' know, (ha-ha) Palin has a very distinctive accent, but it doesn't sound like Wisconsin to me. Or maybe it's a different part of Wisconsin? Oh, wait. I'm thinking of Tina Fey. I guess I have to listen to Palin closer, now!

Petsey
11-04-2008, 08:38 AM
I am also a born and bred Wisconsinite. Don't forget we say Hey or Hey ya instead of Hi. Its Bubbler not water fountain and its Soda not Pop. I noticed they mentioned Sarah Palin's accent, but her's is a little more yooper and Canadian, the Sheboygan, Green Bay isn't quite that pronounced, but it does have similarities - ya know. We drink Brandy Old Fashioned with Sweet - when not drinking beer. Don't forget the fish fries on Fridays and as mentioned, the Packers are a must. The Milwaukee Brewers too.

Hope this helps

dclary
11-04-2008, 10:44 AM
I lived in Green Bay for a couple years, and parts near there. Here's the most annoying phrase in all of Wisconsin:

"I'm gOing to the StOre, come with?" (come with means, one would presume correctly "want to come with me?")

Also, it is neither hyperbole nor massive exaggeration to assume that the #1 entertainment method of every person over the aged of about 15 in the entire state is boozing to unconsciousness.


And yes. "SOda."

And eat Bratz.

JoniBGoode
11-04-2008, 09:44 PM
I am also a born and bred Wisconsinite. Don't forget we say Hey or Hey ya instead of Hi. Its Bubbler not water fountain and its Soda not Pop. I noticed they mentioned Sarah Palin's accent, but her's is a little more yooper and Canadian, the Sheboygan, Green Bay isn't quite that pronounced, but it does have similarities - ya know. We drink Brandy Old Fashioned with Sweet - when not drinking beer. Don't forget the fish fries on Fridays and as mentioned, the Packers are a must. The Milwaukee Brewers too.

Hope this helps

Thank you sooo much! This is so great! I had forgotten about bubblers and Brandy Old Fashioneds (with sweet!) Is there such a thing as a Brandy Old Fashioned without sweet? I honestly don't remember.

Fish fries! Fish boils! I'm lovin' it!!

Thank you!

JoniBGoode
11-04-2008, 09:46 PM
I lived in Green Bay for a couple years, and parts near there. Here's the most annoying phrase in all of Wisconsin:

"I'm gOing to the StOre, come with?" (come with means, one would presume correctly "want to come with me?")

Also, it is neither hyperbole nor massive exaggeration to assume that the #1 entertainment method of every person over the aged of about 15 in the entire state is boozing to unconsciousness.


And yes. "SOda."

And eat Bratz.

Thank you! "Come with" will definitely come in handy. And fortunately, a good part of the action in the novel involves a group of guys who hang out at the same tavern.

FennelGiraffe
11-04-2008, 10:23 PM
He is from out East.

I don't know whether willfulone's usage is specific to Wisconsin, but I've never heard that before. "Back East" and "out West", yes, but not "out East".

Petsey
11-05-2008, 01:10 AM
More - its up north anytime you go on vacation in Wisconsin, and we never say how far something is away, we say how long it will take to get there.

So its not fifty miles away - it'll take about 45 minutes (well the way I drive it would) to get there.



Have a great day.

Shadow_Ferret
11-05-2008, 02:06 AM
You know, I don't know what you're talking about. I'm from Wisconsin and we have no oddities in our speech.

Everyone else talks funny.

StephanieFox
11-05-2008, 02:19 AM
They drink more beer in Wisconsin than in any other state. The state beverage is beer, at least from 6:00 pm to 6:00 am. During the day, it's milk.

Instead of 'yes' they say 'ya', but not the clipped German 'ja'. It's softer and more of a drawl.

Also, there's some accent differences between up North and Milwaukee as well as western Wisconsin (by Minnesota).



Oh, yes. Wisconsin has winter. Winter does not keep people from going to the bar. Madison, Winconsin is a very, very liberal college town.

JoniBGoode
11-05-2008, 09:54 PM
Petsey and Fennel, thank you very much!


You know, I don't know what you're talking about. I'm from Wisconsin and we have no oddities in our speech.

Everyone else talks funny.

Yes, Ed, that's the problem I'm having! LOL! I've been so indoctrinated by the distorted dialect elsewhere that I no longer recall perfect Wisconsin usage!!

JoniBGoode
11-05-2008, 09:57 PM
They drink more beer in Wisconsin than in any other state. The state beverage is beer, at least from 6:00 pm to 6:00 am. During the day, it's milk.

Instead of 'yes' they say 'ya', but not the clipped German 'ja'. It's softer and more of a drawl.

Also, there's some accent differences between up North and Milwaukee as well as western Wisconsin (by Minnesota).



Oh, yes. Wisconsin has winter. Winter does not keep people from going to the bar. Madison, Winconsin is a very, very liberal college town.

Thanks! That's all useful stuff, although my novel focuses on the Manitowoc/ Sheboygan area, so that's my primary concern.

I know...I was so amazed that adults in Wisconsin drank milk, instead of iced tea or "Coke" like Texans!