THE MICHIGAN ACCENT
Idiosyncrasies and Patterns
Let me tell ya, it is DAMNED cold in Michigan, so you have GOT to conserve energy. Consequently, the right way to speak "Michigin" is to
Introducing the "glottal stop"
Think about it: we rarely, if ever, make the "tuh" sound of a T... as we finish a word that ends in a "t", we don't actually say the "t"... instead we just stop all breath with our lungs. For example, "apartment" becomes "aparh' meh'" (Say it really fast, and DON'T SAY THOSE Ts!). There... now you've goddih'!
Many Michigan folks have written, insisting they don't do this. But "I don' talk tha' way!" sounds a lot different than "I don'Tuh talk thaTuh way." Yes, Virginia, you are chopping off your Ts. (If you want to hear people who pronounce their ending Ts, listen to the Irish. An' doan'T ye forgeT iT, boyo!)
"Quarter of three"? "Half past"? What the hell does that mean? You may get a confused look if you say that to someone from Muskegon or Kalamazoo. Every good Michiganian knows that when speaking of time before the hour, you would say the word "to" rather than "of". You would also slur it together and say "ta" instead of "to"... hence, "quarter of three" becomes "quartertathree". You betcha.
In California, they tell you to take "The 405"... in Washington DC, you get on "495". But in Michigan, since US, state and interstate highways can have the same number, interstate highways are often said with an "I-" before the number. So to get to Detroit's Metro Airport, you git in yer cahrr an' take "I-teoo-sevenny-five" to "I-ninedy-four". Sometimes called freeways, sometimes expressways, but it's rare you'll hear them called "highways".
Speaking of freeways, if you drive west along I-96 from Detroit to Muskegon, listening to radio stations along the way, you will notice the nasality of the Michigan Accent get distinctly stronger and stronger the entire trip.
Company names as possessives
In the early 1900's, the Ford Motor Company's sole factory was known by people all over Michigan as "Ford's Factory", since it was owned by Henry Ford. Like a virus, this wacky mispronunciation spread to any large shrine of industry or commerce.
"Where do you work?" "Oh, I work at Ford's." "I see, and evidently you were schooled in Ohio."
So "Meijer" became "Meijers", "Kroger" became "Krogers", and inexplicably, "K-Mart" became... "K-Marts"! For the record, folks... there is no family by the name of "K-Mart" that owns that chain.
Pronouncing the Michigan A, and selected "cahnsineh's"
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