Friday, December 23, 2011

Minnesota jargon, dontcha know.

I've lived in Minnesota for almost my whole life. We moved to Minnesota from Wisconsin (which is the same as Minnesota except there are less lakes and more cheese, and as you may or may not know, I have no problems with that) when I was three years old, so I'd say that 21 years out of 24 would be a suitable justification for saying "I've lived there my whole life". Living in the same place forever has its advantages. I didn't have the traumatizing experience of moving the summer before my senior year of high school, I was never the new kid at school and I have somewhere that I will always be able to call home. But I would say that living in the same place your whole life also has its disadvantages. There are habits and phrases that are very state specific and when you do go somewhere else and learn that people might not know what you're talking about, you start to wonder if you've been lied to your whole life.

So when I started going to school in Idaho and started making friends from all over the country, I was shocked to learn that not only did they not know what cheese curds were, Minnesotans have quite the variety of different names for things that we're all familiar with on some level.

As if Minnesotans don't already take enough heat for their accents (my mom actually trained me and my sister to not have MN accents. When people find out I'm from MN they usually say "Wow, you don't even have the accent!"), here are some other things that you might find strange about our way of speech.

I know some of these are definitely specific to MN, but some I'm not so sure. You'll have to tell me if your homeland says it too.

1. Duck, duck.......
Did you say goose in your head? Well in Minnesota you'd be the source of confusion. Because in Minnesota it's "Duck, duck, gray duck". That's right. Duck, duck, gray duck. I'm not really sure why the color gray was chosen or what a gray duck is (besides a duck that is gray...) or what sets it apart from other ducks and makes it so special that it gets to be the action signal for a game, but that's what you'll hear MN kids saying when they play this childhood game.

2. Flick someone off.
This one I'm not sure if it's MN specific or not. But when you give someone the middle finger, we'd say you flicked them off. I'm pretty sure my dad says it (he also grew up in MN. Born and raised. Even the same town.) but my mom who grew up mostly in Virginia and North Carolina says we're crazy and its flip them off.

3. Budge in line.
Remember the days in Elementary school when you'd patiently be waiting in line and some punk would sneak in in front of you as if you wouldn't notice? In MN we'd brand them as a budger. And say "Hey! No budging! Go to the end of the line". Apparently every where else you cut in line, you don't budge. I mean, cut makes more sense.

4. Ding dong ditch.
I only recently learned that not everyone calls it this. Some other states call it "ring and run". But you know, the classic "We're bored, let go have some fun" where you ring an unsuspecting persons house and run away before they answer the door.

5. Common phrases such as "dontcha know" "ya, you betcha" and "ohhh ya. ohhh sure".

My adventures in Idaho have allowed me to learn some other state jargon. These are the ones that I'm aware of so far, but please add to the list. Especially ones that come from your own state.

In Idaho/Utah they call the glove compartment of a car the jockey box.
In the South any type of soda is a Coke.
I can't remember which state (Washington, maybe?) they call a drinking fountain a bubbler.
In Canada a couch is a chesterfield, a hat is a took and they say "zed" for the letter Z.

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