Amphibious Creatures from a Northern Midwestern State


Having grown up in Michigan, I'm acutely aware of differences in speech between my native state and my adopted Texas. I propose to discuss some of these differences in this blog. Today's entry concerns the word "wife," which is pronounced "wof" by many Texans. You rarely hear "My wof," though; it's always "Ma wof," as in "Ma wof and ah went to the rodeo." By the way, I'm not making fun of Texans. Had I been born and raised in Texas, I'd be writing about how strange the speech of Michiganders is (not to mention how strange the word "Michiganders" is). There's no right or wrong in this realm, just differences. Differences are always remarkable.


- Keith Burgess-Jackson

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I grew up in/around

I grew up in/around Milwaukee, WI, and I still call drinking fountains "bubblers," even though I now live in Brooklyn NY. I know they don't "bubble," but the term is lodged in the vocabular part of my brain.

And the city is pronounced Muhwaukee.

My neighbors call Florida "Flahrida." I like how it sounds.

I heard some comedian once

I heard some comedian once speculating about what happened to all those r's that were dropped in Massachusetts, in words like "kah" and "pahk." She thought they must float around the stratosphere for a while till they landed in Texas, and turned up in "warsh."

I live in Arkansas, myself, so I don't have an accent. But I remember, as a little kid, watching the Beverly Hillbillies and wondering why the laugh-track went wild when Granny started talking about fatback and collard greens.