Northern Cities Vowel Shift

So my long-time blahggy friend Agate Gal is pretty much polly-tickly aligned with yer fav-o-rite blahgger (aka meeee). She commented to say that she liked #ThatWomanInMichigan (our guv Gretchen) and that she loved her accent. Accent? Accent? What accent? Oh yeah, it’s probably the Northern Cities Vowel Shift. Google it if you dare.

I more often *read* news so I couldn’t think off-hand how Gretchen sounds when she speaks. But yes, that accent is A Thing and Gretchen does it. In fact, when I was a young yooperlander it used to drive me a little crazy. Some of my Mac relatives from around the Detroit area had that accent and when I first went to college, there were a lot of southeast Michiganders in my dorm who spoke the same way. Coming from a yooperland town on the Canuckian border with grandparents born in Cananananada, I am better able to affect a Canuckian accent and I don’t think I personally do the NCVS accent. And neither does the GG, even though he grew up in Royal Joke, where it is endemic. In his case, I’m not sure why except that his parents grew up in Milwaukee and moved here after their third(?) child (of 10) was born and his mom was a stickler for English pronunciation and grammar, etc.

The NCVS accent does not bother me one iota any more. What the heck, I spend a lot of my time deciphering English heavily accented with who-knows-what Indian dialects, with some Angry Russian thrown in there just for fun. I love them all. And I love our guv. These last few days have been difficult as people struggle to decipher how her latest COVID-based directives will affect their lives. Yes, motor botes are prohibited, even if you can launch from your own property. The reasoning is that motor botes are more dependent upon services like gasoline and possibly parts, etc. I have mixed feelings about this but I do understand the issues.

She is basically trying to separate “essential” employees from non-essentials. It gets complicated very quickly. Like if you are running a big-box grocery like Meijer (for sake of argument) do you tape off the toy aisles? In my opinion, yes. And I know that it potentially lays off workers…

I have gotten very creative about getting food via curbside pickup and delivery from small local businesses (I know not everyone has access to that kind of service and I feel VERY fortunate that I can do this). If I want some kind of toiletry or cleaning supply or frivolous Pandemic Snack item, I try order it online. I’m aware that deliveries may take longer than they usually do so I try to think ahead. Our family grocery worker is willing to deliver stuff to her decrepit old parents (and friends who HAVE COVID, mild but yes) but I do NOT want her wandering all over the stores buying shampoo or whatever. I can get that stuff online. TP and Clorox wipes are still challenges but we are okay for now.

So, the top pic is my grocery worker taking a selfie of herself balancing in a weird way to get a pic of the bottom pic, which is a trout lily (both pics posted with permission and isn’t she beautiful?). I am sure there are trout lilies coming up in the small woods behind my house but I am staying out of that woods for the duration. A lot of people visit that woods throughout the day. They are not wearing masks and neither am I (yet). We all have our own comfort levels about where we travel. I am uncomfortable with the constantly fluctuating information/misinformation about how long COVID can live in the air or anywhere else. Sorry but that’s where I’m at.

2 Responses to “Northern Cities Vowel Shift”

  1. Margaret Says:

    I align with Tonya, so I’m sure we would agree on most things. Not all, but that’s what makes conversations so interesting. For example I can’t and won’t worry about the air(outside) because I think the risk of getting covid19 is minimal from that. There are high risk activities, and I won’t do those. It comes down to a question of extreme anxiety/paranoia for me or my mental health and exercise.

  2. Tonya Watkins Says:

    I think it’s especially noticeable (those accents) to us in the PNW because WE HAVE NO ACCENTS. And so we have an astute ear to *any* accents. Your Michigan/Minnesota et al accents ring in our ears. So different from how we speak. The south is another planet. And I briefly lived in Maine and THAT accent (along with New England generally, although they all differ) was mind-bending to me. It absolutely made no sense whatsoever. They added ‘Rs’ where there weren’t any, and then didn’t pronounce ‘Rs’ where they existed. My maiden name is Miller, and I was “Tonyer Milluh.” No sense. Whatsoever.