Date: Mon, 29 Jul 1996 21:22:45 +0000
From: Grant Barrett gbarrett[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]JERRYNET.COM
Subject: RE Re: Great Lakes Whine (was Pinning Down A Region)
I'm an amateur, so if you don't mind me stumbling around here a little... And no punching me in the throat.
There are obvious differences between, say, folks from Wisconsin and folks from Pennsylvania and folks from New York. But there are common features that seem to bind this group in the same way folks from Virginia to Texas share the Southern drawl. The reason I classify it as a Great Lakes whine is cause I can't find it in anyone who isn't from, say, a two-hour drive from the Lakes.
The Great Lakes whine is first, nasal, though not quite as bad as that accent made classic in the movie "Fargo" [If you haven't seen it, do. Love those accents.]
Second, the vowels are stretched like a paycheck at Christmas. Have someone from the region say "okay", "Mom" and "here".
Third, I have a hard time finding simple /ah/ or /aw/ sounds in words that would have it in Missouri, where I come from. Try "talk" or "boss".
Then there's this thing that I probably shouldn't mention but will because I can't help myself. I have family from the region, and I first noticed it from them when I was a kid. They have a modulation of tone and meter that reminds me of nothing so much as a little girl singing to herself as she plays with her dolls. This is the only way I can describe it.
What is it? Where do they get it? Do I have hearing problems? I don't know, I don't know and I don't think so.