Bilingual: Fluent in both English and Minnesotan

I’ve lived in da Land of Disgraced Governors (otherwise known as da Land of Lincoln for youse traditionalists) for abowt six years, and I still can’t figger owt da traffic reports donchano.

“Twenty-two minutes out on the Edens, and a crash on the Tri-State has that running 40 minutes,” cracks talk radio on any given afternoon.


Oh ya, ya know, dis apparently makes sense to Illinoise drivers traveling 20 miles per over da limit and riding pretnear my bumper, but it’s a mystery to me. Uff-da.

My innerstate highways are named with numbers, as in I-94. Sometimes there’s a modifying letter — as in “35W goes to Dalut” — but dhat Illinoise penchant for naming dere roadways with famous (or infamous) names confuses me.

Who is Dan Ryan far as dhat goes anyway? (For the record, he is a former president of da Cook County Board of Commissioners who, unlike so many other Illinoise politicians, never served time in a federal pokey.)

My abode in Nortern Illinoise is just south of I-90 in this former Minnesotan’s way of tinking, but to everyone here, it’s just south of the Northwest Tollway and in serious danger of being south of I-88, which means da “rest of Illinois” dats not in “Da Loop.” And so.

Though I’ve come to appreciate the milder winners, cheering for perennial losers like da Cubs and deep-dish pizza as an alternative to hot dish, you betcha I’ll never get used-tuv the roadway naming convention.


This post is part of WordPress’ Weekly Writing Challenge: A Manner of Speaking. For more colloquialisms among the world’s bloggers, click here and follow some of the comments.

15 responses to “Bilingual: Fluent in both English and Minnesotan

  1. I love it! And yes, that’s how Minnesotans speak! I was pretty confused with 35W and 35E for the past 2 years 🙂

  2. Sven king of da Nort!

    Just get in the kitchen and make me some hot dish! b4I kick ur ubetcha don’t chano white booty back side with me mucklucks.

  3. LOL Love it! Reads just like my neighbor from Minnesota speaks. She sticks out like a sore thumb because nobody in Florida talks like that : D However, quite a few do speak like this:

  4. Oofda.. That was hard to read! I got where you were going with it though. At first, I thought you meant that it didn’t make sense to measure distance in time, but we do that here, too. Don’t you call 62 “Crosstown”, though? It’s not much different I suppose.

  5. I’m FROM the area, but I couldn’t have put that collection together as you did! I suppose that when your ears are FROM there, they’re not likely to catch what sounds, well, RIGHT! : ) You reminded me how we can speak without relying too much on “th”; for example, saying “dat” and “nort”. It reminds me of how my grandmother who came over from Bergen, Norway, endearingly said “Tursday”.

    • People call me owt all the time in how I say “about” and “owt” but I guess I’ve managed my “th.” Thanks for stopping by!

      • Oh, yes, the “ow” sound. When my family moved up to Canada, then back down to California, my sons were noted for their “ow”, or “Canadian” accent!

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  9. I haven’t taken any “ters” lately but I did notice the “crick” is over its banks.

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