This blog is about the story of my family here in America. We arrived in the 1630s as Puritans, and became the common folk of the New World.

The difference between the Minnesota accent and the Minneapolis accent


When people find out that I grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, they ask me why I don't have a Minnesota accent. You know the sound, like in the movie "Fargo" - yah, sure, yoobetcha. People wonder if I lost my accent living in California or Arizona, but I didn't. I've always talked with this accent, as do my brothers. And it's the Minneapolis accent, not the Minnesota accent. To be more precise, it's the Twin Cities accent. Please let me explain.

If you've ever heard the voice of a "neutral" American accent, whether on the radio, or on TV, you've heard the Twin Cities accent. In the United States, it's considered to be how American English should be spoken. That is, really no accent at all. It's the American equivalent of the "Queen's English". And no, I have no idea why the decision was made, many years ago, to make the way that the people in the Twin Cities speak the "official sound" of American English.

But if you get outside of the Twin Cities (which are Minneapolis and St. Paul), to the rural areas, you get what most people recognize as the Minnesota accent. Growing up in Minneapolis, I could recognize this sound right away, and it told me that the people who spoke this way were from places like Bemiji, or Bovey. My parents grew up in rural Minnesota, so they have that type of accent.

Accents tend to be almost impossible to shake off. That's why it's rude to comment on them, it's like commenting on the color of someone's skin. And since I grew up in Minneapolis, I have the Twin Cities accent, what I often call "the man on the 6'clock news" voice. In fact, if I get nervous, and have to speak under pressure, people will ask me why I'm talking like a radio announcer. I have purposely added a bit of twang, and slang, to soften the way that I speak.

So there you go, that's the difference between the Minnesota accent and the Minneapolis accent. I now return you to your regularly scheduled programming...
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