Betraying one’s “Hickiness”

While neither I nor the vast majority of Minnesotans speak in the manner portrayed in the movie or the TV show “Fargo”, I did slipup last Friday.

I was visiting the Huntington Library in California and taking a guided tour of the gardens when one of the members of the tour group related that her mother was on the tour. This was about a one and a half hour tour down a gentle but somewhat long slope. As you might expect we needed to climb back up that slope, and while climbing up that hill the woman related that her mother was 93 years old.

I was stunned that a 93 year old person could complete this task and exclaimed, “Holy Cow”

Nobody says Holy Cow these days even in Minnesota and I felt like an alien.


PS The library is an amazing place and the people on the tour were amazing also. One Bio Engineering doctorate from the University of California at Irvine and the tour guide’s husband was a doctorate in Physics at Cal Tech. – Yes I did ask if they watched the Big Bang and the answer was yes.

It’s nice to read that traditional sayings are still alive and well… when I add exclamative words from back in the day that the newer generations are far too cool to use in these current times, I always get a laugh and a comment from them :slight_smile:

I have to disagree! I come from that part of the country, and I didn’t notice the accent nearly so much while I lived there, but after four years of being away…omg.

I dissolve into giggles nearly every time I call home. The long o’s and hard r’s are quite pronounced, it’s adorable.

“Drop Dead Gorgeous” is a movie with another great example of the accent. Kirstie Alley is hilarious.

Also, this –


Hi MagsJ,

To me regional colloquialisms are endearing when I hear them in others. But I feel foolish when I use them outside my own region.

Probably just some personal insecurity?


Hi Blurry,

It is certainly true that we have a regional accent. Further we still have a certain regional vernacular. There was a post not long ago on ILP which linked to a program where, by answering a number of questions about what you call various things and how you might pronounce various words, it would predict 3 places where you might live.

When I ran this program it predicted Cleveland OH, Rockford IL, and the Twin Cities MN (which in fact is where I live and spent most of my life).

On the other hand the movie Fargo portrays us as using “dis here ting” for “this thing” and “you betcha” for expressions equivalent to “OK” or “that’s right”.

In my experience these pronunciations and expressions are very rare in the twin cities. (In northern Minnesota there are still some persons of Norwegian descent that use the “d for “th” but it is rare and you betcha is a little less rare but still unusual).

Thanks for your post – the clip was fun to listen to.


Sayings I miss from back home that I don’t often hear in other parts of the country –

“Criminy” and/or “Criminidly”
“Dag nabbit”
Whenever people say “bubbler” for “water fountain” (total Wisconsinism)

And perhaps “oh ya, you betcha” is more widely used in Wisco, cuz one does tend to hear it there.

And Mags, I love old-fashioned exclamatory phrases. I say, “neat!” and “neat-o!” a lot, always gets me an odd side-glance at the least, at most a full laugh and inquisition as to, “…who says ‘neat’ anymore?”

I do. I say “neat”.