“If you want to speak Midwestern, pretend the lower half of your jaw doesn’t exist,” writer says
One of the core elements of your identity is your accent.
But we here in the Midwest have a tendency to believe we don't have an accent.
Writer Edward McClelland proves otherwise in his new book How to Speak Midwestern.
McClelland sat down with us today to talk about what makes the Midwestern accent so distinct.
McClelland told us he didn't know he had an accent until he took a linguistics class at the University of Michigan, where a girl from New Jersey pointed out the particular nasally way we say "can."
"That, as I later found out, was an element of what's called the Northern Cities Vowel Shift, which is said to be the most significant change in English vowel pronunciation in a thousand years, and it's happening right here in the Midwest," he said.
In our conversation above, McClelland talks about what makes the Midwestern accent unique and how it came to be.