Skip to product information
1 of 2

ISBN 9780997774276

How to Speak Midwestern

Regular price $16.95 USD
Regular price Sale price $16.95 USD
Sale Sold out
Style

By Edward McClelland

“A dictionary wrapped in some serious dialectology inside a gift book trailing a serious whiff of Relevance” ―The New York Times

In this book on midwestern accents and sayings, Edward McClelland (Folktales and Legends of the Midwest) explains what midwesterners say and how and why they say it. He examines such mysteries as the causes of the Northern Cities Vowel Shift, explains the nasality of Minnesota speech, and details why Chicagoans talk more like people from Buffalo than their next-door neighbors in Wisconsin. He also provides humorous definitions of jargon from the region, including:

  • squeaky cheese
  • city chicken
  • shampoo banana 
  • the Pittsburgh toilet 
  • Yinzers and Cheeseheads
  • FIB 
  • bubbler 
  • Chevy in the Hole 
  • jagoff .

How to Speak Midwestern includes detailed glossaries of slang and sayings from Buffalo, the Great Lakes, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Wisconsin. 


This delightful romp through the region’s dialects is the perfect gift for midwesterners and the perfect book for anyone wanting to learn more about the region’s diverse, idiosyncratic ways of communicating.

More praise for How to Speak Midwestern:

"An amusing glossary to the lingo of the [Midwest's] more industrial states." ―Washington Post

"McClelland leavens his writing with pop-culture references ... and touches of humor." ―Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

"There is scholarship [in How to Speak Midwestern], a deep understanding of grammar and ethnic history, as he traces certain speech patterns down to a single city. But McClelland, a Michigan native, also has a voice, opinions and a few punchlines." ―Star Tribune

"How to Speak Midwestern is a fascinating read, whether you hail from WOWOland, the UP, Cereal City, or Baja Minnesota." Chicagoist

“A delightful romp through the dialects and vocabulary of the region.” Lansing City Pulse

"In his delightful new book, Edward McClelland argues that the dialect of the Midwest is one of the country’s most linguistically significant ... [How to Speak Midwestern is] a long-overdue study of the middle-American vernacular, and how that vernacular informs our identity. At its heaviest, the book is a socio-economic treatise worthy of a university library; at its lightest, it’s a regionally specific Urban Dictionary." ―Inside Hook

Edward McClelland is the author of Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President and Nothin’ But Blue Skies: The Heyday, Hard Times and Hopes of America’s Industrial Heartland.

See our Midwest Starter Pack.

DECEMBER 1, 2016 | ISBN: 9780997774276 | HISTORY | PAPERBACK | 5 x 7.25 | 152 PAGES

OUR STOREWIDE SPRING SALE IS GOING ON NOW!

Fill up that cart with all the Belt titles you've been curious about. Use code SPRINGSALE at checkout for 40% off of everything (except pre-orders).

KEEP SHOPPING
  • Free Shipping with orders over $30

    Why not add a few more books to your order to be eligible for free shipping? Check out the titles below or take a suggestion from one of our authors.

  • Special Offers and Discounts

    Keep up with the newest title, sales, and events (plus the occasional meme) from Belt Publishing by signing up for our newsletter. It’s only once a week—no cluttering up your inbox.