How to speak Hoosier

These videos crack me up. Not every dialect oddity applies to me since I grew up closer to Chicago, but it is pretty stereotypical for the rest of Indiana:

…I do this all the time. I always have to edit “anyways” down to “anyway” when I’m blogging. Mumble “prolly” instead of “probably.” And I learned from this video that it’s Meijer, not Meijer’s. Dammit.

Pop is the correct way, not soda. … and I have to try really, really hard not to pronounce “milk” as “melk.” I’ve given up pronouncing eggs correctly – they will forever be aygs for me.

Damn youuuuu Indiana!


  1. bitguru says

    Are yous’s the guys’s that pronounce Illinois as “Ellenoy”?(There’s a faction that inexplicably does that, and I don’t know who they are.)

  2. says

    Lesson 3 didn’t really apply to me (I’ve always hated the “this needs put away” construction), but lesson 4 had me cracking up.  I’ve never heard of calling peppers “mangoes”, though.

  3. Rbray18 says

    makes me wonder if there’s a how to speak okie,though probably not.since we’re close in how we say words with texas and the other surrounding states,least to my using ya’ll as both you and all of you.and i’ve heard both pop and soda used,and coke too.though on the videos,the 1st one sounded like they were trying to talk in parsletounge to me.

  4. Hugin says

    It’s COKE. Just like Band-aids and Kleenex. The brand leader has become the generic name. Y’all that talk about “soda-pop” are just crazy.

  5. says

    I don’t know, I kind of like this instruction manual better:…Now that winter’s coming to the Great White North next week I’m gonna go put some snow chains on my tires, pop down to the Tim’s for a six pack of crillers, and then go hit the beer store for my 24 metric beers; don’t forget that when converting from imperial to metric you double it and add forty eh.Oh yeah, don’t drink the Elsinore beer eh, it makes you go all crazy and want to play hockey and talk like Darth Vader and stuff.Pete…Awww, Strange Brew (…, an awesomely hilarious film that is so under appreciated.

  6. Grant Gordon says

    People call peppers mangoes? What do they call mangoes?Also, is the ‘s a contraction or is it indicating possession? Do people write like that?Incidentally Jen, melk is the Afrikaans’ word for milk. Speaking of Afrikaans, as a useless bit of knowledge, mielies is the word for corn, pronounced mee-lees.

  7. says

    Holy crap, I think my parents are secretly from Indiana. They use the extraneous “at” and go acrosst town to shop at Aldi’s. (Then again, we’re from Northeast Ohio, so I don’t think there’s going to be a huge accent drift one state away.)

  8. Grant Gordon says

    That must get confusing. If you go to a restaurant and ask for a coke, do they ask what type of coke you want and then list sprite and fanta as an option? Cause I’d just bring the person a coke.

  9. Rbray18 says

    it all depends on what you are use to call soft drinks as. in Oklahoma I’ve heard all 3 use,soda pop and coke  so it doesn’t bother me as much no matter what term is used.

  10. Grant Gordon says

    It’s not that it would bother me, it’s just that I wouldn’t know that they wanted something other than Coca Cola. Soda here usually refers to Soda Water, and we don’t use pop at all, although being a generic term, I wouldn’t confuse it with anything else :) Soft drinks are usually just called cold drinks usually pronounced cole drinks or cool drinks.

  11. Neal says

    (1)  Lebanon is “Leb-nin”, not “Leb-uh-non.”(2)  My grandparents are from rural southern Indiana:       * Roof = “Ruff,”      * Oil = “Arl,”      * Towel = “Tile,”etc.My dad was in middle school before someone convinced him that wash didn’t have an r in it.(3) I don’t think I’m capable of pronouncing eggs or milk “correctly.”

  12. Svlad Cjelli says

    *If you said “correctly” I wouldn’t know you were talking about eggs and milk anyways.Damnit. Y no u editing?

  13. GrahamMartin_Royle says

    I know it’s wrong to take the mickey out of someone’s accent but when they said “Versailles” I just cracked up.

  14. Pitchni says

    To be fair the early Meijer stores were Meijer’s Supermarkets. But I don’t think they were in Indiana yet at that time. So that excuse only works for us from West Michigan.

  15. Bradder says

    Yay!  Thanks for watching my “How to Speak Hoosier” videos – and thanks for realizing they are tongue-in-cheek and meant for fun… seems like a lot of the random viewers on YouTube don’t quite get that part!  :)  The “mangoes” thing (and “davenport” too, really) is mostly used by the older generation.  I first heart it used when I was visiting my great aunt June near French Lick.  She told me to go look at the mangoes in her garden.  I was really confused… I mean, I knew she had a green thumb, but tropical fruit in southern Indiana?!  Then I saw a bunch of beautiful bell peppers, which my mom whispered were the “mangoes”.  Then I noticed some other folks using the same name for peppers.  I read online somewhere that it may have to do with the original way mangoes became popular in the US – pickled.  Then people started using “to mango” for pickling in general – then started referring to such pickles (which were often peppers) as mangoes!  Or something like that!

  16. Greg23 says

    The other rule for city names is: It can’t be pronounced like the more well known city or country.Versailles is VersalesPeru is PayruEdinburgh is EdinburgBrazil – BraizelRussiaville is RooshavilleI think Mexico and Richmond got a pass.Then, of course, there’s the old joke – South Bend is in northern Indiana, North Vernon is in southern Indiana and French Lick isn’t where you think it should be either.Remember Woody (who was from Hanover) dissin’ French Lick on Cheers? I bet most people thought those were made up.

  17. Annie says

    Yep.  I grew up in the Chicagoland area.  A conversation would go like this:”You want a coke?””Sure.””What kind?””Orange Fanta.”

  18. Derek says

    As a student of linguistics, I feel bound to call into question this notion of correctness of language that everyone’s going on about. And damn right I ended that sentence with a preposition.

  19. Madison Burnett says

    haha yeah where i live it’s definitely coke. even the waitresses ask what flavor of coke you’d prefer

  20. Jim Baerg says

    The part about Versailles reminded me of a story my aunt, who grew up in Ottawa & Montreal, tells about working as a telephone operator in Saskatchewan. (This would have been about 1950)A customer calls up and asks to be connected to ‘Bean Fate’. She is puzzled about where that might be and eventually asks him to spell it.Then she says ‘Oh you mean Bienfait’.’No I mean Bean Fate.’

  21. Carlie says

    …and Illinois natives will give the stink-eye to anyone who tries to pronounce the “s” at the end.

  22. says

    no No NO!  Ugh.  I’m so mad at you right now : (” I’ve given up pronouncing eggs correctly – they will forever be aygs for me.”I read this and then thought, “hmm… I don’t say aygs like that.  Wait.. aygs.  AYGS!! Crap.”I get “Meijer” and “anyway” wrong all the time as well. Sigh.

  23. says

    Hm. I’m not sure how we spent childhood together and you ended up with a stronger accent than I did. My roommate says ‘melk’ and ‘pellow’ and we tease her about it all the time. There is an i in those words, not an e. I only watched the first part of the initial video, but most of those things sounded more Southern than Hoosier to me. Also, I don’t care how our state pronounces it, it will always be “versai” to me, not “ver-sail-es.” D: That is even worse than the people in Louisville who pronounce it “lullvlle.” However, I must admit that since moving to Indianapolis I have switched to saying ‘soda’ instead of ‘pop’, and ‘interstate’ instead of ‘expressway.’ I was also momentarily confused because people used ‘pitch-in’ instead of ‘potluck’.

  24. says

    “I only watched the first part of the initial video, but most of those things sounded more Southern than Hoosier to me.”Yes! While I’ve definitely heard people saying “Meijer’s” and I’m guilty of “anyways”, I’ve always pronounced Peru “purroo” and Versailles “versai” and eggs and milk appropriately. I’ve never heard a lot of these except in Kentucky, so maybe they’re talking about southern Indiana closer to the border. But then my grandma lived in North Vernon for several years and I spent a lot of time down there and never heard “aygs” there, either.

  25. Dan says

    With the exception of pop and adding esses (though nowhere near the extent of the video) most of those differences seem like they’re rural vs. city, and have very little to do with a Midwest/Indiana accent.All that being said, I’m from Michigan, over by South Bend.

  26. Yellow Hatguy says

    Watching this makes me realize never at any time at Purdue was I made fun of for speaking Coonsish, the dialect spoken only my me and my late father — an unholy union of Yiddish and Pittsburghese.

  27. Kelly says

    I find all the tiny differences in accent to be pretty funny.  In Minnesota, a lot of us apparently pronounce bagel “wrong”, and it drives some of my Michigan and East Coast friends crazy.  And it’s pop, people… :)

  28. Megan R says

    I’m from western Canada.  Many people here (including me) say “melk” and I for one refuse to apologize for it.

  29. says

    The s is slightly over the top but not uncommon today because the midwest accent is heard in so many types of broadcasts. I also wasn’t aware that Meijer’s wasnt with an s at the end. When I was in Grand Rapids everyone used the s anyway.Although with the pop/soda debate I remember getting really confused when I saw a sign in Michigan for a lunch special “$5.99 weekdays + pop” I had to ask a buddy what the hell pop was. He laughed at this Philly native and her soda :) Although he did find my concept of wooder delightful and my mangling of adverbs enraging.

  30. says

    New Yorker come to Indiana by way of falling in love, here. This. Is. Hilarious. LOLThey need to make a few more, highlighting the lovely Hoosier linguistic majesty of “duh what?” as a response to everything.

  31. Dereks says

    All these comments are great, but this one made me burst out laughing. ;) Brad, these films are brilliant.And up here in Canada, it’s always ‘pop’, not ‘soda’… but never ‘diet pop’. :)

  32. says

    Why not alls the farther? I love asking my husband to say cow, it ends up as ‘kew’ So Illinois to me is ‘Ill in oy’ – damn you crazy Americans for your made up pronunciations! Why not stick to either the way they are spelled or their french (usually)  pronunciation? Then again we pronounce Gloucester ‘Glosster’ and the Dalhousie in Ottawa is pronounced ‘Dal-how-see’ but the university in Nova Scotia is Dal-whose-ey…never mind.and I’m guessing my use of soda-pop would just end up ticking everyone off now wouldn’t it?

  33. says

    ‘Melk’ is also the Dutch word for milk. But then again, Afrikaans is a Dutch dialect :)

    How does that Hoosier S work on places that already have an S? Do you’se guys go to McDonalds’s?


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