Me and the missus, after a long day and a fine dinner (all from the grill), kicked back in front of the TV. No cage death match stuff and none of those chick shows she's so wild about on the Oxygen Network, so we went surfing. What do we find: Fargo. OK, it's not the definitive movie of our region, but it's the Coen Brothers and I frankly worship the ground they film on. And just so you know, the city of Fargo plays a pretty small role in the movie — it's basically set in Minnesota, mostly in Brainerd.
Entertainment value aside (Is it funnier to see Steve Buscemi shot in the jaw and walking around with bloody paper stuck to his face or to see his white-socked foot sticking up out of the wood chipper? I can never decide.), the film gets a lot of attention for the regional English used. The Coen Brothers are Minnesotans and they are hamming it up big-time. For some people, it's all they know about Upper Midwestern English; for many here, it's Gomer Pyle or Hee Haw imposed on their region.
So, I listened a little, when I wasn't laughing so hard I was crying, to how they talked. A few things just screamed 'parody' — there are a couple of exchanges that consist basically of Yah? Oh, Yah. So, yah. OK, then, yah. Generally, the discourse marking and 'Minnesota nice' cliches are over the top, including good old you betcha. And they get a few salient constructions in that you might hear but that don't say much to me structurally or sociolinguistically, beyond rank stereotyping, like somebody being up from Brainerd when they're in the Twin Cities (south of Brainerd).
When it comes to real structural features, though, it seems less overplayed: There's a fair bit of 'devoicing' (or fortition, as the local phonologists call it) of final stops and especially fricatives — in fact, we get the phrase Go Bears! (for the White Lake Bears high school team) with a clear [s], like da Bears on Saturday Night Live, and a screaming Upper Midwestern long /o:/ in go. A few characters have stops for interdental fricatives a lot of the time and various folks have them occasionally (what the Wisconsin Englishes folks call dem dere dose [= them, there, those]). I don't hang out with Minnesota State Troopers, but could imagine this as a relatively slight exaggeration for Brainerd speech. And we get the distinctively Upper Midwestern use of yet, for still: "You're here yet."
But there are a few things that are real and don't seem to be on the stereotype radar screen. One such example is the frequent lack of aspiration on initial /p, t, k/. A trooper uses tags like this strikingly for example, sounding almost like dags.
When the Wisconsin Englishes guys get around to media representations of English up here, they've got some fodder here.