Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Keillor on Colbert

Everybody in the US, probably, knows the stereotype of fast-talking northerners and slow-talking southerners. (It's also topic of an upcoming talk by some linguists, I gather, including a local or two.)

Just caught the rerun of last night's Colbert Report, featuring Garrison Keillor. Barely over him saying tundra with an [ʊ], Keillor really surprised me: He described Minnesotans as slow-talking!


pc said...

Oh, I don't think fast-talking applies to "Northerners" so much as "Northeasterners." Midwesterners are stereotyped as slow-talking in my mental space. Plus, much of Keillor's act relies on a particular kind of quiet, complacent, slow Midwestern [specifically Minnesotan?] demeanor - that's key to Lake Woebegon - which is perhaps not characteristic of Michigan, for instance (I've never heard anyone here ascribe that to people here), but maybe of other parts of the Midwest...well, I can only speak for Minnesota (I have a friend who will talk about his dad's "slow Minnesotan" speech style) and Missouri (talking to my grandfather makes me slow down my speech rate by about 50% - he's a farmer who talks "slow Midwestern" [google this phrase and see what happens!]).

In short: that doesn't surprise me at all.

Erin said...

My judgment of the bits of Keillor I've heard is certainly that he's slow-talking; I can't really speak to other Midwesterners. All the natives I know, I only know in print. :)

Wishydig said...

You try saying "oyah...(pause)" quickly.

Joe said...

Oh, as a southerner, I definitely thought of the Upper Midwest as part of the 'fast-talking' world. But it's absolutely true that Keillor has carefully cultivated this very slow-talking character.