Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ich liebe Deutschland!

The world is a funny, strange, and exciting place. I had to come to Tennessee to find out the answer to something I have been wondering about Illinois.

Back in college, I had a friend from New Jersey and we were chatting one day about accents and how people speak differently depending on what region of the US they call home. He mentioned the MOST annoying thing Mid-Westerners said was, "Do you want to come with?" instead of asking the same question and adding "...with me?" I thought what a strange thing to be annoyed by. But always thought it was just a Mid-Western idiosyncrasy in our dialect that I liked to hold onto, regardless of how "annoying" it might be to people outside the Mid-West.

Until I was having the same conversation with Jim (hails from New England) and 2 local Tennesseans. Jim, although he is from New England, he has lived in TN for about 15 years and speaks German fluently as well as French. I brought up my Mid-West "Do you want to come with?" thing and he actually said it is not so strange. I was perplexed, since I have discovered this dialect difference I always thought it to be unique.

He said that since most Germans settled into the Mid-West, when they immigrated from Germany, it makes total sense.

Again, I was confused. Not too unusual for this gal ;-) Until he explained, in the German language when someone asks if they want you to join them they say, "Wollen Sie damit kommen?" It is the same English to German!

I thought it was so interesting to know the idiosyncrasy I thought was so unique to the Mid-West isn't unique to us at all...but rather our heritage.

I wonder if other parts of the country attained their accents by their heritage? I know New Orleans has French Creole influence, but the East coast? Southerners? Far North? Interesting...

By the way... I will always call pop - pop. NEVER soda, soda pop, or coke. :)

Not sure if it is a German thing or not, maybe...


Shelley Moore said...

I'm a TOTAL POP girl too!!!! My family is all from Kansas, on Dad's side, anyway, and it has always been and forever will be POP! I adapt pretty quickly to accents and dialects, but no matter how long I live here, they will never take POP away from me LOL!

Jim said...

Actually, it's "Wollen Sie mitkommen?" But close enough.

Remind me to tell you the story of a slight linguistic error that caused my response to a question to be "It was total diarrhea" rather than "It was total coincidence." This in the midst of a presentatation to 50 German business leaders.

Cara said...

I love this stuff! The 'pop' vs. 'soda' thing is especially interesting because, for you and I, it was probably "pop" until we moved to Bloomington. Is it all "coke" around you now? You know how Chicagoans always say that anything south of I-80 is "Southern IL?" Well, it turns out that a dialect line actually runs pretty much right along it. It divides Northern dialect from Midland. People here say "sack" where I would say "bag." They pronounce "cot" and "caught" the same, that kind of thing. The very tip of S.IL marks the transition to southern dialect. And ethnic heritage definitely plays a role in how dialects have developed. Of course, I can't think of specific examples of it right now, though. English is so cool! :)