midwest accent
© Fabio Formaggio | Dreamstime.com

Do You Have a Midwestern Accent? Here's How to Tell

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midwest accent
© Fabio Formaggio | Dreamstime.com

As much as we may hate to admit it, Midwesterners, we have an accent. Yep, you betcha. 

Regional Slang Across America

Though perhaps not as pronounced as our neighbors to the south, east or west, the Midwestern accent contains some trademark slang words and a couple classic mispronunciations. Here are a couple of tests to gauge your accent affliction.

If you’re a Midwesterner, try saying the words “cot” and “caught” or the names Don and Dawn. Can’t hear much of a difference in the word pronunciation, can you? That’s called the cot/caught merger. 

Once thought to be relegated to western Pennsylvania, this mispronunciation is a heartland trademark. The vowel sounds in each pair of words is different. The first word in each pair, cot and Don, have a vowel sound produced by the tongue placed low and in the back of the mouth with lips open. The second words, caught and Dawn, are made with a different vowel sound produced by your tongue slightly higher in the mouth and lips rounded. Other words susceptible to this slight mistake include coffee, copy, lot and thought. 

Here’s another tell: say the word bet. Sound more like bat or but? There goes your Midwestern tongue again, lowering itself toward the point of error. 

Related

Midwesterners have a regional accent just as much as the rest of the U.S. as well as their own regional slang. Midwesterners stereotypically say things like “ope” and too many sorrys and goodbyes. Calling soft drinks "pop" is another one of the 23 things people from the Midwest do.