How to Speak 'Scansin
(last updated .05-18-2014)
- Why is this page on
this Music site?
All updates since 7-15-2005
Originally created by Sue Delrow & Caryn Cain
Why this page is called "Speak 'Scansin"
The "ah" sound in Wis-cahn-sin, becomes more of a short
"a" sound as in cat. When saying the word Wisconsin, one forms
the W with one's lips but never fully articulates it. What is heard by the
listener is a very soft "Wuh" sound followed by a hard
"Scansin." Hence the page name.
In certain European ethnic pockets of
Wisconsin, you'll hear some of the following colloquialisms and
- Side by each juxtaposition
Example: "Go park dem cars side by each."
- 'N so?: a meaningless interrogative following a statement;
perhaps a contraction of another grammatical gem, "Ain't that
Example: "We're goin' to da store, 'n so?"
- Go by, or come by: frequently substituted for "go
to" or "come to"
Example: Go by da store and buy some beer...den come by me.
- Bubbler: commonly known as a water fountain or drinking
fountain in the rest of the free world.
Example: I'll meet you at da bubbler after you go by da store, 'n
- Hey: Yes, hey is used about everywhere, as in "Hey,
whatcha doin'?" In 'Scansin, it becomes "Whatcha doin',
ALT. VERSION: 'der hey...Whatcha doin, 'der hey?
Usual reply... "Goin' by da store to buy some beer."
- Stop to da Pig: Means you're going to stop "at" the
"Piggly Wiggly" grocery store.
Example: Stop to da pig, buy some beer, den go by me, eh?
- Pop: What the rest of the country refers to as
"soda" or "coke".
Example: When you stop to da pig to get da beer, don't forget da
- C'mere once while you're up yet: Means could you get
something for me while you're up, my legs seem to be painted on.
Example: C'mere once while you're up yet, and go by da fridge and
gimme a beer.
- Upside Right: Means to return an object to its correct
Example: Oops, hey, I dropped dis beer on da way, so turn it upside
right for a while before you open it.
- Stop 'n go lights: Red, yellow and green luminous devices
that control traffic at intersections; known as traffic lights or signal
lights in other parts of the U.S. of A.
Example: Turn right at da stop 'n go lights den stop to da pig.
- Start wit me last This is used to tell a waitress to
go on to someone else before taking your order.
- Schmear and sheephead: Two card games, probably of German
origin. You can watch these games and have them explained for years, and
you still won't know the rules. Actual names being smear and sheepshead.
You can also schmear in sheephead.
- Hairs: Many 'Scansinites refer to their hair in the plural.
Example: Didja get dem hairs cut? Yah, der hey. I got 'em permed,
- Ainna: Another meaningless interrogative; it is ALWAYS
followed by a question mark, and is ALWAYS at the end of a sentence;
probably "isn't it?" by way of "ain't it?"
Incredibly concise example: "Cold, ainna?"
Thanks to our Mwaukee Polish Connection for this one!
- Make Out: No, it's NOT what you're thinking! "I am from
Chicago, but my husband is a native speaker and I would like to add an
expression to your list. He doesn't put a fire out, he makes it out. When
the Brewers get three outs, they also make out, meaning their turn at bat
Thanks to anonymous for this addition!
- Once der hey: "You perhaps have overlooked
"once der hey". Pretty common in Sheboygan. As in: I'm goin down
to da bar once der hey. Also... Did you know that in Sheboygan the person
on the left has the right of way at a 4-way stop? Everywhere else the
person on the right goes first. Ya hey, no kiddin!"
Thanks to anonymous for one of the common ones we missed!
- Borrow me - In Wisconsin, we don't lend things to someone, we
borrow them something.
Example: "Hey, borrow me five bucks then, OK?"
- Cripes sakes! - Derived from 'For Christ's sake', this is a
"cleaned up" version.
Usage: Cripes sakes, Marion! Shut up an watch da guldarn game!
- Guldarn - A "cleaner" version of goddamn (a popular
w'Scansin verb/noun/adjective) to be used in mixed company. See above for
- Holy Cry-yiy - ????
Usage: Holy Cry-yiy, yoo shooda seen da horns on dat buck!
- Gots - Substituted freely for "has".
Usage: "Look at da horns dat buck gots!"
- Yoo Betcha! - Derived from "You bet!", used the
same way, refers to strong agreement and support of another persons
Usage: "Ya, dat Mike Holmgren, he's a purty good coach, but he
still ain't Lombardi then". "Ohh, yaaa...Yoo Betcha!".
- Wobbledy Hog -- See "Stop To Da Pig"
- By gully, I tells ya -- Used to put emphasis either before or
after a phrase. Also is used to enhance the credibility or integrity of
the phrase it is associated with.
Usage: "Dat was da biggest gut-pile I ever drug out of a buck,
by gully, I tells ya."
- Zink - Where you warsh your hands. Southwestern part of the
state and Hustisford area.
- Warsh - You do this to your hands in the zink. Southwestern
part of the state and Hustisford area.
- This is - It only works on the telephone, with an upward
inflection on "is". "May I please speak to John
Smith?" "This is." I waited for the end of the sentence
quite a few times before I caught on, hey.
- Uff-da - Used to sum up anything in general, wether it be
ordinary or extraordinary, good or bad, IE; They got 12 feet of snow up
nort last night! REPLY: UFF-DA.
- Fee-da - Used to sum up anything that is distasteful or
smelly IE; What did you think of that lutefisk? REPLY: FEE-DA
- As a crow flies - This expression means straight. Most
commonly used with driving distances.
Example: "As a crow
flies its 'bout 15 miles, but youse will drive 'bout 20 miles."
- Sure as God made little green apples - My dad uses this one
all the time. He uses it when something happens, that you know is going to
happen, but don't want to happen.
Example: "I knew I'd drop
that der nut, sure as God made little green apples."
- Fair to midlin - This expression means 'ok' or 'alright', as
in "How ya doin tday?" "Oh, fair to midlin".
- Next Thursday...for example - In WI, that meant if it were
Tuesday, you would skip this Thursday and go to the next one-9 days away.
In MO where I live now, they are talking about the very next Thursday-2
days away. I've missed a few meetings this way!
- Unthaw - The art of thawing..."Let's un-thaw some steaks
for supper." (Does that mean if we un-thaw some water we would get
- Rubbers - For galoshes or overshoes my mother always said
"Rubbers" Put on yer rubbers it's rainin' cats an dogs.
- Da Mill - Gimme a beer I jus got home from da mill. (Factory)
- Howsbyyou - How's-by-you?. Usually the first question on the
phone or greeting on the street.
- Geeez! - I can't believe no one else has sent this little gem
in to you yet.. but growing up in Green Bay, my father had an occasion now
and again to let forth with a word or two when he was apparently
frustrated or angry at something my brothers or I had done.. Now, being a
good church goin' man he dasn't swear out loud to us.. (or at least where
my mother could hear) so he would let go with a mighty Ohhhh Geeez! or
after time passed and he was merely peeved rather than genuinely angry the
constant Geeez, Geeez, Geeez, as he shook his head in disbelief of our
- Pert-neer - Many Wisconsonites use the word
"Pert-neer" as a replacement for "almost" or
"pretty near" to indicate that an event is nearing completion.
Example: Question: "Hey, are you done fryin' dem brats
- Tree - One word we do use a lot here is "tree",
Example: "Der's tree of dem guy's comin' up on Friday, and two
more comin' on Saturday."
- A couple-three - Used when referring to a "few" of
Example: I can't afford it, I only have a "couple-three"
dollars in my wallet.
- Is it? - A general comment made at the end of any informative
Example: "Ya, they just discovered water on da
moon." Response: "Is it?"
- Yawiseeyas - Translation - "Ya, we'll see yas."
(One word meaning goodbye.)
- Twodersmall - Used when asking for something in quantity.
Might be isolated to Central Wisconsin and small pockets of South
Example: "Yah hey, I'll take a Point (beer), ah what da h*ll,
- Reach me down - As in "Reach me down the ornaments
- Cheechet? This is the Wisconsin way of saying "Did you
eat yet?" or "Have you eaten yet?" (We like to be sure
everyone's been fed well!)
- djejet???? (did you eat yet??)
noah djew???? (no did you??? )
twirlytweet!!! (to early to eat)
- Come by my house when you beep me out so my ma can see who I hang
by!! - Come into my house when you call for me so my mom can meet my
- Then - Always add the word "then" to all
Example: "When are you gonna go then?" "What are
having for dinner then?"
- Fond du Lac - REALLY pronounced Fon du (long u) lack (the
spaces are noticable)...BUT many people (especially weather reporters)
refer to it with the pronounciation of Fonjewlack (the letters are slurred
and no noticable spaces)
- Highway A hundred - In Milwaukee Highway One Hundred is
referred to as highway ONE hundred...anywhere outside of Milwaukee it's
referred to as "Highway A hundred".
- Believe You Me - Meaning believe what I say. Often times used
by old german teachers (mainly because of Wisconsin's German Heritage).
Example: There are a lot of cows in Wisconsin, believe you me.
- Sketos - Mosquitos
- Go ahead and..." Go ahead and go over dere, once. Go
ahead and stop. Go ahead and back up.
- I had a friend from Sheboygan who claimed that in his homeotwn they
said, "hey, ainna?", while in Milwaukee it was
"ainnahey?" (similar to "ainso".) And how 'bout adding
"hey once", as in: "Hey once, let's go down by
- Where abouts - used when asking for a directional reference.
Example: Where abouts are you?
- Itch - ....One thing I have noticed that she says, along with
other members of her family, is that she uses the word "itch"
instead of "scratch". For example, she says "Stop itching
that mosquito bite".
- Chu/cha -- Some Wisconsinites may say "youse" or
"yuz," perhaps because, except perhaps for the South, someone
everywhere says "youse" or "yuz." If I remember right,
most Wisconsinites do say "chu" or "cha" as in
"Whatchudoin'? Whatchadoin?" It's possible some say
"yu" or "ya" instead.
- At all -- As in "Do ya want anymore coffee at all?"
I was truly astonished not to find this already reported. On recent visits
to Wisconsin, I've found it nearly ubiquitous--and I've never heard it
anywhere else, except in a restaurant in Washington, D.C., recently, from
the mouth of a waiter . . . just in from Wisconsin.
- We Wisconsinites pronounce bag, rag, drag etc. with a very
long "a" sound so it sounds more like baaag (with the
"a" sound of cake).
- Saying "come with", instead of "come with
me". Example: "I am going out to the store, do you want to come
- Calling sweet rolls "bakery". "Go down by
Schmidlers and get some bakery eh".
- Using "dassent" rather than shouldn't. "You
dassent drink my beer".
- "Frying out" rather than grilling or barbequeing.
"Lets go get some brats and fry 'em out tonight for supper."
- More "Frying out" - Sheboyganites do not barbecue,
they "fry-out," and a favorite childhood meal of mine was
"bake-dish with wieners," which falls into the same realm as hot
dishes and casseroles.
- And-what-not-all or just what-nat! Go down by Pranges and get
some beer, chips, pop and what nat.
- How do you spell youse? (Scansin for you in plural). ie:
youse guys want to come over for cards. My husband is from Green Bay, I
contend this is not really a word.
- Another common thing is the "U.P." Anywhere outside
of Northeast Wisconsin people have no idea what this means. I have said
that my "friends are goin' to the U.P." up here in Minnesota and
people think I am strange.
For all you non-Wisconsin folks, the U.P. is the Upper Peninsula of
- Th should frequently be pronounced T - "Trow da cow over
da fence some hay"
- Anna: contraction for "and a". If you want more on
this watch Lawrence Welk "Anna 1, anna 2".
"Lets go by da bar T'ursday after work and get a shot anna beer der
- And one old one..can't really explain it, but I do understand
it - "Down by Schuster's where da street car bends da corner
- "Hey, don't ya know", or "Don't ya know,
- Another one I noticed a lot, amongst my uncles and older cousins,
is: "Yah, heard dat" ... It might just be a Prescott thing,
but this is not at all atypical --
"Yah, dat Favre dere, he's a darn fine Packer."
"Yah, heard dat. Hey, go by da fridge and get me a
"Alright alright. Ya lazy hoser."
- People in Wisconsin don't say it "Oh - Kay"--that
"a" is pronounced more like a short "e" and it comes
out kinda like "Oh-keh."
- "Were you born in a barn?" That's what a
'scansinite says if you leave the door open on a cold day. I first heard
this in 1988, and to this day I'm not sure what it means.
- Up in the hinterlands a very common one is to end a sentence with
"though" maybe like you southern folk use "ainna".
That Brett Favre, he's played pretty good though.
Sort of a "don't you think" is implied, as opposed to a
"however" that people might mean in other parts of the world. I
have some friends from Wisconsin that always said "shtreet" and
"shtraight", probably a German-Milwaukee influence as well.
- Hey der, ya forgot just one thing. It's a little vulger, but
it's super. When somebody sez something unbelieveable, youse gotta reply:
Nosh*tdhuh? Which is sayin' "No Sh*t Huh?", but ya see, it's
actually one word in Wscansin. Hey, dey really say dat up in da nort
How to pronounce English words in
- The heavy (no pun intended) Germanic influence took its toll
on the pronunciation of the letters "th." These, them, and those
frequently sound like dese, dem, and doze.
- Vowels in 'Scansinese - These are tricky. One must learn to
pronounce these letters with an Upper Midwest nasal twang not heard in the
rest of the country. Only Yoopers and 'Sotans can do it as well as
For instance, the "ah" sound in Wis-cahn-sin, becomes more of a
short "a" sound as in cat. When saying the word Wisconsin, one
forms the W with one's lips but never fully articulates it. What is heard
by the listener is a very soft "Wuh" sound followed by a hard
"Scansin." That's why this page is called "Speak
- The letter "o" - The short "o" sound, as
in frog, was discussed above. The long "o" sound as in toad, is
difficult to master for the non-native. This sound almost becomes two
syllables -- an "oh" sound followed by a soft, short
"i." The result is toh'-id. The terminal "oh" sound
also becomes two syllables, an "oh" followed by a short
"uh." Example: the word "no" comes out
"Noah." This is especially confusing to little boys with a
particular Old Testament name. See other examples below.
- The letter "u" - The short "u" as in
underwear, is pronounced the same as everywhere else, unless you're
talking to a Norwegian, but that's a whole 'nother' story. The long
"u" sound, especially when it is the terminal sound, as in YOU,
almost becomes two syllables -- yoo'-ah.
- The "ow" sound - The "ou" and
"ow" combinations are perhaps the most troubling for the
non-native to understand. The word "house" comes out rhyming
with "dose." The word "vowel" comes out sounding like
"voh' el." This is especially confusing in the company of small
rodents. (If you don't get it, look up vole.)
- A-low'-wan = Alone
- Ba-tree = Battery
- Yah = Yes
- No'-ah = no
- Mwaukee = our largest city
- Koont = Couldn't
- Woont = Wouldn't
- Dint = Didn't
- Up nort = Up north, or to a vacation cottage, no matter which
direction. In some regions, one goes Up Sout and Down Nort.
- Shawano = Shaw-no (Everywhere else = Sha-wa-no)
- Gillett = Jill'-ette (accent on first syllable) (Everywhere
else = Jill-ette', like the shaver)
- Melk = Milk (really)
- Doh-wint = Don't (Two syllables and a louder DOH for more
"Folk Library Index"
'Scansin Reader Input
This historical page previously appeared at the defunct
Cheese State Mall Web site,
(last updated there ca. October 1999). It was not installed at their new
http://www.cheesestate.com/, and the current owners of that
domain didn't know anything about this page. It was too important to be
off-line permanently, so I put it back on-line.
The above page was installed on my domain on 7-15-2005 after
being off-line for awhile. Nothing above by
the original authors
has been edited or changed in any way. [Exception: on 12-29-2009, all
submitter's E-Mail addresses were replaced by "anonymous".] This new
section is for comments and/or additions received since
7-15-2005. Note: all submissions must be G-Rated for all ages, or they
will not be added here. No names or E-Mail addresses of submitters will
be included unless
I have written permission to do so.
When I was a kid in Ashland and Washburn, adults used the word "around"
instead of "about." I heard my grandfather ask a grocer for "around a
pound uh round steak."
My paternal grandfather (French background) called potatoes "spuds"
Rhubarb was always called "pie plant."
"Pop", meaning "soda"--not used in Milwaukee area. Outside of Milwaukee,
perhaps; I heard "soda" in Madison, but "pop" in Steven's Point. "Pop" is
used almost exclusively in the Twin Cities.
My wife grew up in several places far away from here and settled in
Minneapolis, but still has some Antigo-isms, courtesy of her parents. For
example, I say "milk", but she and her mother say "melk", and "warm"
rhymes with "arm" (making it closer to the German pronunciation). Not in
my case. Or, "come by me", meaning, "come visit me" or "come sit next to
me". This is most likely a German influence, "bei uns" (also in Czech, "u
"Bubbler" may only be Southeastern WI. The Bubbler is a product made
by Kohler, in Kohler, WI, north of Milwaukee.
I've been called, by a younger friend in the Twin Cities, a "'Sconie",
pronounced "skAHnee", obviously a play on how we pronounce Wisconsin.
Something that could be added, that is perhaps just Milwaukee: we
don't have "dental appointments" or "dentist's appointments", we have "a
dental"; e.g., "I have my dental Tuesday morning." My sister (who is 32)
still lives in Milwaukee and says this.
I came across the word "tree" that is often used for "three" and that
reminded me so much of my grandfather. It then reminded me of the word
"terlit", which he used when referring to the "toilet".
"Tirty" for "thirty" is another one.
Possible usage: "Geeez! He musta fallin' da terlit. He's been in der
fer tirty tree minutes already hey!"
06-27-2009: A stoplight in 'Scansin is not a stoplight. It's a stop-and-go
I don't know what degenerate came up with this list, but it is a complete
insult to Wisconsin - pronounced with an 'o' for those who can't read.
Take that crap down and if you actually live in Wisconsin like I have all
my life, you should be ashamed.
Disgusted by that insulting trash
Webmaster's comment: Growing up in Illinois, I never heard of
Sheepshead, a Bubbler, Uff-da, a bottle of Pop, or getting my hairs cut,
that is, until I moved here in 1966. Louisiana's Cajun is a mixture of
French and English. Some of these localisms are likewise derived from
Wisconsin's varied German, Eastern European, and Scandinavian proud
heritages, which no one should be ashamed of.
Regional words and pronunciations are everywhere. When I was in the
Army there was a guy named Carter, from Boston. He pronounced his name,
Ca'-ta. When people couldn't understand him, he spelled it for them,
This page was created, and is being maintained, to respectfully
document the distinct cultural differences in the history of Wisconsin
people and is not meant to ridicule or show disrespect to anyone, past or
** 11-04-2009: [from
Sue Delrow] Doug - had to laugh when I found the
'speak 'scansin' page. I was the author, along with Caryn Cain of Oshkosh
(at the time) - and see you're from Oshkosh, too!
We were talking at work about some 'scansin sayings, and on a whim I
decided to see if could find the old page in the
'way back machine' - but found your page instead!
In fact, about 10 or more years ago, I did a radio interview on
Thanksgiving morning on WI Public Radio about 'speaking 'scansin' after
someone on their staff had found our original page.
[12-08-2009 Webmaster's note: I now have the author's permission for this
page to remain on this site until further notice.]
11-20-2009: That last contributor is too thin-skinned, hey?
You can't truly be PROUD of something until you can laugh at it. Being
able to laugh at yourself means having the self-confidence not to fall apart
once someone starts laughing at you.
Or your accent. Our accent is awesome. It's English that is easy to
learn, friendly, and simple.
Besides, in Wisconsin we have the luxury of being country bumpkins on
weekends, and learned intellectuals throughout the rest of the week. Our
university system is the greatest one on Earth.
Name another country based on dairy products and heavy machinery, with
only 5,500,000 people, that has produced 16 campuses and the second greatest
research center on the planet!
So I say keep up the good work. Wisconsin English deserves its own web
pages, and don't worry about insecure people who are embarassed by something
as silly as pop or a bubbler.
12-17-2009: "Ahh what da eh!" - clean version of "Oh what the hell!" or
also means "why not?" Usage: Eh! ya Commin' to da bars to come watch da
Packers? Ahh what da eh! Dat dont sound like a bad idea ya know?
12-29-2009: Removed all names and contact information for all
submitters, both for since this page was installed here, and
also from the original page [see italics],
except for those who have given me
specific written permission to use their name.
05-04-2010: Just got back from my first trip ever to 'Scansin and
found it to be very enjoyable. Talk about some nice friendly folks!
Anyways, I thought I'd add the ever present "Ya, you bet" and "Ya you
betcha" to the terms I heard a lot.
08-29-2010: Just enjoying your website. I lived in WI from age 10 to
21 when I moved with my husband to Oklahoma and spent the next 25 years
laughing at the way they talk! Anyway, I didn't see the word, "ishy",
which may be because my parents grew up in Minnesota and it came from
there. But my childhood memories are filled with descriptions that
include phrases like, "Throw the leftovers out, they look ishy." Thanks
for the chuckles.
01-10-2011: I just read your list of 'Scansin terms and I have one
that's not on the list. "Right away" is often added to the end of a
request. For example, a Scansinite might ask their server in a
restaurant, "Can I please have a glass of water right away?" There is no
urgency, and a server in Wisconsin knows that. In the rest of the world
the server might think, "A glass of water right away? Are you choking?"
or "Right away? Why is your glass of water more urgent than anybody
01-25-2011: The term "to tree": usage "lemme borrow to tree bucks will
ya? [short for "two or three"]
02-14-2011: I'm really getting a kick over your site - - it brings me back
to my roots (pronounced "ruhts") - like "hoof").
05-25-2011: The "Is it?" response seems to be found mostly in areas
around Little Chute. I've lived in 'Scansin my entire life, and in this
area for three, and I have never heard it used anywhere else. Example:
"Ya, we had dem guys all over to da house for da Packer game." Response,
Also, when people around here talk about the Twin Cities, they are
referring to Neenah and Menasha.
08-17-2011: Everyone from my family was born and raised in Wisconsin
as far back as you can trace. All of currently reside in Wisconsin also.
To be totally honest, I have never heard a single utterance from that
website aside from bubbler. I do not know a single person from Wisconsin
that says "da", "dem", or "der". Personally I think this website is an
insult to Wisconsinites and makes us look extremely ignorant.
See this "Webmaster's comment"
10-07-2011: "Flicking the channel" term used instead of "changing the
channel" with the remote. Could be a Wisconsin term or strictly
Sheboygan, not sure!
02-25-2012: I just got done laughing my ass off after I came across your
"Scansin-speak site! Hi-larious! The best part was at the bottom of the page
where I found you were in Oshkosh. Hey der, I was born 'n raised in Oshkosh (on
Bowen St. - near Tony's Tap) back in the 50's and 60's, doncha know! Thanks for
the gut-buster. I'll send a link to my kid-bro who has lived in CA so long he
probably only remembers a couple-few of the old colloquialisms of our younger
01-09-2013: "Or no?"
Used at the end of a question to let the other person know that they can
choose yes or no. At times it implies that which ever answer the listener
chooses is good with the speaker. - Fox Valley
Ya wanna go by the pig, or no?
Skids = hit the skids aka the breaks or binders
Blinker= turn signal
Buggy = shopping cart
07-15-2013: Frankly, I have lived in WISCONsin all my life and no one ever
uses any of this besides bubbler, we don't use the word pop and we don't use
"ah" either. This is the most ignorant thing I have ever read I am genuinely
upset with this insulting and incorrect stereotype of Wisconsin.
See this "Webmaster's comment"
08-07-2013: I don't know what planet you live on, but most of this I've
never heard. Must be a
08-23-2013: I'm from Wisconsin, and you state that scansin's say pop where
the rest of the country refers to it as soda or coke. That is incorrect.
Wisconsin residents refer to it as soda, where the rest of the country refers
to it as pop or coke.
09-02-2013: While some of the words and phrases may be new to me, you
NAILED it! I love your page and am bookmarking it. I was born in "Muhwaukee"
66 years ago. Although we moved to Florida when I was around 5 our "native
language" lived on. My mother said "ainna" until the day she died. We laughed
about people not knowing what a bubbler was. I thought some of the things
listed were always common everywhere and still use them in everyday life. For
me they are normal. I grew up being yelled at in German even though my
mother's family had been in Wisconsin since the 1850's and 1860's.
One of my favorite stories was from around 1960 when my mother sent my Florida
born stepfather to the store for sausage for lunch. She was referring (OF
COURSE!) to sliced lunch meat for sandwiches. He returned with loosely ground
raw pork ala Jimmy Dean. Her jaw dropped and she said, "Oh, fer chrissake,
what am I supposed to do with that?"
Perhaps some who complained about the page are younger or their families are
not as deeply rooted. That wonderful page is both funny and heartwarming.
There is also a German sentence structure twist for many of us who have been
around for a while. I never realized it until I learned a bit of "book" German
some years back.
In school I was always a very well mannered student....but one of my favorite
memories is of standing up for my heritage to my junior high Social Studies
teacher... this was again in Florida about 1960. He was one of those cold
rigid types...no warmth and strictly business. During the class that day he
asked me a yes or no question about the subject matter. I correctly
responded... with my usual polite affirmative response. He went
ballistic...shouting that it was impolite and disrespectful to respond to him
with "Yeah" instead of "Yes". Normally being dressed down would have put me in
tears of humiliation.... My eyes nearly popped out as I glared back at him
(across the entire room) and blasted back, "I didn't say "Yeah!" I'm from
Milwaukee and we say, "JA!" it's a perfectly good word and it means "YES!"! I
ALWAYS say, "JA". It's GERMAN!". He stood there stunned for a couple of
seconds and went back to the lesson plan.
Thank you so much for your wonderful webpage!
Muhwaukee>Florida>Washington state but....
My heart's in Wisconsin
Submitted with permission
by Dianne Larson Ward (firstname.lastname@example.org) - [permission received 10-15-2013]
09-07-2013: Hi. Love the site,
Just wanted to say "Fond du Lac" is not spelled "Fon du Lac". I didn't hear
Fondjewlack, but I hear "Fondue LacK." as two words, not three or one. :)
Also, I don't see "crick" for "creek". We are going over by the crick. (the
"by" usage for "to"...love that.)
My gramma (German, Scandinavian/Denmark) always said "pert near".. pert near
drive me crazy...
Pier. We say pier. Most places say dock. ??
But I don't say "hose" for house. It's more "howse". "owt" for out and not
"oat". Maybe that's a regional area of WI?
General American accent is becoming strong in the Midwest so all the younger
generation is becoming more "accent-less", or neutral.
Instead of "eh" or "n' so" I say "okay?" Sometimes okay, sometimes o-keh.
Not familiar with der hey, though.
I had no idea I said "dint" for didn't. Doe-went...sometimes.
Thanks for the webpage. :)
09-21-2013: 1. Saying "H" "E" "double hockey sticks" instead of saying
2. I think the more cosmopolitan cities may not used or been aware of all of
these colloquialisms. Hence the negative comments that were left. I grew up
in a small town in central western Wisconsin (Arcadia), and the old German and
Polish farmers used quite a few. And we said pop, bubbler, uffda and quite a
few other colloquialisms from your list. In fact, I still find myself saying
things like unthaw, which invites raised eyebrows from those who aren't
fortunate enough to call themselves Wisconsinites.
10-11-2013: 1. "Firstoff" replaces the adverb "firstly" it can also begin
your food order at a restaurant or bar.
Example " Arrite, firstoff I needa ordera Nachos."
2."Brights" Known by everyone else as "high beams" for a vehicle.
Example: "So turns out I was drivin the whole way back ta da house with my
God this is fun.
3."So I sez to him" generally followed directly with "I sez" (for dramatic
emphasis to build suspense for whoever you are telling your outrageous story
Example: "So I hopped ahtta da truck, and see him on the ladder, so I sez to
him, I sez 'Hey whatcha hangin yer Christmas lights now for? It's May fer
Ok I gotta hit the hay. Thanks for the laughs, They are perfect. I'm a Sconnie
native and been fluent for 26 years. You are welcome to use those pearls if
you'd like to on your website.
10-13-2013: You should put this in facebook, its good stuff donchknow
It's just fine where it is. I've been maintaining my Web pages for 17
years. Thousands of absolutely wonderful sites have come and gone in that
time. There is no guarantee Facebook will be aroung long term before it is
usurped by the next best "new" thing on the Web. www.folklib.net will
remain in existence as long as I'm alive (I'm 72 now), so it is safer long term
where it is. Feel free to mention it on Facebook or anywhere else of your
choosing. This domain is paid up through 2020, so this page is not going
10-14-2013: Two more entries I just thought of
1. instead of trick or treating, we'd say Halloweening
2. Duck duck ray duck instead of duck duck goose (ray could come from the
French Rey or king, so a rey duck could be a king duck to account for its
05-04-2014: A few corrections...
We call it soda or coke....we HATE the word pop. It drives us insane. A
Wisconsinite would NEVER use it. The rest of the U.S. does.
And you'd never catch us saying "Der, hey"... that's a Canadian thing. Upper
Minnesota uses it but noone in Wisconsin does. Only when poking fun at
Please make these corrections on your "Speaking "Skansin" page.
See the note below about corrections.
05-18-2014: I lived in a northern WI milltown in the 1950's and recall just
about everything you listed. The 'o' is the giveaway vowel. I have astonished
strangers overheard still using the 'o' by saying oh you're from'sconsin (or
Mwaukee) and they are tickled pink to hear the tones of home from a stranger.
As a career linguist-mimic, I am always happy to slip into the northern WI or
Yooper sounds...like going home. Thanks for your project!
Additions to this page are welcome anytime. However, Corrections
cannot be made to anything unless I receive specific permission from the
individual who submitted the original posting. I am not the original creator
of any posting on this page, except
Webmaster comments #1,
Permission to include submitter's name and/or E-Mail address:
No names or E-Mail addresses of submitters will
be included unless I have written permission to do so.
Those who have given me this permission since 11-04-2009:
08-24-2013: Wisconsin's "TYME Machines" are known everywhere else as ATM's
(Automated or Automatic Teller Machines). See
Known links to this page:
(Home Page - Link Page). Thank You.
Please send additions and/or
corrections to Doug Henkle:
P.O. Box 331, Ripon, WI 54971-0331