Missourians do some unique things in the way they speak

10 months 20 hours 46 minutes ago Tuesday, April 18 2017 Apr 18, 2017 Tuesday, April 18, 2017 8:40:38 PM CDT April 18, 2017 in News
By: Sasha Sander, KOMU 8 Digital Producer
loading

COLUMBIA - We’re all aware of the infamous controversy about the two distinct pronunciations of the state name. Is it Missouri or Missourah? There are many things about the way we speak that are unique to our state, according to language experts.

Linguistic anthropologist Paula Cavanaugh Carter gave KOMU 8 News the rundown of the Missouri dialect.

“Missouri represents a dialect of American speech that came from England more than 400 years ago. The pilgrims had that accent. When the pilgrims left England in the 1600s, we Americans (and those who eventually moved to Missouri) kept talking that way but England began to evolve in the language. So it’s not that we say it wrong, we say it older.”

Think of words that rhyme with clock.

People in England may pronounce “clock” and “not” with the same vowel as Missourians use for "caught."

In Missouri and other areas of the United States, we say those words with a vowel similar to "ah".

The difference is in the way we move our mouth. The English drop their jaw down more often whereas Missourians pop their cheeks up, Carter said.

Missourians also have a quirky way of speaking during everyday conversations.

“We sometimes say letters that don’t exist in the written word, put new letters that weren’t in the word in the first place or skip them entirely," Carter said. "Missourians tend to slur words together as well.”

For example, some Missourians do the following:

  • Say letters that do not exist: Dudn’t (Doesn’t)
  • Add letters to words: Warsh (Wash)
  • Skip letters in words: Quater (Quarter)
  • Slur words together: I’ma ( I am going to)

There are also occasions where Missourian dialects divide.

“How you say the name of our state identifies where in the state you are from. So if you say ‘Missourah’ with an ‘uh’ sound at the end, that tends to be south of Highway 70; if you say ‘Missouri’ like ‘spaghetti’, that marks you as an eastern state person, a St. Louisan,“ Carter said.

Not only is the divide related to specific words but it also relates to what words we use. 

“Above Highway 70 traditionally people will call a soft drink “pop”, below Highway 70 and into the east, they will say soda, and in the deep south, they will call everything a Coke,” Carter said.

All over the world, people have created derogatory terms for people they consider less than pleasant. In St. Louis, that term is “hoosier”. To everyone outside of St. Louis, a hoosier is considered someone from Indiana.

“The history seems to say that there was a manufacturing plant that moved to St. Louis from Indiana. The people who were native had some resentment to the people who had moved in and the differences in culture they looked down on. So the began to say anyone that was not doing something proper were called a hoosier,” Carter said.

She said people always ask her who has no accent.

"Well the thing is everyone does. No matter how you speak, it can connect you back to the place you came from,” Carter said.

More News

Grid
List
Eric Hosmer is leaving the Royals. Hosmer signed an eight-year contract with the San Diego Padres for for around... More >>
1 hour ago Sunday, February 18 2018 Feb 18, 2018 Sunday, February 18, 2018 12:04:00 AM CST February 18, 2018 in Sports
COLUMBIA - More than 100 students gathered to compete in the 2018 Columbia Elementary & Middle School Scholastic Chess Tournament... More >>
7 hours ago Saturday, February 17 2018 Feb 17, 2018 Saturday, February 17, 2018 5:22:00 PM CST February 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Father Tolton Catholic High School Blazers and the Battle High School Spartan Sparklers came to share their... More >>
8 hours ago Saturday, February 17 2018 Feb 17, 2018 Saturday, February 17, 2018 4:49:00 PM CST February 17, 2018 in News
ASHLAND – The Ashland Police Department is taking precautionary measures after a school shooting at a Florida high school. The... More >>
8 hours ago Saturday, February 17 2018 Feb 17, 2018 Saturday, February 17, 2018 4:36:00 PM CST February 17, 2018 in News
OSAGE BEACH – Elementary students displayed their creativity on Saturday. Hy-Vee hosted a Junior Chefs Energy Bite competition. ... More >>
9 hours ago Saturday, February 17 2018 Feb 17, 2018 Saturday, February 17, 2018 3:40:00 PM CST February 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia police were unsure Saturday who drove a vehicle they believe hit and killed a man on I-70.... More >>
10 hours ago Saturday, February 17 2018 Feb 17, 2018 Saturday, February 17, 2018 2:34:00 PM CST February 17, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Jefferson City Public Schools will have two high schools by August 2019. The district held a... More >>
12 hours ago Saturday, February 17 2018 Feb 17, 2018 Saturday, February 17, 2018 1:09:00 PM CST February 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Boys & Girls Club of Columbia kicks off its 13th annual MFA Oil Rootin' Tootin' Chili Cook-off... More >>
18 hours ago Saturday, February 17 2018 Feb 17, 2018 Saturday, February 17, 2018 6:35:00 AM CST February 17, 2018 in News
HOLTS SUMMIT- Leonard Stephenson has lived in his mobile home, on the same street, for over 20 years. "I... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, February 17 2018 Feb 17, 2018 Saturday, February 17, 2018 12:55:00 AM CST February 17, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The Missouri Department of Mental Health is notifying 1,000 people that some personal information... More >>
1 day ago Friday, February 16 2018 Feb 16, 2018 Friday, February 16, 2018 5:16:00 PM CST February 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Amid complaints about the effectiveness of the flu vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control said the vaccine is... More >>
1 day ago Friday, February 16 2018 Feb 16, 2018 Friday, February 16, 2018 3:54:00 PM CST February 16, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis police say the substance used in an attack on three high school... More >>
1 day ago Friday, February 16 2018 Feb 16, 2018 Friday, February 16, 2018 3:43:53 PM CST February 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Mizzou basketball player Michael Porter Jr. may be on the bench this season but that hasn’t kept him... More >>
1 day ago Friday, February 16 2018 Feb 16, 2018 Friday, February 16, 2018 2:57:00 PM CST February 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Deputies arrested a man Friday morning after he allegedly led them on a pursuit that ended in a... More >>
1 day ago Friday, February 16 2018 Feb 16, 2018 Friday, February 16, 2018 1:55:00 PM CST February 16, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Following the deadly shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, the superintendent of Jefferson City Public... More >>
1 day ago Friday, February 16 2018 Feb 16, 2018 Friday, February 16, 2018 1:46:50 PM CST February 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - New Haven Elementary could be home to a brand new playground. The school is competing in a... More >>
1 day ago Friday, February 16 2018 Feb 16, 2018 Friday, February 16, 2018 1:44:00 PM CST February 16, 2018 in News
FULTON - An investigation into allegations against a former staff member at the Division of Youth Services Fulton Treatment Center... More >>
1 day ago Friday, February 16 2018 Feb 16, 2018 Friday, February 16, 2018 1:38:00 PM CST February 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - There's a new member of the Boone County Fire Protection District team, and he's hitting the ground running... More >>
1 day ago Friday, February 16 2018 Feb 16, 2018 Friday, February 16, 2018 1:22:00 PM CST February 16, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 35°
2am 32°
3am 31°
4am 31°
5am 31°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

12:30a
2018 Olympic Winter Games
3:30a
Paid Program
4:00a
Paid Program
1:00a
Seinfeld
1:30a
Paid Program
2:00a
Paid Program

Tonight's Schedule

6:00p
2018 Olympic Winter Games
7:00p
One for the Money
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Family Guy