Missourians do some unique things in the way they speak

3 years 2 months 2 weeks 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
COLUMBIA - Columbia City Council voted 6-1 in favor of the mandatory mask ordinance Monday night. The order will go... More >>
5 hours ago Tuesday, July 07 2020 Jul 7, 2020 Tuesday, July 07, 2020 12:46:00 AM CDT July 07, 2020 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA -The community came together Monday night to remember victims of a double homicide . People came together in... More >>
8 hours ago Monday, July 06 2020 Jul 6, 2020 Monday, July 06, 2020 10:23:00 PM CDT July 06, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA -- Monday Governor Mike Parson signed HB 2046. Inside the omnibus bill was coroner training reform Jay Minor's... More >>
11 hours ago Monday, July 06 2020 Jul 6, 2020 Monday, July 06, 2020 7:13:00 PM CDT July 06, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY —Gov. Mike Parson will sign an omnibus bill that increases prison sentences and eliminates probation for certain violent... More >>
12 hours ago Monday, July 06 2020 Jul 6, 2020 Monday, July 06, 2020 6:14:00 PM CDT July 06, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — Columbia police have arrested a 16 year old boy in connection to a shooting that resulted in a... More >>
12 hours ago Monday, July 06 2020 Jul 6, 2020 Monday, July 06, 2020 6:09:00 PM CDT July 06, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — A University of Maryland administrator and head of fundraising will be MU's next vice chancellor for advancement,... More >>
13 hours ago Monday, July 06 2020 Jul 6, 2020 Monday, July 06, 2020 5:25:36 PM CDT July 06, 2020 in News
MISSOURI — As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout Missouri, state and local officials confirm new case counts daily. ... More >>
13 hours ago Monday, July 06 2020 Jul 6, 2020 Monday, July 06, 2020 5:00:00 PM CDT July 06, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA —The Columbia/Boone County Health Department trained 15 city employees in contact tracing Monday. But the county is still at... More >>
13 hours ago Monday, July 06 2020 Jul 6, 2020 Monday, July 06, 2020 4:50:00 PM CDT July 06, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A free community COVID-19 testing event will be held July 7-9 in Cole County at the former... More >>
13 hours ago Monday, July 06 2020 Jul 6, 2020 Monday, July 06, 2020 4:39:00 PM CDT July 06, 2020 in News
KANSAS CITY- Patrick Mahomes has signed a 10-year contract extension with the Kansas City Chiefs. This new contract will keep... More >>
14 hours ago Monday, July 06 2020 Jul 6, 2020 Monday, July 06, 2020 4:11:00 PM CDT July 06, 2020 in News
BELLE —Police charged two suspects with assault Monday after a man was found with serious injuries. Police arrested 21... More >>
15 hours ago Monday, July 06 2020 Jul 6, 2020 Monday, July 06, 2020 3:03:00 PM CDT July 06, 2020 in News
As COVID-19 continues to spread, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about impacts in the community. You can... More >>
15 hours ago Monday, July 06 2020 Jul 6, 2020 Monday, July 06, 2020 2:34:00 PM CDT July 06, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Emotions over mask-wearing mandates are high. KOMU spoke to MU Health Care infectious disease doctor, Dr. Christelle Ilboudo,... More >>
16 hours ago Monday, July 06 2020 Jul 6, 2020 Monday, July 06, 2020 2:00:00 PM CDT July 06, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Former Missouri basketball star Laurence Bowers kicked off his sixth annual basketball camp on Monday with the largest... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, July 06 2020 Jul 6, 2020 Monday, July 06, 2020 12:59:00 PM CDT July 06, 2020 in Sports
COLUMBIA— Brian Weimer, major of operations with the MU Police Department, has been named interim chief of MUPD, according to... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, July 06 2020 Jul 6, 2020 Monday, July 06, 2020 12:52:14 PM CDT July 06, 2020 in News
MISSOURI - The Missouri State Highway Patrol released its 2020 4th of July incident numbers in a news release Monday.... More >>
18 hours ago Monday, July 06 2020 Jul 6, 2020 Monday, July 06, 2020 12:02:00 PM CDT July 06, 2020 in News
As COVID-19 continues to spread, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about impacts in the community. You can... More >>
19 hours ago Monday, July 06 2020 Jul 6, 2020 Monday, July 06, 2020 11:02:00 AM CDT July 06, 2020 in News
(CNN) -- Around 30 years ago, a town in Oregon retrofitted an old van, staffed it with young medics and... More >>
19 hours ago Monday, July 06 2020 Jul 6, 2020 Monday, July 06, 2020 10:49:19 AM CDT July 06, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 73°
7am 74°
8am 78°
9am 81°
10am 85°