Minnesota July 14, 2017
9 Phrases That Will Make You Swear Minnesotans Have Their Own Language
Minnesota is known for many things. Our frigid winters and our 10,000 glorious lakes are famous around the country. We are also known for the way we speak. Many outsiders try to replicate our elongated vowels and folksy sayings, but few come close. It takes a true Minnesotan to master the Minnesotan turn of phrase. These 9 phrases will make you swear that Minnesotans have our own language.
1. "Uff da."
Here is a phrase that can mean a number of different things depending on the context and how you say it. It can be used to express anything from judgment to mild surprise just so long as you've got the inflection right. A Minnesotan who's been around long enough - even if they don't use the term themselves - will be able to detect the differences.
2. "I'm going up north for the weekend."
Going "up north" is more than just heading in a northerly direction. It's going in any direction out of the city, probably for a long weekend, and almost definitely to a lake. It's a lazy weekend away from the real world, and it's what Minnesotans live for.
3. "Oh, for cute!"
This phrase is sort of like "for sure," except a whole lot more Minnesotan. You say it when you just can't handle how truly adorable something is.
4. "Want to try some hotdish?"
Hotdish is to Minnesota as cold is to snow, so it makes sense that this phrase would be part of every Minnesotan's vocabulary. Outsiders know it as a casserole, but Minnesotans know it as the most delicious item at the family potluck.
5. "Dontcha know."
This phrase is almost always added to the end of just about any sentence. But it's a rhetorical question, intended to make sure your friend is following the conversation. It's a way to inspire a response from a conversation partner, and it's an unforgettable part of the Minnesotan language.
6. "I didn't buy it. It was too spendy."
"Spendy" is just a Minnesotan's way of saying "expensive." But why? My theory is that Minnesotans, being a modest people who don't tend to avoid openly showing discomfort or unhappiness, say "spendy" to downplay our inability or unwillingness to pay too much for high-dollar items.
7. "You betcha."
More often than not, Minnesotans use this phrase sarcastically. You say when you don't
really agree with someone, or when you want to subtly poke fun at Minnesota. Very occasionally, you'll run into someone who uses this phrase seriously. A Minnesotan will likely be able to tell the difference.
8. "Cold enough for ya?"
This phrase gets trotted out when the temperature drops to 10 degrees below unbearable. It's a rhetorical question meant to acknowledge just how freezing the speaker is. But it also subtly acknowledges the hardiness of a native-born Minnesotan. Just when you think it's too cold to bear, the temperature drops just a little more. And yet you still bear it. Nope, not quite cold enough for you yet.
9. "That's different."
This phrase is an example of Minnesota Nice at its finest. While it appears innocent enough, perhaps acknowledging the uniqueness or charm of the thing in question, it sounds like a low blow to native Minnesotans. "That's different" is nothing more than a polite way to say that you really don't care for something at all. To be even more polite, also try calling something "interesting."
Can you think of any more? Be sure to add them in the comment section below.