Yooper dialect

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Yooper is a form of North Central American English mostly spoken in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, which gives the dialect its name (from "U.P." for Upper Peninsula). The dialect is also found in many northern areas of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan and largely in Northeast Wisconsin.

Yooper differs from standard English primarily because of the linguistic background of settlers to the area. The majority of people living in the Upper Peninsula are of either Finnish, French Canadian, Cornish, Scandinavian, German, or Native American descent. Yooper is so strongly influenced by these areas' languages that speakers from other areas may have difficulty understanding it. The Yooper dialect is also influenced by the Finnish language making it similar in character to the so-called "Rayncher speek" of the Mesabi Iron Range in northeast Minnesota. Almost half the Finnish immigrants to the U.S. settled in the Upper Peninsula, some joining Scandinavians who moved on to Minnesota.

Some common features of Yooper English in the U.P.[edit]

Ethnic makeup of the US in 2000; the western part of Upper Peninsula is the only region in the U.S. where Finnish Americans (light green) form the plurality.

Although these features are found in the U.P., they are primarily in the western U.P., and not all residents use these features. Equally important is the fact that many of these features are found throughout the upper Midwest, especially in northern Wisconsin and northern Minnesota and to a degree in the northern lower peninsula of Michigan.


  • Remlinger, Kathryn A. (2007). "The intertwined histories of identity and dialect in Michigan's Copper Country."". In Hoagland, Alison K.; Nordberg, Erik; Reynolds, Terry. New perspectives on Michigan's Copper Country. Hancock, MI: Quincy Mine Hoist Association. pp. 62–84. OCLC 166351721. 
  • —— (2006). "What it means to be a Yooper: Identity, language attitudes and variation in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula". In Filppula, Markku; Palander, Marjatta; Klemola, Juhani; Penttilä, Esa. Topics in dialectal variation. Joensuu, Finland: University of Joensuu Press. pp. 125–144. ISBN 978-952-458-829-4. 
  • —— (August 2002). "Talking the talk of the Copper Country". Marquette Monthly (Feature article). pp. 22–25. 
  • Simon, Beth (2005). "Dago, Finlander, Cousin Jack: Ethnicity and Identity on Michigan's Upper Peninsula". In Joseph, Brian D.; Preston, Carol G.; Preston, Dennis Richard. Language Diversity in Michigan and Ohio : Towards Two State Linguistic Profiles. Ann Arbor, MI: Carvan Books. pp. 129–152. ISBN 978-0-88206-110-8.