“Offers a very thorough and long overdue discussion of the Yooper dialect.” —Marquette Monthly
Yooper Talk is a fresh and significant contribution to understanding regional language and culture in North America. The Upper Peninsula of Michigan—known as "the UP"—is historically, geographically, and culturally distinct. Struggles over land, labor, and language during the last 150 years have shaped the variety of English spoken by resident Yoopers, as well as how they are viewed by outsiders–and themselves.
Drawing on sixteen years of fieldwork, including interviews with seventy-five lifelong residents of the UP, Kathryn Remlinger examines how the idea of a unique Yooper dialect emerged. Considering UP English in relation to other regional dialects and their speakers, she looks at local identity, literacy practices, media representations, language attitudes, notions of authenticity, economic factors, tourism, and contact with immigrant and Native American languages. The book also explores how a dialect becomes a recognizable and valuable commodity: Yooper talk (or "Yoopanese") is emblazoned on t-shirts, flags, postcards, coffee mugs, and bumper stickers.
Yooper Talk explains linguistic concepts with entertaining examples for general readers and also contributes to interdisciplinary discussions of dialect and identity in sociolinguistics, anthropology, dialectology, and folklore.
View a brief news video/interview about Yooper Talk:
Kathryn Remlinger is a professor of English at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan.
“Undeniably a significant contribution to the study of a unique aspect of Michigan history and culture.… For those who are fascinated by language or Yooper culture and dialect, there is gold to be mined in this book.” —Michigan in Books
“Provides an interesting case study of dialect enregisterment and the relationship between language and cultural identity more broadly.” —Michigan Historical Review
“Explores UP identity, driven by anecdotes and historical accounts. [Remlinger] goes beyond speech analysis, providing enough narrative and peninsula history to engage readers lacking a linguistics background.” —Langsing City Pulse
“A fresh and significant contribution to understanding regional language and culture in North America.” —Grand Traverse Scene
“Although humorous songs poke fun at Yoopers' words and customs, Remlinger takes this place and its people very seriously. She explains how history, ethnicity, environment, economic changes, tourism, and especially language have created a colorful and distinctive regional dialect and identity.” —Larry Lankton, Hollowed Ground: Copper Mining and Community Building on Lake Superior