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Upper Midwest Accent (USA)

Upper Midwest American accents include speakers in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota, but the accent actually carries over into a number of other states as well, including South Dakota, New York, Iowa, Montana, Idaho and even Alaska. This accent isn't just for Fargo anymore!


Upper Midwest American Accent Learning Materials

  • The Upper Midwest accent materials include recordings of AccentHelp coach Jim Johnson guiding you through learning the accent, using the text, as well as a number of recordings of native speakers. Jim gathered these recordings over the course of living in the midwest and traveling there for many years - bringing the experience back to you in this download.
  • You'll get four versions of the written materials: a PDF file to print or read on a standard computer, a large-format PDF for portable reading devices, and MOBI for Kindle and EPUB for other portable readers.
  • This accent is appropriate for productions of The Pavilion, The Christmas Schooner and other plays. You also hear it in films like Fargo and A Prairie Home Companion.
  • The Upper Midwest accent focuses on Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota, but it carries some similarities to Canadian dialects as well as dialects of the northern portions of states such as New York and Maine. It also carries over into South Dakota, northern Iowa and Illinois and into Montana, Idaho and even Alaska, though much of that falls into the Central Plains Midwest accent.

Audio files (70MB, 72 minutes)

  1. Introduction to Sound Placement, Intonation and Helpful Hints for learning an Upper Midwest accent (6:50)
  2. Consonant sound changes for speaking with a northern US accent (11:27)
  3. Vowel sound changes for Upper Midwest (10:35)
  4. changes to Diphthongs in an Upper Midwest accent (3:55)
  5. Alternate Pronunciations for words and names when speaking with a northern Midwest accent (3:35)
  6. Wrap up on learning an Upper Midwest American accent (2:20)
  7. Wahpeton North Dakota Female reading (1:30)
  8. + her conversation (2:37)
  9. Arthur North Dakota Male reading (1:25)
  10. + his conversation (:45)
  11. Grand Rapids Michigan Female reading (1:53)
  12. + her conversation (1:39)
  13. Worthington Minnesota Female reading (1:00)
  14. + her conversation (4:24)
  15. Minneapolis Minnesota Male reading (:59)
  16. + his conversation (3:04)
  17. Madison Wisconsin Female reading (1:26)
  18. + her conversation (2:35)
  19. Milwaukee Wisconsin Female reading (1:45)
  20. + her conversation (8:08)

Most of these recordings are made "in the field" so you will hear such things as birds, cars or other people in the background. A transcription of the conversations is included to help you follow along.